Monthly Archives: October 2011

How to do (simple) realistic legs

Okay, so this is not going to be your ordinary step-by-step fly tying tutorial, instead it’s a certain technique I use sometimes.

No matter if you like to focus on semi-realistic fishing flies or full blown super realistic display flies I think there is one tying section that is a real pain in the ass because it takes the most time; doing the legs. Then again these are often the details you want to focus on because it is what sets the fly apart from an ordinary fly.

I started doing a variant of thread legs about 4-5 years ago, first for my super realistics and then adopted a simplified variant for my fishing flies.

It all starts with two pieces of thread, thickness depends on the fly you want to create. For the sake of visibility I’ve used quite thick sewing thread here, the same type I would use if I were to tie for example a golden stonefly.

Start with just doing an open over hand knot on one of the pieces, but don’t tighten the knot.

No slip the other thread trough the open knot.

Now tighten the knot and you should have a cross like structure like this.

Hold on o the top thread end and stroke the other ends downwards to make them clump together. You see where this is going don’t you?

Now, add varnish or super glue to the thread and repeatedly stroke the three ends together to make them stick together permanently. Super glue is actually (in my experience) the best for this because it gets the stiffest but still makes it possible to bend it to the shape you want. Voila! Two clear segments of a “leg”; femur and tibia!

Cut it to shape, colour it and make a compressed “foot” at the end of the single strand and there it is, the simplest of realistic legs.

Once you start experiment with it you will find many more uses, the right leg is the one we just did. The middle is a section of brown 6/0 thread together with black 8/0. But the far left is the most interesting because it involves three pieces of thread creating an even more realistic look to the leg, but still it takes just a few seconds to do it!

Finally here’s some examples of flies that uses this technique for the legs, including the ant from yesterday.

Ants (but not in my pants)

Threw on two size 16 ants from the vise tonight that are going to get company by another pair for a framing I am gonna do. Felt good to be back to this pattern which I hadn’t tied for quite some time. I also opted for the thread legs rather than the porcupine guard hairs that I normally do, not sure if I like it better or not. Oh well, I’ll threw in some photos of the finished frame later.


Hollow pike fly

Here’s a very simple but highly effective pike fly I did last week for my day out on the lake “Mälaren” on saturday. I was going to write a report but since we caught zero I didn’t really know what to write about 🙂

The thing with these kind of flies is that every thing is tied in forward over the hook eye and then folded back. While the material is held down by a paper clip of a hair clip a head is made from Bug Bond. Dead easy and very good. The fly gets volume without weight and is very easy to cast. I might do a step by step for this later.


Caddis pupaes from last night

Managed to squeez in about an hour of tying last night, I was rusty and it took a couple of tries before I got something I was pleased with. Eventually managed to tie three of the olive Suede caddis pupaes. Hopefully more tonight!

Somerset flies

As the hight light of the fly fishing show season comes closer I am desperately trying to find time to tie up flies for it! Finished this cluster of  Surgeons hydropsyche caddis larva tonight!

Last minute tie

I know, updates are almost criminally delayed for the moment. Still over hauled with work, and also been putting in hours in to my Grayling Dreams business the past couple of weeks. I did however manage a couple of hours fishing in friday, and before that tied the mandatory “laste minute tie”. More on the fishing in a later post.

Tube fly tied Niclaus Bauer style!