New fly tyer here, but a long-time "lurker" on these boards.
About a month ago I ordered an old Thompson Model A off eBay and enough materials to tie up some black/red zebra midges. A few days later, the first fish to take one of my creations was a fat 15" brown from the Caney Fork. I must admit...it was pretty cool.
So the other day I ordered some more materials to attempt some Parachute Adams, Neversink Caddis, and possibly an orange variation to the Neversink. Unfortunately, I'm about an hour drive from the nearest shop that carries materials (Cumberland Transit), so I'm ordering from Cabelas. This is kinda tough since I don't know exactly what I'm looking for and it's not always easy to tell what you're buying based on the pictures. From my latest purchase, I have a few questions:
1. I got natural-colored elk hock hair for the wing on the Neversink. It's way darker than I expected, could probably best be described as "chocolate brown". Is the bleached color the best option for the wing? Or do you even have to get elk hair...would some color of deer hair suffice?
2. I got the Whiting 100-packs in brown and grizzly for the hackle. This is great for the wing on the PA, but I don't think the feathers are quite long enough for the tail of the PA. Can I substitute the dark elk hair for the PA tail? Seems like I've read of people using moose hair for this.
3. Is the orange variation of the Neversink even a good idea for the Fall? I thought I had read of LRO carrying something similar. The dark elk hair I have is even darker than the hair on some Orange Stimulators, so what color of deer or elk hair would I need for the wing of an orange Neversink?
4. One final question...how do you estimate the length of the piece of hackle to cut, is it just experience? I've been cutting about 1.5 - 2 inch pieces, and am having a hard time neatly trimming and tying off the excess hackle after it's wrapped.
I could fill a whole page with questions, but these are the main bumps I've hit so far. I've tied 3 or 4 PA's, and while I have a lot of room for improvement, they're all recognizable and I seem to be making progress on each one. Besides the hackle question, making a tight dubbed body is my next biggest problem. I also tried an orange Neversink that turned out pretty ugly...I'd really like to get these down pat, as the yellow Neversink is my favorite Summer Smokies fly.
Anyway, sorry for all the questions, but thanks in advance for your advice.