The Composite Loop.

fyshstykr

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The composite loop is a technique that's new to me, I honestly don't know if it's a new method, or if it's been around for a while.

Since it's that time of year that many Steelheaders are restocking their boxes, I thought I'd post this in the hope that perhaps it'll give us all some new ideas to try. If you've watched the original 'Skagit master' DVD you'll recognize Jerry French.

It's a rather long video, but hey, why not watch the whole thing. Go get a fresh cup of coffee, or maybe a couple drams of a good single malt and sit back and enjoy. *If you just can't sit that long....the part describing the 'composite loop' itself starts around the 6 minute mark.

How to Tie Jerry French’s Skinny Hoh Fly | | Hatches Fly Tying Magazine

Here's a link with more info and videos.
Home | OPST
 

honyuk96

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I admire innovation in fly tying but watching Jerry tie is just a little too slow for me. Have you tried one of these fancy dubbing loops ?
 

fyshstykr

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I haven't tried the composite loop yet, it'll happen soon.

It's funny/ironic that you mention that "Jerry's tying is too slow." Slowing down while tying is something that I'll be doing once I sit at the vise again. Trying to tie with too much speed is one of the things that pushed me away from tying for a very long time. I used to see all these guys just blasting through flies and their quality was pretty good, so I thought I had to be able to do the same....I couldn't, and it took the joy out of tying for me, because I'm a perfectionist. I decided that I s*cked at tying and just stopped, add to this the thought that I think quite possibly the standard stuff bores me. Now, I think that tying traditional Salmon flies, Steelhead patterns, and possibly tube flies might just add enough spice for me to sit down and tie again....slowly.
 

Ard

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I do it John and will be doing a couple mini intruders to include in the set we're giving away on the Keepemwet thread. The transition to looping materials other than opossum and bunny mask was easier than you would think. I actually had to break down and buy a dubbing loop spinner recently and it makes things go pretty slick.

As for the pre-made dubbing brushes I haven't used those although I darn near bought a rack to make them with last winter. Then I began tying sparser flies and let go of that idea.
 

fyshstykr

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I have a few dubbing loop tools in the drawer, infact I bought a new one that'll spin much faster with the use of ball bearings. What interested me about the "composite loop" was the use of multiple materials laid sparsely in the loop over the top of one another creating an interesting effect in the finished fly. Can't wait to see your flies.:)
 

honyuk96

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It certainly does have a neat effect if you have the patience for it. I'm glad you have come back to fly tying (fyshtykr) just goes to show different strokes for different folks.
 

Ard

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Oh yeah, you can stack whatever you want into the loop. I've done it with lots of different fibers but I don't photograph every fly............ I'll take pictures as I make this batch.
 

mridenour

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I use dubbing loops and kind of just mixed materials together in it for fun. Fly Tyer's Dungeon sell dubbings that are premixed with different textures and colors and even some rubber legs to give unique effects.
 

Ard

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Ever since you posted this I hadn't taken time to watch the video but this morning I did. One thing I thought worth mentioning is for everyone to take notice to how many steps are involved in creating a really cool fly like demonstrated and how long it takes. Those 'Big Fat Bunny Fur Sculpins' I make take about 1/2 hour each regardless of how many I've tied. The Intruder patterns that are built up using dubbing loops and what you could consider exotic materials are equally time consuming to produce.

Perhaps those who have viewed the entire video can understand why I absolutely despise losing flies. Every fly I tie to my leader took a significant piece of my time to create it. It was no different with my Catskill style dry flies in my previous fishing life, they took time to create what I considered the perfect fly to offer a trout. For as far back as I can remember I have went to great lengths to avoid losing one of my flies. We had a post just recently where the OP mentioned a couple with the girl on the shoulders of the fellow trying to retrieve a fly from a tree. That's nothing, I've climbed trees, waded rapids, and spent time locating flies that caught a bush on an errant back cast. If I get one of my sculpins stuck only a hoard of fish in the area or really deep water will stop me from going after it. While I was down fishing Oregon last month I lost the very best Wilkinson Sunray I had in my box. The realization that I was going to have to break that leader was enough to cast a dark pall over the rest of the afternoon.

Some folks may read what I'm saying and tell you that this is why they don't bother tying the 'fancy stuff', I say that fishing with a fly that took you 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour to produce will make you a better fisherman. Do they catch better? I believe that some do. Do they improve the quality of your fishing experience? I would have to say that almost 100% of my trips regardless of what was caught are enhanced simply because I used the best lure I could possibly produce.

So if you watch the video don't shy away from tying such patterns, life is short, why settle for a Wooly Bugger when you could fish the bling :)

Ard
 

honyuk96

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Some great points Ard. I too fashion some pretty complex flies but I carefully pick and choose my battles. Here in Michigan, if your not losing flies, your not doing it right. What makes the game extra hard is spring flooding and the constant changing of the rivers structure. I guess it's a good thing I enjoy tying flies or I would've given up long ago. ;)
 

cab

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Some folks may read what I'm saying and tell you that this is why they don't bother tying the 'fancy stuff', I say that fishing with a fly that took you 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour to produce will make you a better fisherman. Do they catch better? I believe that some do. Do they improve the quality of your fishing experience? I would have to say that almost 100% of my trips regardless of what was caught are enhanced simply because I used the best lure I could possibly produce.
Grandpa used to call it "holding yer mouth right". I'm a stick to the basics sort myself, but we all have "confidence flies". It's called mindset, a huge part of this sport.

Back to your original programming:

I realized years ago: I'm slow. In the construction bidness, you're always slow, no matter what your doing. Besides, this is supposed to be a relaxing sport. Some classical music(thank you, XM), relax, and slowly tie my simple flies; the heck with the world. Downright peaceful. Now all I need is the bloody TIME.

CAB
 

honyuk96

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Grandpa used to call it "holding yer mouth right". I'm a stick to the basics sort myself, but we all have "confidence flies". It's called mindset, a huge part of this sport.

Back to your original programming:

I realized years ago: I'm slow. In the construction bidness, you're always slow, no matter what your doing. Besides, this is supposed to be a relaxing sport. Some classical music(thank you, XM), relax, and slowly tie my simple flies; the heck with the world. Downright peaceful. Now all I need is the bloody TIME.

CAB
Right on ! Colorado certainly moves at a slower pace. I lived in Telluride for seven years and I miss that place every day.
 
B

blackbugger

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I've spun up Amherst along with ostrich before, it adds some nice accents.

Using dubbing loops for intruders and running several different materials like dubbing and then arctic fox and then ostrich all in the same loop is kind of fun and I suppose a time saver but I'm so anal about getting it all perfect it still takes me about 45 minutes to tie an intruder.

One thing I've noticed about steelhead flies. I don't lose very many.
I've tied up a few boxes of summer flies and winter flies and especially with the big time consuming winter intruders, I just don't go through very many.
Probably because you just don't catch that many steelhead fishing the winter runs.

Scott Howell's Squidro is a really durable fly. I've tied up about twenty of those and will probably tie some more but I really don't need to. Those twenty will probably last me all season.

I bought a few of those pre-made dubbing brushes but haven't found a use for them yet.
 

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My rational for not loosing many flies is that because I'm fishing them live action on the swing I avoid the bottom. By using varied leader inserts (T material) I get my depth but seldom feel the bottom. Although there are times when a sweeper screams fish at me I've gotten really good with depth perception and never, yes I said never swing too far into them. This last July I was catching some beauty rainbows that had taken up camp under a birch that had fallen to about a 20* angle over the water. The limbs, still full of live leaves were sweeping the surface but the water depth wwas about 3 foot so I was able to gage where to be positioned and where to place the cast so that the fly cleared the limbs and went to the downstream side where the fish were lurking in a pretty good sized group.

Winter steelhead here involves a 235 mile drive so I don't go too often. When I do the river has shelf ice and the fishing takes place in the center of the open channels. At that time you're fishing through boulder gardens and I don't recall snagging any of the boulders ever. I did lose a Jock O' Dee this past September because I left it on the Mokai trailer and never put it back in my box :doh: I also lost part of a Sculpin to fish teeth but it continues to work in spite of there being almost no fur left on the tail section.

The biggest loss of flies I ever had happened 2 July's ago. It was raining cats & dogs when I made my way back to take out the boat. I pulled it up to the area where you take out the plugs and strap it down. There I broke down the 2 rods I had been using that day and thought I'd stowed everything away. It was however pouring and I was hustling to get outta there. In that haste I left a Plano 6 compartment box holding 18 of the nicest tubes & Intruders I've ever owned sit on the transom corner of my boat. The flies had been a gift and were beyond my skill level and I didn't discover them missing until the next day as I was readying tackle for fishing....... Double :doh::doh:

So, yeah I lose flies ;)
 

Unknownflyman

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Thanks for posting this! Way better method than what I was doing, which was one layer at a time. Using water for taming the fibers and hackle, why didn't I think of that on my own?
 
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