A Gift to a Marine - Part Two

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steely34
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2010/01/05 08:16:34 (permalink)

A Gift to a Marine - Part Two

Couldn't sleep last night.
Some of you may remember a thread I posted a while back about a young man who I've come to know through the years who was serving in Afganistan. Here's the link to it:

http://forums.fishusa.com/m_227017/mpage_1/key_tribute/tm.htm#227096

I'm really happy to say that he is in the US. He called to say that he is well and currently in California but will be coming home for good - I believe tomorrow. He served his time, had a tough time there -  and we are so proud of this individual. He is a true hero as is all of our servicemen and women who give so much to give us the opportunities that we take for granted on a daily basis.

Last night, while my wife was dusting around the bookshelf, she mistakingly knocked off the fly that was in a glass frame that I had put aside for Eric's return. It's shown on that link above. It was to be a gift for him as there is a welcome home party this Sat. When the frame hit the floor, the wings and alot of the other things on the fly were kind of all out of place and although I tried to fix things up - I just couldn't do it. So I'm tying another. I thought about just not giving him this - noone will ever know except my wife and I. Perhaps a card with some $ will do just fine. Besides, my arm is once again in a **** sling due to another operation on the shoulder. But I decided to give it a go. Put a chair next to the tyin bench with a crate on it to rest my arm in the right position and I started this morn. around 4 am. Didn't get too far though. And once again I just thought the heck with it - the card will just have to do.

But I had this nagging emptiness in me - kind of called myself a lowlife for giving up so easy. This shoulder is nothing when compared what he endured in Afganistan.  So I started once again. And now-I'm posting this tutorial which will be ongoing over the next couple of days. The last one took me about two hours to complete - I think this one will take longer and I could either not post anything on it or wait till the end. I think if I do that though and I get frustrated, I might just forget about it - give up and opt out for the card. By starting the thread - I will need to finish the fly. And along the way I am in hopes that those of you who tie these will give me feedback on the techniques and methods I'm using as I go along so I can learn more on the style of tying classics. I thought I'd use the techniques - start to finish - that I've read about and have used a few times while tying a few of these. Blind eye hook, gut eye and all.

This is not going to be perfect but it'll be the best I can do.   Heroes like Eric deserve it.

1. Creating the gut eye and the hook I'm using:
I took the gut material, soaked it in water for about 30 minutes. Cut two strands about 12 inches long, hung it off a shelf, attached pliers to it, and twisted/spun it tight. Let it dry.





2. I took two Golden pheasant crests - one for the topping, and one for the tail and placed them on a mirror with a bit of water on the mirror. With needle, seperate and position the crests and their fibers in place where you want them and let dry. Hopefully, this will give the crests the cascading effect when mounted on the fly.





3. Married the wings. Used red, white, and blue dyed turkey. For the top and bottom of the wings, I used cinnamon turkey.
 



*** More Later On
 
 
 
 
post edited by steely34 - 2010/01/05 08:19:15

"They say you forget your troubles on a trout stream, but that's not quite it..... you begin to see where your troubles fit into the grand scheme of things, and suddenly they're just not such a big deal anymore."

John Gierach

#1

20 Replies Related Threads

    steely34
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    RE: A Gift to a Marine - Part Two 2010/01/05 11:52:10 (permalink)
    Back at it -
     
    I put the hook in the vise and marked off with white out the spacing I think I'll need for the floss transitions. I absolutley **** at estimating this so I thought this would help.
     

     
    Then I took the twisted and dried gut, cut a small piece and folded it evenly around the bobbin shaft. I chewed on both ends to soften the material and cut uneven lengths on both ends so there would be a good taper when tied in.
    Realized that I guess I made my first mistake. There is supposed to be three strands of gut twisted - not two but since this isn't going to be used for fishing - I let it go. Then I had a heck of a time trying to tie this on either side of the hook. Kept wanting to roll. So this is on top. Best I could do.
     

     

     

     

     
    Moved to the rear of the hook, started the thread and tied in the tinsel.
     

     
    Wrapped it forward 6 times for the tag. Flossed forward.
     

     
    Mounted the pheasant crest. Man I suck at this also!!!!! It keeps wanting to twist on me, not centering on the shaft. I tried using tying pliers to flatten the stem at the tie in point but it still twisted slightly. So i cheated and used a bit of superglue to hold it in the position I wanted and then tied it in.  It's still a tad twisted - off center. Also from pics I've seen it should extend out from the hook bend a bit further.
     

     
    Tied in the herl and wrapped forward - tied it off.
     

     

     
    In the back of my mind - I kind of worry about tying in the wings when it comes to that. I can never get them right no matter what I do and I'd hate to re-marry a new set. They always crease or fold - never look like the pictures in the book.  I want this right! Worry about it later I guess.
     
     
     

    "They say you forget your troubles on a trout stream, but that's not quite it..... you begin to see where your troubles fit into the grand scheme of things, and suddenly they're just not such a big deal anymore."

    John Gierach

    #2
    KJH807
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    RE: A Gift to a Marine - Part Two 2010/01/05 14:26:07 (permalink)
    nicely done

    funny... i have the same wing-phobia
    weather married strips or tent
    I start worrying as soon as i set the hook

    kudos for the blind eye and gut
    i have never done and i'm sure most have not seen/ or know about that process




    #3
    Flyguy638
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    RE: A Gift to a Marine - Part Two 2010/01/05 19:17:54 (permalink)
    Tom, you have done some research on tying these Classics and your well on your way to making a nice fly I'm sure. The only question I have is , did you tie the gut on top of the hook?, I ask this because I have only seen it tied on the bottom or sometimes on either side, in any event its looking good so far and by this post I see you know about flattening you thread and nice side by side turns. I tie all matterials down with 5 wraps, then when the next material gets tied in I take 3 turns off, then proceed like that through out the pattern, thid makes for a clean, no lumps or bumps. When I tie the wings in I hold the wings tightly with my left hand using thumb and index finger, then I put the bobbinover the wings and let it hangto the far side. This sort of acts as a counter weight, still holding wing tightly in left haand I begin to compress the butt ends very carefully and as this compression is taking place I will add a turn of thread and pull up the thread on near side while still holding wings tightly, then add a second/third turn doing the same thing. Now B4 I release the grip on the wings I grab the butt ends with ring hand and upright them or make sure there was no slippage, you can move the butts to top of hook , when I'm sure the wings are compressed I let go of wings and cross my fingers all is well, If you have broad band or cable internet I can quickly show you through a "virtual classroom" where you can veiw in real time me actuall y performing this . Pm me and I can walk you through it

    Bruce
    #4
    swinger
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    RE: A Gift to a Marine - Part Two 2010/01/05 19:22:56 (permalink)
    I am not into the fully dressed salmon flies so I dont know all the "rules" on tying them. But I'll tell you. I checked out the ones on that link you gave and they look really nice to me. If you want to see some of them stuck in the corner of a steelheads mouth let me know. I'll give you my address. I have been swinging the color combo pink and orange alot this season.  Seriously, I like what you are doing here. Keep us posted.

    Quality over quantity

    I am reality

    I>U

    JC Rules!!!!!!!
    #5
    steely34
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    RE: A Gift to a Marine - Part Two 2010/01/05 21:11:42 (permalink)
    Bruce - your right about the gut.  **** it! Screwed that up. As far as the wraps - I've been taking 6 turns then backing off 3. Hopefully it won't matter. Question - I've read that some use a burnishing tool to rub over the floss to smooth it out after wrapping. Do you use that? Kind of a wooden handle type tool. Don't have one though. Great description on tying in the wings. I understand what you are talking about when it comes to handling the butt ends although I've never done that - probably my problem in the past.  The book I've read and followed is Tying The Classic Salmon Fly by Michael Radencich. PM sent to you.


    Sat down once again -
     
     
    Tied in the tinsel and red floss.
    For the floss - The Lagartun Silk I have is basically wound with three strands. I seperated them with a bodkin and only tied in one of them - reducing the bulk.



    Wound the floss forward - followed with the tinsel. Tied off.
     


    Tied in blue Lady Amherst tippets top and bottom.
     


    Tied in the herl for the collar and wrapped it forward.
     


    Repeated the above steps with alternating colors -
     


     
    Got as far as I wanted today - Got a funeral tomorrow so I doubt if I'll get to it much. From here I really don't have a set plan but I have some ideas. I think I may end up crowding the eye or perhaps having too much space left over. If anyone has any ideas from here I'd love to hear 'em.   And again - the wings worry me a bit. Plus the blue amherst on the bottom is a bit longer than the top. Another screw up. I have alot of respect for tyers who create these with ease. Really out of my comfort zone here.
    post edited by steely34 - 2010/01/05 21:45:58

    "They say you forget your troubles on a trout stream, but that's not quite it..... you begin to see where your troubles fit into the grand scheme of things, and suddenly they're just not such a big deal anymore."

    John Gierach

    #6
    KJH807
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    RE: A Gift to a Marine - Part Two 2010/01/05 21:57:51 (permalink)
    great floss and tinsel work!

    slow and steady

    the making of a masterpiece


    thanks for taking the time to chronicle!
    it is hard to step back and stop to take the shot



    #7
    flyfishermanPA
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    RE: A Gift to a Marine - Part Two 2010/01/05 22:01:11 (permalink)
    Loveee itt!
    #8
    Flyguy638
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    RE: A Gift to a Marine - Part Two 2010/01/05 22:08:53 (permalink)
    Tom, for a burnishing tool you can use a polished rock or any thing that is rounded and smooth, and yes I always burnish the silk.BUT be careful and not too much pressure. As far as the book from Mike R he now has 3 books and 2 DVD's, his last book 20 Salmon Flies (Amazon) comes with DVD, pretty decent and runs 52.00 shipping included
    #9
    steely34
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    RE: A Gift to a Marine - Part Two 2010/01/06 08:57:25 (permalink)
    Was up @ 4 this morning - had some thoughts on the throat for Eric's fly.
     
     
    Tied in the final piece of herl - wrapped it forward.
     

     

     
    Tied in red schlappen  - stripped one side and took two turns.
     

     

     
    Tied in Silver pheasant cheek, stripped one side. Took two turns.
     

     

     
    Tied in blue Peacock body feather. Clipped off the stem. Not wound.
    The stem is too thick on the feather to wind. I tried it but it created too much bulk.
     

     

     
     
     
    That's as far as I got. I won't be back at it till Thursday night. Next is the wings. Make or break I guess. I'm worried about the crowding and I may have to undue some of the throat. Alot to do yet with very little room to do it in. We'll see. Many thanks for FlyGuy for his help!
     
    I apologise if I'm making this too much of a drama. I'm just relaying my feelings as I go along with this and I wonder why in the world would I do this for all the world to see. Perhaps I'm just saying out loud what many of us feel as we tie a difficult pattern for something or someone special.
     
     
     
     

    "They say you forget your troubles on a trout stream, but that's not quite it..... you begin to see where your troubles fit into the grand scheme of things, and suddenly they're just not such a big deal anymore."

    John Gierach

    #10
    DJ2007
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    RE: A Gift to a Marine - Part Two 2010/01/06 22:28:31 (permalink)
    Looks Great! Can't wait to see the finished fly. Really interesting step by step/ story going on as well.
    #11
    steely34
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    RE: A Gift to a Marine - Part Two 2010/01/07 06:50:46 (permalink)
    Really starting to get consumed by this. Spent last night marrying wings and practicing tying them in on another hook and vice. Also married two more sets for this in case I screw one up for the final. Running out of material though for the wings. Read some books on it and searched the 'net on methods. Decided to push it a bit and mount an underwing.
     
    Took two golden pheasant tippets, carefully stripped one side evenly out to the end, constantly checking for length. Then took the tying pliers and flattened the stems at the tie in point to prevent rolling.
     

     
    Mated them together and tied them in.
    Before I tied them in I took the pliers and slightly bent the stem at the flattened tie in point to bring the tippets up slightly away from the body.
     

     
    Checked for centering
     

     
    Everything so far
     

     
     

    "They say you forget your troubles on a trout stream, but that's not quite it..... you begin to see where your troubles fit into the grand scheme of things, and suddenly they're just not such a big deal anymore."

    John Gierach

    #12
    steely34
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    RE: A Gift to a Marine - Part Two 2010/01/08 10:59:01 (permalink)
    Finished it.
     



    Having said that - I thought that instead of posting all I did during the past 5 hours on this fly, instead - I'd post just a single pic on where I went wrong and how it effected the rest of the tie for me.  But before I do that I also wanted to relay a few of my thoughts on this tie and this posting.

    There were times when I regretted starting the post because frustration set in often. And there is a good chance that if I didn't start this thread the tie would not have finished and I would have gone to Eric's welcome home party tomorrow with a card in hand. Call me a loser - someone who gives up too easy - perhaps that may be the case. But since I started the post, I needed to complete it. But I now realize that it's not just the completion that is important. This is the 8th classic pattern I've ever tied and it is because of this posting that I have learned so much about the methods involved. Last night, I spent close to an hour on a virtual classroom with FlyGuy who so graciously offered his expertise (and that is saying it mildly) and his time on how to mount wings and also the different materials used.  This tie taught me that good quality materials (which I don't really have for this style of tying), and the time spent paying your dues tying classics seperate me from them - in a large way. But I'll continue reading, watching, and every now and then try another. Personally, I think that's what tying flies is all about. The time spent at the bench truly is a personal thing. It's a good as you want it to be. For me - there are times where I push myself like I did here and what I got out of it was meeting someone who was willing to help me out, learning new tips and tricks that are hard to find in print. And in the end - a brave Marine will get something other than a card. There is so much that would have never occured. I also once again realized what makes the Fly Tying and Tutorial sections here so great is that many of us are not afraid to post a pattern we attempted for the first time - to show our failures and to ask for help. And whats even better is that there are many here that are willing to do just that - help and offer suggestions. That's truly what tying should be all about.  Enough of my ranting.

    Here's one of my major screw up's this morning - there were many others I guess:
    When I mounted the wings (and it took three sets to get it semi -  right) I did not get the first three wraps close enough to the tie in point of the last material mounted which was the golden tippets. And I didn't bother to re mount the wings. A bit of frustration here I guess. Settled for "good enough".
    What this did was force everything from there on to be tied in a tad forward of the underside of the wings. And when finished there was white thread showing on the underbody. You can see this on the top pic - pretty obvious. You can see how the thread wraps are angled and not straight up and down. I didn't want to regrip the wings and try wrapping back to straighten it all out - guess I should have though. Lesson learned.

    Also the head is way too big for a classic.


     



    And there you have it:
    Now to clean up the bench - I got stuff all over the place and the lab is just drooling - waiting for her moment!

    post edited by steely34 - 2010/01/09 17:20:50

    "They say you forget your troubles on a trout stream, but that's not quite it..... you begin to see where your troubles fit into the grand scheme of things, and suddenly they're just not such a big deal anymore."

    John Gierach

    #13
    Cold
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    RE: A Gift to a Marine - Part Two 2010/01/08 11:16:31 (permalink)
    Looks absolutely beautiful, steely.

    With me just starting out into the world of featherwing wets, much of the frustrations you're talking about are really hitting home.

    What type of feather did you use for the colored portion of the wings? For mine, I've been using cheap (read: craft store) mallard, and while frustrating at times, it was working. Picked up some true fly tying mallard and...to my surprise...it was even worse!

    In any event, congratulations on a job well done and for pushing yourself to become more skilled than you were when you first put the hook in the vise.
    #14
    steely34
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    RE: A Gift to a Marine - Part Two 2010/01/08 11:38:39 (permalink)
    Cold - starting from the top down, I married:
     6 strips of brown mottled turkey,
    6 of red dyed turkey tail,
    1 strip brown mottled turkey,
    6  of white dyed turkey
    1 strip brown mottled turkey
    6 of blue dyed turkey
    6 strips of brown mottled turkey tail
     
    total of 32 strips

    "They say you forget your troubles on a trout stream, but that's not quite it..... you begin to see where your troubles fit into the grand scheme of things, and suddenly they're just not such a big deal anymore."

    John Gierach

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    KJH807
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    RE: A Gift to a Marine - Part Two 2010/01/08 14:02:20 (permalink)
    well done!

    anyone would be proud to hang that on their wall



    #16
    Plum Bob
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    RE: A Gift to a Marine - Part Two 2010/01/08 15:39:31 (permalink)
    Excellent! I admire your tying skill, patience, and attention to detail.
    #17
    fishenfool46
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    RE: A Gift to a Marine - Part Two 2010/01/08 17:46:59 (permalink)
    that is great steely but what is even greater is the reason for doing it.
    it touches home with my son being in the airforce.I wish them all home
    thank that young man for me from the bottom of my heart.ff46

    I didn't say these are the ten suggestions
    signed God
    #18
    fishenfool46
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    RE: A Gift to a Marine - Part Two 2010/01/08 17:48:26 (permalink)
    +
    post edited by fishenfool46 - 2010/01/08 17:49:29

    I didn't say these are the ten suggestions
    signed God
    #19
    Flyguy638
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    RE: A Gift to a Marine - Part Two 2010/01/08 22:31:32 (permalink)
    Tom this turned out real nice and the part about exposed thread wraps is no biggy, don't sweat the small stuff, you were really under the gun to get this specialfly done in time and most likely will not be noticed anyway.Ya know what you said about one mistake can throw off evrything after that is very true but I think you pulled it with flying colors.

    Bruce
    #20
    steely34
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    RE: A Gift to a Marine - Part Two 2010/01/09 06:20:19 (permalink)
    Many thanks for the comments. This was the most difficult tie for me - quite a learning experience.
    FF46 - Your son and you as a parent of a son in the military have all my respect. I wish you both well.
    And FlyGuy -- Again, many thanks for spending the time with me Thursday night. I learned alot in that hours time that I couldn't have got elsewhere.  After this tie - you also have my uttmost respect - you my friend are quite talented.

    "They say you forget your troubles on a trout stream, but that's not quite it..... you begin to see where your troubles fit into the grand scheme of things, and suddenly they're just not such a big deal anymore."

    John Gierach

    #21
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