Archive for July, 2016




O.K.  So we are idle, we buy in our ‘hand stripped quills’ from Venyards or some other commercial source.  How many times have you been faced with one of these splitting or snapping just before you use it to make a ‘segmented’ body, and then having to back up about 2 or 3 processes, or scrap the whole thing and restart the fly from square one?  Has anyone told you that these little things benefit from being stored in a solution of 75% water and 25% hair conditioner, or soaked in plain water before use – no, I thought not. Me neither.  That is until I read it up in a chapter pertaining to just this subject in the “The Fly Tiers Bench Side Reference” by T. Leeson and J. Schollmeyer, not a cheap addition to your library I must admit, but if you take your fly tying seriously one I strongly recommend.




Now here is one I have to thank Louis Noble for, the use of a head cement called Fly Rite, it is extremely thin and requires at least two to three applications, and because of this it:

  1. Soaks in quite quickly.
  2. Requires a little patience.

But what you end up with is a fairly resilient head which has been well soaked and will last a few “attacks” from the teeth of that hungry trout.




Next is a thank you for Wendy Gibson.  Knowing I had arthritis she pointed out the fact that as we get older the thumb and forefinger no longer ‘pinch’ together the same.  Let me try to explain – in our ‘youth’ our thumb and fore finger pinches together with the finger nails more or less in the same plane, as you get older you have to pinch on progressive fingers to maintain the same situation.  At 75 years old and with the arthritis creeping into my knuckles, to do a “pinch and loop” I am using my thumb and the finger next to my little finger (my ring finger), using my thumb and index finger results in my thumb nail being at right angles to my index finger nail leading to a natural tendency to put a twist into the wings.


For those of you who are new to the ‘game’ you will find several things are true concerning this pastime.

  1. It can become obsessive
  2. You will end up with far more tools than you will ever need (you only have two hands).
  3. Eventually you will also find you have more capes, wings, feathers and materials in general than you have space for (and the missus will be the first to say “what is that smell”?).

Don’t get down hearted, you are not alone we are all in the same boat.  My gear and reference books have taken over the whole of what used to be called the “box room”, it even has a tying bench stretching the length of the room made up of a piece of kitchen work top 3 Metres long, sat on top of 4 four drawer kitchen units.

Finally a piece of advice, come along to your local Fly Dressers Guild meeting, you will find that there are people like yourselves, maybe not wanting to get into fly dressing any further than to tie their own flies and believe me there is no more satisfaction to be gained than that of catching on a fly that you have tried yourself.

Take care, and tight lines to you all


Ni the Fly