by Fly Fisherman

Be sure always that your thread is waxed. The exact point on the shank of the hook where the thread is started varies somewhat with the type of fly to be tied. This factor is not as important as many other operations providing your “jam” of thread does not turn on the hook. This is important! The jam is formed by making two or three turns of thread around the hook away from you or clockwise, then crossing over the turns with one more turn then hitching the thread. (See Fig below)


The “Hitch” is formed by holding the thread taut with your right hand (providing you’re right-handed) then placing tips of your left index and second fingers, palm down on the thread. (See Fig. E.) With the right hand carry thread over hook and down to meet the loop formed and place the single thread between the tips of the two left fingers at the base of the loop. Then with the index finger of right hand press lightly at the junction of the thread on the hook and hold. The two fingers of the left hand closes on the single thread strand and pulls it toward you through the loop and continues pulling until loop is closed at hook. Performing this operation a few times will make it almost automatic. Hitch each operation in turn as you build your fly. This eliminates the necessity of hanging a weight on the waxed tying thread and it makes your fly secure at every point hitched. It adds not one whit more of thread but instead of just loose thread binding down the material it is actually tied down.

In tying dry flies, particularly, no matter how fine the thread, eliminate every possible excess wind. Be sure the material is secure but from that point on every turn of thread adds a tiny bit of weight. Extra turns, within reason, on wet flies do not impair the structure and the little additional weight is desirable. In finishing off “Heads” of flies the modern fly tier does not build up lumps of thread supposed to simulate a head then crowd the eye of the hook, making the fastening to the leader more difficult than not. When the last operation on your fly is complete and secure, QUIT except for hitching or whipping and this requires only a few turns for insurance. There is but one point to watch—that is where the up eye or down eye of your hook is formed. Where the metal end of the wire meets the shank there is usually a barely perceptible sharp edge or semi-sharp point or the junction of the two is not exactly complete, leaving an opening wide enough to allow fine nylon or gut leader to work into it. This gap or sharp point should be lightly covered with your tying thread to prevent cutting the leader.



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