fly tying equipment Archives

Chain Pickerel Flies I Like The Most

pickerel on the flyChain pickerel are really fun to catch on the fly rod as they tend to go after pretty  much anything you toss at them.

However there are times the pickerel will go after one fly more than another so I like to have a variety of flies but my favourites are streamers and topwater flies.

The great thing about chain pickerel flies is that I don’t really tie specifically for chain pickerel. I use the same flies I’ve been tying for Atlantic salmon, for more than 30 years.

The list of flies these toothy critters will chase are endless so really it’s just a matter of choosing the flies you like tying the most and just tie a handful of each as they can tear them up pretty fast with those teeth.

When I lived in Ontario if was northern pike, here it’s chain pickerel and muskie that will pound your flies but I also enjoy using those same flies on trout, Atlantic salmon and smallmouth bass.

Early Season Pickerel And The Mickey Finn

I always carry a few Mickey Finn flies in the spring because the pickerel love chasing this fly and it’s so easy to tie them.

Plus the Mickey Finn attracts most of the other fish I go after. It so cool when you’re fishing chain pickerel and a big ole smallmouth bass smacks your bait.

When I tie Mickey Finn flies I usually tie them in a size 8 or a bit bigger.

I have never found a red or a yellow tailed deer here in New Brunswick so we have to have our whitetail deer tails dyed from brown and white to yellow and red. Every Christmas I snag a bit of tinsel off the tree for tying flies, but don’t tell Jenny.

It’s always nice to see someone tie a fly and then go out and use it to catch a chain pickerel and is exactly what Joe Cermele does in this fly tying video.

He is fishing this early spring and he is using a trailer hook. He also suggests tying in a weed guard if one is planning to use during the summer and I do most of my fishing during the summer and fall so I will definitely add weed guard. It’s a whole lot more fun to fish with the weed guard.

The Every So Humble Black or Brown Leech

woolly bugger flyAbout 30 years ago I tried black woolly bugger with a red butt. It easy to tie and only took a couple of minutes. I fish it with a leech in mind so I try to make it pulse through the water with short retrieves to bring the fly up in the water and then gently let it drop again.

It took me a few minutes to get the retrieve the way I wanted it and they started smacking it hard.

I tried to find the same fly on Youtube but couldn’t find the exact one as I was looking for a black or brown leech with a red butt. However I found lots of leeches with marabou tails. I haven’t tried fish one of those so I would just follow the plan but instead of a marabou tail I would replace it with red yarn as a butt section and not as a tail.

I may just tie a few woolly buggers with the marabou tail and see how they do for me.

Note: If you use wire to give some weight to your flies be sure to use lead free wire.

I think I might tie a few woolly buggers with red marabou feathers as a tail section and see if that’s more attracting to fish than just the red yard butt. Might take a little less action on the fly and catch more finicky fish.

Poppers Can Drive Fish Mad

I’ve never tied a popper myself but have used a few from others and I have just as much fun with a popper fly as I do with the varieties of poppers I use with my spinning gear. The key is to just be patient allowing the popper to sit until the ripples disappear before twitching or popping it again.

Tying Flies for Fly Fishing

fly fishing troutI never seem to get as much fly fishing in as I’d like these days so when I do I want flies I have confidence in and that means they are artificial flies I tie myself. 

As I sit in my home office and tie flies I have visions of using that fly to catch the biggest trout, salmon, bass or pickerel of my life. It tends to make fly tying an exciting hobby.

Don’t allow yourself to think fly tying is too difficult for you. Heck I was able to tie a simple fly in just a few minutes and soon after was catching trout with that exact fly. From there I moved on to more difficult flies, just one step at a time.

Where To Start Tying Flies

To begin with you will need a few basic fly tying tools. You can’t really tie flies without a fly tyers vice to hold the hook so you can tie the fly. Then you will need materials to use as the parts that make up the fly such as thread, a variety of feathers, hair and fur.

When I started tying flies I bought a couple of fly tying books to get me started. Then once Youtube was available to me I was able to watch videos of how others tie flies for their fishing adventures.

You can find supplies for tying in various places, maybe even locally.  I always keep my eyes on eBay to see what I can get on the cheap, not that I’m looking for cheap products, just cheaper prices.

Besides what I’ve already mention above you will want to have the following items as well:

  • Hooks of various shapes and sizes
  • Different colors and gauges of thread
  • Fur from animals such as mink or fox
  • Feathers from pheasants and peacocks
  • Craft cement

Precision is the key to accurate fly tying but not necessarily perfection, that can come later.  Start out with a picture of the fly you wish to replicate or even buy one for the 3D effect you won’t get in a picture.  You can find pictures of mayflies, caddis flies, nymphs, mosquitoes and other natural food sources in many places on the Internet.  Once you have a picture, just get materials that will mimic the look and try to duplicate it.

Start out by wrapping thread around your hook and then add fur and feathers as you go securely tying them to the hook.  As you go, you will continue to add materials until you achieve the look you are going for.  Of course, there’s a little more to it than that, but that is the general idea.

You can take classes on how to tie your own flies and you can even find instructional videos online.  When you start taking an interest in fly fishing, it’s best to stick with the pre-made flies, but as you gain more experience, you will want to start experimenting around with different lures to bring the fish to your line.

Tying your own artificial flies is a great way to get more and more into the fly fishing experience.  Of course it’s not for everyone as it can take some patience although I’m not the most patient guy but I find tying flies brings to a state of calmness I don’t get elsewhere.

100_0092So glad my friend and fishing buddy Casey has an interest in learning fly fishing. We wanted to give it a try on Friday but the wind picked up to 30 km early in the morning and we really didn’t stand a chance.

I love all kinds of fishing but The Joy of Fly Fishing has a special place in my heart. I’ve said it before but it’s a big part of why I moved to New Brunswick from Ontario.

Up until Friday night Casey only had a few flies but while we were out fishing his lovely wife was at an auction in Hillsborough where she managed to buy a few dozen Atlantic salmon and trout flies for next to nothing.

Wait until I get him to use those flies to catch more than salmon and trout. Although I do love catching salmon and trout it’s pretty exciting when you hook into a fat ole bass or big chain pickerel. It’s usually one of those days you laugh all day long and for me anyways, I usually come home with a sore throat from hollering all day.

Back when I started fly fishing I was working for Sears. I had made a couple of friends in the sound department. Sadly one friend passed away suddenly. His wife new I loved fly fishing and practically gave me all his supplies and materials for tying flies.

Below is a Youtube video showing you the fly tying gear you’ll want to have for tying flies. I don’t have much on The Joy of Fly Tying Channel but it will grow over time.

Can’t wait until we get out on a calm day to get Casey started. If his reaction to fly fishing is anything like mine he’ll be hooked just as hard as I was.

Tying Flies on the Road


Once you are hooked on tying your own flies, you want to be prepared with plenty of your own before you get to your fishing spots. Sometimes it doesn’t work out that way and you lose all your flies on the river.

It would be nice to have some fly tying materials with you. Many fly shops near great fishing spots only have part of what you’ll need: Hooks, but no feathers or it’s feathers, but no hooks. We are usually too far away to just skip in to town and pick some up or we’re in an area that has no town! We found out a long time ago, that you had better be prepared with your own supplies. But, how do you contain it all in an easily accessed way?

There are tackle boxes with multiple draws that can work out well. Choose materials you use often, and some that are specifically for the areas you want to fish, plenty of hooks in different sizes, and spools of thread in colors you most often use. You can keep your fly tying box in the car or trunk until you need it. Then you just need a surface to clamp your vise to and you are ready to go!


Kenny & I used to camp in tents, with sleeping bags on mattresses. We’d been doing this for years, and actually preferred it, until one morning when we woke up, the mattress had gone flat, and we were sleeping on the hard, cold ground, leaving us stiff and sore that day.

Kenny decided, right then and there, that we would get a camper, to help us live better outdoors. On her maiden voyage we discovered a few things:

  1. Get better latches on the cupboards to keep that liter of Jack from crashing to the floor.
  2. We needed a convenient place to keep our fly tying materials & fly tying equipment.

clip_image004A couple of drawers would be perfect! Kenny made wood boxes from matching paneling, attached some sliders, and viola! We now had a place to keep our fly tying equipment, feathers, fur & such.

A simple but strong latch system keeps them in place when we drive up bumpy dirt roads, and the drawers are easily pulled out when we need to tie. We can set the drawers on the table or bed to search for that perfect color to match the local bugs, and still keep it all contained while tying flies.

clip_image006With the camper being so compact, every bit of room is premium, so setting up a few drawers or containers, in out of the way areas, can greatly improve the stress levels of ‘cramping’ together.

As in most RV’s, our table is made of white Formica, creating the perfect background for fly tying. We attach our vises to the side with a bit of light cardboard between the clamp and table to protect it from scuffing.

Our flies stand out well against the white surface as we are tying in wings or trying to see the spacing of our palmering. Also, the white reflects light well, giving you better quality lighting. Choosing a white table in your RV can greatly enhance your fly tying experience.

It is a wonderful feeling, knowing you can make any fly you may need, no matter where you go. Also, when you find a fly that the fish are going gaga over, you can make plenty more for the next day. It is also good to have a few extra to use in trade for a new kind of fly from someone you meet on the water. A friendly gesture of gifting a few flies can grease the flow of fishing tips and techniques from a fly fisherman who is normally hesitant to share.

After a day of fishing, and a nice BBQ dinner, we usually tie a few flies. We’ll have a shot & a beer and talk about the flies that worked best, and what to create that may work better.


We get excited, because we know we’ll be ready to meet the rise of fish in the morning, fortified with our full fly boxes!

Ken & Debbie

Work From Home Ideas Moncton–Fly Tying

A Great Work at Home Idea, Fly Tying

Don Moroz has the right idea, why not make money doing what you love to do.

Don has taken one of his hobbies, fly tying and turned it into a work from home idea for making money.

Great job Don.

I am a bit of a fly fishing nut and usually tie my own flies. I have never had any desire to make my living tying flies. I much prefer to tie them and then use them myself, although they do make great gifts.

I went to the Moncton Market to see if I could find a couple of friends that usually have a booth there. My friends weren’t setup that day but I was happy to turn around a corner and see Don’s booth setup.

Don Moroz, owner of Don’s Fly Box

I talked with Don for a few minutes before being dragged off by my wife to look at some things I had absolutely no interest in but it was great talking to Don.

Next time you drop into the Moncton Market check out Don’s Fly Box booth.

Maybe you can even buy your wife a set of new earrings.

If you’re looking to maybe start tying your very own flies be sure to checkout Amazon for a few great books on Fly Tying Basics.

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hatches-magazineThe itch to get out on the water is getting stronger each passing day and I’m finding it hard to concentrate on working. I’m just sitting here in a dazzle staring out the my office window into our snow covered backyard wishing I was out fishing.

Then I started thinking about tying some flies for the up coming fishing season but instead went looking online for some fly fishing related sites and that’s when I found Hatchesmagazine.comI spent the next few hours reading articles, watched a couple of awesome videos. The first was about brown trout and mayflies, very cool. The second was about musky fishing on the fly, something I have yet to try, maybe this year.

I subscribed to HatchesMagazine’s newsletter so I can keep up with what’s new there.

I didn’t find Hatches Magazine directly. I was on a checking out flies I might like to try my hand at tying and saw their link and then followed it.

Fly Tying Related Products

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Tying Bass Poppers For Smallmouth Bass

Catching smallmouth bass on the fly rod is a blast, especially when I’m using some of my bass popper flies.

Bass popper flies are easy to fish, they’re fun and the strikes are quite often very explosive and that’s why I like using poppers.

Here is a video I found on Youtube that shows how to tie a popper.

Crease Fly Bass Popper – PA Fly Tying Lessons

Crease flies were originated by Capt Joe Blados for stripers and blues.

Scaled down, these flies are an effective alternative to loud poppers when largemouth and smallmouth are skittish but still taking surface patterns. Crease flies wiggle and swirl when stripped and this action often drives bass crazy.

Watch this video to see how to tie a very simple, effective, and durable surface pattern for smallmouth and largemouth bass fishing.

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How To Tie A Cahill Dry Fly

Learn How to Tie a Cahill Dry Fly

I love watching people tie flies, especially when they actually explain the steps.

Here is a list of what you will need to tie the Cahill.

Name: Cahill

Hook: #12 Dry Fly

Thread: Black 6/0

Tail: Furnace Hackle

Body: Blue Dun Superfine Dubbing (needs to repel water.)

Wing: Imitation Wookduck Flank

Hackle: Brown Neck Hackle

Using The Whip Finisher To Tie Off Your Fly:

Not comfortable with the whip finisher yet. It took me a long time before I stopped using my fingers to whip finish a fly. Here is a video that will show you how to use the Whip Finisher.

I looked at a few whip finisher videos on Youtube and chose the following because it has audio and is easy to see the process.

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Fly Tying Equipment: The Whip Finisher

Daddy Longlegs
Image by Yai&JR via Flickr

Ever have trouble getting the head of your fly tied just perfect? Well I have. I used my fingers as part of my fly tying equipment but eventually I started to use the whip finisher I’ve had for 20 years or more. How about you, are you still using your fingers to finish off your fly head?

For me personally it seemed to take longer to finish off the head of my fly than it took to tie the thing, so now my speed has picked up considerable and I have more time on the water than on the fly tying bench.

It took me a few tries to get the whip finisher to do what it’s meant to do but with a little practice it works fine and much faster than just using my fingers.

Here’s a short fly tying equipment, the whip finisher, video that will help you master it in a few minutes. I took extra time because all I had was a few drawings showing me how. I learn much faster by example.

I hope this helps you tie flies in record time now. Maybe you can even start making some money selling your flies on places like and or directly from your web site.

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