View Full Version : It's all Her fault...

03-17-2008, 12:55 AM
Well, it finally happened...I am now a Fly Tyer (granted,a bad one, but tying none the less!) The Better half bought me a "kit" for my B'day last week, and I have spent the last few days whipping up some of the ugliest Wooly, spiky, rainbow colored monstrosities known to man.I think I have the sickness now, and I can blame it on her! But I do have questions:
1.The thread breaks a lot! I have been careful about nicking the hook with it, but still get fraying, the bobbin looks ok...Am I dealing with cheap thread? It was after all an inexpensive kit.
2. I'm having trouble getting the rabbit dubbing to work, it seems to just slide back and forth between thumb and forefinger instead of clumping onto the thread...does dubbing wax help that?
3.Hack, Hack , hackel... are neck,capes, and saddles more useable and less fuzzy around base of individual feathers...anything would have to be better than the "materials" that came with the kit.(Skyomish beginnersBTW)

Any advice would be greatly appreciated...Thanks!

milligan trout degree
03-17-2008, 01:10 AM
danville thread is a good way to go. if its 6/0 or 8/0 it could just be too much tension on it. its light stuff.

dubbing wax does help and pretty nuch neccessary for dubbing with dubbing materials like rabbit fur. with other dubbing materials like you get from the dubbing dispensers, its not needed. but to tie a hares ear, i would highly highly recommend it.

and when using hackles, just go ahead and pull all the fuzz from the bottom of the feather off and tie in the bare stem below the stiff fibers and begin wrapping.

its addictive. have fun.

03-17-2008, 01:43 AM
thread breakage could be due to cheap thread, or could be abrasion from the tip of the bobbin. get yourself a ceramic tipped bobbin. LRO sells one that I love for around $6.

I use rabbit dubbing alot and haven't had too many problems with it. you could have some bad rabbit there. also, I don't use wax, just lick your fingers before you twist it on. that'll help tremendously. rabbit is a little "buggy" by nature, meaning it's going to dub in a slightly scraggly manner. if you want a really tight and streamlined body, try superfine or beaver dubbing.

I use rabbit dubbing for my larger mayflies, particularly for parachute adams's. some people question it's floatability. it floats fine. While most people prefer a really tight body, I've found that a SLIGHT "buggy" effect with the rabbit adds a particular texture to that fly that makes it a real killer.

03-17-2008, 07:39 AM
I have trouble with 8/0 thread breaking with me. The 6/0 thread does fine and it will be the dominant thread for a majority of flies that you tie.

When your putting the dubbing on whether with wax or licking your fingers make sure you wind in it one direction. Spin it with your thumb and middle finger. And Walter always says less is more. You can always add more dubbing. I used to put enough dubbing on for 3 flies when I first started.

I would also highly recommend the fly tying classes at LRO. This year I finally made it through all 3 classes, and it was the best thing I could have done.

Getting the ceramic tipped bobbin is the next purchase you should make. My guess is the one that you have now holds the thread too tight, and that is another major part of the thread breaking.

Post some pics of the flies you have tied. Even though they may not look good to you, the trout will be the judge.

Welcome to the family of fly-tying.

03-17-2008, 08:29 AM
Welcome to the addiction of fly tying! The guys have given you some excellent suggestions so far. Unfortunately, LRO doesn't have any fly tying classes scheduled. I think its one of the best ways to raise your skills to the next level. Make sure you get signed up for one in the Fall/Winter.

In the meantime, you could check out the internet for fly tying tutorials. Some are in the form of videos, others are just step by step instructions with pictures at each step. Do a search on the forum for fly tying sites and you'll find a bunch of stuff that the others have already uncovered. For some good general tips on tying (starting thread, whip finishing, etc), go to http://copperfly.net/fly_tying_videos.php. As much as possible learn how to do things with your hands and try to rely less on one-trick tools and knot tying aides...

Also, get a good bobbin, some Danville 6/0 thread (as noted previously) in black, olive and yellow and another pair of scissors. You'll want one pair for detail work and another to cut wire and other things that would dull your good pair. You can pickup a good sharp pair for $12, or so.

As for hackle, do yourself a favor and get two packs of Whiting 100s in size 14, one Brown and one Grizzly. With those two types of hackle you can tie most of the flies here in the Smokies, while you are improving your skills. The Whiting 100s are a bit undersized, so you can really tie size 14 and size 16 flies with them. Once you are completely addicted you can get different sizes or go all out and start buying good capes and saddles.

Lastly, try to stick to a few patterns at first (my bets would be a Parachute Adams and an Elk Hair Caddis) and tie as many of them in a row as you can. It will take a while before you get the hang of a particular pattern and tying 8 -12 of them will really allow you to see the progress you are making.

Good luck and post some pics as you are progressing. Have fun and don't get frustrated. I have kept some of my first flies that I tied and really enjoy looking at them from time to time, when I need a good laugh!

03-17-2008, 10:42 AM
I had a problem with my thread breaking when I started.

I've only been tying for about 2 months now so I'm by far no expert. However, in the class I attended, the guy who was teaching suggested my bobbin was too tight. He bent the prongs a little to srpead them out more and it still holds the spool quite securly but my thread breaking has ended. Once in a while, you'll put too much tension or snag the hook point but for me once the bobbin adjusted, the mystery breaks are over.

As for hackles, here's what was said in the class I attended. strip off the fuzzy stuff, clip the quill (stem) so that it's not overly long, tie in the quill, snip it off and then wrap the hackle. The order of when, where, and which hackle to tie depends on the fly but all of that fuzzy stuff should go.

Hope this helps.


03-17-2008, 11:21 PM
You Guys are great!
I want to attend some classes and will...just wished I was closer to LRO. have to catch a couple round here (B'ham, AL)

Thanks for the advice am already making a list:
Danville thread, ceramic bobbin or two:biggrin:, a whip finisher (sorry Pete...learned how to use one he other day and gotta have it), and some of this, that, and other things.

Yeah ...I got it...got it bad...hate to say I'm looking forward to some crappy weather so I can hang out and tie.

As to my first ties...I'll let you know when I'm gonna fish 'em so you guys can stand around on the banks and collect the trout as they beach themselves...think caddyshack, baby ruth, swimming pool...:biggrin: