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juro 02-20-2001 09:36 PM

Favorite big-fly thread?
I've been in a few discussions lately on the topic of thread choices for big flies - striper flies, coho streamers, winter steelhead bunnies, tarpon, etc.

I've tried the following:

a) kevlar

b) flat waxed nylon

c) monocord

d) monofilament (not to be confused with monocord)

e) that braided one with the guys name (will modify when I get the name tomorrow)

Kevlar - strong as the name implies, but it does not wrap or grip the material well and does not compress at all. It makes plain ugly heads unless laquered over. I would probably use it for specialized applications requiring strength but it rarely gets on my bobbin anymore.

Danville's Flat Waxed Nylon - I've used this thread for winter steelhead flies as well as SWFF applications and find that although it's a great coverage thread for underwrapping hook shanks it is not the best for securing materials, stacking deer hair, etc. It is similar to a fine floss and thus spreads flat, losing some of the "bite" of a finer thread. Touching the point of the hook causes it to split into tiny filaments that cause irregularities in epoxy finishes and weakens the bite strength. Covering this frays up causes unnecessary buildup of thread in the affected area. Gluing over, or zap-a-gapping FWN overcomes it's lack of bite, but not all scenarios support this. I find that I can often pull materials out of the wing with this thread. It is good when the wrapping method holds hairs back, although once again this is not a durable arrangement and will require glue or other complement.

Danville's Monocord - in stout diameters this is my personal favorite. It does not cover hook shanks as fast as the FWN but when it comes to securing feathers, hair, eyes, or biting into stacked deerhair it does a great job without compromising strength. It bites hard and allows significant wrapping without rapidly increasing the bulk and buildup (for instance the head of a fly).

Monofilament (not monocord) - in medium thin diameters provides a perfect finishing thread for securing transparent synthetics to the fly at the head. One drop of zap-a-gap or epoxy and the monofilament disappears in water. I use this to finish the deep sand eel, especially when tying them for mid-summer flats work. I don't like it for general tying work because it is kind of hard and stiff.

Lastly, that braided thread that bears some guys name... I will look it up tomorrow. I found it to be a very good thread, but at twice the cost of Danville's monocord I haven't replenished my original sample supply.

For my personal style and preferences, I like <b>Danville's Monocord</b> the best of breed.

.02, your results may vary

John Desjardins 02-21-2001 03:09 PM

RE:Favorite big-fly thread?
In my humble opinion

a) kevlar, a pain to tie with
b) flat waxed nylon, ok it takes more turns to tie in material than I'd like.
c) monocord, good for most flies.
d) monofilament,haven't tried it, and I dont know why.
e) that braided one with the guys name. Is this Giorgio Benochi? I liked this thread but its expensive at ~ $3.00/spool.

What I've been using this year is Guidbrod 3/0. It's cheap, strong and on nice big spools with a good lip to hold the thread when in the tying kit.

juro 02-21-2001 04:02 PM

RE:Favorite big-fly thread?

Thanks for clarifying the 'celeb' thread name. The Guidbrod sounds interesting... does the large spool require a special bobbin or does it come in flythread sized spools?

John Desjardins 02-21-2001 10:16 PM

RE:Favorite big-fly thread?
The spool is the same size as their rod wrapping thread comes on. And on checking a spool is the same length as the Danville or Benochi spools. It does have a sligthly larger diameter though that, for me at least, helps in tensioning the thread.

NrthFrk16 02-22-2001 12:33 AM

RE:Favorite big-fly thread?
This may come as a suprise but I love Uni-Stretch. It is not a thread for people who would like to turn out pretty flies with small heads but when I am tying big ugly leach patterns and flies with lead eyes I tie with this stuff. It is impossible to snap, it has tons of stretch (hence the name) so you can really pull and wrap materials tight. For flies that require this give uni-stretch a try.

On all my other steelhead flies I have normally tyed with Danville's standard thread but I am starting to like Benichi's. Its a 12/0 but has a breaking strength just short of standard Danvilles. It makes beautiful heads and in a fly that requires many steps (such as the GP) it reduces the bulk of the fly but still lets you wrap many many times to build up the integrity of the fly.

artb 02-22-2001 05:45 AM

RE:Favorite big-fly thread?
I guess I am stuck with Monocord as a few years ago I bought the thread by the dozen spool boxes. I bought all colors when I was on a tying kick using colored thread for the heads, I guess now most I tie use black. For small midges I still have a spool of thread that Rube Cross gave me 50 years ago. Monocord does allow one to tighten down on the windings.

Nathan Smith 02-22-2001 08:54 AM

RE:Favorite big-fly thread?
Does it matter? I cover all my fly's exposed thread with hard as hull or epoxy. 8/0 covered with epoxy will last longer then kevlar. Even if it didn't the bucktail, flash and feathers are usually long gone before the thread is.

steve moore 02-22-2001 09:14 AM

RE:Favorite big-fly thread?
I use a lot of Gudebrod "G" thread (In the Gary Borger color system, whatever that means). It has similar characteristics of Kevlar, but is easier to use. It still doesn't make nice, flat heads but you can finish your heads off with flat waxed if you need that look. Personally I don't think the fish give a damn about how nice the head looks.

juro 02-22-2001 01:58 PM

RE:Favorite big-fly thread?
It's true that style points are for the fisherman, not the fish. I'd imagine that 90% of what people tie is too, atlantic salmon mixed wings being the extreme case. Somehow I am glad though, I love classic salmon flies.

And steelhead flies are funny this way. No matter if the fly is a bohemian warthog bunny banger, people always look at the compact laquered head behind the looped eye (even if it means moving bristly hair out of the way) to see if the fly is "to code". Stupid perhaps but true, tyers will go to extremes to prevent fugly head flies in some circles... not sayin' it's right, just true.

From a utilitarian perspective, particularly for SWFF, there's little need for that fancy stuff. I recently had to ask myself while looking into my flyboxes "how many sand eel patterns do I really need?" and ended up with only a couple thru all of last season. I used to carry at least 12 different sand eel patterns tied on four different hook styles. I used to carry about as many bunker patterns too, now down to two basics. From a SWFF perspective, I've gotten downright boring... but my results have been significantly improved. So simple is better in SWFF. I do like the monofilament on flats flies because it lets me wrap fugly without paying the price - it disappears when glued or wet.

jared 02-26-2001 11:25 AM

RE:Favorite big-fly thread?
Mono for some patterns, Uni-thread 3/0 for everything else. I'm boring...white or black...the former can always be hit with a marker rather than buying dyed threads...


juro 02-26-2001 12:41 PM

RE:Favorite big-fly thread?
Jared -

I am a big uni-thread fan for steelhead and trout flies, typically 6/0. Great stuff, I'll try the 3/0.

BTW - I swear I will make this next UFT meeting!

jared 02-26-2001 12:54 PM

RE:Favorite big-fly thread?
Juro --

...ah the evils of making promises we can't keep....I swear
I WON'T hold me breath!

Uni apparently now makes a mono thread...haven't tried it yet


juro 02-26-2001 01:09 PM

RE:Favorite big-fly thread?
I'll consider that a challenge

Is it the 1st -or- the 8th?

jared 02-26-2001 02:11 PM

RE:Favorite big-fly thread?
March 1st...AK Best....I believe he's doing "AK's Fly Box" which means
freshwater, but the guy has tied so darn many flies (of all flavors) that
you can't help but learn something from him.

I'll be on the door this month....


juro 02-26-2001 02:22 PM

RE:Favorite big-fly thread?
WOW! So when the headcount hits capacity minus one, save me a spot I *will* be there.

Here's the info for others who will attend:

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