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So I picked this fly for a first classic salmon fly to learn on. Its taken a few tries, and I`m getting closer at any rate. Still not where I want it, and still learning how to do some of the elements. Couldnt get the teal to marry with the barred shoulder. Mark M., I need to learn how to get the heads flatter, I see youve figured that out. Still working on mounting the wings and keeping them flat too, and I got a little "hackle happy" lol. Theres alot to these flys, so seeing your collection is very cool. This is the back side of the fly, came out nicer than the frt. I`m pretty excited to be getting this close. More practice!!

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Fantastic! Marrying different kinds of feathers can be brutal, so I get that for sure. I've been starting to tie some classic style steelhead patterns, plenty difficult for me, and they're nothing like the classic salmon flies. Seriously great tie!

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Marrying the soft flank feathers is the same as marrying goose/turkey etc.
The key difference for me is keeping the fibers attached to the stem while you marry and tie them in.
One mistake a lot of folks make is using fibers which are too big - i.e when it comes to tie in, they are not tying in on the optimal portion of the feathers. (this goes for all feathers, not just the flanks in this portion of the fly)
You need to be tying in on the softer root area, which can usually be found on the bottom 1/ 3 of the fibers, closest to the stem.
Keeping the fibers on the stem at tie in also helps with positioning and retaining the marriage.

Your fly looks good, and if i may make a few suggestions for your next attempt
1. make the butt about half the size of the one on this fly.
2. use a larger tinsel for the rib, this looks to be the same size (perhaps smaller) than the tinsel on the tip. Typically i use med tinsel for ribs, depending on the size of the fly/hook - this hook could certainly take med tinsel.
3. Try to keeps the sides - in this case, woodie and jc, above the plane of the hook shank.
4. try to keep the hackle more swept back, rather than down like they are here. Fold the hackles, and use 2-3 turns of the blue, and 1-2 turns of the guinea
5. head could be much shorter, the red wool part is well done, the black varnished part should only be the curved portion.

I understand you said you need to work on heads

Take this info as you see fit, and just so you know i'm not talking through my hat, here's a silver doctor i tied recently (from Fisher - there are many different versions in the classic salmon texts.) .
 

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Very nice attempt ! S Fontinalis gives some great advise and it will become easier with practice. Start by using the best materials you can find (or afford) feathersmc.com is a good place to start, crappy feathers won't cut it on these. Getting proportions right is a real challenge at first and is something you'll figure out with practice, reading and looking at the old masters books Kelson, Francis Francis, Pryce Tannatt and Hale, too name a few, will also help.

As far as heads go, when we start tying trout flies it's always don't crowd the eye, it's just the opposite here, leave just enough room for the size of head you want. To me the most important thing is that every wrap of thread, tinsel, hackle, or anything else, is important and if it isn't perfect to your eye, do it until it is. Remember the tail dictates the proportions of the rest of the fly, so it's important that it's a good shape and fullness.

There is no hurry on these, take as long as it takes to make it look as good as you can, then make the next one better and enjoy the process, the skills needed to tie them takes time so don't be to hard on yourself, join classicflytying.com and start posting, best place to learn imo.

Good luck,
Mark
 
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