Dave Micus, Plum Island Sound

January 19th, 2004

Eight Salt Water Fly Tying Tips
By Dave Micus

    1. If your fly tying lamp is the type with a flexible arm, buy a piece of foam pipe insulation from the hardware store. Cut it to fit over the arm and use it to hold flies while epoxy or head cement dries, or just to get them out of the way.

    2. Buy buck tail pieces instead of entire buck tails, particularly in colors that you don't use in bulk. The hair on buck tail pieces tends to be the longer hairs, and they are only one third the price of a full buck tail. Each buck tail piece will provide enough material to tie plenty of flies.

    3. Use a pin vice for a bodkin. Tighten a larger sewing needle in the pin vice, which can be easily changed if it breaks. You can also use the drill bits that come with the pin vice to drill holes in bottle corks when making poppers.

    4. Always coat prismatic eyes on flies with clear nail polish. This will not only make them more durable but will enhance the prismatic properties.

    5. Use Wiss Quick-Clip Speed Cutter sewing scissors for tying. Wiss scissors are extremely sharp, have replaceable blades, and can be purchased for about $6.00 at a fabric store.

    6. Buy a pair of cuticle scissors from the drug store and use them for cutting coarser materials, like tinsel and wire. This keeps your good scissors sharp for trimming hackle and other fine work.

    7. Purchase rotary hackle pliers. Rotary hackle pliers make winding hackle much easier as they give you more control of the feather as you wind it on.

    8. Purchase the Norlander Automatic Bobbin. This bobbin has a spring/clutch mechanism that automatically retracts the thread, so you're never manually rewinding excess thread while trying to hold materials in place. Once you use one, you'll never go back to traditional bobbins. ~ Dave

    About Dave:

    Dave Micus lives in Ipswich, Massachusetts. He is an avid striped bass fly fisherman, writer and instructor. He writes a fly fishing column for the Port City Planet newspaper of Newburyport, MA (home of Plum Island and Joppa Flats) and teaches a fly fishing course at Boston University.

Previous Dave Micus Columns

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