On Line Fly Tying Course Part #4 Wing Case Slip, Using A Bubbing Brush
In this installment, I’ll be showing you how to cut, prepare and tie in a wing case for one of the world’s best-known trout nymphs, the Gold-ribbed hare’s ear. There are anglers who believe that this pattern, in the right sizes and colors, can be used to imitate almost any aquatic insect. I’ve fished just long enough to believe there is some merit to this theory. If you fly fish for trout in rivers, you should not be without this pattern….
. I carry both natural-colored (as seen in this photo sequence) and dark brown-colored GRHE nymphs, and variations that have bead-heads.
This pattern requires that you purchase a hare’s mask. As the name suggests, it’s the skin/ears taken from the front of a rabbits head. The fur best-suited for use as a tail on a GRHE comes from the center of the mask, roughly the area between the eyes, above and below them by about an inch~depending on it’s size. If you take a close look at the
properties of this fur (length, color, stiffness, black tips etc) you can quickly determine the useful amount of fur on your mask. In other words~start from between the eyes and work out! Masks are available in a good variety of colors, I believe natural, dk. brown and olive are the best ones to have~in that order.
Wing case. For the wing case on this GRHE, I use a slip cut from a turkey tail feather. Feather color can vary quite a bit, I prefer pretty dark, mottled ones. The common rationale for the dark color is that in the hours/days prior to emergence, the wing cases on natural nymphs begin to darken. If, as some believe, trout DO key in on nymphs
that have become active during this period, the inclusion of a dark wing case makes perfect sense.
This one will address,
1.Wing case~slip from a dark brown, mottled turkey tail feather
2.Using a dubbing brush
3.Using all techniques addressed in this series to tie a Gold-ribbed hare’s ear nymph
Hook:Standard nymph hook size #18-#8
Thread:Brown 8/0 or 6/0 depending on fly size
Weight:Medium lead wire
Tail:Hare’s mask fur
Rib:small Mylar ~ gold
This is sold 2-sided on a spool. One side is silver, the other gold. To confuse matters, the silver is usually pointing out when you buy it.
Abdomen:Blended rabbit fur dubbing
Wing case:Turkey tail feather, as described above
Thorax:Blended rabbit fur dubbing
1.Position the hook in the vise and make approx. 8-9 wraps of lead. Tie in your thread, and secure the lead wraps on both ends as shown~tapered.
2.With your scissors laying flat on their sides in the middle of your hare’s mask, pinch and lift a small clump of fur and trim it very close to the hide.
3.Position the butt ends of this fur over the hook shank as shown. Make several loose wraps of thread to secure them, then few tight ones to be safe.
4.This is about how the tail should look tied-in.
5.Cut a length of the Mylar rib material and tie it in with the color you DON’T want on the fly facing you~silver in this case.
6.Dub the abdomen (tapered) a little more than half the hook shank in length.
7.At this time, you’ll want to prepare the slip of turkey feather if you do it the way I like to. I use a dab of head cement to protect the slip of turkey feather. This helps to keep the fibers together, both when tying and when it meets the unfriendly teeth of a trout. Pick a nicely figured/mottled section of your turkey tail feather and clip it from the stem, perpendicular to the direction of the fibers. (as seen in the background of this photo) Use your bodkin (or a toothpick) to apply a drop of thinned head-cement to the pc. of feather. Pinch the feather and stroke the glue down it’s entire length. The glue should be thin enough to penetrate right through. Set it aside to dry. You CAN skip this step, but its easy, quick to do and adds some durability to the fly.
8.Begin to wrap the rib forward as shown.
9.Tie in the slip of turkey feather as shown, facing back. With or without the head cement treatment, turkey tail feathers have a nice-looking dull side, and a shiny sort of fluted side. (pictured here) I like the dull side visible when the fly is done, so the slip is tied in shiny side up.
10.Dub a nice, bulky thorax as shown leaving some room close to the eye of the hook. You’ll need this room shortly. Be careful that you don’t dub the blended rabbit too tightly onto the thread. It should look fuzzy…
11.Using your right hand, pull the turkey slip forward tightly over the thorax of the fly. Grab the bobbin with your left hand and position the thread as shown.
12.Bring the bobbin around to the back of the fly, keeping the thread tight, and the tension on the turkey slip as shown. Let go of the bobbin, and grab it once it’s hanging below the fly again. Make another wrap of thread in the same manner, only increasing the thread tension on each wrap. Holding onto the turkey slip all of this time (while being a pain to do) allows you to make minor adjustments in the alignment of it when the thread grabs. Once tight, release the turkey slip and make a couple of VERY tight wraps of thread. Trim the butt end of the turkey slip close and make a couple of more wraps to cover the tips. Tie-off with a couple of half-hitches, add some head cement.
13.Dubbing brush~this little beauty comes from www.peakfishing.com but there are lots of styles. I’ve even seen Velcro, self-adhesive tape (hooks) stuck to a Popsicle stick that do a good job. They are valuable tools nonetheless. They are used to tease out the dubbed fur, usually to create the illusion of legs on a nymph. At the very least, they blur the silhouette of the fly making it harder for a fish to tell whether or not its a fake. For this fly, press it against the underside/side of the thorax and gently rub it a few times. It does it’s job well.
The finished fly
You’ve done it~tied a fly that you’ve probably heard allot about! (at least my version of it) There are lots of ways to customize this great fly, have some fun with it. Next up…..flies that float!