Since our fly casting workshops have been so popular I have formed two new dates. May 6 & May 20. These are two hour workshops that will help you get the basics of fly casting. More information…click here.
Murray’s Fly Shop
121 S. Main St.
P.O. Box 156
Edinburg VA 22824
Each month Harry Murray discusses some fly fishing questions that he is asked through emails and phone calls. This month he discusses the advantages to using a wading staff and snake bite kits, how to clean and waterproof your dry flies with Murray’s Dry Fly Floatant, and dressing your leaders. Also, how was the Mr. Rapidan Dry Fly and Murray’s Hellgrammite pattern developed?
Many years ago two elderly gentlemen in my advanced fly tying college class made a simple request: Teach us to tie a dry fly that floats like a cork, that we can easily see on the water and that matches many of the early season natural insects. I thought this was a reasonable request and the Mr. Rapidan Dry Fly was born. Today this is my favorite dry fly on the Epeorus pleuralis hatch in size 14, for the Stenomena vicarium hatch in size 14, for the Stenomena fuscum hatch in size 16 and for the Beatis hatch in sizes 18 and 20.
I have now expanded the Mr. Rapidan series to match three different adult caddisflies, two different caddis pupa, two mayfly nymphs, two mayfly emergers, midges, two different soft hackles, terrestrials, streamers and even smallmouth dry flies.
Those two gentlemen had an outstanding idea which has helped hundreds of anglers catch thousands of fish all across the country.
For dry flies I like to use a very fine poly blend of dubbing material such as Fly Rite 34 on the left which I use on my Mr. Rapidan Dry Flies. This material is very fine, making it easy to dub flies as small as a size 24 with a smoothly tapered body. It is lighter than water and is does not adsorb water thus producing a high floating dry fly. This comes in many colors and is inexpensive.
For nymphs and pupa I like to dub blends of natural furs because these produce buggy looking insect bodies. Counter wrapping these bodies with gold, silver, copper or olive wire produces a neatly segmented tapered fly body. However, if you wind the same ribbing materials with a forward motion you can produce an insect body with translucent living appearance.
Calf (Kip) Tail is a very useful material with many applications in tying dry flies, streamers and bass bugs. The yellow calf tail I show here is what I use to tie the wings of the Mr. Rapidan Dry Fly series. The space between the two pencil-pointers gives us the hair which is easiest to make nice even dry fly wings. I hold these hair fibers by the tips and brush out the short, useless hair and the fuzz with an old tooth brush. Usually these hair fibers are even enough to tie in as they are producing nice straight wings. If you like you can straighten these hair fibers in a hair evener, but I seldom find this necessary. The long hair fibers on the tip of the tail make excellent streamers, bass bug tails and even sometimes wings for Trude dry flies. These come in many dyed colors and are inexpensive. The more you experiment with these in your fly tying , the more great uses you will find for them.
Fly Tying Tip: Need dubbing material for fly tying? Blend your own custom colored dubbing to meet your fly tying needs.
I am a great believer in blending my dubbing materials for dry flies and nymphs. For example, when I first developed the Mr. Rapidan Dry Fly, about thirty years ago, I wanted it to have a body color which matched that of the Epeorus pleuralis adult mayfly. There was no dubbing material, either synthetic or natural fur, which matched this insect so I had to blend my own dubbing to get the mottled tannish-yellowish-olive body of the real mayfly. After much blending with various colors I camp up with the perfect mixture.
You can easily blend natural furs and fine diameter synthetics in order to get the exact color you desire. I especially like Australian Opossum, Mink, Beaver, Muskrat, Hare’s Ear and very fine synthetics. If you are tying nymphs leave some of the guard hairs in the natural furs, if your fly tying calls for dry flies remove most of the guard hairs. If I am tying only a few flies I will often blend the materials with two fine tooth combs. If I am tying a large number of flies I use a food blender or coffee grinder to mix the furs after wiping it down well with a fabric softener sheet to lessen static buildup. Next week I cover dying fly tying materials.