Quick and Easy Split Tails

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by GAT, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Messages:
    7,157
    Likes Received:
    5,243
    Location:
    Willamette Valley, OR
    For awhile I was into tying Compara-Duns. I latched onto Micro Fibetts the minute they were available to use for the split tails. Tying the tails in a V was always a challenge. I used he old ball dubbing trick to spread the fibers but it was time consuming and not all that easy to tie.

    While I was attending an Oregon Fly Tyers Expo (coming up next month) a gentleman showed us how to tie split tails that was so easy I never forgot the technique. Some of you may be away of this trick but for those who are not aware of the technique, here's how easy it is:

    You tie in the desired number of tail fibers you wish to use at the desired length. I'm using a lot of fibers for demonstration purposes.

    IMG_1563.jpg

    Then, you cut a section of tying thread that is the color of the body material. You wrap the thread around the hook bend.

    IMG_1565.jpg



    Separate the fibers into equal numbers on each side of the thread. Then pull the thread forward to split the fibers into a V.

    IMG_1567-1.JPG

    Tie down the splitting thread, whip-finish and cut away the excess.

    Taaaa Daaaaa

    Split tail... quick and easy:

    IMG_1578.jpg

    You probably will use less fibers than I did for the tail but like I said, the numerous fibers were so they'd show up in the photos.
     
  2. McNasty

    McNasty Canyon Lurker

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,215
    Likes Received:
    727
    Location:
    Somewhere Near Selah, WA
    thats awesome!
     
    Mark Mercer likes this.
  3. Norm Frechette

    Norm Frechette Googlemeister

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2004
    Messages:
    673
    Likes Received:
    150
    Location:
    Norwich, CT
    an age old tying trick but a good one
     
  4. Steve Saville

    Steve Saville Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    2,966
    Likes Received:
    591
    Location:
    Tacoma, WA
    I like that a lot better than the dubbing ball. It looks very easy.
     
  5. zen leecher aka bill w

    zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Messages:
    3,819
    Likes Received:
    1,386
    Location:
    Moses Lake, WA
    Dang!!! Just a question as I use dubbing balls for biots.... how would that split biots?
     
  6. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Messages:
    7,157
    Likes Received:
    5,243
    Location:
    Willamette Valley, OR
    You know, I've never tried it with biots because I'm usually able to tie those guys on in a V without a lot of trouble. This trick primarily works best with thin tail fibers... like the Micro Fibbets.

    It is very easy and you'll never bother with the dubbing ball bit again... at least, I don't.
     
  7. Preston

    Preston Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2004
    Messages:
    2,832
    Likes Received:
    938
    Location:
    .
    I use a similar technique but instead of using a separate piece of thread, I simply make several figure-eight turns of the tying thread to separate and hold the fibers apart. I usually use only two (or three) fibers and find that Microfibbets are too small in diameter for any but the smallest sized flies. Instead I use paintbrush fibers and have found several housepaint brushes with nicely-tapered, synthetic fibers; a lifetime supply for six or seven dollars. One of my favorites is a nice, medium-dun-colored brush which seems to work well for most mayfly and stonefly patterns.
     
  8. silvercreek

    silvercreek Active Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Messages:
    502
    Likes Received:
    318
    Three ways on video.



    Here are two tips for the method Gene outlined, you can use a bit more tying thread when you star wrapping the hook and use the cut of tag end to split the tails. Another method is to use orange or yellow floss to split the tails when you are tying spinners, and the floss will look like the egg sac of a female spinner.

    Here's another tip about microfibbets. Microfibbets and artist paint brushes are identical. Note the tiny parachute fly below with the fan tail of paint brush fibers. Also note that I have cut fibers off the left side of the paint brush. Since the fibers are lined up on the brush, there is no need to "stack" the fibers before tying them in.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Messages:
    7,157
    Likes Received:
    5,243
    Location:
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Well, hell. The video is much better than the photos. Like I mentioned. Some folks were aware of the technique while it is new to others. I also use paint brush fibers for tails on larger patterns but I opt for the cheap brushes and don't cut up my expensive art grade paint brushes... they don't give those things away. :)
     
  10. silvercreek

    silvercreek Active Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Messages:
    502
    Likes Received:
    318
    Gene,

    I don't know if you have a Michaels or Joannes craft store near you but you can get the artist paint brushes at a steep 40-50% discount with their coupons.

    Stop in and check out the lowest cost artist brushes. They go for about 8 to 9 bucks each before the discount. Then buy the widest brush with a straight non tapered end. They will be about $5 with a coupon.
     
  11. McNasty

    McNasty Canyon Lurker

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,215
    Likes Received:
    727
    Location:
    Somewhere Near Selah, WA
    new to me, ill be getting me some paintbrushes, and tyin up some mayflies with this technique today.
     
  12. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Messages:
    7,157
    Likes Received:
    5,243
    Location:
    Willamette Valley, OR
    While we're on the subject of paint brush fibers, you can also use them to tie "quill bodies" and create whiskers for mouse patterns.

    Some of the fibers for paint brushes are natural, some are synthetic. The natural fiber brushes are the expensive ones.
     
  13. Richard Olmstead

    Richard Olmstead BigDog

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,847
    Likes Received:
    1,361
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    If you go to your local hardware store to pick up a paintbrush for this purpose, be sure to look at the bristles closely. Many paintbrush bristles are frayed at the ends to hold paint better; be sure to get the ones with bristles that come to a point.
    D
     
  14. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Messages:
    7,157
    Likes Received:
    5,243
    Location:
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Yup. That's why the artist grade brushes are better but also more spendy.
     
  15. Preston

    Preston Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2004
    Messages:
    2,832
    Likes Received:
    938
    Location:
    .
    You can find nicely tapered synthetic fiber paint brushes at your local hardware store. This brush was purchased probably five years ago in the paint department of a local Fred Meyer store and cost about six dollars; as you can see I've hardly made a dent in it in five years of tying. You don't need to buy expensive (understatement) artist's brushes.

    1-IMG_0679.JPG