By Don Fine
The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on us all, but despite these hardships our Beginner’s Fly Tying continues to be a success, with more than 20 of our club members participating each month in the remote fly tying. As such, we plan to continue with the same format for the coming months, until the time when we can gather again safely to learn more about the art of tying artificial flies.
I have chosen two new (relatively simple) fly patterns for the month of December, both of which introduce more new tying techniques, while at the same time providing fly patterns worthy of fishing in the coming winter months and going into the spring stockings of new fish. The two patterns are the ‘glo bug’ which represents fish eggs (commonly referred to as salmon eggs) and the ‘squirmy worm’ which represents aquatic worms, which commonly inhabit fresh water habitats.
Step-by-Step Instructions for Tying a Salmon Egg (Glo Bug)
- Size 12-14 scud/pupae hook
- 6/0 or 140 denier thread to match egg yarn
- Egg yarn (colors range from cheese, orange, yellow, pink)
- Embryo spot (angora yarn or equivalent)
- Optional – brass bead
- Mash down hook barb and insert in vise.
- Start wrapping thread ~1/8 behind hook eye and wrap approximately ¼” toward the hook bend, then wrap thread back toward the hook eye, stopping half-way back over the base thread layer.
- Cut a piece of egg yarn ~1 ¼” long, and a corresponding length of the embryo spot yarn. Stack these lengthwise.
- Fold the yarn bundle around the thread, then while holding the yarn bundle with the left hand, wrap the thread once around the hook shank, at the center of the thread base.
- While holding the yarn bundle above the hook, draw it down to the top of the hook by pulling the thread bobbin below the hook. Tug gently on the thread bobbin to tighten the wraps.
- Continue making thread wraps around the base of yarn bundle (above the hook shank).
- Continue to hold the yarn bundle up and make several thread wraps toward the eye, half-hitch and cut thread.
- Pull up on the yarn bundle and clip with sharp scissors straight across ~1/4” above the hook shank.
- Cement the thread wraps underneath the hook shank, and then work the yarn into a full ball around the hook shank.
*There are numerous ways to do a simple egg pattern. I found this to be one of the simplest. Consider tying eggs in a variety of colors ranging from yellow, shrimp, pink, cheese, with or without a bead head on the hook.
Step-by-Step Instructions for Tying a Squirmy Worm
- Size 12-14 scud/pupae hook
- Squirmy worm (aka squiggly worm) – color optional (blood red or hot pink preferred)
- Antron dubbing (slightly darker than the squirmy worm material)
- 6/0 or 140 denier thread (pink to red)
- Pinch down hook barb and insert the hook in vise.
- Start thread wraps ~1/8” behind the hook eye. Wrap the thread to the rear laying down a thread base ~ ¼” long.
- Dub a 2”noodle on the tying thread and lightly cover the thread base with the dubbed section of the thread. (It is important not to over dub this section of the hook)
- Leave ~1” – 1 ½” of the dubbed thread hanging. Snip the length of worm material in half. (This will provide 2 pieces for tying 2 worms).
- Lay one section of worm material on the top of the hook shank with approximately ½ of the material extending at both the front and rear of the hook.
- Then wrap the dubbed thread over the worm material, representing the darker band (i.e. egg case) on the worm. (Use moderate pressure to secure the worm material to avoid cutting the worm material with the dubbed tying thread).
- Lift the worm material up at the front of the hook, whip finish the thread and cut thread.
*If you add head cement to the fly carefully avoid getting it on the rubber material. I have found some fly tying cements will dissolve the rubber material.