Why did my salmonfly sink?

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by junebug41, Apr 24, 2008.

  1. junebug41

    junebug41 Junior Dave Monti fan

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    So I recently started tying PMXs. Obviously I needed new sources of aggravation in my life. After a few botches, I started to get kind of comfortable with the procedure, so I decided I'd try supersizing one into a salmonfly pattern. I used a size 4 nymph/dry fly hook, orange poly for the abdomen, then everything else was pretty much the same.

    The fly actually looked great when it was done. My best PMX yet, but when I gave it the bowl-of-water test, it floated at first, then sank like a stone after I picked it up and put it back in.

    I'm wondering if I used a bad portion of elk hair for the wing. I have not done much at all with deer or elk, so I wouldn't know the dos and don'ts yet. My elk patch has a lot of the blond-colored hair, but the longer hair behind (or underneath) it is very dark, almost black. I used a lot of this on my salmonfly wing, as I thought it would better match the natural's wing color. When it sank, I started thinking maybe this darker hair was more of an undercoat on the animal that didn't shed water as effectively as the outer, blond stuff.

    Am I on the right track? What other things could be sinking this fly? Or is this common, and floatant would take care of it?
     
  2. Ron Eagle Elk

    Ron Eagle Elk Active Member

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    Junebug41,

    As I understand it, you used the dark under fur to tie your fly? If so, this stuff isn't hollow and sinks like a stone. The longer outer hair is hollow and floats like a cork. Try some deer or elk hair that has been dyed to the color you need.
     
  3. junebug41

    junebug41 Junior Dave Monti fan

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    Thanks Ron -- so on an un-dyed patch, only the light-colored hair is useful? That would make almost half of the patch I bought pretty worthless.
     
  4. chadk

    chadk Be the guide...

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    Junebug, how to you collect your hairs? Not sure if I do it right, but I grab a big clump (it will thin considerably after the next step) and hold it by the tips of the longer fibers. Then I flick the batch of hair with my other hand to filter out all the shorter hairs and under fur. I'm left with a smaller clump of mostly the longer hollow fibers. Drop these in the hair stacker to line up the tips... I may do this again if I need a bigger batch for my fly pattern size...
     
  5. obiwankanobi

    obiwankanobi Active Member

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    Switch the orange poly to salmon colored foam. You can purchase this foam in almost all fly shops, but for this purpose, salmon colored would suit you best. It will ride high and dry!
     
  6. prosopium

    prosopium Member

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    you didnt waste anything, matter of fact tie up some more. sunken salmonflies will produce just as many fish as big god-awful floating ones, the take just wont be as "exciting"
     
  7. junebug41

    junebug41 Junior Dave Monti fan

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    Thanks Chad -- I think you've identified the biggest thing I'm doing wrong. I didn't know I was supposed to shake out, or comb out, the hairs. From what I hear, that will make it a lot easier to handle the bundle too. I'm looking forward to trying this out tonight.
     
  8. junebug41

    junebug41 Junior Dave Monti fan

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    This is great to know too! I was going to try removing the wing and "retrofitting" the fly with a new one. Now that I think of it, it might work great with a swung approach, staying just below the surface.
     
  9. cabezon

    cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

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    You can also find sheets of 2mm foat in many craft stores in a variety of colors. Cut a thin strip in an appropriate shade and just wind it on. This allows the fly to float flush with the surface, just like the real thing.

    Steve
     
  10. Marty

    Marty New Member

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    Foam is the key, it will float almost any wing. I also add a body hackle that also helps. This is a easy tie that can be done of both a hook or a tube. I like the tube because you cant sink it.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. junebug41

    junebug41 Junior Dave Monti fan

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    Sorry I didn't do this earlier, but I figured posting a photo might allow you all to offer more directed criticism, which will be appreciated. This is the offending fly:
     
  12. Marty

    Marty New Member

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    JB, I really can’t see a reason why that fly would not float. It is tied with all the right materials. One thing you need to remember is the false cast will shed most the water the fly has collected and a little dry fly dressing will add to the fly’s floatability. Your wing and tail are tied with the right hair and the body looks good. You could use a better quality body and parachute hackle. I use Whiting’s 100 fly pack for most of my work. Dry fly quality saddle hackles are awesome. Your proportions are OK, I would use a little less all around. Remember the post for the parachute wing is so you can see the fly, I would go a little smaller and shorter. All in all the fly look very fishy and I know just the place to see if it will work. Keep up the good work. :beer2:
     

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