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The Versatility of Bucktail, Flash, & Peacock

I thought I would share some of the flies I've been tying lately, as all of them are tied around the same basic theme using the same humble materials. The title says it all, and I have seen some really talented fly tyers  put those same materials together to tie some spectacular, world class flies. Tyers like Bob Popovics, Niklaus Bauer, Paulo Pacchiarini, Paul Monaghan, and Gunnar Brammer to name a few. 

When I sat down to play with these materials, they basic platform I chose to riff off of was Dan Blanton's Flashtail Whistler smashed together with Bob Pop's Bucktail Deceiver. Basically, I just didn't want it suuuuper flashy. Anyway, with that in mind I sat down and over the next few days I tied many flies of varying styles. I tied traditional Flashtail Whistlers, Flashtail Deceivers, Bulkhead Flashtails, Hollow Flashtails, it's almost insane how much variation you can get with a basic recipe of bucktail, flash, and peacock. Add in some grizzly accent saddles, and various head materials, and you can really change the flies action and style without tying a whole new fly pattern. 

Here is a basic Flashtail Deceiver but with a nontraditional head using Sybai Icelandic Sheep in a dubbing loop and spun, and then wrapped. 

 

Head on with this Flashtail Whistler. If you weren't aware, this fly received it's name because the beadchain eyes are hollow inside, and "whistle" when you cast it. 

 

The next fly I tied used the same ingredients exactly as the fly above, but I changed the way the bucktail was tied in. I went for more volume and did 2 hollow ties. You can see exactly how easy you can achieve different looks/swim actions just by using various techniques that Bob Popovics laid out in his two fly tying books Pop Fleyes and Fleye Design

 

 

After seeing what a traditional Deceiver x Flashtail Whistler and a Hollow x Flashtail Whistler looked like, I wanted to see what a high and tight dubbing head would look like. Turns out, with the right dubbing- it looks really good. 


The dubbing you use on a fly like this is critical, because of the size if you a dubbing with shorter fibers, the proportions go to shit. This dubbing is Aaron Letera's Magnum Dubbing. You can find it HERE, hopefully I'll get it in the shop soon. It's really the only dubbing out there worth putting on large flies/pike flies etc. You'll see in this next photo how nicely the flash is incorporated into the fibers as well. 


I still have a few more ideas for this basic bucktail, flash, and peacock program so I'll probably post up a Part 2 early next week. Until then, here are a few tips if you want to tie these flies or those similar to it. 


Tip #1- Buy Bob Popovics Book "Fleye Design". There really is no substitute for the instruction on bucktail techniques anywhere else, including on Youtube. 

Tip #2- Buy the best bucktail you can. If you shop locally, go into your shop and take off the rack and out of the bags. If you shop online look for Hareline Dubbin commercially or if you want small batch extra select bucktail, check out Brad Bohen's Primo Tails. You want long/straight bucktail, as well as medium length bucktail that is coarse and wavy. One for the tail, one for the middle and front. It's the only way to get the taper you want with the least amount of hassle. 

Tip #3 - Don't be afraid to put 25-30 strands of peacock on these flies. You want to use it to counter shade the fly, that is something Gunnar say's a lot and his flies look awesome. For me, it just looks right. Baitfish tend to have dark tops, light bellies. 

Tip #4- Use the right thread. Everyone has their preferences, but this isn't the time for 70Denier Ultra Thread. Veevus 100D is highly recommended, or Danville 210 Flatwaxed. Both are used for different purposes so get both. 

Tip #5- Super Glue. Ignore the traditionalist's ego and add super glue after each step of bucktail and flash. You don't need it, but you will be glad you have it after the toothy fish get into it. Brushable Zap is great but the gel works good as well. 

Tip #6- A few accessories. To tie and fish these styles of flies there are a few tools and accessories that I find handy. I'll list them below. 

  • Wide, Long Hair Comb- great for blending flashabou in your hand, for combing flashabou stacks, and for general primping after a fish makes your pristine fly gnarly.

 

 

  • EP Wire Finger Brush- amazing at picking out dubbing loops, shaping heads, and straightening fibers after a fish chomps it. 

 

  • Rising Galloup Dubbing Loop Tool- it's perfect for doing dubbing loops with coarse materials (strung fuzzy fiber, ep fiber etc) or even coarse naturals like the Sybai Icelandic Sheep. Just make sure to keep constant tension. If you want to see it in action, check out Gunnar Brammer's Youtube page HERE 

 

To be continued....

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