Tricks for Synthetic Wings

Back then, we were limited to very few synthetic fibers for tying the wings on dry flies. A polypropylene wing also sucked up water like a sponge and made the fly top-heavy. It was always packed with the latest gadgets for fly fishing and new fly tying goodies. While scanning the materials section, I came across a little blurb for a new material called Hi-Viz Wing Material. The next day I showed the sample flies to Rusty, and to my amazement, he put me to work tying parachutes for the shop using the new material. Since those early days of tying synthetic wings, a multitude of similar materials have hit the market. If the pattern allows, mount the parachute wing first. In general, the parachute wing should be back no more than one-quarter of the way from the hook eye to match the wing position of the natural insect. I use one technique for tying the wings on size 14 and larger flies, and another for constructing smaller patterns.

Use these tricks to tie great-looking and durable wings on your floating flies.

[by Dennis Potter]

MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH SYNTHETIC DRY FLY WINGS began in the early 1990s. I had the great pleasure of working with the late Calvin “Rusty” Gates and his wife, Julie, proprietors of Gates Au Sable Lodge, located in Northern Michigan. I was a guide, fly fishing instructor, and fly shop rat from 1992 through 1995.

I had tied large numbers of flies for Gates Au Sable Lodge before beginning my other duties in 1992. I churned out several hundred dozen flies each year for Rusty. My specialty was parachutes and other dry flies in sizes 20 to 12. Rusty wanted natural beaver dubbing and deerhair wings for most of patterns. I dreaded cutting, stacking, and erecting hundreds of little deer-hair wings, and believed there had to be a better material.

Back then, we were limited to very few synthetic fibers for tying the wings on dry flies. Polypropylene yarn was the standard ingredient. It made a good looking wing on a finished pattern, but the soft, fine fibers went to mush after catching the first fish, and it was challenging to keep the proper upright wing silhouette on a mayfly. A polypropylene wing also sucked up water like a sponge and made the fly top-heavy.

One spring, I was enjoying…

Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn1
More from Industry News

Vertical Hackle Every Time

Over time, the best tiers return to skills they learned long ago,...
Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *