Saturday, January 22, 2011

Lime Trude Step By Step Fly Tying Tutorial

Lime Trude

The lime trude is a classic attractor pattern that doesn't really imitate and particular stage or insect, but rather just looking like something that fish can't help but to sample.  It incorporates peacock herl, a proven fish catching material, a bright 'hot spot', and a highly visible wing.  It's an excellent choice for pocket water fishing and wild trout.  It's also a pattern that is fairly beginner friendly, allowing for some imperfections in proportion and alignment.  Dry flies tend to be among the trickier flies to proportion exactly right, and even this one won't allow for serious errors, but the fly doesn't use any especially difficult techniques such as upright divided wings or parachute hackle.

Hook: Standard Dry Fly hook, TMC 100 in size 12 shown
Thread: Any lightweight thread.  Benecchi 12/0 in black shown
Tail: Golden Pheasant Tippet
Body: Peacock Herl with a band of green uni-stretch
Wing: Calf Body Hair
Hackle: Brown, standard sizing

Put the hook in the vise and start the thread about 1/3 of the shank back from the eye.  You can place the hook pretty deep in the vise with this pattern, so don't worry about getting it way out there at the tip of the jaws.  You can see in this shot that I have it down in the hook pocket of my Regal.  I like to start the thread at a significan transition point of the fly.  In this case, the point where I started the thread marks the point where I want my body to end, where I want to tie in the wing, and where I want to start wrapping my hackle.  A pretty major transition point of the pattern.

Choose a golden pheasant tippet feather.  Since you're only using a few individual fibers at a time, it's not important to choose a top quality feather.  If you have any with chunks missing, shafts bent, or otherwise slightly mangled, now's a good time to get them out and use them.  Just find a spot on them where the individual fibers are more or less unharmed.

Peel off 5-10 fibers from the feather, making sure to keep them all pinched together so that the black bands stay aligned, and tie them in as a tail, making the tail about as long as the hook shank, or slightly shorter.  Wrap your thread up to bind the fibers to the hook shank, then trim them, at an angle, just behind your transition point and tie down the butts.

Tie in a single long (6-8") peacock herl at the base of the tail.  When I'm tying in herl, or any other feather for that matter, I like to strip the fibers from a small area of the feather where I plan to tie it in.  This reduces bulk at the tie in point, and makes for a stronger tie-in, and by extension, a more durable fly.

Mentally divide the body area of the shank (the part covered by thread) into thirds.  The front and rear thirds will be peacock herl and the middle will be your lime band.  Wrap your herl up to the 1/3 point, them make an additional wrap or two.  When you add the lime band, this will give you a little 'wiggle room' when you wrap the uni-stretch.  After you finish wrapping, tie down the herl, then tie it down to the 2/3 point of the body, as shown.

Tie in your green uni-stretch at the 2/3 point, then tie it back to the 1/3 point, as shown.  Then clip the tag end.

Using tight, overlapping wraps, cover the middle third of the body with lime uni-stretch.  Tie it off at the same point where you tied it in, then trim it.

Continue wrapping the herl, making sure to cover the tie in point of the uni-stretch as well as the tag ends.  Wind it up to your transition point (where you started the thread, 1/3 back from the eye).  Tie off the herl and trim.

Trim off a small bunch of calf body hair to use as a wing.  Pull out the smaller under fibers (calf doesn't really have fuzzy under fur), stack it, and tie it in like a caddis wing.  I like to take one wrap around just the hair, then use my second wrap to bind it to the hook.  If it is lying too flat against the body, take another wrap around just the hair, at the base of the wing to lift it up.

The traditional recipe calls of calf tail here.  While you can certainly use it, I generally prefer the body hair because it is straighter, and stacks easier.  It also allows you to use more hair, to make a denser, more visible wing, and is highly visible, even in low light conditions.  The downside of calf body hair is that it is more of a pain to work with, as it is much shorter, and I've often lost it in the bottom of my hair stacker, only to have it dump out in a useless pile.  It takes some getting used to, and it is kind of a pain to work with, but for me, the increased visibility and better stacking properties are work the extra fuss at the vise.

Trim the butt ends of the calf hair off just behind the eye, at an angle to avoid any abrupt step-down effect.  Build a tapered, smooth thread body as a platform for you hackle.

Tie in a single brown saddle hackle, sized appropriately for your hook at the base of the wing, wrap forward in close turns, taking care not to trap the hackle fibers under the stem, then tie off and trim, leaving a little room (about the length of the eye) for a nice small head.  Whip finish and trim the thread and you're done!

Fishing the fly: Fish the lime trude just like you would any other typical dry fly: upstream and drift.  This is an attractor, not meant to imitate any insect, so it's a good choice when there's no obvious hatch for the fish to key on.  I suppose it could function as a darker colored mayfly dun (in small sizes a BWO, in larger sizes, maybe an iso) or a caddis emerger.  It's also a good fly to use on very shady streams, slightly stained water, or in choppier riffles and pocket water, where it's colorful iridescent body and bright white wing make it highly visible to both fish and angler.  When I see this fly, I immediately imagine a small high-gradient stream full of hungry brookies, lined with big hemlocks that keep the stream cool and dark even at noon on a sunny day in July.

As you can see, like i said at the beginning, this pattern uses fairly straightforward technique to create a nice, all purpose dry fly.  No tricky wings to divide, no winding hackle at odd angles or around a wing, and no fussy body materials.  For an extra touch of durability, you could even coat the thread base of the body and hackle with a very light coating of head cement or CA glue, then wrap the herl, uni-stretch, and hackle on top of it.  I generally avoid glues unless absolutely necessary, though, seeing a torn and tattered fly as a sign of good fishing, rather than poor tying.  As long as it doesn't unravel without help from fish teeth, it's done its job.

Thanks, and I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!  If you have any suggestions for future tutorials, feel free to voice them in the comments!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Work in Progress

Over the past few nights, I've been experimenting with a klinkhamer variant to imitate a caddis emerger.  So far, this is what I've got.  Feel free to tell me what you think of it, or what I might add, remove, or change to make it better:


Hook: Partridge 15BNX, size 18
Thread: Sheer 14/0, gold
Body: Spirit River Spun Yarn
Wing: Elk
Hackle: Med-dark ginger

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Meet Taka!

I decided to start off the new year with a post to introduce you all to my chocolate lab, Taka.  He's about a year and a half old and still very much a puppy at heart (though at about 90 lbs, he's not a puppy in body!).  These are also the first pictures to come from my newest piece of photography kit, the AF-S VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED lens from Nikon.  It's a telephoto zoom that will hopefully allow me to get some nice shots of birds and other creatures once the forests thaw this spring.  Until then, Taka here doesn't mind being a model.

As always, clicking on any pic will take you to a larger version, and EXIF data is readily available to anyone interested.  Just ask in the comments. 

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