Tying flies where a large portion of the body extends beyond the hook has always presented problems not only for the beginning tyer but also for the experienced. There are two basic ways to tie these flies. The first is the extended body fly; where it’s tied directly onto the hook. The second method, off body flies, involves tying the body section separately, then later tying it onto the hook. It is the latter of these two methods that I would like to demonstrate today.
For tying the ‘off body fly’ you’ll need to acquire a hand sewing needle. We use these rather than a hook because they give the freedom to tie our off body as long as necessary and also allows for the easy removal our finished product. Large ‘hand sewing needles’ can be purchased at most sewing or fabric stores. They come in a wide variety of sizes. Selection of the needle will depend on the size of fly that you are going to tie. Place the needle into the vice as pictured.
Lay in a good base of thread, just as if you were tying it on a hook. Finishing up with the thread near the tip of the needle.
Apply your material to the needle and tie it exactly as if it were on a hook. The materials selected and the thread pattern will be determined by the fly being created. Once finished, secure the end of the body/tail just as if it were on a hook.
Then, simply slide the finished body/tail off of the sewing needle.
Attach the newly formed body/tail to the hook, shaping it by hand to achieve the desired effect. Tie in the rest of the fly to complete the pattern.
See you on the water…..