A FLY FISHING HERO OF MINE, CAPT. BRUCE CHARD, ONCE TOLD ME, “IT’S NOT HOW PRETTY YOUR FINISHED STREAMER IS AT THE VISE THAT MATTERS, BUT RATHER HOW IT’S GOING TO SWIM IN THE WATER?”
Until about the last ten years, I gave very little thought with regard to how I tied my fly tying materials on the hook for my streamer patterns. Nor did I think about how those materials being tied on the hook would in turn, influence how the streamer would keel in the water during the retrieve. This especially was true with fly patterns of mine that I intended 100% to ride hook point up in the water, for example, many of my saltwater fly patterns. It turns out that I was very ignorant, all of those years, thinking as long as I tied my dumbbell eyes on the correct side of the hook, that the weight of the dumbbell eyes would always flip my fly right side up in the water. For those of you who are veteran fly tiers, you most certainly understand this is not at all a guarantee, and you’d quickly point out that the buoyancy of the materials being used in a fly pattern, should always be carefully tied in on the hook in the correct position. The reason for this, is because the side of the fly that holds the most buoyant materials, will almost always end up on top in the water, regardless of whether or not weighted dumbbell eyes were used.
When tying in the tail portion of your fly, that’s intended to ride hook point up, make sure you roll as much of the tail materials over to the hook point side before securely them to the hook. For materials that are going to be wrapped around the hook, it’s always a good idea to trim the bottom and top portion of the materials on each side of the hook. This will help ensure you have equal materials on each side of the hook, and it won’t effect the way the fly rides in the water. Lastly, make sure the wing (main portion of the body of your fly) is completely tied hook point side up. Look at the bonefish fly showcased in the header photograph of this post to see a proper example of a correctly tied fly pattern that’s intended to ride hook point up in the water.
In conclusion, never make the mistake, as a fly tier (especially with new patterns) of thinking you’re fly will always swim right side up in the water that you want it to. When possible, do some on the water testing, especially if you have an upcoming fly fishing adventure that you plan on using the flies during. There’s nothing worse than showing up at your fly fishing destination with a fly box full of flies that are not going to swim correctly in the water.
If you have any suggestions on this fly tying topic today, please drop us a comment. We’d love to hear your recommendations.
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