: Bad (Deer) Hair Day . . .
02-11-2003, 09:52 AM
Well, I made a couple more attempts at spinning some deer hair poppers but was not very happy with the results. Try as I might, the hair just did not pack as tightly as I would like, although the second one came out much better than the first and is almost as tightly packed as the store-bought model that I'm trying to copy. One of the problems I'm having is getting enough hair tied in at the eye so that the hair is packed at the front of the fly. I tried spreading some head cement on the face of the second popper to harden it up a bit and that seemed to help. Another problem I had was trying to pack and trim the hair without messing up the tail materials. Any more tips from the experts?
I'm going to keep trying and hope that they continue to improve. If my fingers hold out, maybe I can spin up 7 poppers that will be worthy of submitting for the freshwater swap :rolleyes: .
02-11-2003, 10:10 AM
Q, that picture looks pretty good. Its a lot better than my early attempts.
Practice is the key to feeling comfortable with deer hair. I'm still getting there.
02-11-2003, 10:26 AM
It's okay if you're trying to perfect the process on the basis of aesthetics, but those two poppers will get clobbered by fish. And they're the judges that really matter.
I think they look very good, especially the second one.
02-11-2003, 01:04 PM
Thanks for the kind words, but they actually look better in the photos than they do in real life. My main concern is that the hair isn't packed tightly enough to make the flies as bouyant as they should be. It also makes it more difficult to trim the body to the proper shape. As for aesthetics, well, I enjoy tying flies that look nice, especially if I intend to submit them for a swap.
02-11-2003, 01:39 PM
They look pretty good to me. I hear ya on the problem of stacking hair toward the eye of the hook. I have problems with that as well. This weekend, I would take a pinch of deer hair, take two wraps with the thread and tighten down to spin it. After secure, push hard back on the deer hair and make you next wrap with thread immediately in front of the clump you just laid down, constantly pushing the deer hair toward the tail section of the fly. After a few turns of the thread, lay your next pinch of deer hair down and continue the process. By pushing back hard on the deer hair and making a few wraps in front of the clump you just laid down, you have a tight bunched deer hair bug. For me it just gets a little harder stacking and spinning deer hair close to the eye of the hook. Keep up the good work Quentin.
02-11-2003, 01:41 PM
Q - Those look great. I don't think you need to pack them any tighter that that second fly - it looks pefect. They all get water logged sooner or later so you just have to rotate them and let them dry on the vest.
Leave a nice collar of flared deer hair just before the tail and you wont have to worry about snipping the feathers. Creates an even greater disturbance in the water too.
You might want to experiment with some slightly racier colors, however :hehe:
02-12-2003, 06:29 PM
Q: Both bugs look really good.
Remember that the more hair you stack, the heavier the bug will be, think of relative buoyancy, relative to overall size, relative to wind resistance & casting effort, relative to hook gap penetration in the water, relative to a realistic level of floatation and water disturbance/noise, say imitating a large moth.
02-13-2003, 12:14 AM
To pack the hair tighter, you need some sort of hair packing tool, finger nails are too flexible and you will get very sore finger tips as well using your nails. An old pen barrel works rather well for this and it is far cheaper than buying one of the commercially available packers made of brass or wood.
Use a good strong thread, my favorite is Danville's Flat Waxed Nylon, and use a bunch of hair that is between a pencil and your little finger in diameter. For all but the bunch at the butt of the fly, cut the tips off the hair just before tying and spinning it. Spin the hair on a bare hook is at all possible because this allows the thread holding the hair in place to slide on the shank and thus the hair gets packed tighter. Also, use a flexible cement such as Dave's Fleximent to hold the thead and hair in place after it is spun and packed. Just put a dollup of cement of the hook where you are going to spin the hair, then spin the hair over the cement.
Also, when spinning hair, place two loose wraps of thread over the hair bunch and then let go of the hair as you wrap the thread around the hook. This allows the hair to spin and it also results in the hair being trapped by the thread in different places as you wrap. don't stop wrapping until the hair bunch stops rotating around the hook.
At the head of the fly, the last two bunches should be not more than a pencil in diameter and packed after each one is tied and spun. It will look like the hair is over the hook eye before either of these last two bunches are packed. After the head bunches are tied in and packed, hold the hair out of the way with your left hand and whip finish the Flat Waxed Nylon.
Tie all of the flies before trimming any of them and then go at them with curved blade scissors to shape them. Dave's Fleximent is better to stiffen the face of the hair bug than head cement because it remain flexible.
02-13-2003, 09:09 PM
Thanks again! I have seen some improvement but am still not completely satisfied with the overall results. I think that one of my problems is that I'm not using large enough bunches of hair. I tried using a packing tool made from a penny with a hole drilled through the center but it tends to cut the hairs if I apply too much pressure. I've had better success using my fingers, although that is definitely hard on the finger tips. I'll have to try the pen barrel method with larger clumps of hair. Maybe that will help.
Q - being in the "old and cranky" department qualifies me to give you cheap and effective ideas to help you solve your perceived problem. A cheap, effective hair packer is one made from a larger coat button, drilled in center to accept fine diameter pan or roundhead screw, mounted on dowel rod drilled on center to accept said screw glued into dowel. Takes more time to make than going out to get an inexpensive plastic Griffin four hole packing tool, but...
Another method is to use a small diameter washer. Your drilled coin only needs to have the rough edges relieved (rounded) and it'll work fine.
02-14-2003, 09:25 AM
Q.... I think they look great... it takes a steady hand to mold those shapes.... love the idea of the deer hair in a popper shape, especially the conical one..... a great "saltwater" Bass bug too.