Tying in Deer / Elk hair - Hairwings

badcaster

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Jan 16, 2008
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Any advice on how to tie in a bunch of deer / elk hair as a hair wing with reasonably fine thread so that the thread does not cut through the bunch but the bunch is tied in tight enough so as not to spin round the shank when the fly is finished?

I've been using pinch and loop with about 4-5 turns on a single bunch for tying general hair winged sedges / dry flies, i.e. not muddlers or GH sedges.

I always use a bed of thread on the shank before tying in the hair wing and though this helps, it sometimes still spins, is it just that the tension applied is not quite enough?

To use multiple 'Thinner' bunches is not possible as the pinch and loop tie-in point is not too predicatable or repeatable for that matter!!:D

Another useful hint I find with these wings after they've been tied in (so long as they dont spin) is to take hold of the hairwing near the tips with my left hand and raise it upwards away from the shank before placing a coouple of tight turns at the base of the wing - this leaves the hair wing nicely on top of the shank and not splayed down the sides.:thumbs:
 

danielp

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Apr 1, 2009
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I find the key to stop it spinning is in the method used for the pinch and loop. Instead of tightening the loop downwards I perform the pinch and loop and pass the thread under the hook and back up between my finger and thumb before tightening upwards. 99% of the time this stops the hair spinning.

As an aside personally I wouldnt be using thin thread with elk hair, that stuff needs some strength to hold it down. If you are tying smaller deer hair flies could I suggest roe, coastal or sika as alternatives? They have a tendency to flare more but with a pinch and loop as above I get good results.

Dan
 

Pritts Apprentice

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I like to use Kevlar thread with hair, particulaly hollow type hair. Stack the hair and then take a turn of thread around it, before placing on the hook shank and taking you remaining turns around the hook and hair and put as much tension on as you like with the Kevlar. Finally get some head cement smeared on the thread and hair and where the butts have been cut, get some on the ends to. The capillary action of the hollow hair will take up the cement creating a much stronger binding.

Standard thread is a bit of a waste of time, too many breakages when applying pressure or slippages later when the flies in use on the water. To stop the hair spinning and flaring keep using the pinch method you are employing, just make sure your first wrap is around the hair only.
 

stevekale

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Use a thread you can flatten - spin the bobbin anti-clockwise - or tighten, spin clockwise. There's no need to use a pinch 'n loop. Just don't let go of the hair too soon. It can be useful to do a couple of not too tight wraps (flat thread) and then bind over these with firm wraps. There's also no need for kevlar - and too fine a kevlar will simply slice through the hair. I simply use UTC 70 unless I am spinning deer hair. If you find UTC 70 too slippery, Uni 6/0 is fine for most smaller flies with a deer hair wing. If you are tying a larger fly or spinning the deer hair then Danville's monocord 3/0 is great.
 
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shuck raider

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May 17, 2006
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Belfast, Norn Iron
Watch the video clip of Hans Weilenmann tying his CDC & Elk here to see how easy it can be :thumbs:

People lash on far too many turns when tying in deer hair. Remember what John Geirach says: "Every turn of thread on a hook better have a damn good reason for being there."
 

Hans Weilenmann

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May 24, 2006
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Watch the video clip of Hans Weilenmann tying his CDC & Elk here to see how easy it can be :thumbs:

People lash on far too many turns when tying in deer hair. Remember what John Geirach says: "Every turn of thread on a hook better have a damn good reason for being there."

Thanks for the plug, Arthur. The url above will work, but perhaps the more recent video may show it more up close:

CDC&Elk - tied by Hans Weilenmann - YouTube
(best viewed in 720p)

Cheers,
Hans W
 
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badcaster

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Jan 16, 2008
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212
Thanks to all for the sound advice, I'm chuffed with the number of options suggested to try out - a fab response that'll be of use to many i'm sure.

As we all know its one of those bread and butter techniques used to quickly create durable and deadly flies throughout the season so obviously any more suggestions please keep 'em coming...:)
 
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