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Old 12-28-2003, 12:06 PM
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CDG CDG is offline
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mounting classic married wings

Well i got "Tying the classic salmon fly" by Radencich for christmas and the chapter on mounting married wings was somewhat helpful but i just plain can't get it. My wings are smashed down and tilted to one side or the other. My question is, are there any tips or tricks that anyone has found helpful and is there anyone is washington state who offers classes on tying these flies? I learn things quite a bit faster if i can see someone do something and then mimic it rather than read about it and try to learn it. Great book though, has some very good and useful information and some very impressive ties as well.

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Old 12-28-2003, 04:23 PM
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Re: mounting classic married wings

Originally posted by CDG
My wings are smashed down and tilted to one side or the other.
Smashed down sounds like maybe they're just too tall???

Or maybe, they get smashed as they tilt???
Try reversing the thread to set the far wing. Re-reversing to "normal" & then setting the near wing will offset the torque that causes the tilt, & the wings will support each other.

I set wings using a couple soft loops, done one-at-a-time. There is no,(next to no), thread torque in a soft loop, so canting shouldn't be a problem. Maintain a firm pinch on the wing strips & take a couple insurance turns of your thread.
Release the wings & check position. If "OK", thje unwind the insurance turns to remove bulk, & go to whatever step is next. If the wings are slightly "off kilter", then you can grasp butts & wings & gently re-position them. The extra turns you took will keep things from falling apart.
Hope it helps.
Be responsible;have all your steelhead speyed
Bob B.
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Old 12-28-2003, 05:37 PM
flytyer flytyer is offline
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I've offered featherwing salmon fly classes in the past at a shop in the Seattle area and a shop in Port Angeles when they were owned and run by friends of mine. I'll see if I can get one of the Seattle shops to offer a call again because I'm sure there are others beside yourself who are interested in tying them.

Describing how to set a married wing is not an easy thing to do. But I'll give it a go:

1) When setting the wing is compress it as much as you can with your thumb and forefinger of your right hand while holding the wing very securely against the hook and tie down area with your left themb and forefinger.

2) Use the "loose loop" technique to make your first wrap of thread and do not loosing your grip of the wing from your left thumb and forefinger as you slowly pull the "loose loop" tight by pulling up on your thread on your side of the hook after the loop is formed.

3) When the first "loose loop" of thread is pulled tight (remember it is done by pulling up on your side of the hook), take a second "loose loop" with your thread just in front of (toward the hook eye, but not over nor behind the first wrap) and slowly pull it tight by pulling up on your side of the hook (just like you did with the first wrap). This should nearly have the wing compressed. Remember to keep you left hand thumb and forefinger tightly holding the wing as you do this.

4) Take a third "loose loop" just in front of the first 2 and pull it tight by also pulling it up on your side of the hook. These three thread wraps will have sompressed the wing as much as it will be compressed and are the key to a good wing set.

5) Make three more tight wraps of thread and place the first of these directly on top of the last wrap you did in step 4 and the other two in front of it toward the hood eye. DO NOT LOOSEN YOUR GRIP ON THE WING WITH YOUR LEFT HAND AND THUMB UNTIL AFTER THESE THREE WRAPS ARE MADE!!! Also, these wraps are also pulled a little tighter by pulling up on the thread after each is made.

6) At this point, you can take your thumb and forefinger off the wing; but do not move the wing or it will be moved out of position since it is held in with only 6 wraps of thread and it can pivot.

7) Take a look at the wing to see if it is setting on the top center of the hook. If so, do nothing, If not, place your left thumb and forefinger tightly on the wing at the tie down area to hold the wing together and then adjust the wing either to the left or right by using the thumb and forefinger of your right hand to "gently" (and I mean gently) move it a little bit in the direction you need it to move. Remember, this simply rotates the wing around the hook and that you cannot move the wing front or back without destroying it.

8) After the wing is placed on the top center of the hook, take 2 more very tight wraps backward toward the hook bend over the very last thread wraps you made. IN NO CASE ALLOW THREAD TO COVER THE FIRST TWO THREAD WRAPS YOU MADE WHEN SETTING THE WING OR IT WILL DISTORT THE WING AND DESTROY IT!

9) Leave the wing stubs alone at this point and go on to tie in the cheeks, topping, and horns (in that order) before cutting the wing, cheeks, toping, or horns stubs off. AND NEVER COVER THE FIRST TWO THREAD WRAPS YOU USED TO TIE IN THE WING OR IT WILL DISTORT THE WING!

10) Now you can carefull cut the stubs of the horns, topping, cheeks, and wing. As you cut the stubs, KEEP THE WING HELD TIGHTLY IN YOUR LEFT THUMB AND FOREFINGER! Also, proceed slowly and only cut a few fibers at a time in order to make the stubs as short as possible without cutting you tying thread (or you will feel like crying if you do).

11) After all the horn, topping, cheek, and wing stubs are cut off, finish the head by putting a drop of medium viscosity head cement on the butts (or stubs) and then carefully cover the stubs with flattened tying thread until you have a nice bullet-shaped head. AS YOU FORM THE TYING THREAD HEAD, HOLD THE WING TIGHTLY WITH YOUR LEFT THUMB AND FOREFINGER TO PREVENT IT FROM BEING DISTORTED.

12 Upon forming the head, whip finish, cut the thread, and then cover the thread with medium viscosity head cement. It usually takes 2 or 3 coats of medium viscosity head cement to get a nice, glossy head. Loon's Hard Head in black is a very good cement to use to finish the fly because you can finish the fly with the white or light yellow thread you should have tied it with and not have to change thread to finish the fly and still have the desired black head most of the classic flies used.

I sincerely hope this verbal description helps you and all others who are having trouble with setting and tying in mixed wings on full-dressed featherwings.
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Old 12-28-2003, 08:18 PM
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Thanks for all your help guys, both descriptions should be helpful.

flytyer: if you ever get a class together or start offering them, please let me know, i would be extremely interested.

I will post some pics if i ever get one that is satisfactory.

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Old 12-29-2003, 12:00 AM
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Thanks for that great description. I haven't tied nearly as many as you and others who have put a great deal of time and dedication into classic mixed wings but I have tied a few and such advice would have been great to have.

I recall that the little things make such a difference in tying classics. Steaming the golden pheasant tippets, stacking each wrap of the herl for the butt, folding the hackles, picking the seal, etc. Russ' offers some great advice. Good luck and hope you post the results.
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Old 12-29-2003, 09:53 AM
Igor Igor is offline
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If you do indeed offer a tying clinic in the Seattle area, PLEASE let us know! As for me, I'll be 'front row and center'!

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Old 12-30-2003, 02:46 AM
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Yes Please do

I do want to come. But may take you up on private lessons on building the wings. I'm much better with hands on then reading.
"Good angling ethic is not a monopoly practiced just by fly fisherman" - Bill McMillan
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