I’ve taken a break from the snow in Sisters and have been soaking in the sun from Kona, HI. And you know me, I can tie flies anywhere! This week’s post includes a few odds and ends.

Kona HI | www.johnkreft.com

I’ve tied flies in paradise before as well as in the car, even during rough conditions!

The biggest problem I have is ensuring I have all the tools and materials packed up before leaving home. I scurry around and throw everything in a couple of Ziploc bags and keep my fingers crossed I have all I need. Usually it works out.

Not this time…I forgot my hackle pliers.

No big deal. I brought materials to work on filling the provider boxes and Sparkle Duns were one of the flies I planned on tying. I got a dozen completed and was thinking if I really needed hackle pliers, I could order them or ask one of my fly tying friends to mail one!

Then I remembered the plunger style hackle pliers electricians use in their business. I thought I might be able to find some of those in Kona. I mentioned it to my wife that I planned to see if I could find one. Turns out, she did a little shopping at Walmart and brought these back.

Alligator Clips | www.johnkreft.com

Alligator clips.

She would be the first to say “I’m not a fly tyer”, but truth be told, she has tied or helped tie Woolly Buggers with beginner fly tiers. She always stops at the head and unties the fly. Therefore, she has never tied a fly!

Well, she’s a smart lady. Has lots of ideas and they usually are right – don’t tell her I said so. She says I give her a certain look at times when she comes up with an idea. In fact, the blog post about Preparing Mallard Wings for Soft Hackle Flies was her idea. And I gave her a look when she came in and took a picture of me drying wing. 

I must have given her one of those looks when she presented me with the alligator clips. She said “I looked for the others and couldn’t find any. I thought these might work.” Hmmm, I never thought about using them. Why not?

Well, I gave them a try.

Using Alligator Clips | www.johnkreft.com

Yes, they work! But please, don’t tell her…it will only go to her head!

Here are a couple more odds and ends I thought you might enjoy.

Have you noticed the new Fly Shop Gallery? In addition to the Throw Back Thursday Fly Gallery, I decided to include pictures of fly shops I’ve been at. Hope you enjoy the wide variety of shops pictured.

Lastly, I wanted to comment about this week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly. It’s another Ray Bergman fly called the Walla Walla. I enjoy tying them because I get to practice the wet fly style wing. I’ve learned a lot about tying them and just like other flies, selecting the proper materials makes all the difference in the world.

People are always amazed how easily I tie Sparkle Duns. I use a technique learned from a couple of people, but mainly I say it’s the deer hair. You can’t tie a good Sparkle Dun with the wrong deer hair. It just doesn’t work. I included my thoughts about the right deer hair in the Sparkle Dun fly pattern sheet.

Another example of using the right materials are for the Atlantic salmon and spey flies I’m learning to tie. I don’t have much selection for the wings of these flies. Many use turkey feathers. Yes, I have several to choose from, but the problem is most have feathered and not straight, sharp edges to them and the result is not a good looking fly.

Which brings me back to the Ray Bergman fly. Here is what I consider a good wing. It’s from last week’s TBT fly – the Whirling Dun.

Whirling Dun | www.johnkreft.com

The edges from the duck quill I selected were very straight, or smooth and not feathered. It makes a nice looking wing.

Thursday’s fly will be the Walla Walla. I tied the fly with the only cinnamon-colored duck quill I had at the time. In the picture below, see how straight the edges of the left wing are? The right wing is crinkled and don’t line up as well.

Cinnamon Duck Quills | www.johnkreft.com

I didn’t really like the final product, but decided to use it so I could discuss the importance of selecting and using the right materials for flies.

You’ll see what I mean on Thursday.

Until then, enjoy this last picture!

Kona Sunset | www.johnkreft.com

Enjoy…go fish!

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  1. Great John, The clips shown do in a pinch, and if you have access to some rubber tubing, slipping it over one tip of the clip really makes a good hackle plier.. jerry thanks for the pictures, La Pine is balmy, 40 today.. have fun.

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