Fishing Fly tying

Fly tying: Tying in a deer- or elk-hair wing

Tying deer- and elk-hair wings to my flies might be the weakest skill I have at the vise. I’m not a master tier, but I know my way around the fly shop when it comes to materials, hooks, threads, and the like. But this one skill has eluded me.

Thankfully, Tim Flagler is out there to help guys like me who have watched countless Elk-hair Caddis patterns unravel before our very eyes.

Tim artfully demonstrates the appopriate way to tie either deer or elk hair to a finished fly in the video above. First though, if you’re like me and have all but given up on elk-hair flies, you should watch what amounts to the first video in this series on stacking elk hair. Stack first, tie second. It’s a must.

The kicker for me? The reverse chording of the tying thread. As Tim says, it’s makes the thread want to jump backwards rather than work around the hair and spin it. It’s so simple—I’m embarrassed that I never thought of it.

Good luck with that next round of Elk-hair Caddis. With this instruction, you should be good to go.

— Chris Hunt

By Chris Hunt.