Fly­box fillers

Russ Sy­mons ties an ‘un­sink­able’ Daddy

Trout Fisherman (UK) - - Contents -

“It has to be done with care and at­ten­tion, but the end re­sult is a Daddy pat­tern that will last un­til it’s torn to pieces by a toothy fish.”

IREGULARLY fish with a cou­ple of friends who might be in­clined to fish dry fly a hand­ful of times through­out the year. When they do it will in­evitably be when the daddy lon­glegs are on the water and you see fish all over the lake sip­ping and splash­ing at the un­for­tu­nate drowned in­sects. My friends are good an­glers and catch a lot of fish, but they can’t be both­ered with the greas­ing up and de­greas­ing of the leader, treat­ing the flies with floatant or chang­ing them ev­ery few casts when they be­gin to sink. So this Foam Daddy was tied for them. All they have to do is de­grease the leader at the be­gin­ning of the day, catch a fish, wash the fly and carry on fish­ing be­cause it won’t sink...sim­ple! Over the years I have gone through the full ar­ray of Daddy pat­terns, from flies tied with a short length of float­ing fly line for the body, to deer hair and elk bod­ies tied on a nee­dle. Then at the Game Fair one year I watched some­one us­ing a ‘de­tached body pin’ to cre­ate mul­ti­coloured foam tails for foam bugs and float­ing flies. Would that method work for Dad­dies, I won­dered? It has taken a while to work it out, but it’s really not that dif­fi­cult. It has to be done with care and at­ten­tion to de­tail, but the end re­sult is a Daddy pat­tern that will last un­til it’s torn to pieces by a few toothy fish. De­tached body pins The key to mak­ing the foam tails for th­ese un­sink­able Dad­dies is a set of de­tached body pins. I bought a set of four pins made by J:sonSwe­den (www.json­swe­ which I have since been told are the best ones. They are not cheap at nearly £17 for what looks like some bent pi­ano wire, but like a lot of other things in this world, you get what you pay for. Com­pre­hen­sive in­struc­tions are on the re­verse of the pack­ag­ing header card. The foam for mak­ing th­ese tails is avail­able from Ve­niard’s stock­ists and is called closed cell foam sheet. It is avail­able in a va­ri­ety of colours, the bis­cuit colour be­ing ideal for Daddy bod­ies while the dam­sel blue makes a fan­tas­tic float­ing Dam­sel tail and body for those

won­der­ful oc­ca­sions when you see the fish try­ing to knock the damsels out of the air. You need to cut the foam quite thin be­cause when it is dou­bled over the de­tached body pin, the body will be twice as thick as the strip of foam that you have cut. The best way to cut the foam is ei­ther on a proper cut­ting mat or a piece of hard card­board. Use a steel rule if you have one and a scalpel or a new Stan­ley knife blade. Put the steel rule to the edge of the foam, you are aim­ing to cut a strip about 1/32th of an inch wide (or just less than one of those French mil­lime­tres). Spit on the blade to lu­bri­cate it and firmly draw it along the edge of the steel rule. Place the de­tached body pin in the vice jaws and take a few turns of thread just back from the tip of the pin. Catch the tag end of thread in the wire coil. Fold the foam around the point of the pin and take two or three turns of thread to form the first seg­ment of the tail. Then take the thread in­side the two halves of the foam and take an­other cou­ple of turns of thread around the pin us­ing the tag end of thread to po­si­tion it. Make an­other two or three wraps of thread around the foam to form the next seg­ment, then so on down the pin un­til you have cre­ated the num­ber of tail seg­ments that you want. When you reach what will be the last seg­ment, paint a lit­tle glue onto the thread to hold it in place and whip fin­ish. Af­ter the glue has dried for a minute or so grasp the tail be­tween thumb and fore­fin­ger and gen­tly twist the tail off the pin. At this point I like to do a small batch of tails ready for ty­ing a sea­son’s worth of Dad­dies for my­self and the oc­ca­sional give­away for those in need! Ty­ing the rest of the fly is rel­a­tively straight­for­ward, just make sure to get the se­quence of ma­te­ri­als in the right or­der as they go onto the body. Us­ing the same tech­niques you can tie a lovely Blue Dam­sel. This is not a fly you will use reg­u­larly, but keep three or four in your fly­box as they can oc­ca­sion­ally be the key to an in­cred­i­ble day’s fish­ing. You just have to be there when it’s hap­pen­ al­ways! I used to spend time putting melted monofil­a­ment eyes on th­ese Damsels to make them look quite re­al­is­tic, but in truth it makes no dif­fer­ence at all to their abil­ity to catch fish. So I no longer bother with the eyes.

Foam Dad­dies and a Blue Dam­sel tied us­ing foam bod­ies to aid floata­tion and dura­bil­ity.

Use a metal ruler and a scalpel to slice the foam into strips less than a mil­lime­tre wide. Fold the foam strip around the end of the pin. Se­cure with thread turns. Make a thread turn around the pin where you want the next seg­ment, then make three or four turns of thread around the foam to form the seg­ment. Paint some glue onto the thread and whip fin­ish on the last seg­ment. This will hold ev­ery­thing se­curely in place.

De­tached body pins from J:sonSwe­den, ideal when mak­ing de­tached fly bod­ies. Make a wrap around the pin to the next seg­ment po­si­tion and re­peat the previous pro­ce­dure. Con­tinue to make four or five seg­ments, de­pend­ing on how long you want the foam tail to be. The fin­ished foam tail. Tie up how­ever many tails you want be­fore con­tin­u­ing to tie the ac­tual flies.

Us­ing the next to small­est de­tached body pin, fas­ten the thread just in from the end. Three or four wraps of thread is enough.

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