Controlling Slippery Synthetics
By: Brian Doelle
Have you ever found that your streamers seem to loose a bit of their flash after a fish or two? Modern synthetic materials like Crystal Flash and Flashabou are slippery and can be difficult to keep in place. This little trick is super fast, and is much more durable and versatile than the standard "tie in by the tips" method.
Try this and you'll see what I mean: Tie in a bunch of synthetic flash material (Flashabou shown) by the tips. To be fair, lay down a thread base first and take 4 or 5 really snug wraps. Don't even bother trimming the butt ends.
Now grab the material and pull on it gently. You see how little pressure it takes for the material to start slipping?
OK, try it a different way. Take half as much material, but make sure it's twice as long as you need it. Place the center of the bunch up against the far side of your tying thread.
Fold the material around the tying thread and pinch it in your left hand (for a right handed tier).
Take a wrap of thread, and as your comming up over the top of the shank, slide the materials down the thread to the hook.
Now take several thread wraps backwards over the material to lock it in place. Go ahead and give the material a good tug. I guarantee it won't go anywhere.
Fast and easy right? Now let's look at how versatile the technique can be and try it out on a real fly. In this example we'll deconstruct a Clouser Minnow and see two different variations of the "doubling" method.
The classic Clouser calls for a small amount of dark flash running down the top of the fly. NOTE: The weighted eyes cause this fly to ride with the hook point up
Take 2 strands of black Crystal Flash and wrap them around the thread just like in the previous example.
Slide the Crystal Flash into place on top of the shank as you take your first thread wrap.
Gently pull the Flash taunt as you make several wraps back over the material to secure it. You should end up with a nice thin line running down the top of the fly.
The Closer has a bit of flash between the body and the wing. Select 3-4 strands of pearl Crystal Flash, double it around the thread and take your first wrap.
This time, spread the flash material at the tie in point a little bit by gently pulling the fibers outward. Now wrap back over the material to lock it in place. The material will hold it's fan shape after you let go.
Last example. The Clouser should have a bit of flash running down either side of the body. Select another 3-4 strands of pearl Crystal Flash and double it over the thread as before.
Take your first wrap to move the material against the fly, and take only 1 wrap back over the material.
Now split the bunch of Crystal Flash and gently pull half along the near side of the fly, and the other half down the far side. Now go ahead and pull the last thread wrap tight and add a few more to secure the material.
When you complete the body it should be very easy to get the stripes of flash to lay down against each side.