Monday, February 25, 2019

Aftershaft Feather Fly Patterns

You can always count on Doug Pullen to come up with a great theme for his fly tying presentations. Tonight Doug's theme was all about aftershaft feathers. Doug showed us three excellent flyt patterns that use aftershaft feathers. I have added some of Doug's presentation notes below. Thanks Doug for an excellent presentation.

Next week, we will be tying a variety of different Slumpbuster patterns. John Barr was the originatror of this great little streamer. You will definitely want to add some of these to your fly box!

Finally, Willy Spyksma needs help during the Sportsman Show March 8 to 10th. Give Willy a call or text to help him! (403-392-1956). You are at a booth encouraging people/ kids tie a fly and watch a slide show or two! Always a fun time. You can e-mail Willy too at:

Today’s fly tiers have many different materials to use for their fly patterns. Feathers; even though they have been used since the beginning of fly fishing, they are still very popular in contemporary fly designs.  

All birds have feathers and birds are the only animals that have feathers. Bird feathers are very complex in that each feather is made up of different parts. The center core is called the rachis. The rachis has barbs that extend from it and each barb has a shaft called a ramus. On each side of the ramus are barbules and barbicels which act in a similar way to velcro. This velcor effect allows the barbules of each barb to merry with the barbules of another barb.

This Velcro effect allows you to merry feathers together from different birds.
Birds have basically three types of feathers on their bodies.  These are the filoplume feathers which are sensory feathers, the contour feathers which form the visible body contour and plumage, and the aftershaft feathers which provide insulation to the bird.
Underneath just about every body feather, you'll find another feather, a downy, usually grayish and very soft feather. This is the aftershaft feather (hypor hachis) or insulating feather. This feather is sometimes misidentified as a "philo" or "filo" feather or plume. There is such a feather as the "filoplume," but believe me this is NOT it. True filoplumes are those hair-like (filo means hair in Greek) single-strands with a tuft (or plume) on them. Filoplumes are visible only when you've plucked the skin almost bare and are of little use to the practical flytyer.

Aftershaft feathers or naturally a gray colour but you can find aftershafts that have been dyed  other colours such as black, burgundy, purple and olive.
The drawbacks to aftershaft feathers are their length as well as being brittle and difficult to wind onto the hook like other feathers. These problems are eliminated when the aftershaft feather is put in a dubbing loop. As many of you know, I love using dubbing loops in many of the flies that I tie. Prepare the aftershaft feather by trimming the butt and plucking the tip of the feather before insertion into a dubbing loop.

When tying leech patterns you can use the same colour throughout the entire leech pattern or you can use different colour combinations to achieve a mottled look.
Most fly tyers use pheasant and partridge to obtain aftershaft feathers. On the pheasants these feathers are particularly useful because many of them are large, long and very regular. 

Patterns: Aftershaft feathers are often used for gills on nymphs either tied in flat or wound over the body, but also appears as hackles on wet flies and nymphs and in tags on some salmon flies.

The aftershaft feather when wound as a hackle can also suggest a bulky head. 

Aftershaft Balanced Leech

Hook: Mustad 32833BLN jig hook #10
Thread: 8/0 or 70 denier black
Bead: Gold 7/64 tungsten mounted on small sequene pin
Tail: Fluff from pheasant body feather
Body: Pheasant aftershaft feathers (x4)

Aftershaft Partridge and Orange Soft Hackle

Hook: Mustad 3906B #12
Thread: UTC 70 denier orange
Body: Orange floss or silk
Thorax: Aftershaft feather (x1)
Hackle: Partridge, gray (x1)

Aftershaft Hexagenia Mayfly Nymph

Hook: #6-3X long streamer hook bent at 1/3 mark
Thread: Lt Cahill 6/0
Tail: Emu fibers (x3)
Body and Thorax: Pale yellow yarn
Gills: Pheasant aftershaft feather (x1)
Back and Wingcase: Pheasant tail strip pre-treated with Fleximent
Rib: Fine gold wire
Legs: Cock pheasant body feather (x1)
Eyes: Small chain-link, black

Thursday, February 14, 2019

A Tribute to Charlie Smith, ...Designer of the Crazy Charlie Fly and Innovator in Bonefishing

Charlie Smith passed away recently. Most designs in bonefishing/permit flies come from his design of the famous Crazy Charlie fly. The following tribute will tell you a lot about this amazing man!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Tying Rabbit Strip Streamers with Rick Miyauchi

Rick Miyauchi is a superb fly tyer. He also has a reputation for loving to tie small flies. One tyer brought some magnifers just in case we were tying tiny flies. Not tonight. It was all about tying rabbit strip streamers. Rick, like several of us, is preparing for a trip to Belize. Rick was tying up some tarpon streamers for the trip, so why not teach our club how to tie a rabbit strip streamer. We were working with only one material tonight but we did have to learn how to use a dubbing loop and how to get rabbit into a dubbing loop. Sounds simple but you do have to hold your jaw just right. I am sure the 16 tyers who came out on another -25C evening got the idea. 

Below, you can find the detailed steps to constructing a rabbit strip streamer. Thanks Rick for showing us this technique that can be applied to many streamer patterns.

There is no fly tying next Monday February 18. That is Family Day!

Doug Pullen is our guest tyer on Monday February 25th. Doug asks you to bring along UTC 70 orange and black thread along with uni-8/0 thread in black and light cahill. I am sure you can bring light yellow UTC 70 instead!

Some announcements!

1. For those of you who want to get Glow Bright Floss, head to Flymart. There are 16 colours there!

2.Willy Spyksma needs help during the Sportsman Show March 8 to 10th. Give Willy a call or text to help him! (403-392-1956). You are at a booth encouraging people/ kids tie a fly and watch a slide show or two! Always a fun time. You can e-mail Willy too at:

 Steps to Tying Up a Rabbit Strip Streamer

 Step #1 

Make a loop with monofilment to help support the rabbit strip! (20 pound mono in the picture)

... or punch a hole in the rabbit strip and run the monofilment through that hole and tie onto hook shank to support the rabbit!


Make a dubbing loop!

Step #3

Use a Magic Tool Clip to capture the rabbit for the dubbing loop or use a big clip from a stationary store!

Step #4

Cut the hide from the rabbit strip and install in the dubbing loop very carefully!

(You could wrap up cross cut rabbit strips along the shank of the hook but where is the challenge in that?)

Step #5

Spin up the rabbit!

Step #6

Wrap the rabbit onto the hook shank and sweep the fibres back as you wrap!

Step #7

Add Eyes

Monday, February 4, 2019

Fly Tying on Monday February 4th is Postphoned

The extreme cold warning has caused us to reschedule tonight's fly tying session with Wayne McElderry to Monday March 18th. Stay home and tie flies tonight. Lets not take any unnecessary chances on the roads at such frigid temperatures!

Sunday, February 3, 2019

You Tube Favourites with Phil Rowley

Phil Rowley's 10th all day fly tying seminar in Red Deer was all about You Tube Favourite Flies. The seminar was close to a sell out on a cold blustery winter day. We can almost count on a snow storm when Phil pulls into town. It has been a great source of winter humour with our gang from the Central Alberta Fly Tying Club!

The weekend started off early. Phil realized that he needed to escape Sherwood Park a day early in order to avoid a nasty snowstorm.We then enjoyed some great visiting with our annual pub night! What a great turn out too!

Saturday morning we all braved the frigid temperatures and loaded up to head to our tying seminar. We owe Garnet Clews and his brother a big thanks for allowing us to use the space at their facility for the seminar. It is a perfect spot and we sure appreciate their kindness!

Phil guided us through several tremendous You Tube Fy Tying Channels. We then tied up a great cross section of flies. The all day seminar is all about learning tying techniques. Phil also introduced the gang to new materials. Synthetic quills are a great new product that is now on the market! 

I have posted all of the flies we tied at the seminar. I have also added several slides from Phil's power point presentation.

I want to thank Phil for adding us onto a very busy show season for him. We all learn a great deal from his fabulous seminars. 

Just one reminder that we do have a tying seminar on Monday February 4th. Wayne McElderry is our guest tyer, see you then. Dress warm and lets have a big turn out!