Fishing Tiny Flies

Fishing Tiny Flies. When I decide what's a tiny fly, I think about how difficult it is to handle. No. 16 seems fine so I don't think of it as tiny. From there up things only get worse. So I thought I would write a few things for beginners and maybe even the pros to ponder.
First, I never touch a tiny fly with my fingers. I pick it up with my forceps from the rear, clam the forceps shut and I don't release them until I am ready to put the fly in the water.
Now the fly is no longer tiny as far as holding it in your hand. It won't blow away, drop in the river, or fight hell out of you to get it turned properly. The only problem is the tiny whole. Ordinarily, this is not a problem in other venues. But in a wind, poor light, fuzzy vision, big bite going on, and all manner of other things, that tiny hole can be a problem. If you can't seem to thread it, it could be the whole is full of head cement. I keep a Mickey Finn ( I just love the class of that fly) stuck in my vest so I can use the tip to poke the fly in question.
Then I lower my head gear ($19.95 from Harbor Freight Salvage) which goes over my glasses and suddenly the tiny hole becomes big. This head gear has other attributes. It has a swing down little circle magnifier that can bring in the tinniest of flies. Also, it has two side lamps (AAA) to see in the dark. Damn! What a piece of high tech!. Get this or something like this. You can't waste time on good water futsing around.
Hold the forceps in your right hand and bring the tippet to the fly slowly. OK, so you missed. If you went in front of the eye as I usually do, move the next jab back even if your eyes say no. Keep doing this until you score.
Hold the leader and the bitter end in your left hand and spin the forcets in your tight hand at least eight times. DON"T put pressure on the hook with the line or you'll get a loop too tiny to thread. With this, hopefully open loop next to the fly, thread the bitter end through using your magnifier. Suck on the knot before tightening for lubrication. Pull shut and test. Clip off excess line but leave a bit just in case you didn't tighten hard enough.
Release forceps, clip them to your vest, and your good to go.
Hope this helps.
I am more and more of the opinion that when you can see fish cruising about (Rocky Ford whores are an exception) only a small fly, maybe a BWO, in size twenty or less with 7X will do the job. Try it and let us know. Maybe you all have a better way to rig the little guys. If so, I'd like to hear it and so would Jim (He's practically blind but don't let on that you know. You'll see him pretending to be reading a newspaper. But he's faking, of course. Don't ask him what's in the news, OK?).

Paul Huffman

Driven by irrational exuberance.
I usually get them threaded then I clip off the wrong side of the knot. I was the guy below Lluma today, swearing and crawling around in the tick laden grass.
I can't remember the last time I fished a fly smaller than #18, has probably been 10 years at least. I can't tie em, can't see em to tie em on my line, then can't see em in the water. Then don't get me started on tippets, I don't own any 6x, have some 5x though, must be 5 years old, worthless by now, but it is still in my bag. Do you guys really fish 7x???? Where do you fish tiny flies?? How many do you leave in the trees and the fish?? Heck, with 3x, I can pull tree limbs way down! That fun magnifier/light thing sounds neat, gonna hav to check into that!!
Many a fish has been taken on 7X but it's not easy, my friend. The 7X should be as fresh as you can get. Throw out all tippet material at least once a year if not more. Test the 7X in your hands before using to be sure it will test at least 2 pounds. I broke off fish after fish at Chopaka before I realized that my 7X was rotten. The fish absolutely refused 5X. I believe that 7X can not be seen by fish under normal circustances.
Tiny flies will rule when all else fails. Don't look for the fly. If it's dry, try to look about 9ft. beyond your line if you are using a 9ft leader. Strike all rises in that area. If fishing deeper, again, watch your line or use a bobber. Strike at anything that sems weird.
And never apply any drag to 7X. The fish goes whereever he wants, but keep him moving to wear him down. Release all fish, please.

Small flies are the rule rather than the exception on my home waters. Not unusual to fish 20's or 22's - even fished a sz. 24 parachute adams this winter to imitate a midge. I use 7x with these flies all the time. I'm partial to Rio Fluroflex Plus. I also use my drag with 7x. I loose a fish now and then, but the drag on the Galvan can be adjusted with some precision and it's not too hard to get it right. (You may have heard me extol the virtue of Galvan in other posts. I just bought a second one, in fact, for my new three weight). The 7x makes tying these smaller flies on much easier. Don't get me wrong, I didn't say it wasn't a challenge. I'm 50 and wear progressive lenses. But if I can't thread a fly, I just take out my threader in the smallest(ultra midge)size and thread away. I've thought about getting flip-down magnifiers, but just don't need them. Give the threader a try. They are made by C&F Design and come in three sizes - ultra midge (#24-32), midge (#20-26) and standard (#16-19).

Thanks for this tip, Dan. I've wondered about those threaders and I'm glad to hear you speak up for them.
But how do I get one? Remember that I live in the middle of nowhere as my granddaughter says so it would have to be by mail.
:dunno bob

I reckon you'll have to do what my dear grandmother did: wait until the end of the month and get them on your trip to town, or order them out of the catalog. Orvis has them in a tweezers with a hook eye (solves the problem of head cement in a hook eye, too). It's item #J856F-00, Three-In-One Tweezers, $12.95. I bought that to start with and then just buy the spare threaders as refills. The flexible wire that the theader is made of tends to get bent after a lot of use. Don't think that Orvis has the spare threaders, but haven't asked. You might have to wait on your next trip to town for those. By the way, I've heard that you can get something similar at a sewing shop. Anyone have any luck with that?

Tight lines,


Old Man

Just an Old Man
I used to know it all---but now I forgot it all.

Thank's for dropping my name. I don't use anything smaller than a 16 maybe a 18 once in awhile. I'm like you I can't seem to hit that little hole they call an eye. As for tippets I have to use 5x anything smaller and with my shakes I couldn't get it in the little hole.
I have those little add on glasses that make everything bigger but I keep leaving them in the car. It doesn't do me any good when I'm in the middle of a lake and my little glasses are in the car.

But being that I'm right handed I have to hold the clamp in my left hand and try to thread it with my right hand. I should make a movie how I thread hooks. Some times it takes me quite a while to thread one hook. I thought about those threader things but for me they cost too much. It's because I cheap.


P/S Edit. What my main problem is that when I add on a new tippet I have a hard time tieing a surgeons loop because of the shakes. One time after I did that.Added on the tippet as I was cutting off the tag ends I cut the wrong end off. Or because I'm so blind I tie both ends together.


you are doin great if you can still get a 16 tied on. I'm lucky to be able to tie on a 14. That is why my thoughts go to big flies big fish. Love those #8 buggers and muddler minnows. What is really embarassing is when I leave my cheaters in the truck and have to ask some bright eyed kid to tie on my fly!


Old Man

Just an Old Man
I used to know it all---but now I forgot it all.

Since when is Port Ludlow in the middle of nowhere. You can't be more that 15 miles from that big town Port Townsend Or 10 from Poulsbo. Why your in the hub of everything.