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If I had to describe myself as a fly tyer it would sound something like this: A stubborn slow tyer hell bent on perfection with a slight hint of O.C.D. who avoids straight shanked hooks whenever possible. It’s the truth and as a result it has prevented me from tying and fishing patterns that I should. With that said I’m not the type to give up, it is the struggle that makes you better at whatever you do. Being a stubborn S.O.B. I of course decided to use the Mustad 37160 to tie my Copper John’s. This presents a bit more difficulty because the drastic curve of the shank tends to mess with the lay of the wire as you wrap the body of the fly (remember “stubborn”). As a relatively new tyer I find inspiration and advice from Switter’sB and KBarton, both of whom present loads of excellent information for anyone willing to read and practice. Specifically, Barton put an inescapable truth in my head. Once you notice a mistake you must fix it then and there, it won’t be able to be corrected after the fact, period. It seems simple but it’s hard to admit it to yourself and at times, harder to put into practice.

I suck at biot tails and here Barton’s mantra holds true, get it right on the tie in or suffer later. Out of two dozen Copper John’s I think I managed four tails I would be proud to show off, something to keep working on. Forcing myself to bust these flies out has improved my tying skills. I know I’m better at forming a uniform thread base to seat my wire wraps. Learning to control your thread and use it to your advantage is important, being able to make it lay flat or tighten up at will can make all the difference. Also I utilized valuable information from Switter’s regarding the peacock herl and its application. I happen to have large full peacock quills and am fortunate enough to be able to choose my herl from the stem. Learn your materials well enough to tie your flies in a consistent uniform manner. Here with the herl I tied it in and checked to make sure that it wouldn’t break once bent to a right angle and secondly to ensure that it was tied in [singlepic id=1058 w=320 h=240 float=right]the proper direction to maximize the visible herl. Switter’s posted detailing another site outlining the herl application here. I check the herl before applying any zap-a-gap to the thread base, once you apply zap-a-gap there is no going back so make sure you have it tied in properly and that it won’t break once bent, this will help you avoid tossing a few minutes of careful work.

I’m fairly pleased with the end result and by the second dozen I was picking up a bit of speed without sacrificing quality. I love this stuff, even when I struggle with it.

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  1. Thanks JP, you know I’m working hard. You bet I’ll have a few flies for you take north when you head down this way. Just let me know.

    Thanks Mark, I am constantly trying to improve. I’ll get there someday, hopefully before my eyesight goes.

    Tim, honestly I tried the thread bump on the first bunch but quit and now after knowing I can get the tails on the shank properly I bet if I had the thread bump the splays would be more pronounced. I’ll keep working on it. Thanks for your thoughts and advice.

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