Favorite Flys “Fly Tying Terms”

Welcome to the Fly Tying Terms section. We hope this section enables and encourages you to become a fly tyer, or to enhance your fly tying skills.

From Perrault's Standard Dictionary of Fishing Flies
by Keith E. Perrault
Terms — B
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~ B ~
Body hair of baboons is silky and durable, varying from cream to medium brown. Ideal for streamer wings.

Hair and fur from the badger ranges from cream to pale buff. Guard hairs are quite stiff and provide a nicely barred fiber, strong and durable into the grays and gray-browns.

Badger Hackle:
Creamy white centers with black tips and edges. Any dark natural shade hackle with a whitish list.

Improper term given to feather fibers.

Tiny hook-like projections on feather fibers which lock to keep fibers together.

Barred Hackle:
Same as grizzly.

Barred Feathers:
Feathers with dark and light markings, usually small markings running horizontal to center quill. They are found in the flank or side feathers of some ducks. Example - Mallard, teal, wood duck and wideon flank.

Barred Rock Hackle:
Another name for "grizzly". Barred rock feathers are from Plymouth Rock chickens.

Barred Teal:
Side or flank feathers of the teal duck having black and white small bar markings. Teal barring usually runs at an acute angle to the mid-rib of the feather.

Barred Wood Duck:
See - Wood duck barred.

Bastard Bustard:
Term used by Francis Francis to differentiate two types or shades of Bustard feathers. May also refer to the Lesser Bustard.

British reference to silver or gold thread. That is: thread with a fine silver or gold tinsel wrapped on a thread.

Bear body hair can be found of most any shade in whites, blacks and browns. It has an oily texture and makes fine streamer wings.

Tuft of fibers of hackle or hair, downward from just back of the head of the fly. These fibers represent the legs of an insect or at times the gills of a bait fish.
    Beard hackling is accomplished by two main methods: A tuft of hackle fibers attached under the shoulder area. Hackle wound on as a collar, then fibers are all stroked downward and secured in that position with tying thread. Also called "chin" and "throat".

Lustrous browns to deep gray in the under fur makes the beaver pelt a much desired material for fly tying.

Body feather.

Any fly which can be fished either dry or wet. Example: Lutz Bi-Fly, or Renegade.

The short side of a duck or goose primary wing feather, stripped off the feather with some of the ribbing intact. Sections of this material are used on top of some streamers to simulate dorsal fins of bait fish. Often tied reversed, with the fibers facing forward to toward the eye of the hook.
    See - Chinese Biots.

Bird Skins:
A sensible way to purchase feather stocks is to obtain full bird skins. Commercial materials houses usually can provide them.

Dry fly with a face hackle of a lighter shade, (usually white), then the rest of the hackle on the fly. Purpose is to make the fly more easily visible to the fisherman in waning light.

Color - black.

Bl. or Blu:
Color - blue.

Black Hackle:
From Black Leghorn or Black Minorca chickens, and a black to shiny black in color. Any hackle dyed black.

Scottish spelling of British word "Bloa".
    See also - Bloa.

Blae Hackle:
Gray or dark gray to nearly black throughout. A Scottish term.

Mis-spelling of blae. Sometimes used to define a gray with a bluish tint, and sometimes used to describe blue.

To mix hairs, furs and wools in order to arrive at various color or shades of color effects. This process can be done by hand or by use of a dry blend mixer or an ordinary household kitchen blender.

British term referring to light to medium gray throughout.

Blue Chatterer:
Feathers from this bird were originally used in many salmon patterns, but are extremely rare. Substitute dyed blue feathers, or if available, use kingfisher.

Blue Dun Hackle:
Light gray usually, can be most any shade of gray. May have bluish tinge, which can vary from a pale blue to a dark gun-metal blue. The darker shades are referred to as "Iron blue dun."

Pale to brilliant blue feathers from this North American bird are used primarily in wet flies due to their softness. Shades of gray are also found in the feathers. Substitute guinea breast or side feathers dyed blue, or any dyed blue feathers.

A tool of fly tying which holds spools of thread, wire or floss. Also called a "bobbin holder".

A dubbing needle, stilletto or a tool by any other name composed of a sharp pointed needle set in a handle of sorts. This tool has many uses to the fly tier. Used to pick out burried hackle fibers, hairs, and furs and to apply head cement in tiny droplet form. Also comes in handy to clean out head cement from hook eyes.

Main portion of fly wrapped on or around hook shank. Materials used are fur, floss, wools, herl, quill or tinsel. May be jointed by herl warps and veiled with feathers, or have parts separated by hackle wraps.

Color - brown.

Braided Body:
Body material woven to create different colors, shades and schemes and to add strength to fly body.
    (See - Woven body).

Another term for a badger hackle or feather.
    Also Broma.

Brandy Brown:
Color - Tan, brown of a metallic sheen.
    See also - Tawny.

Brassy Dun Hackle:
Dark ginger with gray or brown streak in the center.

Bronze Furnace Hackle:
Furnace hackle dyed blue, resulting in a bronze effect.

Color - or should we say, colors. Any shade from beige to nearly black.

Brown Mallard Shoulder:
Sections of the brown speckled shoulder feathers of Mallard ducks are used as fly wing material on smaller trout flies. To use this feather on larger flies, such as lake flies and some salmon patterns, sometimes the whole feather is applied. It may also be trimmed to shape desired. Many tiers refer to the brownish nashuas of summer duck as brown mallard. A confusing situation, especially when authorities as Pryce-Tannet use this term as in his Black Spean dressing, calling for brown mallard strips set horizontally. The color picture of the fly shows that more likely brown nashua has been used. A few saddle hackles of the mallard and brown and speckled and should probably be termed brown mallard. The flank, speckled, brownish feathers, lighter at the base, may be more properly named "bronze mallard."

Bronze Mallard:
See - Brown Mallard.

Refers to bucktail.

Bucktail Fly:
Also - Bucktail streamer. A fly, usually of a streamer style, with hair wings, representing a baitfish. The wings are normally of bucktail hair, but other hairs can be used.

Built Wings:
Found in some salmon fly patterns where a base wing is surmounted with other feathers or combinations of feathers.

Bully Patterns:
Deeply fished streamer patterns popular in New Zealand. The flies represent the Cockabully, a small sculpin-like fish common to New Zealand waters. Patterns have a common design with side wings rather than top wings.
    See - Killer Style wings.

Refers to a large portion of hair or material. Also - process of gathering fibers of hackle or hair or other material together.

Bunch Wings:
Wings formed from a bunch of hackle fibers or from any feather, where the fibers are bunched together.

Color - Bluish-red.

Wing feathers of speckled bustard are rare. Used mainly in salmon fly dressing. From an African or asian bird providing brown to nearly black barred feathers used as wings, tails and legs in fly patterns. A suitable substitute is the Oak Turkey tail feather.

A buildup of one or two winds of herl, wool, chenille, or other material at the tail end of the body. Simulates an egg sac in some cases. Many salmon fly patterns call for a butt.

Another name for a palmered hackle dry fly. A fly tied in this manner with no wings - or - small ones. Example:
    See - Gray Hackle.

Procedure of tying wing feathers onto a fly body in a flat style rather than on edge. Produces thin side lines of various colors or effects, better representing the thin side lines of bait fishes. Used primarily in streamer patterns.

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