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Old 12-19-2007, 11:03 PM
tennswede tennswede is offline
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Default Silk Thread and Floss

I was wondering if anyone on here has any experience with silk thread and silk floss. I'm a little confused on the properties of this material. I've been reading a bunch of information both online and off line regarding North Country Spiders as well as American Soft Hackles and flymphs. I'm confused if I need to paint the shank of the hook before using the silk thread/floss. I'm also not all that sure if I should build one layer of silk thread and then a layer of floss on top. I've noticed some U.K. tiers using only thread for body.

I'm trying to duplicate as close as possible the patterns from Yorkshire.

Any info and I will be forever grateful

oh, the late L.J. DeCuir says in his book Southeastern flies that one should paint the hook or lay one layer of thread and then floss. What do you experienced tiers do.

Let's hope I'm not the only one going back to the old school.
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Old 12-20-2007, 12:34 AM
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Gerry Romer Gerry Romer is offline
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Default North Country Spiders

Hey, Hans!

I've got a copy of the instructional DVD "Essential Skills with Oliver Edwards". Part One is titled "Czech Nymphing" and Part Two is titled "Upstream Nymphing and North Country Spiders". Aside from being just a fun video to watch, it's a very educational video for the fly fisherman and the fly tier.

In Part Two, he ties one North Country Spider - specifically the Waterhen Bloa, while he shows the Partridge and Orange and the Snapping Purple. He ties the Waterhen Bloa on a size 14 bare hook using gold thread. He doesn't say what kind but it sure looks like a heavy duty thread. I mean it looks more like a Coats and Clark Dual Duty All Purpose thread than a Danville 6/0. To this he adds just a wisp of mole dubbing and two turns of hackle from a short, spoon-shaped feather from a Waterhen wing (I've used Starling as an almost suitable substitute). The result is a very slim and very slightly fuzzy short yellow-bodied wet fly.

In the next segment of the video he fishes a long leader made up with all three on one leader, casting across and swinging down with the current. He definitely knows what he's doing and he's catching fish!

Regarding the silk vs floss, I may not be much help here... but. One technique I've seen is to wrap the shank with a single turn of a bright red or yellow thread and then overwrap that with a white floss. When dry the shank appears white, but when wet the floss becomes translucent allowing the tone of the underlying thread to come through. I'm thinking of tying up some midges this way, using a light blue thread for the base and overlaying white floss.

Hope this helps! Good Tying!!

Gerry

Last edited by Gerry Romer; 12-20-2007 at 12:43 AM.. Reason: additional material
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Old 12-20-2007, 10:58 AM
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I use both silk thread and floss. Mainly for the type of flies you mentioned such as North Country Spiders, classic wingless wets, and flymphs. I use silk thread a lot more than the floss. Most of the spiders I tie I only use 2 layers of thread. I start the thread a couple of eye widths behind the eye, wrap it back, spin the bobbin to tighten the thread ( helps adds segmentation to the body )and wrap forward. When you look at these type flies you will notice quite a few will have slender short bodies. I like Pearsalls silk thread and it does require a special smaller bobbin (some call it a midge bobbin) due to the spool size. Silk floss is a different story, I am not a big fan. It is slippery, and frays way to easy to suit me. I don't use thread underneath it or paint the hook. I just tie it in at the front of the hook, wrap it back to the bend, then wrap it forward towards the eye. Buy one spool to try before you spend money on a selection. You may find ordinary floss to be much more user friendly. I like the UNI floss products much better. Here is an example of a North Country Spider that I tyed with just silk thread for the body.

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y166/flyman1/Soft%20Hackles%20and%20flymphs/Dscn0879.jpg?t=1198162446
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Last edited by flyman; 12-20-2007 at 11:07 AM.. Reason: genetics have been cruel to me
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Old 12-20-2007, 11:27 AM
tennswede tennswede is offline
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Gerry and Flyman!

Thanks very much, It sounds like I should just use two layers of Pearsall's Silk thread and ignore the floss. A very nice and sparse fly there Flyman. I hope I will be able to turn out something decent this winter.

Thanks again.
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Old 12-20-2007, 09:19 PM
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Gerry Romer Gerry Romer is offline
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Flyman --

Very nice fly there! Question 1. What was the hackle feather? Question 2. What size hook did you tie that on?

Gerry
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Old 12-21-2007, 02:55 PM
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Gerry that is a size 14 TMC 3761 hook and the hackle is Partridge.
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Old 12-21-2007, 03:25 PM
tennswede tennswede is offline
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Flyman!

Being a beginner I have done some partridge and yellow with just guinea body hen feathers, I know it's not proper but they are turning out decent. My question, will they work for movement while fishing downstream the classic way?
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Old 12-21-2007, 05:22 PM
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Guinea fowl will work fine. Many other types of feathers will as well. Grouse, starling, quail, and hen just to name a few. On many of these old patterns the materials used were simply materials that would have been available to tiers of the time. Many of which were upland and waterfowl species. Between the dollar exchange rate and the price of some of the skins called for in the original recipes, I don't think twice about substituting.
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Last edited by flyman; 12-21-2007 at 05:38 PM.. Reason: genetics have been cruel to me
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Old 12-21-2007, 08:04 PM
tennswede tennswede is offline
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Flyman!

Thanks, I'm going to move on to Partridge and Green and then Partridge and Orange. After that I'm moving on to Prince Nymph BH and Tellico BH. As you can tell, I'm trying to resupply my fly box with specific patterns.
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Old 12-22-2007, 10:20 PM
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Default silk

Tennswede, I have been very interested in soft hackle flys for over a dozen years. I do use Pearsalls silk, but I don't care for silk either. Sylvester Nemes' books are very well written on the whole issue of soft hackles. If you find a good quality partridge skin with small feathers, buy it. It will last you for years unless you are a compulsive tyer. I truly enjoy the wet fly swing and mend. It is such a pleasant way of fishing. I hardly use indicators unless all else fails. Fishing downstream too much may cost you some fish, but there are days when you can clean up. Some of my favorite patterns include: peacock and partridge, brassie and partridge, red butt, BHPT soft hackle, partridge and yellow, grey and dun hen, and iron blue dun. I would like to see how many soft hackle/spider/north country people are out there. If we had enough interest maybe we could put together a link or topic. Soft Hackle fishing has truly added to my enjoyment of fly fishing. I would recommend it to anyone who is starting out in fly fishing
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