As I have stated in a prevous article, I have been tying flies
for less than 3 years. And there are many things I do not know.
I do not even know how many! I bet you it is more than the things
I do know - and maybe as many as the thing I think I know, but don't.
One thing I do know; Most problems involving thread, in tying flies,
are caused by our own actions.
Is this too harsh, of a statement? I think not! I will state my
You secure a hook into the vise, you wrapped the
thread onto the hook using a lock wrap. How many
wraps did you take to do this?
Every time the thread is wrapped around the hook the
thread is twisted once due to the thread rotation
around the hook.
Twisted thread is more apt to break, or cut the material
you are trying to secure.
When you are wrapping thread on a hook, you want
the thread to lay flat (except for special situations).
A thread that is flat (and not twisted), will lay
smoother on the hook, giving a more even surface
to add other materials. A thread laid flat will
not cut thru tail material or cut a wing when tied on.
A thread that is flat, is not as prone to break.
"How does one prevent this?" you may ask. It is a "Keep It Simple
Simon" solution. And here it is:
As you wrap the thread on the hook, rotate the thread bobbin in a
counter-rotation direction. If you are right-handed,
you are wrapping the thread on the hook in a clockwise
motion. So you should rotate the thread bobbin in a
counterclockwise motion to compensate for
the twisting action on the thread. (Lefties do
Another good way to eliminate the twist from the
thread is to pull some thread out of the bobbin,
and let the bobbin hang loose beneath the hook.
Any twist in the thread will be removed as the
The most crucial time for the thread to break is
in the half-hitch, or in the whip finish at the
end of the fly's construction. To eliminate any
twist, hang the bobbin and let it rotate freely
to remove any twist.
A flat thread will wrap tighter with less tension
on the thread.
When tying the half-hitch knot, shorten the thread
exposed from the bobbin.
Now earlier I said, "When you are wrapping thread
on a hook, you want the thread to lay flat (except
for special situations)." Here is one of those:
Special situations, when you need the thread twisted,
are when you need to tie-down a quill wing or caddis
style wing. Then you will want the thread
to be twisted in a counterclockwise twist.
What this will do, is when you are securing the
wing, wrapping the thread around the hook, the
thread will loop in the direction of your fingers
(away from the hooks eye), that are holding the
wing(s) in position. This helps the thread lay
down on the wing, under where your fingers are, instead
of out in front.
The action of wrapping will remove most of the twist
from the thread as you do the wraps, so you will have
a flat wrap on the wings, and it will not cut the wing.
Please check out the Fly Tying Section, on the
Bulletin Board, on FAOL too.
If you have any questions, tips, or techniques; send them along.
Someone else thought up most of this material before we did,
they just forgot to tell anyone about it. Or else we just
forgot about it, while learning something else. Let us
share with each other, all the things we know!
~ Steven H.
McGarthwaite (Chat Room AKA Parnelli)