Wing falling out

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by Brooks Werner, Sep 30, 2010.

  1. Brooks Werner Member

    Posts: 74
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +9 / 0
    While I read the forum a lot, I'm new to posting. So appologies in advance if I'm just missing the answer to this questions somewhere...

    I've been tying for years, but just getting back into tying Steelhead flies. I love to tie the traditional skunks, perils, etc. However, I'm having a problem where the wings of my flies seem to pull out (especially it seems with squirrel tail). I'm sure a lot of you have some ideas on how I can fix this problem, or a link to a post elsewhere on here. Thanks!
  2. Bert Registered Potamophile

    Posts: 127
    Everett, WA
    Ratings: +38 / 0
    1. Try a small dab of superglue on the butts. Let the glue set up for a few seconds before you mount the wing.
    2. Or. Reverse the wing so that the tips are over the hook eye and the butts point toward the bend of the hook. Tie the wing in first, bind the butts down to the hook shank. Then finish the body. The last step is to fold the wing back over to the regular position. Build a head with thread. Viola!

    Get this book: "Steelhead Flies" by John Shewey. He documents a couple of other techniques to handle hair wings.
  3. Brooks Werner Member

    Posts: 74
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +9 / 0
    Great, thanks Bert!
  4. Big E Moderator

    Posts: 1,431
    Coon Bay
    Ratings: +364 / 0
    When tying hair, take care to know if its hollow or solid hair. Squirrel tail is solid. When you tie it on, liken it to tying a bundle of sticks on the hook. When some of the hair comes loose, you end up with gaps and more hair comes out. A lot of people clip the end at a 45 going toward the thread, which is incorrect on solid hair because it doesn't allow the hair above to compress the hair below under your wraps. Cut the 45 away from the thread so that when you wrap the thread you get more than one or two turns on in and it.

    Forgot to mention to comb out the underfur as well...not a lot on squirrel but it still has some. Also the type of squirrel tail can dictate its how hard it is to work with...I remember gray is the worst to work with but loose track from there...I usually only have fox.

    You can also use UTC GSP thread to get a bit more crank on your wraps.
    bwerner93 likes this.
  5. triploidjunkie Active Member

    Posts: 2,305
    Grand Coulee, WA
    Ratings: +1,254 / 0
    I'm with Bert. I use superglue, Zap-a-Gap, or in a pinch tying streamside head-cement will even work.
  6. Slipstream Member

    Posts: 370
    Goldendale, WA
    Ratings: +20 / 0
    Squirrel tail is hard and slick so I always put a drop of head cement on the butts as mentioned above. Tie the wing down usnig a couple of loose wraps, tightening each successive wrap untill it is secure, then pull the tip of the wing forward and wrap a few turns of thread behind the wing. That will help hold it in place. Whip finish, cement the head and you are good to go. SS
  7. Bert Registered Potamophile

    Posts: 127
    Everett, WA
    Ratings: +38 / 0
    Big_E is right! If you have the shekels, try gel spun thread. UTC GSP 50.
  8. Greg Arcara Member

    Posts: 182
    Mill Creek, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I just tied about 30 flies recently with a squirrel tail wing and I noticed in the second type of fly I did my hair was coming out. I also noticed that I was crowding my head on this fly (it was my first time tying it) and the squirrel was not being tied directly to the shank but rather on top of the previous material I was tying in and that was the cause of it coming out. When I didn't crowd the head and I tied directly to the hook I had no issues with hair coming out. Wrap tight and directly on the hook and you shouldn't need glue (in my opinion).
  9. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,394
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Ratings: +1,354 / 9
    How about a few wraps behind the squirrel tail wing after you get it bound down nicely. I was taught that it helps to bind it into place. Seems to work but I don't tie a ton with squirrel.
  10. scottflycst Active Member

    Posts: 1,711
    Ozark Mtn springwater
    Ratings: +24 / 0
    Take a loop of thread around the hair butts, tighten it, then tie that bundle into place on top of your hook. You'll have alot less slippage and loss that way.
  11. Bob Newman Member

    Posts: 135
    On the edge of ???, WA
    Ratings: +16 / 0
    All good ways to tie in squirrel tail. Another way to try tying several smaller bunches at a time rather than one big one. You get great compression on the hair that way.
  12. 1morecast Active Member

    Posts: 745
    Port Angeles
    Ratings: +49 / 0
    When tying with squirrel or polar bear I like to tie in half the wing before I wrap my collar , wrap the collar and then finish with the rest of the wing material.
  13. Tony Tony

    Posts: 496
    Lynnwood Wa
    Ratings: +49 / 0
    I like to take a couple of wraps over then pull up the butts a couple under and then a couple over repeat and then trim the butts add a dab of superglue and then finish wrapping the head, this is what has worked best for me when using polar bear and holds the wing very well allowing for a pretty neat head also.
  14. FT Active Member

    Posts: 1,242
    Burlington, WA
    Ratings: +102 / 0
    Rather than use superglue, it is far easier and just as effective to simply put a good drop of a flexible cement such as Dave's Flexament on the tie-in spot, then tie-in the wings immediately so that some of the Flexament is pulled into the spaces between the individual hairs of the wing. You will also notice that when done this way, the thread picks up some of the cement as well and the end result is that everything is bonded together with the flexible cement used. Thus, you have a very strong fly with a wing that won't pull out. And you don't have to worry about gluing your fingers to the hook, each other, or the wing material like you do with superglue.
    bwerner93 likes this.