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Thread: How to tie small bucktail flies?

  1. #11
    turbineblade Guest

    Default Re: How to tie small bucktail flies?

    Wow - very helpful ideas here! Thank you!

    It appears that bucktail isn't ideal for smaller "bucktail streamer" type flies. I'll look into calf tail and craft hair for sure. It sounds like fox tail and badger hair work well too. Very cool. Basically, I like smaller minnow patterns (like what you'd tied on a #8 or #10 streamer hook) on the fish around here (bass, sunfish, crappie, yellow perch, catfish, etc.) and was having trouble using regular bucktail -- that's all.

    Are "bonefish flies" tied with calftail and material like this because the wing is typically shorter than what you'd get with bucktail?....just like what I'm going for? I've never tied bonefish flies and am not familiar with them.

    Thank you again!

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    quiet corner, ct
    Posts
    8,508

    Default Re: How to tie small bucktail flies?

    Quote Originally Posted by turbineblade View Post
    I'll look into calf tail and craft hair for sure. It sounds like fox tail and badger hair work well too. Very cool.!
    Put some pruning shears in your car and be on the look-out squirrel pancakes.
    Collecting a few tails will get you a bunch of winging material... and it's much easier than tanning full pelts
    You could probably even dye a few with KoolAide
    .... talk about the darkside


    (you can do the same with deer, but that's a little weird.... even for me )
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements. --- Horace Kephart

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Manning, S. C. (formerly MD)
    Posts
    2,981

    Default Re: How to tie small bucktail flies?

    Are "bonefish flies" tied with calftail and material like this because the wing is typically shorter than what you'd get with bucktail?....just like what I'm going for? I've never tied bonefish flies and am not familiar with them.
    There are many types of "bonefish" flies. My comments were more about those that are tied in the style that resembles Clouser Minnows. Patterns such as Crazy Charlies or Gotchas. Gotchas are typically tied with synthetic materials in the wing, but such hairs as fox can also be used. Clouser Minnows, being extremely versatile, are also popular as Bonefish flies. The majority of "bonefish" style flies are tied in sizes ranging from size 8, up to about size 1 or 1/0, with 6, 4 & 2 likely the most used sizes, so yes, calftail is used because it's length fits these sizes well.

    I like the Crazy Charlie style flies for Smallmouth bass in streams. Since the style is intended to imitate various small shrimp, it works well as crayfish too.
    I'll adjust the colors to better fit those of the crayfish in my area. Squirrel tail, as Rip Tide has indicated is a material I like for such patterns, as it's natural coloration & barring fits crayfish patterns & the fine texture of the hair works well on small sizes.

    Prior to the 70's, calftail & bucktail were both used extensively in many saltwater patterns, including Bonefish flies, primarily because there was not as yet the proliferation of materials in wide use that we have today. Both materials were also readily available & relatively inexpensive. Both, are still popular & still used, but since other materials are now more easily obtained, tiers do not limit themselves to what used to be standards. Calftail has also been a very popular material for small jigs such as Shad Darts, used for Shad & various panfish species.

    If you take a look at many of the older Steelhead patterns, such as Skykomish Sunrise, or Polar Shrimp style flies, they were commonly tied with either Calftail or bucktail depending on the sizes. Today, as with saltwater patterns, there are many more materials available.

    A Google search for "Bonefish flies", or "Crazy Charlies" will yield many images of small size flies that can be adapted for the type of fishing you're looking to do. Just be sure to use materials that fit the sizes you tie to get the most from the patterns!

    BTW, just to throw a wrench into this discussion, ostrich herl fibers also work well for small flies!
    Remember, no one likes to be behind the big truck, but that's better than being under it!

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Pocono Lake , Pennsylvania
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    3,173

    Default Re: How to tie small bucktail flies?

    When Turbineblade said size 8 to 10 hooks the first thing that came to mind were Mickey Finns, Black Nose Dace and small Blondes. To me this says short sparse bucktail for these smaller Clousers. But after reading what Jim and Rip posted I realize the fox and other substitutes would be a good substitute. I was just trying to go with the question of bucktail.
    Actually one of my favorite SW Clousers is tied on an 8 and uses bead chain eyes and tan and white Antron Fibers with a bit if Flashabou and it's deadly!
    Now I'll have to play with some fox and squirrel.
    Just a note I've used Black Bear hair on small ones and it looks pretty nice!
    "I was born to fish" Lee Wulff
    "There's more B.S. in fly fishing then there is in a Kansas feedlot." Lefty Kreh
    " It ain't over till it's over." Yogi Berra
    "Your not old,you've simply acquired a patina." Swirlchaser

  5. #15
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Northern California, USA
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    357

    Default Re: How to tie small bucktail flies?

    Quote Originally Posted by theboz View Post
    When Turbineblade said size 8 to 10 hooks the first thing that came to mind were Mickey Finns, Black Nose Dace and small Blondes. To me this says short sparse bucktail for these smaller Clousers. But after reading what Jim and Rip posted I realize the fox and other substitutes would be a good substitute. Just a note I've used Black Bear hair on small ones and it looks pretty nice!
    I was thinking similarly- that the desire was for white or colored hair, not natural brown/two-tone type hairs. And like you, I've used lots of black bear, mostly on steelhead and salmon flies!

    As for the comment about snipping off some "sail squirrel" tails:

    1) watch out for oncoming traffic
    2) watch out for STRANGE looks from passers by
    3) watch out for fleas/ticks if they're REAL fresh
    4) learn how to properly clean and prep these before putting them in with your other materials!!!

  6. #16
    turbineblade Guest

    Default Re: How to tie small bucktail flies?

    I have a deep freezer and tend to keep most of my hair and feathers in there. I figure that will either kill, or at least "slow down" the spread of parasites.

    I have found funky brown little critters in some bucktail (collected from Missouri) but they appear to be dead.....I put it back in the freezer anyway just in case.

    ---------- Post added at 06:30 AM ---------- Previous post was at 06:27 AM ----------

    About the use of bucktail -- I probably should have said "how do I tie smallish streamer flies that are somewhat similar to a bucktail streamer?"

    I'm not set on using bucktail, but I do tend to use lighter colored streamers to imitate the minnow species around here. They tend to be whitish/brown bi-colored (light below, dark above - typical of bait fish). I'm going to really look into some of these alternate materials when I hit the fly shop this weekend .

    I never go into the fly shop without spending at least $10. That's a rule for me. .

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