Holding the fanned out fly in one hand use your long blade hair scissors to cut the initial shape of your baitfish. Make a long curved cut, front to back on top and bottom leaving a teardrop shape as in Photo 8. This is the basic profile shape of your minnow imitation. And the one shown here is shaped like a shad.
Now you will trim your fly into the three dimensional shape of a baitfish. I use inexpensive serrated spring scissors made by Dr. Slick. Spring scissors cut when you push the springs with your thumb and forefinger. Using these scissors makes the job go faster with less fatigue.
What you will do is use the points of the scissors and cut the fibers with the scissors perpendicular to the body of the fly. You will reach in with the points from the sides and trim away fibers thus sculpting a body shape. I start at the back of the fly and trim away fibers on both sides. I work my way up, alternating from one side of the fly to the other to a point about 1/3 back from the eye of the hook. Remember, you are sculpting the slender part of the minnow. You will leave some fibers very long to give you length. By nature Pulgisi EP Fibers stick to themselves and support each other.
You are trimming away bulk. But the closer you get to the front of the fly you will be effectively adding bulk by cutting the fibers shorter and making them stick out like a bad haircut.
Trim your fly a little at a time moving from spot to spot and changing sides of the fly often. If the belly is too fat concentrate on that part of the fly. You want the fly to have a rounded body and keep thinking about what it is going to look like to a fish that is following it. Does it appear to be slender then getting thicker toward the front? Is it a natural 3-D sculpture?
When you are trimming you may also want to correct any changes or improve the silhouette as you create the dimensional sculpture of a baitfish. Also, remove fibers that have been trimmed using your fingers. Do this often, after every few cuts.
Once you are happy with the silhouette and the dimensional shape of the fly remove it from the vise. Use a Cool Gray Prismacolor Marker and the larger wedge applicator to color the top half or back of the baitfish. Lay your fly flat on a Post-It-Note. Stroke the body with the marker from front to back. Apply color to both sides of the fly. See Photo 12.
Get out your toothpicks, craft sticks, Post-It-Notes and 2-part epoxy. Apply a few drops of Resin and an equal amount of Hardener side by side on a Post-It-Note. Using your craft stick mix the two parts together. I like to fold over the mixture using the edge of the craft stick then mashing the mixture with the flat side of the stick, several times in different directions. Once you are sure the two parts are mixed it’s time to apply your eyes. You must work quick. This stuff sets up fast. Why the Post-It-Notes? After mixing glue or adding color to your fly you can tear off the top sheet, throw it away and a new one is ready for use.
I learned this next procedure by trial and error over a period of time. Trying to put glue on a small plastic eye and placing it in the right location on a fly was tough for me. Here’s how I do it now. I use two toothpicks.
Hold the eye between your thumb and forefinger with the flat side up. Pick up some glue on the tip of a toothpick. Dab the glue on the back side of the eye. Push the toothpick through the glue and let it stick to the adhesive back of the eye. Turn the toothpick over with the eye on top. Place the tip of the toothpick on the fly where you want your eye to be located. Using your second toothpick to hold the eye in place and slide the one on the underside of the eye out. Push down with the second toothpick and squeeze the glue into the EP Fibers. You can move your eye with the second toothpick. It has no glue on it so your eye will not be smeared with epoxy. The eye sticks to the fibers well. You will hardly ever have an eye come off your fly. I wish I knew about this years ago.
So, all you have to do now is add the black dot behind the eye. I use a Sharpie Marker with a point applicator. Lay the fly on one side. Remove the cap from the Sharpie. Hold the Sharpie perpendicular to the fly. Using a straight up and down motion touch the fly with the marker point. You may want to touch the fly several times to get the desired results. Turn your fly over and place a dot on that side. You can probably see the dot from the other side which will give you a reference point.
Coat the wraps of the fly with head cement or rod wrapping finish. You will need a turner for the rod wrapping finish. Don’t use too much. If you do the nose will be heavy and the fly will dip face forward in the water when you stop retrieving.
There you have it. See Photo 13. Baitfish flies work well in fresh or saltwater. You can replicate almost any baitfish using these methods. To the left are some other patterns. These are tarpon flies.
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