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Old 01-03-2012, 02:26 PM
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Default Re: My first tied fly....

I think you'd be better off just leaving the hackle a bit long than trying to trim it.-- The length of the barbs is not as critical on a woolly bugger as it is on a dry fly.

As you can see the hackle on the bugger tapers from the front to the back, with longer barbs on the front and shorter barbs on the rear.

If you compare the length of the barbs on your bugger to the pics in Craven's book, you'll see that in relation to the hook gap, yours are a bit longer, maybe 3x the hook gap in front, and 2x in the rear compared to his pic-- That book is an excellent choice by the way. Again, this more just a matter proportion for looks rather than any practical difference- get it in front of a fish and it will be gobbled up.

One gadget that might help a bit is a Griffin Hook and Hackle Gauge (about $5). It has a series of concentric rings around a pin -- when you bend the stem of a feather around the pin you see which ring the barb reaches to measure the right hook size for the feather's barb length. Getting the right proportion between barb length and hook size becomes a bit more critical for dry flies since the fly will rest on the surface and balances on both the tail and the hackle collar.

Keep tying, you're doing great!
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:04 PM
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Default Re: My first tied fly....

You folks were correct! I tied a few more tonight, and not only did they tie a whole lot better, they look much better, as well! Used a smaller hackle feather, so that the hackles are slightly less than 1.5x the hook gap. In doing so, I actually figured out how to use that hackle guide that I couldn't previously figure out - LOL! Also wrapped the hackle much closer to the head, so I was able to encorporate all of your suggestions. I was also able to keep the tied head a bit further back from the eye - something thatI struggled with on my first few flies.

Then went on to try a couple of #18 Brassie's, using the 8/0 thread. Only broke it twice, but it was because I kept catching the hookpoint when wrapping back to the bend. I moved the hook in the vice to completely cover the point (something I saw watching a David Cammiss intructional video), and no more breakage.

Class starts on Monday, but I've got some additional materials; thread, wire, chenelle, ice dubbing, antron yarn, and beads; coming (hopefully before the weekend), so I'll try some more before the class.
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