Archive for August, 2009
Click the image above to view the slideshow.
The August addition of Art Fly is now live. I have been working on a new style for the fly art photography and this month’s theme is hands and hand-held flies. The flies were all shot with the left hand and the camera was in the right hand. The technique employed a fast shutter speed combined with a natural cloud sky background. In addition to the flies I have been working with various fly tiers in the portable macro studio. The technique is progressing nicely and we are now able to capture high resolution macro tying sequences. In the future you will see the full tutorial markups, but for the August edition of Art Fly only a few examples have been posted.
The Seaducer Fly
Homer Rhodes introduced the Seaducer fly in the 1940′s and it is still as effective today as it was back then. For warm/salt water fishing there are three basic foundation patterns that should be mastered. They include the Seaducer, Clouser’s Deep Minnow and Lefty’s Deceiver. I would also include the modern Enrico Puglisi baitfish patterns in the must-tie category as well.
The Seaducer is easy to tie and master, but the trick is selecting the correct hackle for the intended application. With that in mind, the following tutorial will be separated in two parts. First, we will discuss hackle selection and then move on to the technical aspects of tying the fly correctly.
Before proceeding, let’s first discuss the purpose of the Seaducer in general terms. This is primarily a light weight top water fly, originally designed to attract Snook in shallow water. It is nothing more than a few feathers on the tail end and a few palmered wraps on the front. The tail feathers may be tied concave out (i.e. kicker legs) or concave in (i.e. baitfish style). Traditionally, the kicker legs are employed to give movement and life to the fly and that is the preferred style of the author. It is generally fished with a floating line and moderate length leader in a stealthy site fishing manner. It is also very effective for Tarpon, redfish, largemouth bass, and almost any warmwater species. However, it is also deadly when fished on a sinking line with a shorter leader in a strip-pause-strip fashion at depth. The Seaducer can be tied with a large profile on hooks as large as 3/0 or conversely it is very effective with smaller profiles on hooks smaller than size 10.
At the end of this article, we will see many modern variations of the Seaducer. Bass poppers, saltwater jigs and divers are all examples of modified Seaducer patterns with kicker legs.
Seaducer – Fly Recipe
Hook: TMC 811S, size 1 or Owner SSW straight eye, size 1/0. Any hook will work for this pattern, including the often employed Mustad 34007. However, in my experience the TMC and Owner hooks are superior.
Thread: Danville’s 210 denier flat waxed nylon. Color to match fly.
Tail: Four to six saddle hackles approximately 3 to 4 inches in length or tailored to desired length for smaller flies. Tie concave out (kicker legs) or concave in (baitfish style).
Flash: Four to six strands of Flash or similar material.
Tail (optional): thin clump of bucktail tied between hackles if using the kicker leg profile.
Collar: Two or three saddle hackles palmered forward for three-quarters the length of the hook shank. Additonal hackles (same or contrasting color) palmered forward complete the collar. An effective variant (shown in the following tutorial) is alternative the contrasting colors together in one collar.
Weed Guard: Optional. I don’t use them for two reasons. First, this a very light fly and the hackles keep it on surface. Second, they are easy to tie and relatively cheap, it is not a heartbreaker to break one off.
Strung saddle hackle. Notice the webbing and texture are different than dry fly hackle.
Additional examples of great warm/salt water hackles for tying Seaducers. Keep your eye for unusual colors at tying shows or grab bags. This stuff goes a long way and you never know when that orange or pink or red color is going to come in handy.
This is Spey Hackle from Whiting Farms. Very cool stuff but not appropriate for the Seaducer.
Typical warm/saltwater products include “American Hackle” by Whiting Farms or Hen Neck (best for smaller Seaducers because of the smaller size) or warmwater hackle by Metz, etc.
Examples of “Dry Fly” hackle to avoid for the Seaducer. Notice the necks by Whiting Farms, these are exceptional hackle for tying dry flies but the stiff barbs will not fit the desired profile in this case.
Part Two: The Seaducer Tutorial
The traditional Seaducer color scheme is a white fly with a red front end. Believe me, it is deadly in the water. However, for the purposes of this tutorial (and a soon to follow tutorial on advanced white balance), we are going to use a sea yellow and green color combination. If you have ever fished in the Florida Keys or Gulf you know that the guides are very picky about the sea yellow color. It is a unique hue that is neither yellow nor chartreuse, rather a unique “sea” yellow. Wapsi calls it “FL Yell/WHT CSW502, and Whiting Farms calls it YL CHR. The green is a mute green/chartreuse blend and Wapsi calls it FL CHAR/WHT CSW509. One of the stated goals of this particular tutorial is to show you how to blend the hackle colors in a natural way that creates a wonderful “fishy” look to the fly.
Start by tying a very small clump of deer hair on the back with a tie in location at the barb. The length should be about twice the length of the hook shank. Follow that with 4-6 strands of flash. Make sure it is very sparse and wispy, don’t overdue it.
Next we need to prepare the hackles. First measure and strip one hackle to be about twice the length of the hook shank. Then prepare a total of six (or more depending on your desires bulk/profile) hackles to match the length of the first stripped hackle. In general it is best to have three hackles on each side (i.e. each kicker leg is three hackles). I generally use two of the lighter color and one of the darker color and stack as light, dark, light, with the light color on the outside, concave out.
Notice how the colors naturally blend when you stack them.
Set aside the discarded bases, you might want to use them for other patterns later (I have entire zip lock bags full of discarded feather bases).
Next, tie in one very sparse quill of marabou.
Trick number one! I don’t tie in a hard mason “anti-foul” loop at the back. Instead, I tie a post around the back to secure the material. This creates a tight and secure wrap and serves as a natural anti-foulmeasure. To make this maneuver work just pull up the bucktail and marabou and make 3-5 tight wraps around the base in one direction and then wrap once around the shank and then come back in the opposite direction for 3-5 turns. It is easier to show in picture form:
Next, tie in the first kicker leg. The hackles should be concave outward.
Trick number two! Don’t curse while doing this step. Take a breath and gently (gently) work the stems in place and then slowly make 3-4 turn of thread without tightening. Let up with you material hand and ensure that the hackles are properly aligned. If you did it correctly the kicker leg trio will be in line and not warped. At this point begin to tighten the thread and make tight secure wraps. It takes a bit of practice, it’s all about thread management skills.
Do the same with the other trio of kicker legs. You will end up with a nice V set of kicker legs in the end.
At this point, I again make a set of post wraps like we saw earlier after the marabou was added. This secures the kicker legs and prevents the hackles from fouling.
Next step is to create the collar. In this tutorial we will “blend” the collar with two light colored (sea yellow) hackles and one dark colored (green) hackle. Alternatively you could palmer two light colored hackles followed by one or two dark hackles (that is the traditional method and the one I use for the classic white with red head Seaducer).
Notice the great warm/salt water hackle with a stiff quill/spine and webby billowy barbs.
Tie in the three hackles at the front of the post.
First palmer the dark (green) hackle forward and tie off. Follow this individual palmered wraps of the two light (sea yellow) hackles. Tie all hackels off at a similar location.
Next, pull back the hackles and tightly wrap a thread base to lock them down. Follow this with a nice tapered head. Whip finish. Done.
A bit of Fly Art. Seaducer fly in natural sunlight.
Here are a few variations.
Seaducer with sea yellow and white barred hackle color scheme.
My favorite warm water Seaducer variant for Bass.
Mini Seaducers – Great for bluegill and bass on the local ponds.
And many other variations . . . remember, the Seaducer is a basic pattern. By varying the head and front end of the fly we have many modern patterns that many of you will recognize.
The Dalberg Diver
The bass poppers
Sliders and buggy jigs
And last but not least . . . The CLASSIC Seaducer (white and red).
DIY – Inexpensive fly tying displays
I recently discovered a way to decorate the walls with fly art. At the local craft store there are various styles of Shadow Boxes in the framing department. They are 40% off on a regular basis. On sale the large box is about $30 and the smaller boxes are only $20. Until recently I didn’t know they existed. They come in many different sizes, shapes and colors/stains. They all have about an inch of foam padding with material stretched and glued to the backing. The purpose of these shadow boxes is to place pictures or memorabilia onto the backing with push pins. The front lid opens with a hinge for easy placement of objects. I was overjoyed to find that they are perfect for securing hooks and thus make great displays for flies.
If you have ever been to a conclave then you know the framed fly art displays often go for high dollar. By using the shadow boxes you can create similar works of art for very little money. Below are a set of 4 boxes I put together. In the future I will be using this method to showcase my collectable flies from other tiers.
Two shadow boxes with collectable flies from Craig Riendeau and Anthony Hipps. I have left space for future flies.
A collection of my first attempts at tying articulated patterns from long ago. Memorable only to me, ha.
A collection of saltwater flies.
Fly Art on the tying wall.