I monitor the Bulletin Board here on FAOL, on a daily basis,
especially the Fly Tying Section. There was a question about
the use of Elk and Deer Hair for the wings on dry flies, which
inspired this article. It is the absolute opposite of everything
you were ever taught in fly tying. The amazing thing is that
I tie my Elk Hair Caddis patterns, with the tips of the Elk
or Deer Hair, at the eye end of the hook. Then after I have
completed the fly and tied off with a couple of half-hitches, and
the whip finish, I trim the hook bend end of the wing with my
This gives the fly more buoyancy on the water and I feel a
better wing shape. It also allows a neater tie-off at the
eye, and makes it easier to get the tippet through the eye.
Here I tie a dry fly pattern, and use Elk or Deer Hair instead for
the wing. I split and post the wings (check the Tying Tip Archives
for "Wing Posting Simplified"), after I have finished the construction
of the fly, I then cut and shape the wing. You can thin out the
individual hairs if you wish to have a sparser wing.
You can tie an emerger pattern by using the same pattern as a dry fly
by eliminating the hackle at the wing area, and just have the wing
tied as in the dry fly version. Cutting and shaping the wing after
tying off at the eye.
Here I tied the wing, either using a split wing post, or a parachute
post. I have the wing protruding thru the wing case, by splitting
the wing case before pulling it forward. After tying off the
fly, I then cut and shape in the wing.
Please check out the Fly Tying Section, on the
Bulletin Board, on FAOL too.
If you have any questions, tips, or techniques; send them along.
Someone else thought up most of this material before we did,
they just forgot to tell anyone about it. Or else we just
forgot about it, while learning something else. Let us
share with each other, all the things we know!
~ Steven H.
McGarthwaite (Chat Room AKA Parnelli)