If flies were measured by their appearance, quill-bodied mayfly patterns would take Best in Show honors every single time.

Sleek yet buggy, streamlined, yet high-floating, quill-bodied flies are stylish and functional.

Tim Flagler shows us how to tie the perfect quill-bodied fly.

But they can be a bear to tie, especially if you’ve never done it before. The quick video above shows you the best way to tie quill-bodied flies, and it includes the most important tip of all—soak the quill in water before you start wrapping your hook shank with it.

Once the quill is soaked an supple, it becomes much easier to work with. And, once it’s dry and fishable, it’s a surprisingly durable tying material.