Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Tying thread

I didn’t post much lately, because there isn’t much to post in the first place. The few waters that I’m aloud to fish for pike over here at the moment, had very disappointing results so far, so I’m planning a fishing trip to the Belgian Ardennes to fish for trout. So most of the time I spend on tying these days, goes to nymphs, wet flies and trout streamers, which I won’t post here (there are plenty of sites and blogs of people who tie them a lot better than I do).

But today, I had a question on my last post from Bruce Deschamps
“Which thread do you use the most to tie pike flies and do you use different size of thread to tie specific fly patterns?”
Since the answer was a bit long, I decided to make a post of it.

When I tie small flies (dry flies, nymphs,…), I use normal tying thread. Like UNI-Thread, or Grall from Hends Products.

But for pike flies, I use something else.

When I need a thread to use a lot of force (for stacked deer hair heads, for example), my favourite is G.S.P.

But, G.S.P. is hard to get the last couple of months (over here in Belgium anyway), or you have to pay a ridiculous price for it.

So I switched to Dyneema instead, which works equally good. The only thing you have to look out for, is that you buy bobbins that hold about 50 yards max (the last time, I bought me a bobbin of a 100 yards, and it became quite a mess).

The only reason to use this kind of thread, is to use a lot of force. And by doing so, it cuts its way into the thread stacked on the bobbin, which has very annoying side effects (since this is a kind of floss, and not really a thread, parts of it get stuck, break off, hang loose afterwards… I think you get the picture).

I even started using braided Spectra Fibre, a Power Pro Line (15/00) that I had still laying around here from the time I used to fish with lures (which I don’t do anymore), so why not use it to tie flies.


I also use nylon mono, mainly for 'high ties' (to let the colours of the fibre come trough the thread).

And of course all kinds of sparkly or other crazy stuff to pimp your fly, but I won’t go into detail on that kind of personal favourites.


But for most of my pike flies, my absolute favourite is strong cotton (for sewing), which is available in every colour imaginable.

This kind of thread is strong enough to tie everything in very tight, and cotton is rather rough, which makes tying a lot easier (normal tying thread is usually synthetic, which makes it very slick).

The only problem with good quality strong cotton, is that it’s usually on a bobbin like this, which doesn’t fit at all on your bobbin holder.


To overcome this problem, I use a dremmel tool, to wind the thread on a smaller bobbin (fast and efficient).

Which brings me to something else that I’ve never mentioned before.
I always fish with barbless hooks! I don’t want to start a discussion about this matter. For my part, you can fish every way you want to, as long as you don’t harm the fish more than is necessary (that’s something that really pisses me off!). My experience with this way of fishing is that, if you drill your fish rigid enough, you won’t loose more fish. And even if this is the case, it’s a fact that you can unhook every fish you do catch a lot easier and faster. In the worst case scenario (when the fish breaks the line, and swims off with your fly), the fly will come loose very easily, which gives the fish a better chance of surviving the encounter it had with you. But I’m drifting off here (I can get very excited about this, because I’ve seen a lot of cruelties along the water side).

What I was trying to say, is that a dremmel tool is perfect to get rid of any barb on your hook. And it has a lot of other applications as well, like drilling, carving, polishing,…


or hollowing out a cork to make a popper head. It’s just a fantastic tool to have near your tying table.

All this makes me think about other simple practical stuff, but that will be for later… 


David Romanillos said...

Hello Lonesome, very good story and entertaining addition

dave lindsay said...

great post today

Djuza said...

Hi Stefaan.

I also have to say it was a very good and interesting post.
About your treads you use,have you tried Kevlar?
Very good exept to tie deerhair or bucktail,little bit slippery.

Dustin's Fly Box said...

going to have to give that a try!! Great job and good post

the lonsome piker said...

Thanks guys!
And Djuza, you said it yourself, Kevlar is very slick. For pike flies, I often tie a lot of different material on a short hook shank, and cotton just gives me the most grip (as a base to tie the next step in, and the tying itself).

Bruce Deschamps said...

As usual, very detailled answer! thanks for that Stefaan!