Little Blonde Caroline [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Little Blonde Caroline

Steve K.
03-17-2005, 12:15 PM
A lighter variation for low and clear water - pretty buggy lookin'
this one has been fished - so the wing is a little tattered
Hook: #8 200R
Body: tan angora yarn
Rib: oval gold
hackle: redish, olive ring neck rump
Wing: wood duck (mallard dyed)

A question for you guys who fish strip wings, married or bronze mallard.
- Do you find they come apart and end up being a bunch of fibers, or do you reinforce/ protect them with spray fixative or flexcement(?) or something else.
I think it's kind of a shame to design a beautiful married wing and end up with a clump of multi colored strands.
OR is it just part of the "breaking in" of the fly, and the fish eat them anyway. They just don't look as appealing


03-17-2005, 12:47 PM
Nice fly.

I don't put fixative or anything else on my strip or married wings because doing so takes a lot of action out of the feather wing. I haven't really had a problem with wings splitting and coming apart, though I know if I use a duck feather other than bronze mallard for a spey wing, it probably won't stay together like the bronze mallard. This has to do with the structure of the duck flank feathers and has nothing to do with how it is tied or fished. This is why Catskill style dries and wets call for a "rolled wing", which simply means that the fibers have been folded against one another. However, if you don't tie bronze mallard in by the grey root of the feather, it will split.

I have found with married or strip wing flies where the wing is vertical, the fibers need to be collapsed right on top of each other or they will separate and split. This is really no different than duck quill winged flies for trout. And with dees each wing needs to be kept (pushed) together at the tie in (preferably with not more than 2-3 turns of thread) before the other one is tied in the same way to keep them from splitting.

What are the thoughts from others on this.

03-18-2005, 07:37 AM
Have to agree with flytyer. If the wing is properly set, weather it is bronze mallard or some type of married wing, it will tend to stay together. Even if it does come apart it can usually be stroked back into shape with no ill affects.


Steve K.
03-18-2005, 07:45 AM
Thanks for your responce Flytier,

I understand what your saying about the "roots", I tend to cut the wing slips to the length of the fly - not find a section the right length for the fly.
That's probably why I see splitting.
I have a Blonde Caroline in the vice right now , minus the wing (I started two days ago and haven't found the time to finish.)

I'll post it when I finish,

Steve K.
03-18-2005, 08:38 AM
I tied this with a natural turkey wing , "by the grey root of the feather"
(but messed up the head in the process)
The wing sets well and the topping worked out nicely , I just used way too much thread and didn't bring the green guinea hackle forward enough.

Getting there,

03-18-2005, 04:57 PM

Nicely done, except for what you already mentioned. Instead of tying the wing forward when you tie the face hackle in further back (like you did on this example) just tyie the wing in right at the place the face hackle is tied and leave a small section of the return wire bare of thread. This is a very common practice among the best tyers here in the northwest. This way you avoid the elongated head.

With turkey tail or wing secondaries, goose shoulder, bustard tail or wing, or swan shoulder or wing secondaries, you can tie the feather in anywhere along its length because the feather fibers have little "hooks" or "zip-locks" along the whole length of the feather. That is why they are used for married wings. Once zippped together, the different colors of a married wing become unified as a single feather strip.

It is only with duck flank feathers that you must tie them in by the base of the fibers. Bronze mallard is the easiest to see this on because it has the grey roots near the stem. The other ducks have a similar area on their flank feathers, but they are not a different color like the bronze mallard. You really do need to size duck flank to the size fly you are tying. The exception to this is when tying trout dries or wets with "rolled wings" in the Catskill style since the wing fibers are "rolled" or bunched together in you finger prior to being tied in; but the rolled wing looks very different (sort of like a small paint brush) than a duck flank wing on a spey or strip wing salmon or steelhead fly.