Top 5 overlooked fly tying materials
Here is my top 5 list of the fly tying materials that you probably already have but fail to fully utilize for tying sea trout flies. To deserve a place on this list it needs to be a material that has been on the market for a long time but hasn't made it to each and everyone’s fly box like other materials have done. With no further ado, here is the list.
No matter what time of the year you are fishing sea trout it is possible to catch them when adding foam to your fly. Foam is one of these materials that has a great impact on your fly. If you add foam to a fly it is all of a sudden called foam shrimp of foam ant. In wintertime finding the perfectly balanced buoyancy in a fly that is just suspending in the water column is worth so much to me. When I make one that has just the right amount of foam I am so careful with it. Something I like to have plenty of in my box is the float aid worm. When the foam is attached like this on a very light hook like Partridge popper #8 it will float even with a small piece of foam. You can then just cut it down with your leader clipper to the size that makes it suspending at the right depth. Foam skaters are also great to use on the coast and it is a great visual experience when the sea trout hit a fly on the surface. Foam is widely used for fly tying. You probably have it at home but how many times have you used for sea trout flies?
4. Gold dubbing
I have seen some fly tiers search store after store to find the perfect copper color for their Gammarus fly. But what if I told you that the dubbing you already have at home works just as good? Copper is no magic color, but it is very popular for sea trout patterns. I gave it a good thought as to what color is the least used, but that I think is very good. The answer is gold! Try a Gammarus in gold or why not a baitfish with some strands of gold flash dubbing! One of the most classic colors for spin fishing lures is the combination of gold and orange. Fly fisherman haven't picked up on this as much. How many sea trout patterns do you know that are made with gold dubbing?
3. Dumbbell eyes
My favorite fly for sea trout is a jiggyfly. This jigging motion can be accomplished in many ways. Probably the easiest ways to do so is to add dumbbell eyes. Even though it is so easy to do it I rarely see sea trout flies with dumb bell eyes. The exception is the clouser minnow, which is probably one of the most versatile patterns ever made. Why not develop more flies using the same material? The reason why these eyes are on this list of mine is because of experiences I have had with guests I am going to be guiding who are asking me what flies they should tie. I mention several patterns and many of those patterns are ones with dumbbell eyes. When they come to me they have tied great patterns, but have skipped the ones that have dumbbells. The main reason, I think, is that it is difficult to know what dumbbells to use. They come in different materials such as aluminum and tungsten. They come in different colors and shapes. But what makes it them most confusing is the size measurement they are classified on. The label on one can say Medium and the one next to it that looks the same says 3 mm. I have probably over 20 different kinds of dumbbells, but the one I use the most is the I-ballz 4 mm version from Fly Dressing. It has the perfect weight and size for a large sea trout fly.
2. Flat eyes
As UV curing adhesive has become a more popular option to replace epoxy glue, flat eyes are something more people should use. What are more common are epoxy eyes. This means that there is a cover of epoxy over the eye making it much thicker. What you are supposed to do with epoxy eyes is either use a gel-based superglue to fix it to the fly’s material. This works perfectly for dubbing heads or deer hair heads for example. What you also can do with epoxy eyes is to attach the eyes near the hook-eye and fill the gap between the eyes with epoxy. Epoxy is a very strong glue so this holds together very well. I see many do this with UV curing adhesive nowadays too. It is less toxic and easier to apply and work with. But using it to fill a gap between eyes is a mistake.
UV curing adhesive is popular to call UV glue, but it isn't actually a glue. You will quickly learn this when the eyes fall off when you start fishing them. UV curing adhesive is simply a liquid material that hardens when exposed to ultraviolet light/sunlight. It has no glue effect. This means that for adding eyes to your fly you need to bead it inside the UV curing adhesive. With normal epoxy exes, this makes a very bulky head. Therefore it is much better to use flat eyes that add less volume to the head and are also less expensive. Since there are so few people using these eyes, the range that is available in the stores is limited. I want to change that. I have asked Fly Dressing and they have now extended their range of colors and sizes of flat eyes. I'm stoked to tie with their new nice colors and sizes to fit streamer and sea trout patterns.
Number one most overlooked material can be no other than the pizza material. To make a pizza, take all your leftovers together to make something delicious. One’s trash can be another's gold! It was an eye-opener for me when Tuomas Rytkönen took a good look in my trash bin after a fly tying event. What he did was to put a hook in his vise and grab a big clump of material from my trash bin and make a fly out of it. I was shocked! What he found was some stumps of bucktail, a little bit of dubbing in mixed colors here and there, pieces of marabou, flash and 4 cm long hair chenille together with much more. He made a tail of bucktail leftovers, mixed everything else he could find in the trash bin except the long hair chenille. Dubbed it all on the hook to a thick body before wrapping the chenille. This is a proper way to implement the trend of zero waste cooking to your fly tying. He made what is called a pizza fly and caught one of the most beautiful sea trout caught on Gotland this winter on it. After seeing this picture above and knowing the story behind it, take a good look at all the trash you produce in your life. Maybe you can do something creative with it. Tuomas sure changed my way of looking at fly tying and I now try to do zero waste fly tying. I happen to know Tuomas still has the rest of the leftover mix from my trash bin in a zip bag somewhere at his fly tying boxes.
So that's my list. What is in your opinion the most overlooked fly tying materials? Let me know in a comment if you want more "Top 5's"
Edit: Samuel Blyth