Dry fly tails, amount?

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Scotty MacFly 1 year, 4 months ago.

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    Scotty MacFly

    I know when it comes to the amount of material, especially to tails, everyone is a little different. I have two tying books, the first Basic Fly Tying by Charlie Craven, and the second is The Orvis Fly Tying Guide by Tom Rosenbauer.

    I have also watched videos and see similar amounts, but still different.

    In my two books, and I will use the Adams fly for an example, in Charlies book, he says to pull off a dozen grizzly fibers, and a dozen brown fibers. That’s 24 fibers.

    Orvis says to take 6 fibers of each. That’s 12. Look at that, school payed off. Now I am assuming that either amount will work just fine. But I hear that too little and/or much is not good for the fly. I think they said it wouldn’t sit right on the water.

    So if anywhere between 12 & 24 fibers seems to work, what would be the minimal and maximum amount of fibers you could use before the fly doesn’t work like it should?

    The reason I ask is because in W.C. Stewarts book, he talks about using the minimal amount to properly dress a fly, and how the flies in the shops in his area were dressed too bulky. I have seen bulky flies before and will say they do look attractive being nice and full looking, but I would like to keep my flies within some type of reality when it comes to the amount of material. And I tend to have a bad habit of ever so slightly adding more material every now and then to where I have to re-do them.

    Also, hackled collars, I generally don’t use any more than 5 wraps, and that seem to be the common amount by everyone. But if I were to go less, would three turns be good enough? I do want the tails and hackle collars to somewhat match each other.

    Or is W.C. Stewart only speaking of may fly patterns when he says less material is better?

    Back to the Adams, there really shouldn’t be a reason to go more or less than 12 to 24 fibers for tailing, is there?



    Stewart is talking about spiders and they should be sparse. I wouldn’t compare them to a dry fly that has to be fairly bushy to float.

    Since the Adams is a mayfly imitation. It shouldn’t have to bushy of a tail considering how sparse a mayfly’s tail is. Hackle is a personal choice. I’ve tried a heavy and a light hackle on the Adams and they both work about the same, except the bushy one floated better.

    Just my opinion.


    Scotty MacFly

    O.K., I got confused for a minute, he is talking spiders. I had to re-read pg 93 & 94 to make sure.

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