Category Archives: Step by step tying

Tying the Teardrop loop wing (TDLW) Caddis

No one can argue these days that CDC is a fantastic material for dry flies, and other flies too for that matter. The Cul de Canard feathers has a natural oil floatant to it that makes them superb for floating flies. The CDC flies are situated around the preen gland of many birds and this gland is used by the birds to waterproof their feathers from oil secreted from this gland.  But it is not only the oil that makes CDC feather so buoyant it is also the structure of the feathers themselves that makes it trap air bubbles, so good that the air bubbles remain trapped in the fibers of the feather even if they are submerged. This makes it also a really good material to use to mimic sparkle pupa appearance in caddis pupa flies.

This fly that I want to show here is a rather simple but dead effective loop wing caddis. It is a rather long wing with a special appearance, hence the name of the fly. Also I use a little unusual material for the abdomen, you can of course use any other that you are fond of, like nymph skin, flex skin or even just a dubbed and ribbed back body. The flat flexible jewelry “thread” that I have used here are very similar to flexy floss I think.

Fish it actively either when there is hatches of caddis fly or when they are fluttering around on the surface for egg laying.

Hook: Partridge K14ST size 10-14
Thread: UNI 8/0 olive
Abdomen: Flat flexible jewelry thread
Thorax: Dark olive dubbing
Wing: Three tan CDC feathers

Start with catching in the flex thread and tie it down while stretching it all the way the hook bend.

Dub your thread and wind it forward to create a nice caddis tapered underbody. Remember to not make it to thick since the flex thread creates quite a bulk when winded forward.

Now wind the flex thread forward without stretching it very much, as i get closer to the hook eye I usually stretch the two last segments a little harder. Tie down and leave room for the thorax and wing.

Color the abdomen with a permanent marker. These days when I tie this I color the flex thread before winding it.

Take three good sized tan CDC feathers, lay them all together with the tips in line and stroke the fibers forward. Then tie them in with just two loose wraps of thread leaving about 1 cm of the feathers pointing forward over the hook eye. Of course if you tie this one in smaller sizes you will use only two or perhaps only one CDC feather, but for sizes 12-14 I like to use three.

Now pull on the CDC fibers backward so that more fibers are trapped down leaving just the three short tips forward. Now secure this with several hard wraps of tying thread.

Now dub the thread with a small amount of dubbing and wind forward to further trap down the tips and create a small thorax area.

When folding the wings forward I like to first fold them forward to the right length and then secure the fold by the hook eye. Then I heat a dubbing needle for a few seconds and carefully put it in the loop and pull backwards slightly for 2-3 seconds. This will create a more narrow tear drop shaped wing. Don’t worry if you have fibers “loose” back from the wing, this will only enhance the fluttering look of the fly.

Now carefully cut of the three quills of the CDC feathers off but leave all the fibers sticking out over the hook eye.

Try and spread the CDC fibers evenly on each side of the hook eye and fold them backwards making sure some will also be on the top. Then tie them down perhaps a mm or so behind the hook eye to create a small head too. Here’s a top view where you can see how the fibers are now back on each side of the hook shank.

Now finish off the fly there and varnish the tie in point.

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My favorite nymph (and how to tie it)

So I’ve already confessed to being a dry /:fly:/ fanatic but there are times where I will put on a nymph too, not often thought, and when I do you can be sure that it is a Fox poopah caddis nymf at the end of the tippet. I’ve often fished it underneath a Klinkhammer in a two /:fly:/set up, just tied in a second length of tippet at the bend of the klinkhammer and fish it at about a meters depth or so. The trout love it and the grayling too, and it is a very easy /:fly:/to tie too.

About six years ago I got some flies sent to me by my good friend Thom Sullivan in the US, one of them was the Fox Poopah. I hadn’t seen it before but I really liked to look of it. Once I tried it I liked it even more. I specially remember a small stream far north in Norway, I’ve been catching huge grayling on dry flies all week but had trouble at this spot. So I put on a fox poopah and started catching browns at every cast instead.

The /:fly:/was originally created by American Tim Fox around 1990 for use on the lower Sacramento. Here in Europe it is not a well known pattern but I think it deserves more attention.

The below step-by-step instructions was something I created for elmerfishing.com a few years ago, I was meaning to shoot new photos but since I am still feeling ill I gave up on that and you just have to do with the old ones, I think they will do fine.

Hook: any straigh hook size 12 and downwards. This is tied on a size 12 Partridge straight shank nymph hook.
Body: Micro chenille (“Vernille”) over flat silver tinsel and ribbed with oval silver
Legs: Patridge
Thorax: black ostrich
Antennas: Wood duck

Start with sliding any type of bead head on, I like those Nymph heads with articulated eyes.

Tie in the oval silver tinsel all the way from the head to the hook bend. Keep a smooth underbody

Catch in the flat silver tinsel at the back and tie that one down the hook shank all the way up to the head again.

Touch the end of a vernille piece with a flame to taper it slightly to the end.

Wind the flat tinsel in touching turns, tie off and tie in the body here.

Rib the body and trap it on the top side of the hook towards the hook eye and tie off.

Trap in a stripped down partridge feather on the underside, make the fibers about half way between the hook point and the bend.

Trap in two fibers from a wood duck feather as antennas, let them stick out a bit behind the body.

Tie in a black ostrich herl.

Wind the ostrich forward, tie off behind the head and finish it there! Voila!

Here’s a variant that I really like that uses a looped micro chenille for body instead, a fatter profile and perhaps a little more realistic profile.


Think differently – The fish eating fish fly

Another repost from the old site, has brought quite some attention over the past year. I’ve added a few new photos and text to it this time. I hope you’ll enjoy!

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One of the most interesting articles I’ve read in a long time was an article in a Swedish magazine “Allt om flugfiske” by biologist Peter Johanesson who talked about the result of a study on the phenomenon of kleptoparasites among pikes. Basically what it points to is that a larger pike would most of the times rather attack and steal the already caught prey from a smaller pike than eat the smaller pike itself!

The study itself is called “foraging among cannibals and kleptoparasites: effect on prey size on pike behavior, 1990” and it was done by P Anders Nilsson and Christer Rönnmark. You can find it if you google it, it is an extensive material but very interesting, not only for the conclusion on the kleptoparasite behaviour but also for the result on prey size and other interesting notes.

Ever since I read it I wanted to try and do a pike fly with this in mind, so last fall I sat down  did something with this in mind. A few weeks after that I got to try it and caught three pikes before the front “fish” broke a little. I’ve tied a few more and fished with this spring and even thought I can’t really with certainty say that I catch more fish on it than on any other fly I would like to say that it do catch a lot of fish and it looks like nothing else, good enough result for you to tie up a few and have in your box!

How to tie the “Fish eating fish (FEF) Pike fly”

Hook: Basically any of your favourite Pike hooks will do
Thread: 6/0 UNI
Tail: Olive Eumer Racoon zonker with a few strands of green flash
Belly: yellow big fly fibers
Back: dark green angel hair
Head: same as back + a bunch of hair from racoon zonker
“The prey”: White mirror image fibers colored dark on its back
Eyes: Yellow crystal eyez 10 mm

Step 1
Tie in a long dark olive racoon zonker strip at the hook bend and then at 2-3 more places along the hook, depending how long hook you are using.

Step 2
Tie in 3-4 strands of green flash over the zonker strip, and fold the front part back of the flash over the zonker aswell, so that you’ll have 7-8 strands of flash back over the zonker.

Step 3
Tie in a bunch of yellow “Big fly fibers” on the underside of the hook, leaving them slightly shorter than the length of the zonker.
Step 4
Cut of a good bunch of hair from the zonker strip and tie this in on top and on the sides of the hook just in front of the yellow belly fibers. This will add a little more volume and structure to the head.
Step 5
Tie in a small bunch of white mirror image with a couple of figure eight wraps just between the hook eye and the tail.
NOTE:What I’ve learned after shooting this photos is that if I add one single strand of silver flash here in the middle of the prey so to speak it will regain its shape when wet much better. Otherwise chances are that the prey will just lay slick along side of the main fly so to speak. But since I am a lazy bastard I didn’t feel like taking new photos 🙂
Step 6
Divide the mirror image into three part tying down the rear and front evenly spaced from the original tie in, like the photo shown
Step 7
Tie a loop with double knots of tying thread at each side of the bunch evenly spaced from the middle of the hook shank. Add super glue to the knots to secure them
Step 8
Try and flatten the side of the prey that are gonna have tail side and add a layer of Bug Bond or a fast drying flexable varnish like Dave’s Flexament to it.
Step 9
Cut the tail to shape.
At the other side simply cut off the mirror image close to where you knotted it down with the tying thread.
Step 11
Add dark colours with a marker pen to the “top” half, and a couple of eyes to the head side. Now all of a sudden it really looks like a small fish!
Step 12
Tie in a good bunch of dark green angel hair over the hook eye. Don’t bother cutting off the waste that is over the “prey” it will serve as a good underbody for the head.
Step 13
Cut off a good bunch of hair from the zonker strip and add over the angel hair.
Step 14
Finally add a new small bunch of yellow big fly fibers to the underside, and finish the fly off here with a few whip finishes.
Step 15
When I do head like this, with Bug Bond that I do these days, I like to start with just folding the material back and adding just a small amount of resin/glue to the front portion to get the right shape to the head.
Then I can add progressively more and add eyes so that I end up with something like this:

My favorite dry fly

Okay, I gladly admit that I am something of a dry fly purist. I know a lof of you just shake your head at this but we all have different way of the /:Fly:/, some people see the challenge in catching many and big fish regardless of what method they need to use while others see the challenge in catching in what ever might be their preferred style; check nymphing, streamer, dry flies, upstream, downstream, single fly, tripple flies etc.

For me it has always been dry flies. Sure I will fish a heavy nymph from time to time, and there are always one or two fish caught on streamer  but my main fishing is done with dry fly, it’s something about the way you see the strike, the anticipation and the adrenaline.

Glad we got that out in the air!

Okay, so let’s move on to the topic of this post; my favorite dry fly!

We all have one don’t we? The one we always fall back on, that fits our waters perfectly, that we can use for all kinds of hatches or just as an attractor fly to get grumpy fish to rise even when it’s no fish rising. The first fly I ever caught a fish on was a Royal Wulf, my biggest trout I caught on a parachute adams, my biggest grayling on a Streaking caddis and my biggest char on a wooly bugger (!). But as much as I like these flies (I don’t really like the wooly bugger though) none of them are my all time favorite. If  I had to choose only one dry fly for my box it would have to be The Klinkhammer!

Its original name is “The Klinkhåmmer special” but everyone I know just says Klinkhammer. Develped by Hans van Klinken from Holland in the 80’s he had tremendous success with it in mainly Norway and Sweden for grayling.

It has spread around Europe and become many fly fishermen’s favorite over the years. Adaption in color and size mean that you can fish it for most hatches, caddis, mayfly, midge etc.

My two favorites include an olive one and a dark rust brown one. You can add tails, ribbing, another wing or any other adjustments that you want to fit your needs. The main thing about it is the way the whole hook section is submerged under the surface, creating a perfect emerger look to the fish.

As easy as it is to tie I thought I’d put up a little Step by step for you!

Material listing:

Hook: 12-18 emerger hook like Partride 15BNX
Abdomen: Dubbing of choise
Wing: White polyyarn or TMC aero wing
Head: Tying thread
Hackel: Grizzly or brown