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bonefishdick

Fine Tuning Flies

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I am curious how many people will trim their flies as they use them, I will normally not do that but at times I find that sometimes there are two situations when I feel it is required. The first situation is one when I can use two flies that I tied they same day ( I normally tie sets of 6 each to get them uniform in size ).  One fly will fish fine and very seldom if ever foul and will just eventually get worn out and eventually replaced. The next fly from the same batch for what ever reason seems like it fouls and needs to get a trim job until it doesn't foul any more. That situation always makes me wonder why that happens.

The other situation primarily deals with Clousers, I sometimes feel that on many situations I get hits and don't hook up. I will from time to time at that point trim the fly to make it a bit shorter. It does seem to work on many occasions. I don't always think the short hits have to necessarily do with the size of the fish but more to do with how aggressive the fish are. In most cases it is not an issue but sometimes one has to adapt the fly to the situation.

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I tie some patterns intentionally long so I can adjust them on the water. This usually only happens when fishing for albies and bonito but on rare occasion I try it for other species.

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Despite typing for over 30 years I find new patterns are nearly always overdressed so I often trim them down on the water. The whole less is more normally applies - less wind/water resistance, less materials to soak up water, sinks faster, better translucence, less flash etc.

 

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Some patterns, peanuts especially, I'll tie a long and a short version. Other times I'll vary the actual tail material but keep the size. I tie a lot of Smartt's glass minnows and the standard tail is superhair and I tie a lot of those, but I'll tie some also with craft fur which I feel dead drifts better and even with a small flat wing. So size stays the same but the action is slightly different. I can't swear there is a difference in result, but sometimes just switching between these does the trick. I guess we all have our personal approaches...

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I don't trim flies that I've tied with tapered material.   Probably due to traumatic experiences trimming deer hair.  If I'm tying peanut bunker, I tie them 2-4 inches.  Silversides/Bay anchovies, 1 1/2 to 4 inches.  I'll tie 3 or 4 of each size for my box.  The only thing I'll  have trimmed are the legs on my pan fish poppers.  Like most people I had the tendency to tie the legs on them too long,  After spending a trip or two watching sunfish drag off my poppers by the leg, I just tie them in shorter now.

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11 hours ago, bonefishdick said:

I am curious how many people will trim their flies as they use them, I will normally not do that

I'm just about always willing to do it. More so FW than SW though, and it's most often dries. I might cut alot of hackle off a Catskill-style dry to make a spinner, or square off the bottom to varying degrees.

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I use natural materials for making most flies. Since natural materials don't take too well to trimming, I tie them in a variety of lengths and more importantly in a variety of thicknesses (depths). I also tie them very sparse so they have more action and resemble baitfish rather than shaving brushes. I've been tying flies and studying fly tying for about 65 years, so I've pretty much seen it all. 

Since big fish eat little fish for the most part, you could get along very well using variations of flat wings or deceivers for just about all of your flies and be in the ballgame just about all the time.

Often times I see pictures of flies that anglers have tied and am rather puzzled. I know that if I positioned the materials on the hook the way they are in the pictures, the fly would either ride on its side or upside down (especially prevalent in weighted/clouser type flies). So evidently they know something that I do not or maybe not. Clousers are especially prone to this behavior. So if the materials are buoyant I tie most or all the materials on the side of the hook point. But YMMV. Good fishing and have fun.

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Snookster, i agree about Clousers and how they ride, I often find that if you don't use the right size eyes for the types and amounts of materials used, the fly just will not ride in the water column properly. A good indicator is if the majority of the fish are not hooked in the upper lip or roof of the mouth you have to wonder how the fly is performing.

Edited by bonefishdick

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