Bucktail tying problem [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Bucktail tying problem

02-16-2000, 07:06 PM
Being a "rookie" wannabe fly tyer...I've got a problem. Although I'm keeping things simple, sticking to mostly clousers...the bucktail that I'm tying with isn't laying flat, in line with the hook. Some of it is sticking out just about a 45 degree angle. Any "secrets" or "tricks"? Do I have to make an effort to use super straight bucktail? Or if it is slightly curved, should I make the curve face the hook?

I can only imagine the questions that will come up concerning flies requiring a little finesse.

Thanks, Doug B.

02-16-2000, 08:08 PM

I only use the top 1/2 of any bucktail. I find those fibers lay flatter and tend to not flare when I crank down on them on the hook. The hair on the lower portion of the bucktail tends to be "more hollow", so I am told and that is why it bends and flares. Give it a shot.....


02-16-2000, 10:05 PM

I agree with what John said.. use the strands from the tip of the bucktail first, these are generally the thinnest and softest. If you look at the bucktail you will see that as you move towards the base, the hairs get thicker. The hairs at the bottom are the ones that will most likely splay when you tie them in.

If you are still having problems, try adjusting the pressure you use on the tying thread. Make a few wraps with even pressure, then gradually increase it once the hair has been secured. You may also want to try taking a loop of thread around the bucktail completely at first, without going around the hook shank. Then make your next wrap around the bunch of bucktail and the hookshank, holding it in place. This tends to keep the hairs together and distributes the force of the thread evenly.

If none of this works, you may want to try another bucktail. Its hard to pick a good one until you know what you are looking for. I have at least one of every color that is sitting here unused because the hair isn't good for tying, or I have already taken the small usable portion.

Email me if you have any other questions, or post them here :)

-- Tom

02-16-2000, 10:26 PM
Doug -

I tend to never use bucktail for final upper or lower profiles of flies for this reason. It makes good tail, flank and filler but I prefer to top the fly with something other than bucktail. This is not to say that you can't do it, bucktails with sloping curves in the hair profile are quite suitable for this task.

Perhaps Jim Whelan could comment, his bucktails sent to the swap were beautifully tied and consistently well-profiled.

<!--http--><a href="" target="_blank"> striper fly archive </a><!--url-->

02-16-2000, 11:13 PM

This subject was covered in great detail at the the Y2K Tying Clave. Since you failed to answer the rollcall I will ignore this thread. Just kiddin Man!

steve moore
02-17-2000, 10:21 AM
Did you try taking the tail off the deer first? I've found that to help immensely. The darn buck keeps moving and I never get the things on right.

02-17-2000, 11:24 AM
Thanks, Tom and John, for the info.....I expected what Sully said, but the wife was working. Hopefully, I'll make some clave somewhere this season.

Juro, are you saying synthetics are better?

Mr. Moore....I had a reply for you but chose to bite my tongue.

steve moore
02-17-2000, 04:16 PM
Sorry for my earlier sarcasm. The answer to your question is actually that you are not tying the clouser minnow correctly. If you are using a commercially tied fly for a model, then you have been misled as to what a clouser is supposed to look like. All the bucktail should be tied on the same side of the hook shank. and actually should be about a 40 degree angle from the shank. If you are like most people you tie the eye on first, then tie in a clump of white bucktail on the top of the shank and over the figure 8 wraps holding the eye on. Then you flip it over and tie the other color bucktail on the opposite side, right? WRONG! The proper way to do it is to tie the eye on. Then flip the hook over and tie the white bucktail in so the hook point is covered by the bucktail. The tie in your crystal flash on top of the white and then the other color on top of that. This produces a much better fly and is easier to tie (IMHO). I also believe this is the way Bob Clouser designed the fly originally.

The other comments about choosing softer bucktail,not wrapping as tightly are valid as well.

02-17-2000, 07:15 PM
Mr. Moore,

No biggie...I'm glad I didn't shoot my mouth of and get a flamefest going on Juro's board!

If a friend had replied as you had....it would have gotten a laugh out of me. Not knowing you and the fact that I was looking for a little assistance....well...I was having a miserable day at work...the boss had just pi**ed me off...then I saw your reply.....grrrrumble...mmmumble...
FWIW....there was an article in the May '99 issue of Fly Fisherman magazine by Tom Earnhardt with a step-by-step "how to tie an original clouser"...at the end it mentioned that Mr. Clouser ties all on bottom when using synthetics. The article did show the fly being turned over...but who am I to argue.....I've only tied about 10 flies total...8 being clouser types. won't be scanning any too soon! :)

I also believe that the info can be found on www.flyshop.com

Doug Burgess

02-17-2000, 07:55 PM
Knowing you both I know that Steve just meant to make a funny metaphor (which is how I took it) and Doug's a quality guy who sincerely appreciates the help guys like Steve offer.

The important thing is that this Forum is no more Juro's than it is Doug's or Steve's or anyone elses. In fact the intent is that this place is a co-op, first in terms of a BB; then in member articles and the Guild; finally in real world activities and payback for members once we get linked up with sponsors.

What if we raised enough through sponsored activities to fund a contest where the prize is transportation and lodging for four days on Andros Island in mid-winter for a fisherperson and his/her spouse? Lofty goal, but that's exactly where I hope this forum ends up.

http://www.flyfishingforum.com/images/flytalk/crazycat.gif Oh 'dem sHaCk nAsTieS - the fever's about to break, I can feel it in the air...

02-17-2000, 08:29 PM
I know what you mean about the flairing problem, been there. The finer softer fibers don't flair out as easily. One thing about natural materials is the inconsistency (not all deer are created equal). If you find a particular color or texture in a shop, buy it, you may have to search to find it again. I recently learned to spin deer hair and it seems the body hair is preferred for this purpose since it is hollow and flairs easily. The bucktail at the end of the tail does seem to be the longest, thinest and softest and does not frizz like the body hair but technique certainly plays a part in the finished product. I am certainly no pro but I have learned a couple of things that you may find helpful. Add the material in layers rather than tying on a clump the size of a pencil in one wrap. Make a few loose wraps starting at the point you want the bucktail secured working towards the butt of the hair, increase the tension on the thread tightenig your wraps as you work your way forward to the butt. It's important that the material be secured and tight wraps will make the fly last longer but if you make your wraps too tight where the material sweeps back it will flair.
Hope this helps.
Juro, thanks for the compliment. Can't wait to see the other creations in the fly swap.

02-17-2000, 10:44 PM
I like the way you guys are self-moderating....Way to go. Regarding the clouser, I was taught like Jim to make looser and looser wraps as you move away from the eye and really crank down only in the last few wraps approaching it. The loose wraps, larger in diameter, tame the hair without crimping the straw-like fibers. The tight ones hold it in place and compact the head in the front. The resulting conical shape is a bit more fishy in profile. Caveat: if you don't really tighten down early enough, some of the hair will pull out. Using Danville flat wax is important.

I'm certainly no authority, but I find the body determines how the top should look, so, Steve, I prefer to tie the "underside" only after tying down the part that goes over the eyes. Guess it's just how I interpret the pattern. I'll have to try it the other way.... I should hurry. The season is near. I can taste it!!

02-17-2000, 11:18 PM

Try this recipe. And like that guy on the cooking show, add some BAMM!


I hope this link isn't a problem.

02-19-2000, 04:44 AM
Doug- Steve makes a good point about tying all the bucktail on the gape side of the hook . This allows for more flexibility in the size of the eyes used because the wing will help turn the fly over. Here's a suggestion that I use when tying with the "one-sided" wing. After you tie in the eyes tie in some body material behind the eyes(bend-side) and make several wraps back to the eyes and figurre-8 over the eyes securing the body just in front of the eyes. Then turn the fly over and add the wing. The body (maybe flash, chenille, yarn,etc.) helps hold the eyes in place especially if you add it while the super glue is still wet, and you are addding super glue to the wraps around the eyes. I found this after having several clousers turn their heads after a few casts. This is why many tiers put the white belly over the bar of the eyes- added security to keep the eyes from twisting. ronl

02-19-2000, 08:43 AM
Sully wrote:

&gt; Doug,
&gt; Try this recipe. And like that guy on the cooking show,
&gt; add some BAMM!
&gt; http://relaunch.reel-time.com/pattern/Rogers/clouser/clouser.htm
&gt; I hope this link isn't a problem.

<b>Not a problem,</b> your reference adds valuable knowledge from a great personality in the coastal flyfishing scene... I always walk over to Page to say hello whenever I see her. I'm sure she'll be at Wilmington. Maybe she'd be interested in making a guest appearance for us sometime.

Actually, I do have one request... if you'd put the link between the <font color="ff0000">[<!--no-->url=&lt;url&gt;;<!--no-->]</font><!--color--> and the <font color="ff0000">[<!--no-->/url<!--no-->]</font><!--color--> then I wouldn't have to type it!

02-19-2000, 07:29 PM
Thanks for all the info....now it is time to go practice on my new .....ahhhh......ummmmm....well....I just had to have it....you know.....a brandy-new Renzetti S/W Traveler.....help "I'm wading in too deep"! There's no turning back!! My spinning gear is getting VERY jealous.

Doug B.

Bought some synthetics, too. There goes the down payment on that new kayak!! DOH!!

02-19-2000, 08:13 PM
My earlier comments were a little over the top so I am revising the message. Although I was displeased about the way I may have been profiled a while back, my intent is to work together with all other websites (that make sense) to maximize the amount of fun we can pack into a season.

I've also extended the modify time-out to 24 hours for such cases.


02-19-2000, 11:38 PM

I can here your sluggo's abandoning ship as I write this.

02-20-2000, 03:20 AM
Doug- I finally broke down and bought some of those jig hooks- Eagle Claw#413 for tying my clousers. The shank is the same as Mustad 34007 but the hooks come out of the package sharp. I only had a limited time to try them as on the second cast the fly froze in mid air but they seem to work better than clousers tied on a straight shank hook. At least you can throw smaller eyes and still get them to jig.
The only place I can find them is: TERMINAL TACKLE CO.phone no.:631-269-6005. ronl

02-20-2000, 05:03 AM
The Sluggos jumped ship when I started using Bass Assassin products and Zoom Super Flukes!
Thanks...I'll check out the Eagle Claw jighooks. I have the Terminal Tackle catalog. In fact, I have a LOT of jighooks left over from the freshwater bass fishing that I have all but abandoned.

Doug B.