Tying small-ish mayfly patterns might be one of the most common fly-tying applications, but it doesn’t mean it’s super easy. Like any tying activity, it takes practice, particularly for the more detailed aspects of your average mayfly pattern, including the hackle fibers use for the tail.
Above, Tim Flagler uses a great tip from renowned tier Charlie Craven to mix hackle fibers for the tail. It’s embarrassingly simple, but then, most really good tying tips are. Check out how he uses the hook and the thread to simply hold one set of fibers while he acquires the next set. Then, when both sets of fibers are ready, he unties the first set, and then ties them both down, allowing them to “mix” nicely on the hook shank.
It’s a sweet tip. I’m going to use it.
— Chris Hunt