måndag 23 december 2013

Grey Fox Variant

One of the most significant characteristics of the Catskill style dry flies is the split wing of wood duck. There are, however, really nice patterns in the genre without the magical wing of wood duck. Here we will learn a little of one of those patterns, one of my personal favorites, the grey fox variant. The pattern was created by Catskill celebrity Art Flick. The fly was of what I heard one of the flies Flick had closest to his heart. Flick tied the Grey Fox Variant to imitate the green drake in his beloved Schoharie Creek. He says in his Streamside Guide, “So far the most effective fly to fool large trout feeding on natural green drake is a very large grey fox that has been tied with good stiff hackles”.
Art Flick at his vise
Many of those familiar with the variant patterns think that it was Art Flick who originated it however that is not entirely correct. Flick learned of the pattern by his master Preston Jennings, author of The Book of Trout Flies. Jennings’s book tells us that the variants originally came from an English tier, Dr William Baigent. So we could say that Baigent originated the pattern, Jennings discovered it and finally Flick made it known to the modern world by his book Stream side guide.

I meet the variant for the first time in one of our Swedish fly tying legends, Lennart Bergqvist´s book Flugbindning på mitt sätt (Flytying my way), Bergqvist writes that his friend Paul Jorgensen told him to tie some of the variants for an upcoming trip to the Catskills, he didn’t like them at first but after a while he discovered it as a great attractor pattern. At this time I was a beginner within the world of fly-tying, and this fly had it all, I loved it´s appearance and it was fairly easy to tie. I tied loads of these and after a while all my flies had bodies of stripped hackle stem. Actually this fly was the one that got me interested in the Catskill style dry fly. I use these flies on both trout and grayling, I like to tie them really small for the grayling, my favorite is a size 18 gray fox variant, and the grayling love them.

I tie my gray fox variants with a slightly shorter hackle and tail than what Flick did; I believe that the fly is better balanced this way. Flick mixed light ginger, dark ginger and grizzly for hackle but I used coachman brown mixed with grizzly, mostly because I don’t have dark ginger.  I fish the fly as free drifting as possible, now and then I make it move that can sometimes trigger the fish to strike, a great fly to use when there´s low activity on the surface. As some will notice I use a different way of hackling this fly than what most traditional Catskill style tier’s do, I tie in the hackle at the front and wrap it backwards, finishing the fly by securing the hackle with the thread. This way I belive that I get a slightly more durable hackle , this way also give the fly a neater head.

An important issue with making flies with hackle stem bodies is that you need a nice and even foundation for the body. I use Textreme 8/0 that is thin, strong and I can easily get it to lie flat on the hook. When preparing a lighter shade hackle stem for the gray fox variant I just rip the fibers from the stem, but when working with hackle stem of color, like a natural brown/red hackle, I burn the fibers away in a mix of bleach and water. If you rip off those fibers some of the colors also disappear.

This is what you need to tie a Grey Fox Variant, my way.


Hook:              Partridge SLD #12-18
Thread:        Textreme 8/0 White
Tails:             Spade hackle fibers Coachman Brown
Body:            Stripped hackle stem ”Ginger”
Hackle:           Cock cape Coachman Brown/Grizzly

Tie in your thread, start 1/3 down from the eye of the hook, tie thread down to where the bend of the hook starts.

Pick out 8-10 nice stiff spade hackle fibers as tails and tie them in, make sure they stay on the top of the hook. The tail need to be 2 times the length of the hook. Wrap the thread up to where you tied in your thread.

Tie in the stripped hackle stem by wrapping your thread down again to the tail, make sure you have a nice even underbody.

Wrap the hackle stem in tight turns towards the point where we tied in the thread from the beginning. I try to finish the hackle stem under the hook, secure it with a couple of turns and make sure to cut the excess close to the body to avoid too much bulk.

Measure the length of your hackle feathers, 2-2,5 the hook gape. Tie in both of the feathers just behind the hook of the eye. I tie it onto the hook with an X winding which leaves the feathers in a 90 degrees angle to the hook. I wrap the brown hackle first because of that I make sure that that feather comes first. Cut excess when done.

 Leave the thread where the body starts.

First wrap the brown feather, secure it with two wraps, and don’t cut waste yet.

Now wrap the Grizzly feather, make sure that you hold it quite hard and really work the feather through the brown hackle, and do not end the feather at the same spot as the brown hackle that will give you unnecessary bulk. Now make sure to spin your bobbin, we don’t want a flat thread when working the thread through the hackle, which will mess up the hackle. Now wrap your thread through the hackle, again a good tension on the thread. When at the eye of the hook make two knots with your whip finisher.

Now work with the hackle, pull it too straight out those irritating fibers. Cut of the ones who give you too much trouble.
Flick used lacquer to seal his quill bodies, I use UV resin instead which gives me much better control, less smell and dries instantly.

Now ready for the catch of your life.. 

fredag 8 november 2013

Something different

Finished a frame this evening that have been in my mind since past midsummer. The frame was built in July, I have known all along which fly  I wanted to frame so I have been looking for a suitable background picture and a few weeks ago I finally found it, my buddy Per -Anders Nilsson posted a picture on Facebook of a really nice caddis so I asked him and luckily he let me borrow the picture for a couple of frames.

 The frame is not a boxframe from the beginning, it was hard to find a nice frame so I gave up and bought a nice frame that remade as a boxframe. Some work but totally worth it.

I decided to make two similar flies and position them in different poses and directions to make the fly as visible as possible.

A close-up on one of the flies, my Streaking Quill off course tied on a sexy Partridge SLD. This fly started me up as a flytyer, has since it´s birth been a dear friend of mine.

I made 2 frames this evening to see how my idea would work, I´m pretty satisfied and have decided that I will make 10 of them no more, no less.. So now I need to get my but away to buy some wood:-)

Over and out

söndag 3 november 2013

Halloween tying

Swapping flies is something I strongly recomend all tyers out there to take part in. It´s a great opputunity for you to evolve as a tyer. One thing though.. dont wait too long to take the time to sit down and actually tie the flies, to many times I have signed up for swaps and managend to get in trouble and have to sit fo a whole day and tie swapflies. Today was one of those Days...

First 14 flies for a midgeswap, and then 8 flies for a wetflyswap... Well now  I´m almost done by now..

For the Classic wetflyswap I wa supposed to tie the Butcher, but to honour Halloween, I tied the Bloody Butcher instaed.
Over and out

måndag 14 oktober 2013


Some time ago when I was messing with flies from Harry Darbees book Catskill Flytier I stumbled on a interesting pattern called Irresistible. Tied a couple but I didnt have the proper material for the tail and the wings, I hadto do it with deer hair which isnt any good for that, deer hair has too much air in its fibers so it just gets messy. The other day  Igot a piece of  White-Tail deer body sent to me from a over sea friend, Jack Fields from Central Pennsylvania (thanks Jack). And what a difference it made.

The hardest part of these flies is that you need to tie the body first and then the wing, it gets kind of crowded. On this fly the wing was mounted slightly to long toward the Eye of the hook, I will try to make one more proper later on.

Hook: Partridge SLD #14
Tail: White-Tail deer body
Body: Natural Deer
Wing: White-Tail deer body
Hackle: Dark Rusty Dun cock

In the book Catkill Flytier you can read "Originated by Joe Messinger. Joe sent his fly to Ken Lockwood in the hospital. Ken, an outdoor columnist, said, "I havn´t used this one, but it sure looks Irresitible" from there got its´name.

Time to hit the sack..

Over and out..

söndag 13 oktober 2013

Messing with a classic

Theodore Gordon’s Gordon Quill, proborably more known as Quill Gordon is one of my absolute favourites, to tie and to fish, both equally important. This fly work fantastic just as it is but during a fishing session I noticed that my way of fishing needed a slightly more buoyant Quill Gordon. I considered the fact of trying to become a better caster or a fly fisherman but came to the resolution that it was no point of trying that. So I decided to mess with the Quill Gordon and give it a body hackle that would give the fly longer drifts, especially in rougher water.

Normaly a body hackle takes away a lot of the body material effect. To prevent that from happening I decided to peal off the fibres on one side of the body hackle. This and the fact that I wound the hackle quite sparse gave the body that nice look only a stripped peacock quill can make. Another problem that I thought I could stumble on was the fact of that the hackle could slip on the quill body, I solved that by adding a thin layer of clear super glue before wrapping the body hackle. Finally  I got my fly as I wanted it, a fly with good buoyancy and with a nice visible quill body.

Besides from the fact that this fly works, I actually sent a sample of the fly to the Southern Appalachian Fly tying contest 2011, It gave me a third place. There’s off course a lot to say about competing with fly-tying, but I’m really proud about it. The one sent in for the Contest had a natural coloured bydyquill and hackles from a dark dun cock neck. The one shown here has a dyed brown quill from Polish Quills and hackles from a grizzly/cree coloured cock neck. The fly is tied on a size 14 Partridge SLD.

Over and out

söndag 29 september 2013


The best time together with the wise is sometimes when you are freestyling,or trying out thoughts developed in ones mind. Today I forced myself to sit down and do just that, have had some trouble to find the mojo for tying and thought that this could get me back, and yes it feels like it worked. A while ago I read an article about the Adams in "Fly and tie", an article written by my friend Ulf Börjesson. You could really smell how much he loves the fly Adams, as I also love the pattern, Reading the article got me thinking that maybe I would whip up some Freestyling Adams for my friend, just for fun offcourse.
My thoughts the last few Days was to make a different Adams, there are The Parachute Adams, Irresitible Adams etc.. hrm.. I have never seen a Quill Adams, well folks here it is..

I Think that it turned out pretty nice, in fact I think it´s awesome :-)

Hook:    #14 Partridge SLD
Thread:  Textreme 8/0 "Black"
Body:     Polish Quills "Natural" sealed with Deer Creek Diamond Fine Resin
Hackle:  Coachman Brown/Grizzly
Wings:   Hen cape tips

Over and out

tisdag 10 september 2013

Bracken Clock

Finally I found some time to hit the vise tonight, I got my promotion hooks from Partridge last week and I have wanted to get my sticky ones on the hooks for several days now. Unfortunatly I had to use the nice weather this weekend to sort out some stuff on our house, you know some of those "will do later" kind of things.
A fly that have caught my attention this year is a older North Country fly, The Bracken Clock. I got introduced to it by a friend on facebook, Bengt Andersson, he and his friend have caught loads of fish on it, so offcourse  I had to try it out. From pictures I have seen I thought that the fly had a solid peacock body, but a couple of weeks ago I saw a Picture in an old Veniard book and the body on that one was made by a red thread and peacock herl. So I had to try one of those on the Partridge Spider Hook, I used size 16 as I Think that size will be great to try on the Grayling in Gysinge later this fall.

Well I am still slightly confused by the background of the fly, I will get back to the blog to tell you all if it worked or not and hopefully with som more info about the fly. If anyone of you guys have some info, please let me know.

Over and out

måndag 19 augusti 2013

Gone Fishing... soon

Evening my friends
On wednsday afternoon I will go up North to my Gimdalen and my belowed Idsjöströmmen. I will actually go with my some of my new workmates, the new Place I work at has a batch of nice fly fishermen. So I have been really busy with tying flies for august grayling fishing. The Riverkeeper and my friend Lars-Åke Olsson told me that we need flies with peacock herl. Not hard for me to find suitable patterns with that in mind. I started with a pattern  I never tried Before, the Bracken Clock, a really old North Country fly pattern.

Bracken Clock
Hook: Partridge Spider #16
Body: Peacock herl
Hackle: Feather from the neck of a male Partridge
Thread: Red 

Next pattern was Another pattern I never tied Before, i have seen it but never tied or fished with it. The Grayling Witch.

Grayling Witch
Hook: Partridge SLD #16
But: Red wool yarn
Body: Peacock herl
Rib: Flat silver tinsel
Hackle: Dun cock
So.. Tonight I went throug my reels, new leaders, cleaned the lines etc. Tomorow I will pack the rest of the stuff so I will be ready wednsday morning, cant wait to wet my new flies..

See ya..

tisdag 13 augusti 2013

Back in Business

10 months since my last blogpost, in that post I said I was putting the blog to sleep.. I have thought about it for a while and  feel that I want to wake it up and see how it feels bloggin again.

Lots of stuff have happened that inspired me to try again.. I have become a Pro Staff member of Partridge of Redditch, I signed the contract a couple of days ago, it feels great, have really missed some of their hooks. Mark also showed me some new stuff coming out on the market that looks really interesting. I have also joined the Pro Staff of Polish Quills, I have used their quills for more than a year now and their stuff is pure quality.

So to celebrate these events... a Steel Blue Quill tied on a Partridge Spider Hook and with a quillbody from Polish Quills.

Over and out.../Niklas