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Old 10-13-2013, 04:02 PM
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Default I'm Still Learning to Tie Flies;

I read a lot of posts here, in the fly tying forums there are many from folks new to tying who are filled with questions. Sometimes there are threads where someone expresses frustration with the construction of certain patterns. I read many but reply to far too few. What we do have here are some very good flytier's and many of them are better versed at techniques than I and so, better to give advise to new tiers.

I am pretty much a self taught fly guy. Even after many years and countless flies tied I look at what I make and still see a rough hewn look to my craftsmanship. I don't believe they will ever win best in show but I have learned to make them tough so that they might last long enough to catch multiple fishes. When I started we didn't have forums or videos so you looked at pictures and diagrams and gave it your best shot. Frustration, I know it well. Through every twist and turn of feather, fur, floss and tinsel I have paid the dues. Quill wings were a big step as were married wings for salmon flies. Those hurdles were made way back in the late 70's and early 80's and today I find myself a bit rusty at both.

Fly tying is constantly evolving and with each decade come new patterns and tying styles. I have stubbornly clung to the old school classic patterns for almost 46 years now but every now and then even the most stubborn of old dogs can learn a new trick. That holds especially true if the new trick might just put a big fish on the end of the line.

It was the quest for larger fish (rainbow trout specifically) that pushed me into the world of articulated Sculpin patterns and now to the Intruder style flies. Although I had 45 years of tying experience to use I struggled to figure out how to best do these patterns. I still have a long ways to go in refining my technique for building the flies but I just had to say something about the process. I hope that the folks who are new to tying can take heart in knowing that it is difficult for even the guys who have been at it for years.

Within the realm of the Sculpin, this has been my best basic tie and they will work.
Click the image to open in full size.

I'm still making them and trying to refine my style to make construction easier and the flies durable. For color combinations I am just blending natural tones trying to create things that 'as my wife Nancy would say', look fun to eat.
Click the image to open in full size.

These are some of the early ties; with the photography on all these shots done by a point & shoot rather than my Nikon. One day I'll do some studio style shots with the SLR & macro to show the next generation of flies as I evolve with the 21'st century.

Click the image to open in full size.

On to my latest project; The Intruder

I should show the first one tied but chose not to copy it here, it was pretty rough but I am refining things with each go.
These 2 were made yesterday evening Oct. 12, blue and black have proven good on my Spey flies so I used the same colors on these.
Click the image to open in full size.

This morning I awoke inspired to create some in more of a food color scheme and this is the first of the day.
Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

I figure with each one they should become better proportioned and as I add some materials, more exotic as well. I ordered a bunch of natural Amherst Pheasant center tail feathers that should land here soon. Them and a bunch of fox tails from a member here will add some flair to what I can do. By purchasing the pheasant in the natural I will be able to dye sections in order to create a full spectrum of choices when getting creative. I may even venture into the Tube Fly world before I turn 60!

I'll be swinging some of these Intruders tomorrow morning.............

If you're new to tying and can't find a place for classes, there is hope for you. It will be harder but you can do it, keep at it and post up your work

Ard
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Last edited by Hardyreels; 10-13-2013 at 04:32 PM.
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Old 10-13-2013, 07:04 PM
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Default Re: I'm Still Learning to Tie Flies;

They look good Ard, I really like those Sculpins.
I might have to give those heads a try.
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Old 10-13-2013, 07:13 PM
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Default Re: I'm Still Learning to Tie Flies;

Hi Tim,

I have been casting them on different rods ranging from 5 weight to the heavy Spey lines. I made stiff leaders for use with them tapered from 50 pound to a ten pound tippet. You just need to be mindful that you are casting weight and keep the fals cast to a minimum.

The Intruder's are much lighter and I will use them with a 36" braided lead head in my leaders mid section.

Ard
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Old 10-13-2013, 09:08 PM
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Default Re: I'm Still Learning to Tie Flies;

Ard, I appreciate when you prove to us that you're human from time to time! The sculpin patterns looks very edible, as do the intruders! I haven't really given intruders a try yet, I assume because I've never had all the materials. I'm sure it will happen before the year is out. I like your take in the "food" color scheme especially! I assume by proper winter your intruders and sculpins will be as flawless as the rest of your flies! Now excuse me, I'm going to go track down the thread you posted a few years ago about your favorite flies and take a screen shot of each for streamer tying inspiration (I think your 9-3 is still my favorite).
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Old 10-13-2013, 09:45 PM
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Default Re: I'm Still Learning to Tie Flies;

Great looking flies! If anyone crowds you on the river just start casting those sculpins and they'll get out of the way
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Old 10-13-2013, 10:47 PM
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Default Re: I'm Still Learning to Tie Flies;

Arn, great post as always!

IMO, the journey is more important than the end means when it comes to tying. If we stop learning, we might as well stop living.

I'm in the same situation, as I can tie pretty much anything that I set out to tie, but my first attempts may not be my best. It often takes me a little time to figure out new things that I might try. It's likely many folks who have tied awhile go through the same experiences. It's obvious to me that your flies will catch fish, even though as you say they may not be up to par just yet. I also concern myself more wit durability than I do visual appearance. The fish don't care anyway! All those years of experience certainly improves your chances.

I have yet to try to tie an Intruder, I have several in my fly boxes which were purchased, as the first time I saw one my mind went into high gear & I thought they would be an excellent Smallmouth fly! I was correct there!

I tied articulated flies many, many years ago, and got away from them. Mine were not as nice as what you've displayed, but they did catch fish. I probably need to get back to tying them as well. There's a lot more available today that would make tying them easier I think. I've also yet to try any of those Fish Skulls. Call me stubborn too!

I'm sure we all stick to the things we know best, and changing may be a slow process. Those new to tying are usually eager to learn, while those of us who have been at this a long time proceed at a much slower pace, likely having already made far too many mistakes.

I for one always enjoy your posts, the great pics of your flies, the scenery & fish pictures & your wisdom!

Folks new to this sport can learn a great deal if they take the time to pay attention!
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Old 10-14-2013, 12:44 AM
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Default Re: I'm Still Learning to Tie Flies;

Hi Jim,

I'm finding that with these flies with the small trailing hooks are very effective. It is perhaps because of their size / length that fish are attracted to them. Many, almost all of the action comes at the end of the flies swing across the current. Often it is almost dangling strait down when you feel the first tap. You've got to hold your chew and don't strike at the Tap because there will be another. The taps generally turn into a sequence of 'taps' that turn into a solid pull. By the time you feel the pull, the fish is hooked. If there is only one tap you take notice to the length of your line out and lock it there, then recast so that the fly travels the same path. This usually brings the fish back.

I clench the barbs so that the hook does as little damage as possible and am not losing many fish after that 'pull' You might as well tie some, heck, I can do it
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Old 10-14-2013, 12:57 AM
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Default Re: I'm Still Learning to Tie Flies;

Great post, Ard. It's definitely tough being a self taught tier. However, with the help new tiers are able to get from Youtube and forums, the learning curve has definitely lessened.

Those sculpin patterns look deadly. Are you coating the helmets in any kind of epoxy? If not, coat those bad boys in a bit of CCG Hydro, or a real thin layer of CCG thin, and the eyes will never fall off. I think it's probably more for the fisherman than the fish though, as I've no doubt you're slamming fish despite the lack of eyes.
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Old 10-14-2013, 02:15 AM
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Default Re: I'm Still Learning to Tie Flies;

They are great Flies Ard some nice Patterns as well.
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Old 10-14-2013, 02:16 AM
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Default Re: I'm Still Learning to Tie Flies;

Hi Ted,

I've been to your blog site and can say that you are a master at spinning deer hair!

Here at home I'm going ahead with interpreting some of my more effective patterns into the Intruder form. Below is a photo of the AK. Assassin Intruder style.
Click the image to open in full size.

The trailing hook is a #6 Mustad
The hackles and Polar Bear feelers are supported by balls of chenille in chartreuse sparkle and salmon pink.
The zinc eyes are small ones but they will help to sink the fly. I'm tying with & without zinc and will find what works best.
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