Lesson 1 - Cheap Atlantics
Matching Feathers For Full Featherwings
Assorted matched feathers for full featherwing flies
1. Select the wing and start to figure what length and shape
it should be. I like to tie them on temporarily to get a visual
Note: When you use most Salmon hooks with black finishes,
you might consider using some protection so the vise jaws don't
scratch or deform the finish. While most finishes are pretty durable
on the Salmon hooks, I just prefer not to chance something happening
to mar the finish of a hook on a presentation fly. And, I would NEVER
chuck up a Ron Reinhold hook without protecting it well!
I have found that hard compressed paper like cereal boxes or manila folders
works best to protect the hook finishes. DO NOT use coated glossy paper
because it can stick to the hook and sometimes you can ruin the finish
trying to remove the paper. So, you want to have bare uncoated
paper/cardboard touching the hooks. And, be careful that you don't tighten
the vise jaws too tight because they can cut through the paper. Just tighten
the jaws to the point that the hook does not slip and, no more.
Consider the hook protection as a bit of insurance, you need it but hope
never to have to use it!
I have found that hard compressed paper like cereal boxes or manila folders works best to protect the hook finishes. DO NOT use coated glossy paper because it can stick to the hook and sometimes you can ruin the finish trying to remove the paper. So, you want to have bare uncoated paper/cardboard touching the hooks. And, be careful that you don't tighten the vise jaws too tight because they can cut through the paper. Just tighten the jaws to the point that the hook does not slip and, no more.
Consider the hook protection as a bit of insurance, you need it but hope never to have to use it!
2. Strip or cut away the excess feather to the desired wing shape and size. You will notice the small area at the very front of the wing below the shaft where I made a trimming mistake. Yes, I make mistakes all the time! I am confident that I will be able to cover the area easily with other parts later so I will go with this wing. We want the bottom edge of the wing to rest directly over the top of and lightly touching the hook shank, trim the bottom edge to conform to the contour of the hook.
Figure A, Feather modification for wing.
Figure B, Feather modification for wing.
Figure C, Feather modification for wing.
Figure D, Feather modification for wing.
Feather showing the area of the feather shaft to be removed for a full featherwing. I do not know of any books that cover this method for removing the bulk of the feather shaft. I will try to explain how I do this.
Figure E, Feather modification for wing.
3. Select the tail and topping now. I temporarily tie the tail and wing on to hold them in their positions in the finished fly. Try to select the tail and topping from the same GP head so the color and curves will be the same or similar. It will not look all that great when one has a nice graceful curve and rich color and the other is straight and pale in color.
4. Attach the tinsel and ribs for the tag as shown.
5. Apply the floss and ribs to the tag.
6. Prepare and tie in the tail. It helps to have the wing in place to determine the length of the tail. This fly wants the tail, tip of the wing and the topping to meet at the same location as on the classics. (If you missed this in previous lessons, see Stripwing, Step 3).
Figure F, Ostrich Herl and Hook.
8. Secure the end of the Ostrich with two flat turns of thread and cut the waste ends of the preceding materials flush with the butt. Flatten any bumps that might occur with smooth faced pliers. Attach the ribs at about 1:00 and 5:00. Advance the thread binding the waste ends of the ribs along the back side of the hook with close flat thread turns to the end of the body section.
9. Apply the floss body of the section.
10. Apply the ribs and tie down with a few flat turns of thread. Select and prepare the body veiling. Use smooth face pliers to flatten the area of the feather shaft to be tied onto the hook.
11. Attach the body veil as shown. There are many other types of body veils and, we will cover them in other patterns.
12. Apply a body joint the same way as the butt. Fold the hackle as shown in the illustration below.
13. Attach the ribs and the hackle (by it's tip so it will follow the bottom rib) and, advance the thread in flat close turns to a spot well behind the eye as shown. Flatten any lumps.
14. Apply the floss as shown and smooth with burnisher.
15. Wrap the lower rib in even turns and tie off with two or three turns of thread, wrap the hackle directly behind the rib and take two turns at the head, remove one or two turns of thread and take two or three turns over hackle, wrap the top rib through the hackle, crossing at the sides and being careful not to trap any barbs, unwind one or two turns of thread and secure the second rib with two tight turns and one tight half hitch. The reason for the half hitch is that the clockwise wraps of the thread actually want to unwind the rib! Fold and tie in a dyed green Guinea feather by it's tip and take two turns, pull down throat style and bind with thread wraps, cut waste. Flatten the area with smooth faced pliers to give the wing a flat bed to sit on. Cut or pluck the hackle barbs from the top of the hook.
16. Tie in the wing as shown. Do not crowd the eye; it is better to end away from the eye a bit rather than on top of it. When tying the wing in, use maximum pressure, several overlapping turns to lock it in and, a half hitch if you want. Since I use UNI-Thread 8/0 most of the time, the bulk created by a couple extra turns here and there don't create problems. Also the UNI-Thread is quite strong which helps secure materials very well. Do not cut the waste of the wing or any of the following parts of the fly. These are the last thing we do because, each provides a mounting platform for the next material.
17. A potential cheek.
18. Another potential cheek.
19. Attaching the Guinea sides. You will find it helpful to flatten the feather shaft of the sides for easier tie in. Also, if the unneeded barbs are trimmed with scissors rather than stripping, they will be easier to secure.
20. Attaching the cheeks. Same as the sides for tying in.
21. Preparing the topping by flattening the shaft with smooth face pliers and crimping the base as shown.
22. Topping as seen from the top.
23. Trim the barbs at the base as shown. This will help secure the topping better than a stripped feather.
24. Topping tied in.
25. Horns tied in with two separated turns of thread. This keeps them from moving. Now we can trim the waste of the wings, etc.. Don't try to cut all of them at once or you will certainly move them. It is best to cut them once at a time. Try to cut them as short as possible so the head will be small and compact. You can use very sharp, fine tip scissors, a sharp razor blade or, as I do, some toe nail clippers that cut flush. These are the ones that are shaped somewhat like wire cutters and, they can be found in most cosmetic departments or drug stores. You may find it helpful to hold the wing assembly with your left hand while you trim the waste. Just don't be in a big hurry or cut into the thread wraps that are holding it all together.
26. The finished fly. I use black fingernail polish for the heads on my display flies. I usually put one or two thin coats that are followed by one to three coats of clear nail polish. This will usually fill the uneven areas and give the head a deep shiny finish.
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