charlie's flybox

Winged Wet Fly


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Charlie Craven and Charlie's FlyBox, Inc.
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step: 1
Pattern Description
Over the past few years I have had several people call of email me asking for a tutorial on tying a classic winged wet fly. While these flies once seemed to have fallen out of vogue, the have been enjoying a resurgence in recent times. I by no means consider mysself an expert at these old style flies, but I must admit they are beautiful to look at and great fun to tie. The pattern that I will present here is really just a generic wet fly, and the parts can be substituted and changed at your whim. If you are the type who likes to follow directions, there are several great books and websites with more historical data on tying these patterns, if you ask your best friend, Google.
Materials Needed:

Hook: TMC 760 #6-14>>>>> Thread: Lagartun 74 Denier>>>>> Tag: 16/18 Gold Mylar Tinsel>>>>> Tail: Hackle Fibers, I used brown spade hackle here>>>>> Rib: 16/18 Gold Mylar Tinsel>>>>> Body: Golden Brown UNI-Floss>>>>> Hackle: Furnace Hen Cape>>>>>>> Wing: Natural Gray Mallard Wing Quills
step: 2
Start the thread about two eye lengths back from the eye. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 3
Tie in a piece of small mylar tinsel on the underside of the shank. This tinsel is most commonly available with one side being gold colored and the other side silver. We will want to make a gold tag here, so tie the tinsel in with the SILVER side facing out from the hook, or in this case, down. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 4
Pull down on the tinsel under the shank as you wrap the thread smoothly back over it to the bend. You want the tinsel to run along the bottom of the shank. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 5
Wrap back over the tinsel to the last straight portion of the shank. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 6
Lift the tinsel up and begin wrapping it back down the bend, being careful to fold it at the tie down point so the gold side is showing. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 7
Wrap the tinsel about a half dozen turns back to the point on the barb. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 8
Now bring the tnsel forward again making a second layer of tinsel over the first. Tie the tinsel off on the bottom of the shank right where it started. Clip the excess. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 9
Preen a spade hackle feather so the fibers stand out from the stem. I used a low grade rooster feather here, but you could also use hen, partridge or even wood duck fibers depending on the look you are after. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 10
Peel off about eight or ten hackle fibers and measure them against the shank so they match the length. Tie the tail clump in just barely in front of the tinsel tag with a couple firm wraps of thread. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 11
Wrap the thread smoothly forward over the butt ends of the tail fibers to the starting point. If the fibers expend past the starting point, trim the excess flush. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 12
Tie in another piece of mylar tinsel on the bottom of the shank, again with the silver side facing down. Tie this piece in right at the starting point about two eye lengths back from the eye. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 13
Wrap the thread smoothly back over the tinsel to the bend of the hook/base of the tail. Be sure to keep the thread flattened and smooth as you wrap because any lumps or bumps int he underbody will show glaringly through the floss overbody to come. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 14
Cut an eight inch length of floss from the spool. We are going to split this strand of floss in half for this fly, a size 12, but if you are doing a smaller fly you may want to split it into thirds or even fourths. Grab the middle of the floss strand in your fingertips of each hand and twist the ends in opposite directions to separate the strands. You will see the twist come out of the floss as you unwind it. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 15
I place the tips of my scissors in between the strands of floss to hold them apart, but any smooth round tool will work fine. I like something with a bit of diameter rather than something thin like a dubbing needle because it keeps the floss from twisting back on itself. You want to be sure you are splitting the floss strand from the middle out. Draw the scissors up slowly and hold onto the other strand of floss to separate thetwo pieces. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 16
You should now have two smooth strands of floss. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 17
Cut the end of one strand of floss square and tie it in on top of the shank at the starting point with four tight turns of thread. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 18
Fold the floss over the top of the shank and down on the far side. Stroke the floss fibers downward with your fingertips to remove any slack in the strands. Pull straight down ont he floss with the other hand as you so this. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 19
Wrap a smooth layer of floss back to the bend. If the floss tries to spread out too much you can twist the other end up a bit to re-gather the strands as you go. Once at the bend, return the floss to the front forming a second layer over the first. If you are really picky you can tie the fly with a lighter colored thread so the floss doesn't darken as much when wet. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 20
Wrap the floss back to the starting point, but before tying it off, unwind two of the turns of thread you used to tie it down. This will eliminate a couple extra wraps of thread here at the front of the fly where we are trying to reduce any bulk. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 21
Use a smooth metal or glass rod (I am using a smoothly machined bodkin handle here) to burnish the floss body. Stroke the tool firmly across the floss to smooth it out a bit. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 22
Spiral wrap the tinsel forward over the floss, forming five equally spaced ribs. The third rib SHOULD be right in the center of the body because, apparently, these old school fish are THAT picky. Tie the tinsel off ont he bottom of the shank and clip the excess. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 23
Prepare a hen neck feather by stroking the fibers out from the center stem. Measure the fibers to assure they reach from the front of the floss body to the point on the barb. I tie these feathers in by their tip, so I also strip the excess fibers from the base of the feather to leave a clean exposed stem. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 24
Tie the tip of the feather in just in front of the body with several tight turns of thread. I want the outside of the feather to be facing up. Clip the excess tip as close as you can get. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 25
Lift up the base of the feather above the hook and fold the hackle fibers back toward the bend of the hook. We want these fibers to lie back and sweep toward the hook point. Be sure to get a nice,clean fold without skewing the fibers. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 26
Make a turn with the feather at the immediate front edge of the body, sweeping the fibers back with your fingers as you wrap. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 27
Make no more than two more turns of hackle, one directly in front of the other, and ending with exposed bare stem just behind the hook eye. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 28
Tie the feather off with a couple tight turns of thread and clip the excess. Pinch the hackle fibers back along the body of the fly to crease them a bit so they lie back nicely. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 29
Use a pair of tweezers to pluck a slot from the top of the hackle collar. We need this slot to make room for the wing so it does not have to be very wide. A narrow slot is all it takes. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 30
Note that this slot is only on the top of the shank and leaves fibers radiating from the rest of the collar circumference. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 31
Clip two slips from a matched pair of mallard wing quills. You can set the wings with the concave sides facing each other or facing apart, as well as the option of with the tips up or down. In this case I will mount these wings withtheir curves apart and the tips ofthe feathers up. Totally your call. Match the slips up so they are the same width (about 2/3 of a hook gap) and the tips are even in length. You may need to manually manipulate the fibers in t each slip to match their curvatures. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 32
Push the matched set of wings onto the hook from the front, with them slightly overlapping down onto the shank. Do not try to set them directly on top of the shank. Push the tips back so they are even with the outside of the hook bend. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 33
Transfer the wings to your material handand pinch both the wings and the hook shank tightly in your fingertips right behind the hook eye. Spin your bobbin a bit to cord your thread now. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 34
While pinching the wings and hook shank with your material hand, bring the thread up firmly on the near side of the hook. You can let thsi thread wrap sneak back inside your fingertips, but I have left it exposedhere so you can see it. Try not to disturb the shape of the wing as you do this. This wrap is not tight yet, just coming from the bottom of the hook and up along the near side of the near wing. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 35
Bring the thread down on the far side of the wing, but don't pull down. You want this thread wrap to be taut to the wing butts but not tightened yet. We need to crush the bases of the wings down on top of the hook so the wing fibers stay in a nice neat stack. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 36
Pinch the bases of the wings tightly, and close your fingers over the thread wraps as you draw the thread straight up to tighten the wraps. You should be able to feel the wing butts in your fingertips and adjust your hold to keep them straight on the hook as the wrap tightens. It takes some practice, so don't get all worked up if it doesn't go smoothly the first time. Visualize the thread crushing the fibers down on top of each other like a stack of playing cards. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 37
Before letting go of the wings, make a few more very tight wraps of thread around the wing butts to anchor them in place. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 38
Clip the butt ends of the wings as closely as you can. Build a few turns of thread over the butts, working from the hook eye back to cover them. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 39
Whip finish and clip the thread. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 40
Add several coats of head cement, or one thick coat of the goopy stuff like black Gloss Coat. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 41
Finished fly, side view. She ain't perfect,but I like her... charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 42
Front view. Note the wings are centered on the shank. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 43
Top view. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox