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Flashy trashy

Posted by Sandy 
Flashy trashy
September 28, 2018 12:09PM
About 3 or 4 years ago I got to float the Missouri in Montana on the 4th of July, with Dan Guard and Chuck Tuschmidt, both longtime Montana fishing guides who'd only recently announced retirement. Maybe it was 7 or 8 years ago. I'm getting old. It was a fun day. There must have been 1000 boats on the river. Could have been 50 trailers at Mountain Palace were we took out.

But everybody else fished the strong side of the river. At every bend the current gets strong and deep on one side and shallow and slow on the other. Almost everybody fishes the strong side of the river. But on the Mo shallow still means 18" inches deep. And slow means there is still some current. On the busiest day of the year we spent the entire day fishing virgin water, that nobody else had frothed all day long. We caught a lot of fish too. I was supposed to row the whole day, and kinda-sorta be the free guide. This was their retirement day and they were supposed to do the fishing. But we ended up trading the oars evenly. We all did well. I remember a few times--on the weak side of the river--we put the boat sideways to what current there was and all three of us cast downstream with dry flies all at once. Dan had a term for fishing that way but I can't remember what it was.

Dan had a small caddis-like dry fly with extra extra extra sparkly Flashabou and Crystal Flash wings. He swore on a stack of bibles the same fly without the flashy wing didn't work as well. He made a believer out of me. Ever since. In fact I still have one of his flies. In a drawer somewhere. And therefore the flashy wing isn't an irrelevant detail. A sparkly flashy dry fly wing is a big deal I think.

So that fly above has Microfibettes tails. The body is a single mallard flank feather (dyed Lemon Wooduck color) lashed onto a horizontal needle (wax the needle first). I lash the mallard flank on the stiff part of the needle, close to the vise, and gradually work back to the tail end of the fly, at the flexy end of the needle.

Then--after starting the duck flank body feather, add the tails. Doing the tails second allows making the tail fibers just the right length. Or at least not too long.

Put a small amount of water based fabric cement (Aleene's Flexible Stretchable is the best for fly tying) on the duck flank. Wind back to the butt of the tail to shape the abdomen and to lash down the tail fibers. Whip finish. Cut the thread. Wipe off any excess glue that might have squeezed out during the abdomen wrapping.

Restart some thread at the wing area up front. Then use Senyo Laser Dub pulled up on both sides of the body to make the wing. Add a few strands of Flashabou to the wing. I try to put the Flashabou at the front edge of the wing but it seldom ends up that way. It doesn't seem to matter. A little flash in the wing is a good thing. I firmly believe that.

Add two parachute wraps at the base of the wing. You can call the body blank done and slide it off the needle now. Lash it to a hook and add hackle as a last step, somehow, someway.

Or you can add a horizontal leg-like hackle tuft now (what I call a Right Hackle), while the body blank is still on the needle. Ah. I use a #13 ultra thin beading needle, from the bead section of a sewing store.

To add hackle now prepare a tuft of Snow Shoe Rabbit or simple Carpet Scrap Fibers or Zelon. Leave the thread hanging from the front of the thorax area. Hold the hackle clump underneath the thorax with one hand while using your other two hands to swing the thread back to almost mid-abdomen. Go over top of the abdomen, down on the other side and then swing the thread forward and down, back to the front of the thorax, so the hackle clump is LOOSELY pinned under the thorax. Whip finish at the front of the abdomen.

Slide it off the needle. Now fiddle with the hackle fibers until they are positioned and distributed as you like it. The use a toothpick to poke some more fabric cement onto the bottom of the thorax, wiggling and rolling the toothpick as you go, so the glue saturates the center of the hackle and wets all the way through to the bottom of the fly body.

Put it aside. Make a few more. 15 minutes later you can tie with it. This modular fly body is durable. It's held together with a fiberglass-laminate-like matrix of thread, fly tying fibers and water based fabric cement. It will stay together and the mostly synthetic materials list dries off quickly after catching a fish.
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