Ribbing Tips
By AK Best


Ribbing on any fly looks neat. Whether it's needed to help hold fragile body materials in place or just for appearance' sake, I like it. Dry flies, emeragers, nymphs, and wet flies look a lot more like the natural with some kind of ribbing. I believe ribbing adds significantly to the appearance and effectiveness of any fly as the natural insects are almost always obviously segmented in some manner. Even though the patterns books may not call for it, I add ribbing to a lot of my personal dubbed-body dry flies. The addition of the ribbing helps to preserve the dubbed-body silhouette and increases the life of the fly. You can use just about anything you want for ribbing on any fly. The only requirement is that the material function in the manner you want, or in the manner required by the pattern recipe you're using.

Monocord, single-strand floss, button thread, carpet thread, V-Rib (colored with a Pantone marker), Swanundaze, Larva lace, oval and flat metallic tinsel, and nearly any kind of copper, brass, or silver wire are all common ribbing materials. There are dozens of others as well - use your imagination.

One hint about colors of threads for ribbing: always be aware that lighter colors such as cream and yellow tend to turn nearly invisible when dressed with floatant or when wet in the water. You'd be well advised to reverse body colors on these flies so that the body is light and the ribbing dark. The ultimate ribbed-body effect is achieved with the use of natural or dyed goose or turkey biots and stripped and dyed hackle quills. ~ AK

Credits: From Production Fly Tying Second Edition, by A.K. Best, Published by Pruett Publishing Company.


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If you have any questions, tips, or techniques; send them to publisher@flyanglersonline.com

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