Durable Flies

Bob Newman - 04/03/18

Britten Jay Skwala Fly Pattern

Two simple steps for improving durability

Durability of the fishing fly you tie is usually part of why you tie your own flies. Who wants to spend a bunch of time to tie a fly and have it fall apart after the first couple of fish? Some flies, like spey style flies, unfortunately are tied with materials that are more susceptible to damage by a fishes teeth. I’m going to focus on what could be called “standard” flies even though some of what I will say can be applied to any fly you tie.

The first thing to work on is to work very near to the breaking strength of your tying thread. Start your thread on a hook and pull the bobbin away from the hook at a 90 degree angle to see how much pressure it takes to break your thread. Once you know what the breaking strength of your thread is, attach all of your material with the thread at that tension. If your thread breaks too easily, I would go up to the next size of thread. Many folks try to use the thinnest thread available but not being able to put the maximum pressure on the material to hold it in place without using a large number of thread wraps will not make the fly any more durable.

Another important thing to improve the durability of flies is to "re-connect" the thread to the hook shank. Quite often tiers will tie in materials like dumbbell eyes, elk hair caddis wings, etc. and not reconnect the thread to the hook at least once as they tie in these components. What I mean by re-connect the thread while tying in dumbbell eyes is everyone knows to figure 8 the thread around the eyes and then wrap the thread under the eyes to firm up the tie in. It helps to take several turns of thread around the hook shank between each of these steps, it gives the thread a better anchor point to really tighten the eyeball down.

Give these ideas a try and see if you can improve the durability of the flies you tie.

- Bob Newman

  • Bob Newman - Fly Tier 50 plus year award winning fly tyer and commercial tyer