<![CDATA[WILDFound - Fly Tying]]>Mon, 11 Jan 2016 12:19:06 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[How to Cure AND Dye Your Own Deer Hide for Fly Tying]]>Thu, 07 Jan 2016 01:07:37 GMThttp://wildfound.weebly.com/fly-tying/how-to-cure-and-dye-your-own-deer-hide-for-fly-tyingThe outdoorsman in us loves to get his hands dirty, he has the know-how and knack for producing in all types of conditions. The outdoorsman in me doesn't have much money so he takes free stuff whenever he can. There is something to be said from not only making your own flies and catching fish but also from creating the materials and processing it yourself. It just makes the finished product personal, even more so than you may think.
-A quick story:

While visiting a good friend in southern Ohio, lounging on the couch and catching up on things, a glint crosses his eyes and he says "Rob, I shot a doe this morning" 

"Wow, it's only 9 and you're back in pajamas and sipping coffee already." says me. Half thinking he's joking.

He continues:
"Perfect shot right from my back porch this morning, let's check her out, she's in the garage."

Perfect this is, and as excited I was about toasting with my friend over another meat-filled freezer taken from his backyard, I was already visualizing a bass gulping a popper on a May morning. I asked to see if he had any plans for the hide, he said no, so I proceeded to notch out a belly hair patch (for spinning) and also took the tail (clouser city). If you hunt and have never connected the dots with fly fishing, READ ON, I'm going to show how to salt cure a deer pelt for your tying pleasures. 

This is so easy I can barely justify writing an article about it.

The Steps

This is actually very simple when your curing for fly tying purposes, you don't need much in terms of performance from the actual hide. So I don't go through much trouble to create a perfect hide, just one that fits the bill for tying. Basically the finished hide will be stiff and not stink. Those are really my only two requirements. Here's how to make that happen the easiest way I know.
  1. Flesh out the hide. 
    -I use a hard metal spatula in the picture series to do this, but the hard plastic dish scraper often found on kitchen sinks works great. Anything hard and flat works.
  2. Stretch the hide a bit
  3. Pour salt all over the exposed skin, make a layer of it!
  4. Then, Wait until you get the desired result
    While the hide is curing it may need it's salt replaced with new salt from time to time. I usually allow for at least 4-5 days of drying and commonly re-do the salt every 1-2 days. 
    Check out the pictures below to see how do-able this is.

Where to cut the hair patches from:

Where you actually cut the hair from depends on your tastes in tying. If you're looking for longer fibers needed for clouser style patterns then the tail can't be beat. If you want to spin your deer hair to create buggy bodies for bass poppers, muddler minnows, and divers then the belly and rump/backfur will give you what you're looking for. Once you get the feel for good spinning type hair you'll be able to run your fingers through the fur to grab the chunks you like and skip sections you don't. 

Quick Tip: One easy test for me to determine how well the hair will spin is to press my thumbnail down into a small clump of fur. This mimics what the hair will flare like under thread tension. If the hair has the springy factor I want I'll grab that fur for my collection. The belly hair flares very nicely and also due to it's white color, it takes on various dyes much easier. The whole belly white patch serves well in tying bass bugs. 

Changing Colors

I've only just began dying for fly tying but I would call my first attempts a mild success so I'll mention how to perform this as well. I bought a "carpet dye" to do the coloring with. You should be able to find this in the store near the cleaning supplies/mops/dusters/bleach etc. I like the carpet dye due to it's potency and the extra bulk it adds to the hair. 

First heat a small stainless steel pot to a boil and allow it to cool slightly to just very hot.  Next, mix in some a few tablespoons of salt into the mixture and then the dye.

Then, grab the selected white hair patch and place it hair side down into the still very hot water. In order to get a good dye you'll have to work the hair to allow the dye to saturate down to the roots. 

Allow the hair to sit in the pot for at least an hour, this is where the magic happens.

The heat not only aids in dying the patch but also causes the hair to plump up to fly shop spinning quality. I found this out completely by accident; just following the instructions for the carpet dye. 

Grab a blow dryer and comb through the hair while drying it with the blow dryer until dry (the hide will stay plump and wet for much longer, hit it with more salt if needed)
Hopefully this helps you out in your winter tying. I know this is the time of year most deer hides are being thrown out, if you don't hunt yourself nudge up to a few hunters and see if you can save a bundle on processing your own spinning deer hair patches and tails. 

Don't limit the experiment to only deer, squirrel and rabbit strips can also fill the hair drawer. I'm going to be experimenting with zonker and crosscut strips when I get a chance. If you know of a good way to get a good flexible zonker'd rabbit hide let me hear about it in the comments. I want to up my slumpbuster count the cheap way if at all possible.
<![CDATA[DIY Dubbing body spinner]]>Mon, 14 Dec 2015 19:41:09 GMThttp://wildfound.weebly.com/fly-tying/diy-dubbing-body-spinnerPicture
Adding a thick combed out dubbing body to your streamers is a must for smallmouth, predatory trout or even those big toothed critters (pike). I fish for a lot of pike when I have a chance to visit my local stream and I'm always using 4-5 inch streamer bodies. I've found a small tool very helpful in getting my patterns to pike chompable morsels and also retain some durability, it's a dubbing spinner. I had one that came with my tying kit, it just sucked to use. 

So I dug through my garage and frankensteined a suitable replacement that did the job for absolutely no cost. It's made from a sink strainer, paperclip and super glue. 

​Here's how to make your own if you have the need.

Your Favorite Snowshoes

Dubbing Spin Tool DIY from sink strainer

How to use your dubbing spinner

The tool made above is pretty simple to use and you could probably figure it out on your own... but here's how for those OCD types.
  1. With bobbin, wrap the desired loop length around your index finger.
  2. While holding loop taught with finger. Tie off in front of dubbing loop and be sure to take one or two turns behind the loop. (It should basically have one place where the top of the loop is tied in and solid)
  3. Replace your finger with the spinning tool. 
  4. Grab your dubbing/hair/whatever you want in the body and start placing it in the loop, top to bottom. I use a botkin point to separate the loop wide enough to fit the hair it. 
  5. Once the desired type and amount of material is lined in the loop go ahead and start slowly spinning the loop with the tool. Once you get a couple loops in for experimentation you'll get the hang of it.
  6. In between session of several spins you may notice some dubbing getting pinned down in the loop. Use a fine toother comb or better yet vel-cro to "comb out" the fibers, and once again repeat spinning.
  7. Start to wrap you loop forward on your streamer taking care to preen back materials toward the back of the fly. 
  8. Tie in once the front of the fly is reached and snip off the excess.
Hope this article helped you out, I'm sure there are 50 better ways to make this simple tool but the point is you don't need to pay an inflated cost for something so simple. 

That's probably why we all tie anyway right?
<![CDATA[Catching fish with poorly tied flies?]]>Tue, 12 May 2015 02:27:15 GMThttp://wildfound.weebly.com/fly-tying/catching-fish-with-poorly-tied-flies
Fishing Gear at Basspro.com
No one is “good” at tying flies there first time. I’m definitely no different. There are some hooks that have seen multiple patterns and materials laid over them just to be ripped off and started anew. Going through and spring-cleaning the materials box I came across my “graveyard”, it reminded me of the zombies and “frankensteins” I started out with. A year into casually tying 2-3 nights a week I am much better than I was but my flies wouldn’t compete with the perfections you see at fly shops or megastores; but they still catch fish. I’ve arrived at one of my first conclusions into tying: You don’t have to create patterns that catch fisherman, just flies that catch fish.

Time is short with kids and the business of family life. I love to fish. This means I have to creatively tuck away time on the water when I can. I’m that guy wading the stream and showing up to the lake generally 30 minutes before everyone else. Not because I don't like sleeping in on my weekends, it's just the only time I may get. I fish away my 4-5 hours by 10 o’clock. This means I usually game plan what flies I might use, how long I’m going to swing the pattern before switching etc… I do what I can without stiffing my family out of too much time. This weekend was beautiful, the water was clear and warm enough to wet wade, reeds swaying in the current and fish sipping film lodged bugs around me. I reached for my number one bugger store-bought and perfect to a “T”. I got nothing. 
Bass Pro Shops - Go Outdoors Event & Sale
After scrolling the box and exhausting a few of the nice patterns that looked good to me I decided to grab one of my less than perfect buggers. It was an olive color, the hackle was long and didn’t reach up very close to the eye, it had a bronze craft bead that whistled by on my back casts… a genuine purist "scoff-worthy" type of fly. 4-5 casts later I hooked up with a decent little rock bass, laughed to myself and kept flinging that olive bugger on through the next 7 rock bass. My un-proportional poor-man material fly definitely was outperforming the “perfect” fly you pay for at the store. Maybe it was the longer tail, maybe I just willed it to catch more fish. 

I hiked over to a spot I had never been to and knew not many if any at all had ever fished there. Let me put it this way; it’s a good thing I’m not allergic to poison ivy. I climb in silently and pull some line out, cast here and there probing logs and the tail of pool downstream. I notice an old oak barely hanging onto the bank and leaking it’s tangled roots down into the water, there had to be somebody home. I slowly drift my olive ugly bugger past and twitch gently to grab some attention and then I feel the take. The next 3-4 minutes were spent doing battle with possibly the largest smallmouth I had ever caught on the fly rod. My day was made on this homely little woolly bugger. Check him out.

I don’t believe you need a perfect fly to catch fish, I just don’t. It’s great to learn new patterns and try them out, make them yours, mix techniques from different patterns, but I don’t have to follow a recipe exactly to get a fish catching pattern. In fact I have to say that most may gawk at my flies but I haven’t noticed a difference in success using top of the line flies or my mediocre creations. 

What do you guys think?  Maybe I’m just missing all the sophisticated brand name only fish? 

<![CDATA[Tying a Woolly Bugger]]>Fri, 10 Apr 2015 16:20:49 GMThttp://wildfound.weebly.com/fly-tying/tying-a-woolly-buggerPicture
Whether I'm fishing a lake or stream, bass fishing or searching for trout, I always keep a few woolly buggers in my box. They're just a flat out versatile pattern. You drift them, bounce them, make them lunge and bump at various depths, or even jig them. The woolly bugger nearly always has a spot in the lineup during any weather or water conditions.

The one I tied below has a little longer tail and a beaded head. I like to add a little more weight to my smallmouth buggers and I leave my trout buggers lighter to drift a little longer during the warmer months. There are many ways to dress this pattern up to meet your needs. Lots of tiers talk about proportions for tying flies and the bugger is one that I haven't messed up to bad. The significance is in the action of maribou in the water, not so much the proportion on this fly. For this reason many beginning tiers find success with this pattern and stick to it. I'm still a novice tier but the woolly bugger has remained more constant than not in my tying skill building. 

Check out my bugger pattern and remember it can be interpreted and tied in many ways, do what you feel works best for you. This should atleast get the ball rolling.


  • Hook: Size 10 straight shank
  • Tail:  Black maribou
  • Body: Black Chenille
  • Hackle feather (3-4 inches is ideal)
  • Thread:  Black 140 Denier
  • Lead Wire: .02
  • Bead: Brass, gold colored (craft bead)
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The woolly bugger is a classic pattern and stayed around because it works. As a beginner myself learning the ropes it helps to sometimes hit the same pattern 4 or 5 times and then let it sit for a night. Come back tomorrow with a fresh opinion and mindset and often I can see flaws I can improve upon next go around. 

Hopefully this short tutorial helped out, remember to like my page on Facebook, G plus, or subscribe to any of my bogs to keep up with WF. Thanks for reading and tight lines!
<![CDATA[The Foam Bug]]>Sat, 21 Mar 2015 17:24:51 GMThttp://wildfound.weebly.com/fly-tying/the-foam-bug
This one's a pretty easy tie for the novice tyer, a few common materials and a monster of a bluegill topwater. It imitates a few aquatic strider types or even a spider depending on the direction you wish to tie it. You can add a different maribou made tail or even add hackle throughout the underbody to give the bug a few more life-like characteristics in the water. 
  • Body: 3 inches of black foam, 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide 
  • Size 6-10 hook
  • Black pre-waxed thread (120)
  • Tail: Flashabou
  • Rubber spotted legs
  • Olive sparkled chenille


  • Pull the rubber legs down into the crease to seat them into the fly.
  • Cut the foam into a point to reduce the amount of room it occupies atop the hook shank.
  • Don't be afraid to make the front fold of the foam just ahead of the hook eye, it will stand up and move backward with tension.
  • Angle the foam toward yourself a bit to be sure that it tightens to the top of the hook shank.
  • Always pull down to perform a tightening loop on foam, this will help prevent it from spinning and allow you to secure it.
Thanks and enjoy!

<![CDATA[Whip Finishing a Fly by Hand]]>Sat, 21 Mar 2015 05:45:12 GMThttp://wildfound.weebly.com/fly-tying/whip-finishing-a-fly-by-handHeres a simple and effective way to finish your flies versus using the actual whip finish tool. 
<![CDATA[Fly Tying: How to tie The Brassie]]>Sat, 21 Feb 2015 22:49:45 GMThttp://wildfound.weebly.com/fly-tying/fly-tying-how-to-the-the-brassie
  • Olive Thread (140 Denier)
  • .02 brass wire
  • Size 16 scud hook
  • One strand of peacock herl

Tying Technique:

  1. Tie in your thread using Jam knot. Finish thread base 1/4 inch from hook eye.
  2. Using a 5 inch cut piece of brass wire lay the brass flush and parallel to hook shank, then with two loose wraps begin to tie it in. To keep the body somewhat flush try to keep the wire on top of the hook shank all the way to the hook bend where the wire will end. Continue wrapping to secure the brass wore as seen in photo 2. Wrap forward to just in front of start of brass wire tie in.
  3. Wrap the wire forward by hand until you meet your hanging thread. The trick is to keep constant pressure on the wire and wrap slightly behind the previous wrap laid. This will give you the nice uniform presentation and eliminate any gaps between each wire wrap. Tie in the wire with 4-5 tight wraps and then twist to remove excess.
  4. Cut off 3-4 inches of peacock herl. Using the thicker butt end tie in the herl so that 3 inches or so remains. Wrap thread forward to just behind eye.
  5. Wrap the hero forward by hand or carefully with hackle pliers upon itself until you feel like you have a large enough tuft of herl.
  6. Whip finish and apply head cement with needle.
<![CDATA[The Foam Riffle Beetle]]>Tue, 17 Feb 2015 03:51:10 GMThttp://wildfound.weebly.com/fly-tying/the-foam-riffle-beetle During the smallmouth post spawn period while the water temperatures are down or fishing a cool creek I love to utilize terrestrials. One of my most visual and yet effective terrestrials has been the black foam beetle. I set-up the presentation by placing the beetle near tall grass or overhanging vegetation to give the appearance of "Oh crap I fell in the water" where hopefully a smallie is waiting and thinking "Heck yeah another beetle fell in the water!" For the beginner stock up with 3 or 4 to keep in your warm water box this June. 


  • Under body: 2 peacock herls (or one long strand cut in half)
  • Top: 3 inches or so of foam cut to width of hook gap or just under
  • Thread: Tan 140
  • Hook: size 14 nymph hook

<![CDATA[Beginner Flies: The Caddis Fly]]>Tue, 17 Feb 2015 03:32:07 GMThttp://wildfound.weebly.com/fly-tying/beginner-flies-the-caddis-fly The caddis fly exists in streams of moderate to excellent quality and find themselves in the mouths of bass as well as cold water trout alike; that's why this is one of the essential flies to replicate in your flybox. During the soon to come spring the bass will enter into one of their most increased feeding frenzies of the year and this caddisfly will hopefully fool your pre-spawning bass into taking a nibble. And... It's a pretty easy fly to make and replicate for beginning tiers like myself. 


  • Body: Green dubbing (color and dubbing can be varied)
  • Wings: Poly Yarn I usually split the yarn length wise since we're doubling the yarn back upon itself
  • Thread: Tan 140
  • Hook: 12 - 16 (14 nymph hook in video above)
<![CDATA[Tying Bass Poppers]]>Mon, 16 Feb 2015 03:32:50 GMThttp://wildfound.weebly.com/fly-tying/tying-bass-poppers
Warmwater fishing pre or post spawn (march-april and july-august here in Ohio) you absolutely need a popper in your box. I love to tie deer hair poppers. I find they provide a strong gurgle and provide a little more action than static wooden floats. There are frog poppers, wounded minnows, colorful chartreuse and light green attractors, grasshoppers, and a whole slew of goofy variations that you'll love to tie. In this installment I'm going to tie the simple generic popper to give you an base concept to practice. It's simple, effective and requires very few materials.


  • Maribou (black in the example but I find the lighter green olive colors to be more effective)
  • Buck tail (I have salted out my own to pull from)
  • Thick strong thread (140 Denier or preferably Kevlar thread)
  • Larger size 2-4 hook, straight shank
  • Sharpie marker (optional)

Step 1

Attach the thread toward the rear of the hook using the jam knot. Work forward and then backward to secure. Cut off tag.

Step 2: Maribou tail

Pluck a sufficient helping of marabou and clip feather at stem end to make flush. Your tail should extend 1 1/2 times the hook shank. Once placed where needed tie in the tail. Cut off the butt ends of the marabou feathers and cover in thread to give a smooth appearance.

Step 3: Spin on deer hair

This is the trickiest part of the whole operation. The hair needs to be in such a density that it gives an almost solid appearance on spun. The technique is pretty simple but takes practice; I'm still obviously not an expert. 

To spin the hair cut off a 1- to 1 1/2 inch of hair around the diameter of a pencil. Hold the bunch on the top of the hook shank and loosely wrap once around the bundle and shank. Once wrapped give it a good tug up so that the thread tightens and the ends of the deer bundle start to spring up on each end. Once tightened to near breaking capacity perform another wrap and pull once again. With each successive tightening wrap you should be seeing the hair start to stand up on end and even may twist around the shank. If the hair twists a few times it's o.k. you'll get the feel for tensioning and ratcheting down hair with more practice, just use your bodkin to pick at the hair so that it's all standing. 
Once hair stops springing any further up it's time to carefully advance thread to just in front of where the hair connects to the shank of the hook. Your going to wrap 3-4 times heres and pull back the hair so that the front of the bundle is flush and standing up as seen in the picture on the right. 
Important: You will be putting on bundle after bundle of hair all the way up the shank of the hook and in order to accrue the proper density of hair your going to have to slide each tied bundle together. Do this by simply taking the thumb and index nails against the shank and applying pressure backward toward the hook bend. You should be able to slide the bundle a pretty good deal.

Continue on until you reach within 1/8 inch of the eye or so.

Whip finish a couple times to secure and then cut thread. 

Step 4: Give it a hair cut

This part is pretty fun. Your going to begin by trimming the bottom of the popper about 1/8 inch from the shank, and do so all the way back. The top will be 3/8 inch from the shank (1/2 inch thick popper). It's best to use a double-edged razor blade to get the popper in tip top shape but scissors will due. 
Trim as even as you can on all other sides allowing for a taper in the body as you reach the tail region of the popper. 
Once you are pleased with the shape of your popper you can then add any distinguishing marks with a sharpie. Can't see it all that well here but I added 3 black bars to each flank of the popper. Apply head cement and critique your work. Mine's still a work in progress. Log some youtube hours or go to warmwaterflytyer.com to get a sample of some top-notch hair work and great variations. 

The popper above isn't fancy, not pretty, but has performed. Try these out when the big bass get hungry post-spawn. The bedding males have been guarding and prowling and will readily launch an air attack on any sputtering hopeless (as above) skittering along the surface. 

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