How many times have you said… “Man I wish my flies looked like that”? or “My flies look nothing like the ones in the bins” or “F*&K! This one looks like s^%t too!” I can’t count how many times I’ve said any of those? Today I think I’ve said all of them at least 4 times, along with many other whisperings in my crazy head. So how can you combat it and tie better flies? I’m just gonna walk you through the evolution of a shitty tie…
Tail Water Sow… What? That’s an easy one to bang out, what’s so hard about it? Just throw a bunch of dub on wrap it up tie it off, pick out some fibers, trim, hit with a sharpie and done! Sure, no problem but probably doesn’t look like the ones in the bin, scenario #2 above, or maybe it does look like the bin bugs. Or maybe the fish don’t care, which is probably true. But as a tier I care and maybe you do too. So here goes…
Shitty Tie #1
So for my first attempt at a perfect Tailwater Sow Bug I just threw it all on there, hit it with a sharpie and trimmed her up. What are my thoughts? Crap, hate it. Do the fish care? Probably not but it’s not about them it’s about me and my head. So I’m taking a look at the fly and seeing what I don’t like about it…
2-Heads to big
3-Legs look messy and awful
4-Back looks terrible
So with these 4 things in mind I’m going to tie up another one… When tying up my next one I’m really only going to be thinking about these 4 things…
Shitty Tie #2
Second attempt. For this bug I used a dubbing loop for the body instead of touch dubbing thinking it would make the bug less sloppy. It did, just a bit. Then Less thread wraps on the head and the head is not as big. Legs look a bit better but still awful and finally the back. Still don’t like it. So what’s my plan now? Inspect the bug and see what i don’t like…
1-Sloppy Bug, Make the fly more dense and easier to trim
2-Keep that head small
3-Legs look aweful, make a more dense dubbing loop and the legs might look better?
4-Improve the Back, Once again use a more dense dubbing loop and the back will improve.
Take home here? Looks like the fly needs to be more dense and neat? Maybe that will fix everything?
Final Tie #3
Third Try is a charm… After tying up 2 undesirable flies the third is much better. My focus on this fly was dense and neat. So I took my sloppy dubbing loop made it twice as dense and trimmed up the edges to make it nice and neat. Densing up the loop and trimming the edges of the loop made this guy totally different. The legs are more dense and neater, the back is much flatter and looks way better. The head isn’t perfect from the eyes of a 3:1 Macro lens but hey… Not much does without photoshop.
So the next time you tie up a few crappy flies take a few minutes to look at your bug, evaluate it and note what you don’t like about it. Then focus on making those changes and do a few until you get what you want. Have fun tying and until the next time!