There is little room to argue that the quill-bodied fly is perhaps the most delicate fly yet to
be conceived. It is a portrait of symmetry and order, which is the quintessential essence of
the Catskill style.
No other material so effectually replicates the delicate segmentation of the natural insect. We are
lead at once to conclude that our rich heritage, and the fly's unerring ability to attract fish, requires
our continuing use of this material.
But, boy can it be a pain in the petute!
It seems we just about get the last wrap of the quill body wound onto the fly when, "BOING!" the quill
splits, or breaks. The Peacock seemingly reaps its revenge on us each time we sit down with a quill.
There is a way however to minimize the tendency of quills to split and tear and break.
Ron Koenig recently passed on this tip which he received from Ray DuBois. Our thanks to them for
helping us all out of the abysmal depths of frustration, which this technique accomplishes.
Now, let's get the spouse occupied in the far end of the house long enough to retrieve her hair conditioner
and pour some into a jar or small bottle. You could also just ask her to give you some, but that approach
lacks a certain sense of adventure.
Prior to tying in your quill, take a small dab of the hair conditioner on your index finger and with the
assistance of your thumb apply it to a quill. Now, set the quill aside for a minute. If you treat the quill
before you begin the fly, by the time you tie on and tie in the tail, and wing, the quill will be ready to go.
It is not a good idea to try to prepare too many quills ahead; this technique works better if they are
treated immediately prior to use.
Now, trim your quill as per your usual routine and tie it in. Wrap it forward and tie it off. Rotate your vise,
or check the far side with a mirror.
Wonder of wonders! There are no splits! The Quill is in one piece! Eureka and Holy cow it works!
Now, go tie some quill bodies.
If you have any tips or techniques, send them along, most of this
material has been stolen from somebody, might as well steal your ideas
too!~ George E. Emanuel
(Chat Room Host Muddler)