classic spey/dee fly tiers [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: classic spey/dee fly tiers

04-08-2004, 08:12 PM
I applaud all the classic spey/dee fly tiers and their use of high quality and high end material. The flies are truly a work of art and each and everyone of you should know that I am downing a beer in your honor tonight.

I, on the other hand, am a cheap SOB that will buy the lower grade material. I seem to tie very low grade flies, but they are productive. Again, Cheers to the well gifted tiers.


04-08-2004, 09:38 PM
It is a misnomer that you have to use high end (re: expensive) materials to tie quality dee and spey flies. The most expensive part of them need only be the hook, and if you use the Mustad 80 series salmon hook, even that is not too bad.

You don't need to use blue-eared pheasant (eventhough it makes a lovely fly) hackle or jungle cock on spey flies (there are only a very few spey flies that use jungle cock nails), and leaving the jungle cock off a dee fly doesn't make it fish must less effectively. Good old-fashioned schlappen is a fine spey hackle that is also very cheap (it costs about the same as marabou). And Whiting has its wonderful Spey Hackle Necks and Saddles that retail for $30.00 or less.

Teal, gadwall, or pintail aren't very expensive either. If you want to go even cheaper, one can always use grey mallard as a substitute for them (yes, I know grey mallard doesn't have as distinctive a barring or as fine a barb as the other three mentioned). Bronze mallard is not expensive either, especially if you duck hunt or know someone who does. And Chinese rooster necks provide hackle tip wings for Glasso style speys. Turkey tail is cheap and makes a very nice dee wing.

Dubbing is so cheap that it isn't a problem either. Tinsel is also cheap. And one doesn't need to use silk floss on dee or spey flies, plain old rayon floss works very well.

Since the components needed to tie dee or spey flies are so inexpensive, virtually anyone could afford to buy the requisite materials and not be out anymore cash than if he were tying hairwing or marabou flies. This leaves the final factor in tying good spey or dee flies, putting in the time to learn the technique to tie them properly. Once you learn how to tie them properly, it is fairly easy to tie a dozen spey or dee flies in 1.5 hours.

04-08-2004, 11:59 PM
A dozen spey flies in an hour and a half? Hell it takes me all day to tie a dozen floss flies. Between the dogs, fishing, the dogs, the wife, the baby, and the dogs! Not to mention the dogs. Oh yeah and the cat.

One reason for the post was a few fly shops back east and one here, ranted about the higher quality capes and whatnot being better to tie with. In my little peanut head, I ask why and went with the off color or very old since I am sure the fish are not going to scrutinize my fly. (Fish) "hey this guy uses the $9 cape of spey hackles from 1988, don't bite that one." LOL

By the way, your welcome for the complement.

Ronn Lucas
04-09-2004, 12:52 AM
Hi LoopHiTech,

flytyer laid out the needed materials for Speys & dees on the cheap well. Let me lay out the same for full dressed flies. go here and see what can be done with 100% inexpensive and readily available materials.

One fly even has tinsel from a copper scrub pad!

At any rate, I'll tip a cup of coffee to your beer. :)

Happy Trails!

04-09-2004, 01:19 AM
Absolutely! I have heard such drivel about the need to buy the most expensive necks etc. for tying effective flies since I began tying back in 1962 at age 9. I suppose the G.R. Hare's Ear or Pheasant Tail Nymph never catch fish because they use nothing but cheap materials.

I understand perfectly what you are saying regarding some folks at some shops making the false claim that you need to tie with the priciest stuff to tie a fly well. Me thinks they are trying to sell more of the expensive capes than selling tyers what they really need to tie spey or dee flies.

Heck, since I almost exclusively tie salmon and steelhead flies anymore, I haven't spent more than $20.00 for a rooster neck in years. And I still have an unused jucngle cock neck and another one that I am using now that I bought way back in 1972 from Barry and Kathy Beck when they had a fly shop in Berwick. PA. I bought the last 4 jungle cock necks they were able to get because of the ban on non-domestically raised jungle cock for the princely sum of $15.00 each.

Same with trout fly materials. Nearly all trout dry flies could be tied with #3 dry fly capes from the U.S. growers. In fact, the only time a commercial or pro tyer buys anything other than #3 genetic necks is when he is tying a lot of flies #20 to #24.

By the way, the secret to getting up to a dozen spey or dee flies in 1.5 hours is to tie a lot of them. I've tied around 3,500 dozen of them in the last 13 years. And I use a lot of schlappen and recently the $20.00 Whiting Spey Hackle Necks on them. Do I use blue-eared pheasant? Yes. However, I refuse to pay over $85.00 for a full skin, and the last one I bought this past February I got for $46.00 for a mature 4 year old bird's skin.

04-09-2004, 09:24 AM
i want to know the supplier of your BEP skins!!! :whoa:

i concur with flytyer et al., you can invest what ever you want and get a quality fly. some like to go with the best of the best, are willing to pay for it, and they tie excellent flies. You can also do it on the cheap, and with some careful considerations, and close scrutiny of materials, you will still tie a very high quality fly that fishes as well as the "gold standard", and you probably couldn't tell the difference just by looking at them (unless you know what you're looking for). regardless, the fish don't give a damn. me personnally? i'm more middle of the road.. i like my nicer alec jackson/partridge hooks, BEP hackles, occassional golden pheasant crests, and jungle cock eyes, but even that stuff isn't terribly expensive. on the other hand. i also use mylar tinsel, died angora dubbing, and basic wire for ribbing. pretty inexpensive. either way, i really hope expense isn't something that disuades someone from trying these things out. been tying them for about a year now, and i think they're a BLAST to tie and fish!!! any more, they're therapy for my not so pleasant days at work!!! :smokin: :smokin: :smokin: :smokin: that, and a nice single malt!!!!:devil: :devil:

04-09-2004, 05:27 PM
Feiger, Ronn, Loophitech,

You guys absolutely nailed it! Nobody should be disuaded from trying their hand at tying dee. spey, or classic full-dressed featherwings. The materials to tie the flies do not have to be the expensive, rare ones to have a good looking fly. Besides, learning how to tie them and then practicing with the pricey feathers is a waste of hard-to-get materials.

I never scrimp on hooks or tinsel though. I always use high quality hooks (nearly all of my flies are tied on Daiichi hooks because they have the best points and temper in the business) and with Lagartun metallic tinsels (again it is some of the best available) on my flies. The hook is the chassis of the fly and the quality Lagartun tinsel is only $2.00 a spool.

After a person learns how to tie them well, learns how different materials behave, and knows how to manipulate the materials he is tying with, he can go out and buy things like Kori Bustard (which sells for $200.00 to $400.00 for a pair of tail feathers). Until then, use the cheaper, not inferior, materials.

And above all, enjoy your time at the vise. So what if it takes you an hour to tie a spey fly, or 4 hours to tie a featherwing classic. I can think of a lot more things that are not near as rewarding or productive as spending time at the vise.

Ronn Lucas
04-09-2004, 08:29 PM
"...or 4 hours to tie a featherwing classic." Only four hours? Geeze, mine take me about two days for a mildly complex fly and a week for a complex one! Not straight time of course but the minutes here and there add up. Then, there is material prep and feather matching. I spend countless hours at this. Much more than actual tying time.

Kori Bustard. A few weeks ago, a fellow was passing out Kori for free! Well, a donation to the National Zoo for Kori Bustard preservation was encouraged.

Anyone who knows me and has seen my feathers knows I love feathers. The more unusual the better. It is not necessary to tie the so called classic full dressed patterns with expensive materials but, if a person gets into the free style flies, the hunt for feathers begins. It can get very expensive if one takes this road but even there, some patient searching and networking will turn up materials in unusual places and not necessarily for an arm & a leg. I once got a full Monkey skin at an antique shop! It is amazingly beautiful. I love to show folks my Monkey.........LOL!!!!! Good thing I have some small patches of Monkey to use because I can't bring myself to cut any off the full skin. The material search can be almost as much fun as tying at times.

Then there are the hooks. That is a whole area of discussion by it's self. Many of my free style flies require hooks in excess of 4" in length and over 9/0 in gape. Those just aren't available at the local shop. I just finished a project where I needed a lot of these huge hooks so Ron Reinhold and I came up with them but at a price. Some are about $20 per hook! You gotta do what you gotta do though. LOL Now that you have $20 hooks, you just can't strap any ol thing on them. I like beads so I had some made that were in excess of $50 per bead. I know, I'm off the deep end but I'm having a lot of fun there. Ha Ha Ha Come on in, the water is fine! :hehe:

The fact remains though, even decent free style flies can be done on the cheap and, I would encourage anyone who has ever thought of tying the fancies to give it a try.

Happy Trails!
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04-09-2004, 08:44 PM

You and I got it bad though with the searching for materials and hooks. I agree, looking for the material is rewarding, not nearly as rewarding as tying the flies though.

Bargains can be found if a person keeps looking and following leads to the materials. The last blue-eared skin I found is a very well done taxidermy mount that my wife claims is too nice to pluck a feather from. I might be in the same boat as you with your monkey skin with this blue-eared. And the best part is it only cost me $46.00 plus $11.00 shipping.

Seriously folks, any of you who have thought about tying spey, dee, classic featherwings, or free style should just jump in and give it a try. Anyone with decent tying skills can tie them. Come on in, the water is fine.

04-11-2004, 05:22 PM

Sweeeet website dude, much appreciated. That is my budget range, .43 flies! LOL :eyecrazy:

Tight lines


04-11-2004, 06:26 PM
I`ll just let Feiger tie mine:devil: :devil: :smokin:

04-12-2004, 11:17 AM
I had a buddy that always hooked me up and then he decided to get serious about schooling and left me high and dry!!!:tsk_tsk:

So I started tieing my own :eyecrazy: .

The nerve of him to make me work!!!!! :razz: :devil:

04-17-2004, 12:12 PM
Of course you will let me tie your feather wings for you...:chuckle:

And if you'll give me that speycaster line that just sang on my sage 9140, i'll keep you in them for a long long time.......:chuckle: :chuckle: :chuckle: :smokin: :smokin: :whoa: :whoa:

No dice, huh?!?!?:)

04-18-2004, 10:07 AM
Guess I will just have to do with these old ugly hair wing things I tie. I know they wont ever catch anything, but then I`m so old I dont want to go to all the trouble of reeling one one those big old Steelhead in, just completely wears me out.

PS You cant have my Spey Caster. ;)

04-18-2004, 10:26 AM
Isn't that what this is all about anyway?

04-18-2004, 12:44 PM
It is!! but some people on these pages, i seriously wonder!!!:whoa: :smokin:

but hell, those guys tend to take EVERYTHING to seriously!! oh well...