Keith Fulsher’s Thundercreek

Keith Fulsher developed the Thundercreek series in the early 70s. Straight eye streamer hook, bucktail in the color of certain species of baitfish, tied in by the hair butts, extending over the hook eye and folded back. Add eyes and some varnish or resin on the head and you’re done.

I first learned about them in the 80 and have fished them ever since. Great flies!

 

 

 

Tilt Wing Dun

The hackling technique used in the E/C Caddis and the Hot Creek Caddis is also suitable for mayflies. Galloup developed the Tilt Wing Dun. Like many good patterns it can be adapted to taste. Below an Elk hair version and a different version that uses Snowshoe Hair.

  • Hook: Daiichi 1180#14
  • Thread: Veevus 14/0
  • Abdomen: Quill, covered with Deer Creek
  • Thorax: dubbing
  • Wing: Elk hair / Snowshoe hair
  • Hackle: Whiting Rooster saddle: Speckled Badger

 

Tilt Wing Dun Elk hair

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Tilt Wing Dun Showshoe

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Hot Creek Caddis

In 1981 Eric Cutter developed the idea of the E/C Caddis. That fly prompted the development of several other caddis flies tied with a parachute hackle wrapped under the wing and front part of the Elk hair.*  After him Eric Otzinger came up with the Hot Creek Caddis, intended for the stream of that name in the Sierras.

We’ve used it with good results in some streams we fish (mainly in Germany). This is the Hot Creek Caddis:

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* for a detailed description of those: there is a great article at http://stevenojai.tripod.com/eccaddis.htm

 

 

Taming the Humpy

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In Tying Dry Flies, Randall Kaufmann notes that the Humpy is “arguably, the greatest surface fly ever devised. It represents nothing and everything … depending on its construction, the Humpy can represent caddisflies, stoneflies, mayflies, midges and terrestrials.”

But the Humpy also has another reputation: as a difficult, frustrating pattern, a fly you ask your friends to tie if you want to see them struggle. And over the years tiers have come up with various ways to avoid the problem of building a body, overbody and wing of one clump of deer or elk hair.

So: perfectly fine reasons to see if we can tame the Humpy! And the added bonus is this: master the Humpy and you’ll learn a lot about material, sizing and tying technique.

Materials

  • hook: Daiichi 1180 #12-18
  • thread: fine and strong: Veevus 14/0 or Textreme 8/0. Color of choice; my most successful ones are made with yellow and chartreuse thread
  • tail: deer, elk or moose hair
  • body: deer or elk
  • hackle: Whiting Grizzle and Grizzle dyed Coachman Brown

A word on materials: choose elk or deer hair that does not flare too much. Early season or summer hair is a great choice. For thread: you’ll need to tie quite a bit of material on to a hook. For that reason many folks choose 6/0 thread. My advice: go thinner. A thin but strong thread such as Veevus 14/0 or Textreme 8/0 bites into material much better than a thicker thread, which helps you make fewer and much more effective wraps!

Click thumbnail for full-size pix!

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Start the thread at the halfway point. This point is important because it is the reference for the start of the body and front of the hump, later on.

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Tie in your tail, length should be the length of the hook shank*. Start with very tight wraps and decrease thread tension to firm wraps to avoid flaring. Keep the tail on top of the hook shank. Return to the halfway point.

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This is the critical step. Get this one right and you’ll have an easy ride; get it wrong and you’re in for a fight ;-).

Clip a bunch of deer or elk hair from the skin. Carefully remove all short hairs and all underfur from the hair. Any short hairs remaining will stick up at places you don’t want; any underfur makes it impossible to stack your hair properly. Don’t use an overly big bunch of hair. If this is your first Humpy it’s ok to count the hairs: 30 hairs will give you enough volume for a nice hump and two visible wings. I know, counting hairs sounds more than a bit OCD but do it once and it will give you an idea of the volume of hair you like to work with.

Stack the hair and clip to size. The length of the hair should equal the length from the eye of the hook to the tips of the tail. With a #12 Daiichi 1180 hook the length of the hair is 2,4 cm.

Tie in the hair at the halfway point. Wrap from tight to firm as you progress. Carefully place your wraps next to each other to make a level body. Pull the hair slightly upwards when wrapping: that helps keeping them on top of the hook. Advance thread to the last wrap that secures the tail and make one extra, tight wrap. This extra wrap ensures that there will be no thread showing between the end of the hump and the start of the tail. Take the thread back to the halfway point.

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Pull the hair forward to make the hump and wrap down with three tight wraps. Again, pull the hair slightly upwards while you wrap to keep it on top of the hook. Lift the hair and make one or two anchoring wraps around the hook shank only, and continue wrapping the hair until you reach the point where the wing should start. About halfway between the hump and the hook eye.

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Divide the wing by a figure-of-eight wrap.

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Make four or five firm (not tight!) wraps up and around the far wing. Make another four or five wraps down and around the wing.

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Take your thread over the hook (not under the hook or the far wing may be pulled forward) and repeat with the near wing.

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Post the wing by placing three wraps right in front of the hair.

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The big difference in diameter behind and in front of the wing will cause problems when you hackle the fly, so build a thread slope from the front of the wing towards the hook eye.

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Tie in the hackles, dull side facing forward. Make sure that you have a little bit of stripped quill exposed. That will give you a clean start of the hackle.

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Start with the second hackle you’ve tied in: make three wraps behind and three wraps in front of the wing and tie down.

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Wrap the other hackle, three wraps behind and three in front of the wing and tie off.

Looks good? Congrats! You’ve tamed the Humpy! Take a beer and tie a dozen to fine-tune and help your fingers memorize this great pattern!

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Skinny Humpy: Humpies don’t have to be bulky and obese. A Humpy tied skinny style won’t twist thin leaders

 

* I don’t like Humpies with short, stubby tails so I tend to err on the side of caution. If your tail is a little longer, that’s no prob. Just compensate for that extra tail length by shortening in step 3 the hair for the body/wing a bit.

 

Mart’s Peccary Paraloop Emerger

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The Paraloop hackling technique has been described in great detail in Moutter’s book ‘Tying Flies the Paraloop Way’ (2001). Moutter notes that the technique is not new: before he came up with the technique and name, other tiers such as Ned Long and Bob Quigley used the same technique. There were two other names for this method: the Hackle Stacker and the Pullover.

One of the advantages of Paraloop flies is that there is no hackle below the hook shank, which is ideal for hookups. The other great benefit of the technique is the profile of the fly: because of the absence of hackle below the hook shank Paraloop flies sit low in or on the water. And that is a big plus, especially for emergers. The Paraloop technique is very versatile: you can use it on any heckled fly that you wish to turn into a low-riding fly.

My favorite emerger is the Peccary Paraloop Emerger. I use it on smaller, slower sections of trout and grayling streams in the hills of Germany and it has proven a very successful pattern.

Materials

Hook: Daiichi Klinkhamer 1160, sizes 14-18

Thread: Veevus 16/0, grey

Abdomen: one Peccary hair

Post: 10-12 strands of white poly yarn

Thorax: peacock herl

Hackle: Whiting (Hebert-Miner) speckled badger rooster hackle

Click thumbnails for full-size pics.

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I use Whiting saddle hackle because this hackle has a thin and flexible, yet strong stem, which is a must-have for hackling around a small diameter parachute post used on paraloop hackles. The new Daiichi 1160 Klinkhammer hooks are a great choice for this emerger. They are light ( a heavy hook turns a low-riding fly into a diver), have the right shape for emergers and are wicked sharp.

Set up the thread to well into the bend.DSC_1111

Tie in one Peccary hair (soak well before tying in).DSC_1112

Wrap a neat body, tie off and cut.DSC_1113

Tie in parachute post – only 10 or so strands of poly will do. Fat posts are horrible to tie down later on.DSC_1114

Tie in three peacock herls.DSC_1115

Tie in your hackle – this is a Hebert-Miner Speckled Badger saddle hackle. Speckled hackle is great for emergers because it suggests movement. Natural or dyed Grizzle hackle will also work of course.DSC_1116

Twist the peacock and make one wrap behind and in front of the post. It’s best to do it now because you won’t be able to reach that area when the hackle is in place later on.DSC_1117

Wrap a dense hackle up around the post and back down again. Tie hackle off around the hook or the post and cut.DSC_1118

With the nail of your left hand (assuming right-handed tiers), push into the hackle to divide the barbs left and right.DSC_1119

With your right hand thumb and index finger, pull the barbs back to clear the area in front of the post for the peacock.DSC_1120

Twist the peacock and wrap a thorax with three of four wraps. Don’t crowd the eye. Make a few thread wraps just behind the eye as a thread base on which to tie down the post.DSC_1121

Pull the parachute over the thorax. If you pull the post tightly forward, the fly will sit higher on the water than when you leave a small space between the hackle and thorax. Tie the post down behind the hook eye. Avoid trapping any hackle barbs: use the post as a guide to slide your thread wraps in place. If you do so, the thread pressure alone will push back any stray hackle barbs.DSC_1122

Whip finish. Done! Just add water. Any trout or grayling stream will do just fine.

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View from below.

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Dense, speckled hackle that to me suggests motion (Emerger).DSC_1125

 

 

Coq de Leon Hen Caddis

 

 

 

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Click thumbnails or full-size pics

The Coq de Leon Hen Caddis:  yes, a dry (ok, damp) fly made of hen instead of rooster hackle. It has soft contours and uses materials that suggest the movements of an insect struggling to break free.

I like fishing emergers.
In the Leeson/Schollmeyer book, Tying Emergers, they say that an emerger is not a specific fly, it’s a stage in the life of a bug. That is why they advocate soft contours and materials that suggest the movements of an insect struggling to break free.
This Coq de Leon Hen Caddis Emerger does just that, and it uses some unique properties of Coq de Leon Hen neck hackle: it is less stiff than dry fly rooster hackle, has less web than regular hen hackle, and it has that typical glassy, speckled look of Coq de Leon rooster hackle.
I fish this fly on trout and grayling streams, late in the afternoon until dark.

The fly is taken by trout and grayling, and – reportedly – arctic char. I can’t tie enough of these flies for Skuli, a friend from Iceland. He is a fishing guide there, and swears that this is the best Needle Fly he has ever fished… Don’t know if that’s a compliment for a caddis pattern though. Anyway, he normally uses nymphs for arctic char but he noticed that they rise to get this fly.

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  • Hook: Daiichi 1180, size 16
  • Thread: 8/0 dark grey
  • Body: superfine dubbing, tan
  • Flatwing: Whiting Coq de Leon Hen neck hackle, brown speckled
  • Hackle 1: CDC, natural grey
  • Hackle 2: Whiting Coq de Leon Hen neck hackle, brown speckled

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Lay down a thread base, starting behind hook eye, advance thread to the point above the barb of the hook. Dub a thin body, tapered at the back and the front. The front of the body ends at 2/3 of the hook shank.

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Take a larger Coq de Leon hen neck hackle from higher up the neck. Assuming you are a right-handed tier, take the hackle by the tip of thumb and index finger of your left hand, pinch the other side between thumb and index finger of your right hand. Pull the tip of the hackle with your left hand and slowly pull the hackle through thumb and index finger of your right hand, preening the barbs back to the base of the feather. You will see a flatwing forming, with the barbs aligned side by side. Continue until you have a wing that extends behind the hook bend 1/3 of body length.

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Without changing your right hand grip, lay the flatwing on top of the tapered front part of the body. I always lay down the wing just a little bit on my side of the hook: the thread pressure will pull the wing perfectly into place, right on top of the hook shank. With your left hand, make two firm thread wraps. Now you can let go of your right hand, and make one more thread wrap to secure the wing. Make one anchoring wrap around the hook shank.

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Then cut the stem and barbs, and cut off the tip of the hackle.

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Take a CDC feather by the tip with your right hand, pull back the barbs with your left hand. Cut off most of the tip of the feather, leaving a small triangle of stem and some barbs. Tie that in just in front of the flatwing, still on the tapered front part of the body.

Take a CDC feather by the tip with your right hand, pull back the barbs with your left hand. Cut off most of the tip of the feather, leaving a small triangle of stem and some barbs. Tie that in just in front of the flatwing, still on the tapered front part of the body.  Lift the CDC feather, stroke all fibers back and make three closely spaced wraps. Ensure that the barbs point to the bend of the hook.  Tie down and cut CDC feather.

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Take a Coq de Leon hen neck hackle by the tip with your right hand, pull back the barbs with your left hand. Cut off most of the tip of the feather, leaving a small triangle of stem and some barbs.

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Tie in just in front of the CDC hackle. Lift the hackle, preen the barbs back, make three or four wraps. Tie off the hackle with two thread wraps. Take the bobbin in your left hand, pull to keep tension on your thread, and twist the hackle by the stem. If will break clean off.

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Make two thread wraps and whip finish.

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Cut off most of the Coq de Leon hackle at the underside of the fly. Don’t cut it completely flat but leave some stubs. Try not to cut any CDC barbs.

Done!

Martin Westbeek