Student Worksheets – The Lychford File Making a Fishing Fly - Tying the Silk The first stage in learning to tie your fly is to practice attaching the silk to the hook shank, running the silk up and down and finishing off with a with finish knot. 1. Choose a large hook or one which you have made. 2. Hold it firmly by the hooked end in your left hand. 3. Trap one end of your silk with the left hand holding the hook. 4. Place the silk over the shank at the eye end with your right hand. 5. With the right hand, wind the silk back towards the left hand, trapping the loose end of the silk held in your left hand. 6. After two or three turns, pause to trim off the waste silk. 7. Resume winding the silk down to the bend with even turns. Worksheet 18 8. Run the silk back up to the eye and tie the whip finish by forming a loop of silk. 9. Place two fingers of your right hand in the loop and roll the loop back over the eye, trapping the loose thread as you roll. 10. Repeat this step three or four times. 11. Now pull the loose end of the thread until tight and trim off the waste silk. Winding a Hackle - Hackles are used to simulate the wings of an insect. The hackle is usually made of feathers taken from the neck of the domestic chicken, but any feather should do. Cock Hackle - The cock bird provides the stiff steely hackle fibres which support a dry fly on the surface. Note the up- turned eye on a dry fly. Hen Hackle The hen bird provides the softer hackle fibres which allow a wet fly to sink below the water surface. Note the down-turned eye on a wet fly. Attaching the Hackle 1. Before tying the hackle on to the shaft of your hook, carefully remove the soft, downy feathers at the base of the feather. 2. Trim the quill (the stalk) leaving about 0.5cm of quill. 3. Wind the silk around the hook near the eye as before. Tie the feather to the shaft of the hook with a ‘figure of eight’ wind. 4. Wind the silk towards the bend to secure the feather. 5. Taking the tip of the feather in your right hand, wind the feather back towards the bend. 6. Stop winding the feather after four or five turns. 7. Secure the feather with two or three turns of silk. Cut the remainder of the feather off. 8. Wind the silk carefully back through the hackle towards the eye, securing the hackle in position. 9. Build up the head with a couple of turns of silk and finish with a whip finish as before. Adding Eyes The addition of a pair of eyes can make your fly look more realistic. They can be painted onto the head of a fly or tied in. The eyes shown below are made from a section of chain. You can use the sort of chain that holds a plug onto the side of a bath or forms part of a key-ring. 1. Using a pair of small wire-cutters, cut away two eyes from the chain. Make sure you don’t cut between your eyes! 2. Tie on your silk near the eye of your hook as before. 3. Wind the silk around the hook near the eye a few times. Tie in the pair of eyes with a figure- of-eight binding across the chain link. 4. Check that the eyes are square to the hook and then add further turns of the silk to secure the eyes in place. 5. Finish the silk with a whip finish as before. 6. Add a drop of varnish to seal the work.