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Old 06-01-2009, 02:16 PM
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Default some affective yet easy ties for beginners

Easy and affective ties:

I have not been tying flies as long as most of you, but I have been tying constantly since I started and have been tying long enough that I feel Iíve learned a few things.
The real reason Iím writing this is because I have been fishing for a very long time (to me). Iím 38 and started when I was 2, so Iím sure many folks here have been fishing longer than me, but not too many for the percentage of their lives that I have. Not trying to be cocky or anything, I just didnít want to ďgive adviseĒ without a little background on why I should be able to do so. I have only been fly fishing since I was 14 though, so take that for what itís worth.
Anyway, I just thought Iíd give a small amount of the wisdom I have gathered, hoping it will be helpful to some.

When I started tying flies I instantly wanted to tie intricate steelhead and Spey flies that were beautiful and difficult to tie. I was successful, but I rarely caught fish with those flies and usually just set them in a box to look at. Sadly it was years later that I realized the most affective flies in my box were very simple and easy to tie. Iíd just like to share a few with you. Unfortunately I donít have pics of mine, but you should be able to google them.

The first is the most obvious:
The wooly bugger or wooly worm. Both are great flies and can be tied in different ways and fished in different ways and I have no idea what they are supposed to look like, but they catch fish! Not just trout, but almost every fresh water species from cats, carp, bass, to trout and even steelhead. I have never used them in the salt but would imagine they could make a decent shrimp imitation. A very versatile fly.
It is also usually the very first pattern that is taught to new fly tiers. Thatís all Iím saying about wet flies for now (kinda).

For dry flies, there are some great searching patterns like the royal wulf that are great and not all that difficult to tie, but I always hate it when I loose them after I spent a decent amount of time tying them.
A few search patterns I use that are simple to tie and work very well and for some reason are not in everyoneís boxes and rarely used are as follows:

Asher (orange or otherwise)
Bi-visible
Renegade
Grey hackle peacock
Black gnat

Iíll add the Griffiths gnat to that list except it is fished much more often than the others (I believe).

These are just flies that are easy to tie and you can make them fairly fast and cheap and they catch a lot of fish.
Adams are great search patterns, but on certain streams can almost be like crainkbaits Ė the fish have seen them a lot.
I know a guy who tied up 6 renegades because he wanted to tie them, they sit in his dry fly box taking up space because they are not the first fly he tries, and if the fish are not biting the traditional patterns he doesnít think that fly will work. Literally just taking up space.

Any of the above flies are great to start a day off with when there is no hatch going on. The renegade has hackle at both ends and can look like two different flies stuck together. White or grizzly hackle in front (or back) makes it visible on the water as well.
Same with the grey hackle peacock, and you donít have to use grizzly hackle for this fly either, white works just as well and again is easy to see. You can change it to black or brown as well.
The Griffiths Gnat works as well as those two flies and can easily be tied from size 10 to 20 (or even smaller).
Lets face it; peacock just looks buggy and fools fish. Thatís why these flies work well.

The Asher and bi-visible can also be tied with different colors and work very well subsurface also.

Now the Black gnat is one of my personal goto flies. But when I tie it fast for use on the water, I donít bother with wings, I just tie an all black body, tail, and black hackle. It seems to fool a lot of fish and is a fast tie so I have lots of them.
Going with that theme, any colors can be interchanged for an easy tie, dubbing and hackle. Brown or tan body with grizzly hackle is a great imitation of many mayflies and will catch fish around the world. Tails are optional but help flotation.

Now, all those dry flies above can be fished just as well under the water. Add lead wrap to the hook or just use some sink gel on them, or just get them real wet and donít put floatant on them. Add a small split shot to your lineÖ whateverÖ

If you are just starting out tying flies, unless you truly want to become a ďtraditionalistĒ, please know that you do NOT have to follow every fly pattern to the letter in order to catch fish. Believe me, if itís buggy looking, you will catch something with it.


I truly hope this is at least a little helpful to a few beginners looking to fill their fly boxes and creels.
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Old 06-01-2009, 06:33 PM
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Default Re: some affective yet easy ties for beginners

i would say that glo bugs are very simple to tie as well as some standart wet flies like the partridge and orange. just some orange thread and some partridge. very easy but yet two of my most effective fllies.
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Old 06-02-2009, 06:57 AM
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Default Re: some affective yet easy ties for beginners

i'll 2nd ur list of dry flies. well thought out from an angler-tyer perspective. i always carry bi-visibles and griffith's gnats n my dry fly box...always. i also carry another similar wet/dry attractor called the crackleback that was originated by ed story of feathercraft in st. louis. it uses a brown or furnace hackle and a sparse green, yellow, or orange body material. so it gives u a different color option for ultra-clear waters...extremely "buggy." the original was med stiff brown hackle palmered forward over 1-2 strands of green peacock hurl. it will fish dry upstream and wet downstream without floatant. so it makes a great searching pattern. and that's how ed meant for it to b fished: cast 1/4-ing upstream dry presentation...mend as it comes parallel...switch to downstream wet fly swing...pause for several seconds @ end of drift then twitch a few times...false cast a few times to dry and cast again.

for a nymph, i'd have to say the easiest and probably most effective is a beadhead thread midge. my favorite is the tunsten zebra midge. it's just thread, gold or silver wire wrapped up to the bead, and a tungsten bead on a caddis larva/scud hook. best tied sizes 14-18 as sparsely as possible. i always carrly black-silver, olive-gold, rust-gold, red-silver, and one that's more complex called the psycho-midge that uses primrose (lt cayhill) thread, gold wire and bead, and a single strand of midge flash. midges (chironomids) are n almost every body of water n north america and r active yearround. and they r a major food source to the majority of game fish from pan fish to large trout. the best way to fish these is as something between an emerger and a nymph...mid water column...about 16-24" under a dry fly or tiny indicator during any type of midge activity...or under that searching dry fly pattern as a dropper. on sunny days, the psycho midge dropper under an attractor dry fly like a bi-visible or stimulator is hard to beat for locating fish!
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Old 06-02-2009, 10:12 AM
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Default Re: some affective yet easy ties for beginners

awesome stuff

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Old 06-02-2009, 07:12 PM
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Default Re: some affective yet easy ties for beginners

I agree the crackleback is another one.

I didn't mention any nymphs really. beginners seem to do better with dries.
Renegade and a midge would be a great combo here on the Mad. I'll have to try that.
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Old 06-03-2009, 09:21 AM
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Default Re: some affective yet easy ties for beginners

Great post Twospots.

For dries, I'm a big fan of Sparkleduns and X Caddis. They use the same inexpensive materials (fine deer hair sold as "coastal' or "comparadun" deer hair instead of expensive dry fly hackle) and are tied basically the same way. Comparaduns are similar to Sparkle Duns, but have split tails of microfibbets that are often more difficult to tie for beginners.

They can be tied in a variety of sizes and colors to imitate specific hatches of mayflies and caddis, and are good searching patterns, especially in slow to medium fast water. Because they have a "shuck" for a tail, they do a pretty good job of imitating both the emerger and dun stages of the mayfly and since they sit low in the water they also do a pretty good job of imitating the spinner stage as well. The caddis version is also very effective, and both can be twitched under to fish wet.

Hook: Standard Dry fly hook
Thread: any color (match the general shade of the fly or body color) 6/0 (or 8/0 for smaller flies)
Wing: Small clump of fine deer hair. On small flies 20 and smaller use CDC instead. For mayflies (Sparkle Duns), tie the wing with the tips facing forward, for the X Caddis, tie the wings in with the tips facing to the rear.
Tail: a "shuck" of Antron or Z-lon usually light brown/amber
Body: Dry Fly Dubbing (Fly Rite, Superfine etc) in whatever body color

They can be a bit tricky to tie at first, but once you've tied a few you can crank them out. You can find detailed step by steps here for the Sparkle Dun (along with some easy to tie patterns) here:
Craig Mathews' Sparkle Dun

and here for the X Caddis:
Fly Tying Patterns for begginers - Copperfly.net - The X-caddis Flishing Fly

Materials
dry fly hooks in assorted sizes 10-20, (especially 14-18 for trout to start)
Antron, Z-lon or Sparkle Yarn for tails in amber or medium brown 3 bucks
12 color dry fly dubbing assortment 13-17 bucks
Wings- a couple patches of coastal deer hair in bleached, light gray, medium gray and dark gray. A 2" x 2" patch will cost about 3 bucks and is enough to tie about 100 flies. Add some CDC in white and medium gray if you want to tie some small ones size 20 and under (easier to work with than deer hair on small patterns, just tie it the same way using CDC.

You can google up a hatch chart for your area to get a general idea of sizes and colors of naturals to match hatches and use the sizes and color scheme of other "standard" patterns-- olive body/ medium gray wings for a Blue Wing Olive, tan body/ gray wings for March Brown, yellow/orange body light gray wings for Sulphurs, cream body/ bleached wings for Light Cahills etc. or tie up a bunch in a range of sizes with dark bodies/dark wings, light bodies/light wings and you'll come pretty close to whatever you might run into on the stream.

The drawback of these flies is that they donít do as well as some other patterns in fast water (harder to see).

If you fish a lot of fast water, some easy to tie patterns that use inexpensive materials are the Haystack (forerunner of the Comparadun and Sparkle Dun, also using deer hair wings) and The Usual (using Snow Shoe Hare feet for wings and tail for flotation). These were invented by Fran Betters to fish the Ausable in NY, a fast freestone stream. These can also be tied in a range of shades, and you could use them in the same places youíd use a Wulff or Humpy. These flies float like corks, and are easy to see as they bounce around. Because fish don't tend to be as selective in fast water, you can often get away with larger sizes, and just some light ones and dark ones would be good for your box. You should be able to see one or the other against the water.

Haystack step by step
The Haystack: One of our Favorite Smoky Mountain Trout Flies | R and R Fly Fishing

Usual step by step
"The Usual - Fly Angler's OnLine Volumn 10 week 46

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