I’ve always struggled to achieve that perfect baitfish profile when tying predator and saltwater flies. It seemed no matter how great the material was, I could never harness its full potential as the shape would always come out wrong and the actual tie was messy and un-even. I recently found a video by Flies With Attitude’s Norbert Renaud on Vimeo, exhibiting this technique of tying in another one of his fantastic tying videos. The X and V techniques have solved my problem, so lets crack on!
The fly I will take you through is a DNA baitfish pattern that I have developed recently, its nothing new or special, but it’s a tried and tested pattern tied with excellent materials, and I feel it has my own little touch as I improvised some aspects. This is a very satisfying aspect of tying, you can see your own progression and when it all comes together, it feels great! This isn’t going to be another post trying to get people to tie – All I'll say is it isn’t as hard and scary as you think, and it’s a really great way of getting a fishy fix when you don’t have time to get on the water, so I do urge you to try it yourself.
This is the first time I’ve done this, but here’s my attempt of a step by step guide to tying! Enjoy!
Begin with your ingredients; lay it all out in front of you ready to go. For this pattern we will use:
- DNA frosty fish fiber – In both White and Olive
- DNA holo fusion – White
- Mustad Big Gun – Size 4 (You can use any hook you like, just scale the whole pattern down, including the eyes).
- Orvis 3D oval pupil adhesive eyes – Red and black, ¼”
- White thread – Here I’m using an Orvis thread, but I tend to use UTC 140 for my streamers.
Plus your choice of finish (Bug bond, head cement, no more nails... - I use bug bond).
Now lay down your thread, and take it to the curve of the hook, don’t worry about this being neat.
Take a full length of the white frosty fish fibre and taperise. Taperising simply means pulling on the fibers lightly in order to avoid a straight cut, it helps achieve the baitfish profile.
Next, tie in the length you have just cut, right at the midpoint. This will become the V.
Stroke the fibers back so all the material is facing backwards, and secure with a few wraps.
Repeat the last two steps with the holo fusion, remembering your taperising and V.
Advance the thread forward a few wraps, and begin the X by taking another length of taperised white frosty fish fiber, and tie in at a 45 degree angle on the underside of the fly.
Repeat with the olive, at apposing 45 degrees.
Take the fibers back, make sure the white material passes on the far side of the thread. The thread should be between you and the fiber, not the fiber between you and the thread. Secure with a few wraps, the first X is complete!
Now create another X, as you did before. This time add some Holo fusion on the top of the fly, before you add the olive. Take the fibers back and secure.
One more X, this time without Holo fusion. To check in, you should’ve produced 3 X’s now, first with white and olive, second with white, holo fusion and then olive, and thirdly white an olive.
Now we will go back to the V technique, to build a head on the fly. Take a length of white, securing at the midpoint on the underside. Also take a length of Olive, again securing at the midpoint but this time on top of the fly. Remember to taper both of these lengths before tying in.
Repeat the previous step, so you should complete two sets of the V technique at the front of the fly. Whip finish, bug bond, and you’re almost done!
Next is the fun part, bringing your creation to life! Trim the body to shape, remember to go little by little, you cant add material once you’ve cut it off..
Now add the eyes, ensure that they are symmetrical both vertically and horizontally.
You’ll notice it doesn’t look all that fish shaped at the moment... go wet the fly, witness the magic of DNA fibres!
I hope my first fly tying tutorial was useful, I’ve enjoyed sharing what I’ve learnt! I haven’t tested these patterns yet, but I recon the Bass will hoover them up. Try different colours and come up with your own patterns!