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 — M
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Red, yellow, blue and green and various shades of these colors are found in the plumage of the large parrot skins which come from tropical countries. The feathers are soft and water absorbant so make good wet fly material.

Drake mallard skins provide the fly tier with just about any type of feather required in most fly dressing. Colors range from white through the spectrum to black with some metallic shades of blue. Barring is excellent in Mallard feathers. A most useful skin to have on the fly tying bench. NOTE: When the term Mallard is used alone in a dressing recipe, it usually refers to the black and white barred side or flank feather.

Speckled side or flank feathers of the Mandarin duck, brownish in color.

Mandarin Duck:
A species of wood duck from Asia having a wonderful array of barred and speckled feathers. Nashuas from Mandarin are in heavy demand. Colors range from white to bright bronze. Similar to American Wood Duck. The speckled flank feathers are brownish. The white and black tipped side feathers are especially vivid in contrast.

Irish term for tufts of mohair on the top side of a fly body of some salmon flies.

Soft, fuzzy feathers of the Marabou Stork. Getting rare, so most Marabou used today comes from young turkey feathers. Often dyed black, red, yellow, orange, green and blue.

Marabou, Spun:
Marabou fibers laid across thread loop, then thread loop is twisted to form a hackle similar to hair hackle. Finished hackle is used to wrap and form fly bodies. Trimming usually follows. This creates a shaggy body but retains the action of Marabou.

See - Marabou.

Color - Reddish-purple.

Process of joining sections of different feathers, and/or colored feathers, by intertwining the barbules, in order to form a complete multi-colored wing section. Example: Parmachene Belle.

Cream and brown furs with shiny, transluscent guard hairs make this fur ideal for dubbing.

Master Blend:
Man-made synthetic dubbing material. Trade name.

Threads, hair, feathers, wool, fur, wire, pins, plastics, and whatever else may be found on a fly tier's bench can be found most anywhere and most anything can be utilized in the production of fishing flies. A good example is lint taken from a clothes dryer lint catched after washing and drying a floor rug. Of course, most materials come from commercial suppliers but any source should not be overlooked.

Multi Variant Hackle:
Barred from black to gray to white to shades of brown, all on the same feather.


Median Line:
Center line of a wing to represent the median line of a bait fish.

See- Weld and Marry.

Micro Web:
Commercial thin plastic material in sheets which may be cut into wing forms. Produced in mottled and veined patterns in various colors. Used mainly to reproduce Mayfly wings. Trade name.

Order Diptera, or true flies. These are the multitudes of tiny, two winged insects prominent around water. Best represented on hooks size twenty or smaller.

Fur of Mink can vary according to season and produce shades of rich brown to blue-grays. Cross breeding of mink as produced these color varieties. Ideal for dubbing especially where longer guard hairs are desireable in certain fly bodies.

Term given to the very tiny insect life such as No-See-Ums, Leaf Hoppers, Gnats and Jassids. Also refers to flies tied on very small hooks in sizes twenty and smaller.

Two colors of hackle, feathers or materials wound together are said to be mixed.

Mixed Wings:
Found usually in salmon fly patterns. Single strands of various colored feathers are "married" or "welded" together to form a multi-color strip for winging of certain salmon and trout fly patterns.

Hair of the Angora goat, very soft. Blends well in dubbing.

A very fine textured fur in browns and grays, with some to a dark gray-blue. Ideal for dubbing.

Monkey hair is of fine texture and varies from white to black with many shades of brown. Usually has dark tips on the hairs, good for streamer wings. Some Monkey hair is barred the full length of the hair.

The coarse moose mane hairs, in both black and white, provide quilling material for fly bodies. Fine also for nymph legs. Can be easily dyed to provide a wide range of colors. Moose body hair is a little stiff but any nymph tier should have a section of it as standard for making legs. Some wet salmon flies of Eastern Canada have wings of Moose body hair. Very durable material.

Any feather, usually refers to turkey or grouse feathers, having an uneven marking or dotted effect.

Multiple Wing:
Formed by using two pairs of feathers per side. Sometimes called Double Wings.

Some call him the "Water Rat", but in any case, the fine textured brown to light gray fur makes fine dubbing for fur bodies and is a must in the nymph tier's kit. Probably the most versatile fur used in fly tying as it can substitute for most any fur.

Man-made synthetic, shiny metallic like plastic. Usually comes in gold and silver and other colors such as red, blue, green, etc. Substitutes for the tinsel of old. Also produced in "tubing" or "piping" form. Salt water tarnish proof. A similar material called Lurex is also available.

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