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Mr. Bill

by Elaine Cook

This is my number one “go to” dry fly for trout in either still or moving water. Very important to follow these directions carefully when it comes to proportions, thread wraps and handling and positioning materials. Some helpful hints (tips) will be included that can be applied for tying other flys.

Hook: TMC or TFS 100, or equivalent standard dry fly hook. Sizes 12-16

Thread: black 8/0, 12/0 for size 16 hooks if you wish.

Tail: golden phesant tippet (5-6 barbs) (Tip: Names of the parts of a feather: stem- projection from skin, Barb- projection from stem, barbule- projection from Barb which are difficult to see in most feathers.)

Body: peacock herl with long, easy to see barbules (2-3) (Tip: Herl is fragile , test by gently pulling on tip. If it breaks further than one inch down, discard. Whole feathers are usually better than packaged. Have found whole feathers at the farmers market in Aptos.).

Wing: white calf tail (crinkly, not straight hairs)

Hackle: brown saddle. Tip: Saddle hackle feathers are long, have soft stems, and barb lengths are the same. Best used for dry flies, popper necks, and some buggers. Neck hackle feathers are short, have stiff stems, barbs become shorter near tip. Best used for streamers, popper legs and tails, some buggers, barbs of side feathers for tails on dry flies.

Glue: Zap-A-Gap, Supper Glue, or similar

1. Crimp barb.

2. Attach thread mid shank, leave hanging NO further forward.

3. Tie tail to top of shank, extending shank length beyond shank. Cut any butt ends at MID shank.Position thread at rear of shank.

4. Attach herl tips. Using dubbing hook, form loop with herl, advance thread to MID shank, twist tomake chenille, wrap forward to MID shank. Tie off, cut excess.

5. Wing will be made with 2 small clumps of hairs.  Holding tips, cut one clump from tail. (Tip: always cut hair VERY close to hide.) Clean out all under fur. Using large stacker, stack TIPS.  Remove any more underfur or short hairs. Position on top of shank, tips above mid tail, make one thread wrap around hair only. Then one around both hair and shank, 2 more snug wraps- each one BEHIND the last. Cut butt ends at an angle, tie down butts. Apply sm. amt. glue, using tip of bodkin, to thread wraps and tied down hair. ( Tip: A moderate amount of glue placed in a plastic lid will not set up for quite awhile. This makes application of sm. amts. glue with bodkin easy.) Position thread right in front of wing. Repeat above with 2nd clump of hair. Position thread right infront of wing.

6. Splay barbs at butt end of hackle. Cut 4-5 short on both sides of stem forming a crew cut. Tie in crew cut. Position thread right in front of wing. Make 3-5 close hackle wraps forward forcing thread forward. Tie off, cut excess. Trim any whiskers. Wrap thread head if not already formed while tying in materials. Tie off. Sm. amt. glue to head.