(extracted from the Winter 2018 issue of Flydresser)
One of the beauties of attending fly-tying shows like BFFI and fly-tying demonstrations where you can get close up to the fly-
tyer is getting to ask and hear about tips and techniques they have found to make their fly-tying lives easier, which don’t often get highlighted elsewhere. Below are some observed by Caroline Emmet at the IFTD show at Denver and Paul Little and Barry
Ord Clarke at the Partridge Dry Fly Fly-Tying Day in November.
|Remove all padding from the bottom of hair stackers to get a (noisier but) much better stack. Padding dampens the effect, although cork is not so bad.
|To avoid getting sticky fingers when waxing your tying thread, soften a small piece of wax and stick it onto the shank of your scissors, read for use whenever required.
|If you tie married wings, keep a piece of high density foam on your tying desk. Using a very fine needle, place one wing slip onto the foam and then the other on top of the first one. Once you’re happy with their positioning, keep the wings pinned together on the needle until you are ready to tie them in.
|A small clip used in surgery, variously described on the internet as an artery or venous clip, makes for very light hackle pliers, ideal for tying delicate dry flies.
|Stick a magnet to the base of your vice to keep spare hooks, razor blades etc. safely out of the way.
|A useful tip if you tie with bucktail. There is a dark mark that runs down the centre of a bucktail. Cut the bucktail down the edge of the dark mark with a sharp knife to split the tail into three. It makes it much easier to pick out the white hairs.
|When tying spun deer hair flies, after tying in and spinning a bunch of hair, use a toothbrush to brush out and free up any trapped hairs and help distribute the hair all the way around the hook shank.
|To clear deer hair away from the eye of the hook, spin the tying thread into a round shape and take one or two tight turns immediately behind the eye, in front of the thread wraps binding down the deer hair. If you are using a strong, thin thread like Dyneema, it should cut cleanly through the deer hair, leaving space for a tidy whip finish knot.
|To get a really smooth, even body, after trimming the deer hair to shape, singe it carefully with a lighter. Present the flame from above the body, lightly touching the fly and rotating it around the flame. (Do not present the flame from below or your body will go up in flames ...) Brush off the soot and repeat the process. If desired, you can then sandpaper it with super fine emery paper (P600 grade or similar).