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Latest Ducktail

Posted by Sandy 
Latest Ducktail
December 29, 2014 05:04PM
So. This is the latest version of the Ducktail Mayfly concept, which involves a new twist on the way the duck flank feather is handled, so it forms a bit of a head/thorax lump up front. The main advantages here are A) easier yet B) no need or impulse to add thorax dubbing C) makes the wing slant backwards slightly rather than straight up, which is (usually) more realistic.

Also added a few bits of clear Crystal Flash to the Zelon which forms the under-thorax-hackle-legs. That doesn't show up well in this photo for some reason. But I do like the extra twinkle. This is a remarkable easy way to make a durable, long floating dry fly in small sizes. When I try to do something similar with wound rooster hackles it takes twice as long and I almost always end up grinding my teeth. Ducktails, on the other hand, always seem to fall off the vise (vice) like peas from a pod. In short order too.

Trim a duck flank feather so the fuzzy marabou is pulled off the stem. But leave most of the stem in place for now.
Lash a duck flank feather to a short shank hook so the tips form a tight clump facing rear, off the bend of the hook. Wind up to the eye. Pull back on the duck flank stem, around a needle. Wind 3 or 4 wraps behind the needle to form a head. Pull out the needle. Pull up on the duck flank stem. Wrap four times horizontally at the base of the upright wing with one hand while pulling up on the stem with the other.

Poke the blade of an exacto knife into the feather fibers, next to the stem, near the shank, and pull up on the blade to cut the remaining duck flank fibers away from the stem. Do it again on the other side of the stem. Pull up hard on the stem and press the blade onto the base of the stem to cut it away. Trim the remaining fibers to wing shape.

Use two figure 8 wraps from the eye back to the base of the tail and up to the eye again to loosely baste some hackle fuzz below the thorax. Whip finish at the eye. Pinch the legs until they splay out nicely. Put a drop of glue on the underside of the thorax to fix the legs. Trim the legs.

Next experiment is to use duck flank fibers for the legs, instead of Zelon or rabbit's foot (from between the toes). Duck flank has a million years of water shedding evolution behind it. I should have thought of that one sooner.
High floating. Dries off quickly. Durable. Quick to make. Cheap materials. Catches fish. This has to be the 6th season on this fly--coming in Spring, when the BWOs start again. For me it's no longer speculation. This is a good fly.
Re: Latest Ducktail
December 30, 2014 02:25PM
...a split wing demo tied with a few strands of Crystal Flash for extra twinkle. Midge Flash is finer grained and probably better for this dressing. I'll get some later today. #20 DaiRiki 125, light gray Veevus thread, mallard flank, light gray Zelon, tan-gold Crystal Flash (which would be better as Midge Flash)

Re: Latest Ducktail
December 31, 2014 01:52PM
Interesting and innovative, as always. Thanks for the ideas.

Have you ever considered incorporating soft hackles into your dry flies (as "legs,") for the added motion)?
Re: Latest Ducktail
January 05, 2015 03:02PM
Yes good point. Don't have a photo at my finger tips. But the Ducktail above makes a good emerger. Shorten the wing and baste on some soft fuzzy stuff underneath and/or a few strands of Midge Flash. I've made a few as soft hackle wet flies too. Make the abdomen/wing as per usual. Now wind one turn of hen hackle or.......for small ones....one turn of House Sparrow--which are an invasive species and NOT protected by the Federal Migratory Bird Act. They're replacing our native Mountain Bluebirds. So there are a side benefits to pellet gun and fly tying.
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