For every rule there is an exception, and for every exception, there is reason. Rules are meant to be broken, and that is a fact of life. ~ Steven H. McGarthwaite
Thread is a mysterious and mystical material. It can be very
obedient, and other times a wildcat. There is a time to tie
the thread to its maximum tension (short of breaking point)
and a time to wrap loosely or with less tension. It all
depends on the hook being used, materials being used, and
the fly pattern being tied.
Just as there is a proper size/type of thread, for the size
of the hook or fly pattern being tied, there is also a proper
thread tension to use. You would not think of using 3/0 thread
to tie a size 24 ant. Nor would you use 8/0 thread while packing
deer hair, for a "Muddler Minnow." Neither would you crank the
thread just short of breaking strenght on a thin wire, dry fly hook.
The basic rule for thread tension is it must remain constant through
out the whole construction of the fly pattern. If the thread tension
is reduced, the thread will loosen where is shouldn't, and a critical
material can become unfastened. I emphasis "CAN!" Not that it "WILL,"
just that it "CAN."
There may come a time, when a pattern you are tying will require
high tension for a certain portion of the fly's construction.
Whether it is to secure "Squirrel Hair," or tie down some "Elk Hair"
or "Deer Hair." But the fact that portion of the flies construction
requires higher tension, does not mean the whole fly has to be tied
at that tension.
While back here in "Tying Tips," there was an article titled "Half-Hitch
Rule." If you want to change tension while tying a fly pattern,
you just have to perform a half hitch before you change tension,
and after you are done. This will isolate the higher or lower
thread tension segment on the hook. ~ Steven H. McGarthwaite
Please check out the Fly Tying Section, on the Bulletin Board, here at FAOL too.
If you have any questions, tips, or techniques; send them to