Tying the Tag
And Handling Floss

These photos are on a large hook with large thread to attempt to show the manner of tying in and assembling the tinsel and floss tag on a fly. This same method is also used on other parts of the flies sometimes with slight modification. I usually try to tie the bulk of most materials to the back side of the hook to minimize lumps and bumps. Use smooth face pliers to compress and smooth out the bumps.

    1.Attach the thread at the tag location with two flat turns of thread.

    2.Secure the tinsel to the rear side of the hook with two close turns of thread and, one back to the start and two or three more.

    3.Wrap the number of turns of tinsel and, take a turn or two to secure the end of the tinsel under the first end on the rear of the hook. Do not cut the tag ends of the tinsel at this point.

    4.Advance flat wraps of thread forward, side by side as shown, to the start of the floss while binding the tinsel to the rear of the hook.

    5.Tie in the floss on the rear of the hook, untwist the floss and wrap back in flat turns to the tinsel and back to the starting point. Tie off at the rear of the hook below the tie in area. Do not cut the waste ends yet. At this point, you can tie in the tail and/or tag veilings and the butt before cutting the waste ends of all of these components. I like the single strand UNI-Floss for most of my tying. It is strong and bright. If you choose to use a multi strand floss, just use one of the strands. If you use more than one strand, you will likely have lumpy results.

    Floss can be difficult to use for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is how it tends to flair out when it is being applied. When the floss has been tied in, flatten it by untwisting as shown and, while maintaining constant tension, stroke the floss to align all the filaments all the way to the other end (you have sanded your thumb and index fingers and washed your hands by now haven't you!). The further away from the hook while you wrap the floss, the more it will try to splay out. So, holding the floss as close as conveniently possible, take a turn or two. As soon, or if a filament goes out of place such as making a small bump or loop, again stroke the filaments to the other end. You want to keep the filaments parallel at all times. Again, do not let up the tension. If you do, the floss will become a nightmare and, unusable at worst. When you get to the butt or the area where you change directions or want to end the floss, make sure you do not build up any extra bulk with extra or unneeded turns. Do not wrap the floss too loose or, too tight. Only practice will help you learn what these parameters are. If you are tying on a in line rotary vise, get used to applying floss with the rotary function of the vise. Floss is tough to do well so, practice it and don't let yourself be frustrated. Remember what works and repeat that. Remember what doesn't work and don't repeat that. Keep focused during your tying and, you will be fine.

    Every uneven area under floss will show up like a neon light! Great care should be taken to make sure the "bed" is flat and smooth so the floss will be flat and smooth too. Experienced Tyers look at the floss and ribbing first and whether these are done with care, will influence the opinion of the overall quality of the fly. Does this mean anything or, should it be a concern of yours? Only you can determine that. Does it mean someone else's work is better than someone another's just because the floss is smooth or the ribbing is even? That's really subjective and in my mind, if the Tyer is happy with his/her work, that's all that really matters. If we are tying for fishing only, none of this would really matter at all. The fact is that we don't just tie to fish so, we tie to the standards we set for ourselves. Just tie to the best of your abilities and enjoy the process.

    Happy Trails! Ronn Lucas, Sr. ~

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