Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Basic Fly Tying Techniques and Tying The San Juan Worm

When you first get started fly tying, there are two techniques that are the same for just about every fly, how you start the fly, and how you finish it.  Once you know how to do those two things, techniques can be learned on a case by case basis; mostly, it's just wrapping thread around stuff.

Getting the thread started on a hook is way simpler than you could ever imagine.  There is no tying involved, just wrapping thread.  To try to explain it would make it sound way more complicated than it ever is, so I demonstrate the technique in the following video.  Excuse the shaky cam,  I literally just set my Nikon L24 on a stack of books on a T.V. tray.

Finishing up the fly is more complicated.  The handbook that came with my kit teaches a knot that just does not hold unless cemented with head cement, and a lot of videos on Youtube showed guys tying a knot with a "Whip Finishing Tool."  I didn't have this tool, so I found instructions on how to whip finish by hand, but the videos were all done so fast that I couldn't clearly see what was being done.  My whip finish kept coming undone until I finally figured out where I was going wrong.  Now I whip finish by hand, and my knot holds just fine with no cement. In my opinion, the tool seems to overly complicate things.  To try to give written instructions on how to whip finish by hand would be hard to do, and even harder to follow--I know by experience--so here is a demonstrational video.

Ok, now with just those two techniques, some scud hooks, some thread, some chenille and a lighter, you are ready to tie the San Juan Worm.  I tried to do some research to find out a little background for this simple-yet-effective fly.  I wouldn't call it a streamer, it's not a wet fly, definitely not a dry-- It's more of a nymph than anything else, but it's not even really a nymph.  This link gives some interesting background information on the San Juan Worm.  I usually tie them with a size 12 or 14 scud hook with a downturned eye.  Scud hooks have a curved shank, rather than being straight.  Below is a three minute video demonstrating how to tie the San Juan Worm.

When fishing in a stream with a San Juan Worm, I cast to the head of a pool and let it dead drift through the pool.  They work well after the rain when worms get washed into the stream, I don't use them a lot, but when I do, I catch smallmouth bass.  I've never tried fishing for trout with them, but I don't really get to go trout fishing as often as I'd like to.  If you have any questions about tying flies, leave a message, I'll try to answer what I can.

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