Modern and “cool” salmon flies – part 2.
The last part of this article series will talk about the use of synthetic materials for body hackle and front hackle; I have tested some products which I very much like and use in some of my flies. In the first part of the article I wrote about synthetic wing materials, the flies you see in the pictures in this article are in fact fully synthetic salmon flies with wings tied from the materials I described last time, and with body and front hackle tied from the materials I will present here. I very much like to tie tube flies in this way; flies tied without any natural materials get a very exciting colour glow, one which can never be recreated with wings made from hair or hen/cock hackle.
Fully synthetic salmon flies ready for action.
No ”Christmas trees”.
If you tie a salmon fly using a hair wing and natural hackle, and then mix a lot of flash material in the wing, the fly becomes more like what is named “Christmas trees”, this name sometimes has a negative connotation. Fully synthetic salmon flies has, as mentioned before, a very different colour glow if tied with the materials recommended here, the flies sparkle in a different way – I think it is very exciting to have a few of these in the fly box.
Choice of materials and colours.
It is always exciting to look for the right colour combinations among the synthetic material ranges, they are all different, which is an advantage for us fly tiers. When I plan a pattern to be tied fully synthetically I look for colours and materials ensuring that there are no colour deviations in relation to body hackle, wing and front hackle – this results in the best “shine” of the fly. And if I feel that the fly is beautiful, is the river often in agreement with me and gives me a salmon on my dream fly every now and then.
I like to tie some of my flies using a synthetic body hackle, this helps in achieving a great shine “inside” the fly. Try to tie a flood tube fly for fishing a coloured river, tie in a body hackle using Angel Hair, Tri Global or Polar Chenille, and you will see what I mean. If you also tie the front hackle using a synthetic material you will end up with a fly that looks different from most other flies.
Most fly tiers today know this material well, the Angel Hair range contains some really good-looking colours, often with flash fibres in other colours mixed in. This material is mostly used as a supplement with a normal hair wing, but some salmon fishers have discovered that it is also a very good dubbing material. This material is made up of very fine and thin fibres, thus the name “Angel Hair”. This is why it is so well suited to both body and front hackle too. You need a rotating dubbing twister in order to create hackle from this material. Make a dubbing loop, cut off a piece of Angel Hair, place this in the loop and spin the twister – this ensures that the fibres are spread out and a hackle is created. Use a needle to pull out the fibres that are stuck to the tying thread so that they all spread evenly, then use a pair of scissors to cut it into a body hackle shape before winding it around the fly body.
Body hackle made from Angel Hair.
Body hackle made from Angel Hair.
This material is not new on the market either, but just as with Angel Hair it is mostly used as a wing supplement and a dubbing material. Wing ‘n Flash is also a soft material with thin fibres, and the reason as to why I like this material so much is the range of colours available. This is the material offering the “clean”, classical colours needed for original patterns. Here you have black, red, copper, green, etc, without any flash fibres in differing colours mixed in, some patterns are best in the “clean” colours. This is why I like this material both for body and front hackle for salmon flies. When creating a hackle using Wing ‘n Flash, just follow the instructions for Angel Hair.
This material is spun with long synthetic fibres made from chenille, i.e. you just attach this to the body and tie in without much preparation. There is a good distance between the fibres on the main thread so that the hackle is more sparse than with Angel Hair, this means that you can create a very nice body hackle with Polar Chenille, you can also cut it into a tapered shape, and in the same process the fibres will be shorter if that is what you want. This material is not as suitable for front hackle, as the main thread is a bit too thick, which means that you may get into problems with using cone heads etc. However, it is not a problem to create a thin ring around the front hackle so that the fly shines a bit extra! Have a look at the bonus track of the “Fishing Summer on the River Gaula” DVD, where Håkan Norling uses this material in the tail of the tube fly as well.
Body hackle made from Polar Chenille.
Tri Global Hackle.
This is also a pre-spun flash material used for body hackle in salmon flies, or for fish imitations for sea trout fishing. The fibres are somewhat stiffer, but has stronger colour strength compared to the Polar Chenille. Tri Global comes in two lengths, and it is the large size that is best suited for salmon flies. The range of colours is as exciting as a fishing trip, just pick and choose from exciting colours for your favourite fly. Tri Global is not suitable for front hackle; it is too stiff, short and thick.
Body hackle made from Tri Global Hackle.
The best synthetic materials for front hackle are Angel Hair and Wing ‘n Flash, as they are softer than the others, and it is easier and much better looking when creating this using a rotating dubbing twister. When creating a front hackle from Angel Hair or Wing ‘n Flash you do the same as you would when creating a body hackle, but it can be advantageous to gather the bunch of fibres more tightly, which would make the length of the piece you tie in to long, which again makes it more difficult to finish with a nice head. The secret here is to use longer fibres and a thinner bunch – the hackle will then be much easer to work with, and much better looking.
This is how you tie in a front hackle made from Angel Hair.
Look at the ”shine” at the front of the fly.
Look at the ”shine” at the front of a fully synthetic Yellow White Wing.
Fully synthetic Black Green Highlander.
Fully synthetic Granbokohrva.
Fully synthetic Red Butt.
Fully synthetic Blålystube.
Fully synthetic Nighkiller Purple with a front hackle made from a combination of Wing ’n Flash and Angel Hair.
You can read more about these materials in the new fly tying catalogue from Guideline.