The vast majority of soft hackle flies depicted here are tied in the sizes 14 or 16, with quite a few in size 18 if the feathers are obtainable in this size. If in doubt, go one size smaller. Many of the older experts were of the opinion that the small flies were much more effective, but also complained constantly that feathers in these sizes were often difficult or impossible to obtain.Continue reading “Soft hackle – by Mike Connor”
We have managed to collect and prepare a range of items for our fly-dressing requirements. How do we store them properly and safely?
Preserving materials is a vast subject. For our purposes, we must ensure that our collections are stored airtight and secure, preferably with chemical pest inhibitors. For this purpose “tupperware” or “rubber maid” and similar plastic containers are best.Continue reading “Preserving materials – by Mike Connor”
There are numerous ways of dyeing and staining feathers, and it is a fascinating subject in its own right. Indeed, I have spent many a pleasurable hour poring over old books, and then trying out arcane recipes, most of which actually worked! It can be quite fascinating and enjoyable trying to find out what things like “Copperas”, or “Fustic” equate to in modern terms.Continue reading “Dyeing – by Mike Connor”
So we have managed to collect vast amounts of various furs and feathers, either cheaply or for nothing, by the various means at our disposal, how do we sort it out, how do we prepare and use it?
One of the best and simplest ways of improving some furs and feathers for use in fly dressing, including the purchased ones, is simply washing them in warm soapy water, rinsing well to remove all traces of soap and then blow drying with a hair drier, without letting the material get too warm. One may also let them dry naturally, but one must be careful to get them completely dry before storage.Continue reading “Preparing Materials & blending – by Mike Connor”
Road kills are also an excellent source of cheap and very useful material, I have a very large collection of materials obtained in this way. Cost? A bit of borax and salt, and the time spent in preparing them.
If you do find birds it is often best to clip off or pluck the feathers you require and not bother trying to skin them. Birds, especially small ones, are very difficult to skin unless you have a lot of practice.Continue reading “Road kill – by Mike Connor”
I have had a lot of requests from people at my classes, and elsewhere, to explain where and how I obtained some of my seemingly vast collection of materials, so here are some of the answers.
First of all, if you wish to collect “bits and pieces” from domestic pets or similar animals, ask the owners first, and be careful how you ask! Some people are very sensitive in this respect.Continue reading “Materials collector – by Mike Connor”
I was squatting in a large bush on a small stream I fish regularly, watching a beautiful brown trout of about two pounds gracefully rising slowly and confidently to a series of olives which were hatching steadily. I had been watching the fish for about fifteen minutes, and was trying to figure out how best to get a cast at him without putting him down. The fish suddenly “stiffened” and sank slowly into the depths, and two other fish, smaller ones which I had not noticed up to that point, flashed past going downstream as if the devil was after them.Continue reading “Camouflage – by Mike Connor”
Before one is really able to conserve something, one must have at least an idea of what exactly one is trying to conserve, and how to go about it. With regard to conservation of fish in freshwater, one is obliged to engage in the study of quite a number of things, in order to be able to do this effectively. These things are covered by the term “limnology”.Continue reading “Conservation – by Mike Connor”
Thymallus thymallus, the European grayling, a fish surrounded by contradictions. Although most definitely a salmonid, as clearly demonstrated by the presence of an adipose fin, in many places classed, and indeed treated more or less as a coarse fish, due to its spawning times. Although many anglers now consider it a worthy quarry, and travel a long way for the opportunity to catch them. Unique among salmonids, grayling spawn in late spring and summer. All other salmonids are autumn and winter spawners.Continue reading “Grayling – by Mike Connor”
Thomas Young, an English Doctor and physicist, coined the term “Modulus” in the early 1800´s. The term is used as a constant in equations, as “Young’s Modulus”, to calculate specific properties of certain materials.
In simple terms, it may be seen as a mathematical description of a material’s property of resistance to bending.Continue reading “Elastic Modulus – by Mike Connor”