Santa seems to have delivered a little early this year, what with a nice package waiting for me as I got in from work on Monday night. Inside was a selection of materials and flies very generously sent by the small-fly-genius that is Mr Andy Baird of Small Fly Funk.
Andy is an addict when it comes to fishing and tying small flies, and to say he’s an expert tier in the realm of micro flies is an understatement. As I’ve mentioned before, Small Fly Funk is THE best website on the topic of tying and fishing small flies/midges available today.
Included in the envelope were quite a few hackles taken from a Whiting Midge saddle, a saddle I’ve been looking at purchasing for quite a while. Without trying to sound too crazy (I suppose they are feathers after all), the midge hackles are amazing. Densley barbed and uniform throughout their length, the genetic breeding of these roosters by Whiting Farms is truly amazing…and these are only ‘Bronze Grade’! The midge saddles, as their name suggest, offer the smallest of hackles and are genetically bred specifically for tiers of small flies. These saddles would suit patterns ranging from #20 down to #28, maybe smaller at a push.
Also included by Andy were a number of Daiichi 1110′s in size #24,and the venerable Vince Marinaro Midge hooks in size #28, perfect for small midge pupa. Both hooks fantastic in their own right, and with a huge small fly tying heritage.
Lastly, Andy generously included a selection of his flies, and they’ve given me so much food for thought. Such a thinly practiced art is small fly tying/fishing that it’s sometimes hard to compare your flies to those tied by others. Andy’s flies are, in general, some what of an inspiration to my tying, and to see the quality of them up close is a real eye-opener. So much so, I feel the need to try and raise my quality tying in the small fly arena.
A selection of flies by the master, Andy Baird (the largest fly below is a size #24!)
After starting the week with a weird amalgamation of training courses, eye straining web development, and arguments with colleagues over why they are required to stick to IT protocols, it’s a joy to have had a relaxing evening at the vice tonight. Tomorrow I’ll be standing in waist high waters with air temps hovering around 0°C, but I’m always hopeful for a hatch of blue wings, small olives, or the ever faithful underdog, the chironomid; so, a few flies need to be tied.
Tonight’s main focus was to neaten my biot paraduns, as I always tend to either tie the biot off with too much bulk or with too big a thorax. Tonight I think I’ve stuck to my “Less, Less, Less!!!” rule. If I was to give any sort of tip to someone taking up fly tying I would, most definitely, recommend the use of less thread wraps, as I think a lot of us over do our tying. As another small-fly master once said, “Tying small flies and fishing them is fly fishing stripped to its bare essentials” (Ed Engle, Tying Small Flies). Amen to that Ed.
Tan Biot Paradun
Thread: Powersilk 10/0, grey
Post: Tiemco Aero Dry, fluorescent pink
Wing: Whiting Midge Saddle, medium dun
Tails: Micro fibbets, silver dun
Body: Goose biot, tan
Thorax: Superfine, tan
Andy, thanks again mate, the materials (and your superb flies) have opened my eyes even further into the world of small fly tying.