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Admittedly, most of the following terms and descriptions are related to the Atlantic Salmon flies but, there are some that also apply to more mundane patterns as well.

Hook Landmarks

    a. Bend: The rear of the hook which is the transition from the shank to the point. The various bend shapes have long standing names that describe them.

    b. Point: The very point of the hook which like the bend, have a variety of styles and names.

    c. Barb point: . . .Well, the tip of the barb.

    a.Shank: The area of the hook between the eye and the bend.

    b.Eye: The front of the hook that can be of a variety of configurations. Most Salmon hooks tend to be up looped eye. Most are also tapered wire to make a smooth transition along the shank. Early Salmon hooks were called blind eye. That is, they have no eye at all. The shank is usually tapered in that area and either a leader is snelled to the hook or, a silk gut loop eye is attached.

Fly Terms

    1. Tag: The rearmost part on the fly and, the first to be tied in. Tags usually consist of tinsel and floss on Atlantic Salmon flies. Other materials might be yarn, dubbing or, left off entirely.

    2.  Tail: The next element to be tied in on the Atlantics or, the first on other patterns. Tails can be just about any material either feathers or fur. On the Atlantics, the predominant tail is a crest feather (topping) of the Golden Pheasant. There are often veilings associated with tails.

    3. Butt: This element is usually of Ostrich herl on the Atlantics but, can also be Peacock herl in some patterns.

    4. Body: Here, only the available materials limit those used. Typically, on the Atlantics, bodies consist of floss, tinsel, fur. The body can also be broken up into segments and divided by body joints usually of Ostrich or herl. Bodies on other types of flies are equally diverse and, may be of differing sections which may or may not be divided by body joints.

    5. Ribbing: Tinsel is the most common material used for ribs but, a contrasting color of thread or floss may also be used.

    6. Veilings: These are usually feathers but, any material can be employed. They are set above, below or, along side another element such as the tail or a body segment.

    7. Hackle: When talking about Salmon flies, hackle refers to a feather that is palmered over all or a portion of a fly's body. Hackles are generally used in conjunction with oval or round tinsel behind which it follows to protect the hackle.

    8. Throat: A throat or, beard are usually at the front of the fly, under the shank. I sometimes use the terms interchangeably but, in fact, there is a slight difference at least to me. A throat has barbs of the feather along the side of the hook shank that are pulled down and, also some below the shank. A beard is generally only on the bottom. A small distinction really. There are also different methods employed to make these elements.

    9. Wing: Boy, do we ever have options on this term! Some flies have wings of hair while others are of feathers. If that weren't enough, we now have synthetics to use. The classic fully dressed flies used whole feathers, married wings of strips of different feathers, at times, hair or, combinations of these materials. Wings can be a single element or, made up literally of dozens of elements depending on the patterns. Modern fishing flies will typically be simpler affairs but, the classic full dressed flies are generally very complex and mix many dissimilar feathers or, other materials. Wings may have more than one structural component as well. These are called underwings which are used to support the main wing, outer wings which are on the outside of the main wing and/or upper wings or roofs which sit on top of the main wing.

    10. Side: These are elements that are on the front sides of the main wings which in the Atlantics can be of the black barred Woodduck and strips of Teal. They can also be the familiar Jungle Cock feathers which are referred to as JC in the recipes.

    11. Cheek: These are usually on the classics as well and, are typically smallish feathers that were traditionally Indian Crow or Chatterer which are prohibitively expensive for all but the display flies. Fortunately there are substitutes.

    12. Topping: This refers to the crest feathers of the Golden Pheasant (GP) which are tied in to conform to and, frame the wing upper surface. Ideally, most patterns look best when the tail, the wing and, the topping meet at the same spot. Sometimes this just isn't possible so, don't sweat it. The term topping can also be used for the tail if a GP crest feather is used. It will of course, be describing a wholly different part of the fly. Tyers generally just call the GP crests, toppings. The term is described by it's place in the pattern's recipe.

    13. Horns: Except for the head, the horns are the last element to be attached to the fly. Horns were traditionally of Macaw tail feather barbs. The Blue and Gold Macaw (blue and yellow barbs), Scarlet Macaw (red barbs) and, Green Wing Macaw (Blue and red barbs) are a few of the more common of the Macaws that are used. I have even dyed the Blue and Gold Macaw tail feathers yellow which yields a wonderful green and yellow feather that you will see later in the series. I tried other colors with less desirable results and, since Macaw feathers are fairly scarce and, expensive, we don't want to waste too many to experiments that don't turn out well. You will like the yellow dyed Blue and Gold feathers.

    14. Head: Of course, the front end of any fly and, the last element to be executed. Generally it is just made of thread and cement but, some Atlantics also use a bit of herl or dubbing right before the thread is tied off.

    15. Collar: Typically a soft hackle tied at the front of a fly without being pulled down like a beard or throat.

    16. Beard: A hackle usually tied on the bottom of the fly only although, some Tyers use the terms, beard and throat interchangeably.

    ~ Ronn Lucas, Sr.

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