I spent time this weekend practising my techniques for tying matching wings… Whenever I see a perfectly symmetrical, well proportioned pair of wings on a fly, I understand the effort put into mastering the tying method used to deliver such a result.
Matching slips must be cut from opposite halves of a symmetrical feather, then they must be perfectly aligned above the hook and bound in such a way that they flare symmetrically, or kiss together above the shank of the hook. It is tricky to achieve and, as I have discovered, even more of a challenge when downsizing to small flies.
For matching wings, I find it best to use a pinched loop pulled straight down over the carefully placed pair of wings… Tighten the wrap firmly whilst maintaining the position of the wings – avoid being timid as tightening too slowly often results in the wing fibres being pulled out of alignment.
For upwinged style flies, tie in the matching wings facing forward over the eye of the hook then fold them back and wrap them with a couple of neat, evenly tensioned figure of eight loops… Practice makes perfect!
Different materials can be used for tails, depending on the occasion. In this instance, I am grateful to Mitchi for discarding two elegantly proportioned whiskers! We make a great team – she loves eating part of the proceeds every time I bring a trout home from the lake.
I look forward to many hours of practise to improve my winged techniques – hopefully in time for next year’s mayflies at the start of summer.
Thanks for reading, see you again soon!