Q I’ve just started fly-ty­ing and would like to know which ma­te­ri­als you wouldn’t be with­out

Dave Pre­ston, via email

Trout & Salmon (UK) - - Irish Lough Trout -

“Rab­bit, on the other hand, clogs easily and sinks”

A My favourite ma­te­rial is seal fur. As a keen dry-fly fisher on still­wa­ters, it gives me ev­ery­thing I look for. It holds floatant well – one ap­pli­ca­tion can last most of the day. It also dyes ex­tremely well – my fly-boxes re­sem­ble an artist’s pal­ette with var­i­ous shades and colours, in­clud­ing clarets, fiery browns, reds and am­bers in one box, and yel­lows, greens and many shades of olive in the other. I sel­dom use a sin­gle colour – my fly bod­ies are of­ten a mix of three or four colours. The translu­cency and vi­brancy of seal fur when held up to the light is un­matched by any man-made fi­bre. It works best when the fi­bres are teased out, cre­at­ing a halo of light around the fly – a neat body is the last thing you want. I dub it loosely, re­ly­ing on the rib to hold it in place. Hare fur (from the mask) would be my next choice. For some rea­son, it also holds floatant well. Rab­bit, on the other hand, clogs easily and sinks. Sev­eral of my suc­cess­ful pat­terns, from small emerg­ers to larger Sedges, are tied with hare fur. It is also great for nymphs, wet­flies, Spi­ders and larger pat­terns such as the Peep­ing Cad­dis. Next would be marabou, avail­able in a huge range of colours. To­day, al­most ev­ery lure has a wing or tail tied with this most mo­bile of feath­ers. Fritz (shock, hor­ror!) has be­come a vi­tal com­po­nent in mod­ern lures – of­ten the only com­po­nent. A new in­dus­try has de­vel­oped around it. Softer, stiffer, denser, strag­glier, spark­lier – each fritz is dyed in its maker’s spe­cial colours and com­petes to make the dead­li­est lure. Back to nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als. Pheas­ant tail fi­bres make per­fect nymph pat­tern bod­ies and great legs on Hop­pers or Daddy-long-legs. As a body, the fi­bres are best wrapped over wet var­nish or glue and left to dry be­fore a pro­tec­tive rib is wound. Pea­cock herl. The pop­u­lar­ity of the Di­awl Bach nymph and Cor­morant pat­terns make this one of the most com­mon ma­te­ri­als on a ty­ing bench. Pea­cock quill. A fi­bre from the eye sec­tion can be stripped of its herl. This “quill” is then wound to pro­duce a seg­mented body. A quill body, when wound in open turns over a com­ple­men­tary or con­trast­ing thread, pro­duces a nat­u­ral-look­ing seg­mented body on a Buzzer – a look en­hanced by a few coats of pro­tec­tive var­nish. Deer hair. Al­though only hol­low at the base of each fi­bre, it is highly buoy­ant. When greased, it will float all day. It’s ideal for ty­ing prospect­ing dry-flies, such as an Elk Hair Cad­dis. It makes won­der­ful wings on sedge pat­terns, on its own or with an un­der­wing of CDC. Which brings me to CDC, the preeng­land feath­ers from a duck. I love and hate CDC. Its fi­bre struc­ture makes it in­cred­i­bly buoy­ant when dry, but when it’s wa­ter­logged it won’t sup­port a fly in the sur­face. It’s high main­te­nance, con­stantly need­ing at­ten­tion, but I have yet to find an al­ter­na­tive that works as well. Foam is es­sen­tial for Booby eyes, FABS and bee­tle pat­terns. Last, but not least, are capes. Stiffer cock hack­les are some­thing I de­sire but sel­dom use. Softer capes (in­clud­ing hen) pro­vide the move­ment I want in my nymphs and the “give” I seek in my dry-flies. If I of­ten fished in Ire­land, capes would be fur­ther up the list. I love ty­ing Bum­bles, Dab­blers and all Ir­ish flies with mixed seal-fur bod­ies and hack­les – but I sel­dom have the need for them in the UK.

Pheas­ant tail Fritz

Pea­cock eye feather Pea­cock quill

Seal fur

Deer hair Foam

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.