Klippies and Beetles

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A Bungezi Beetle tied with Klippies

I go through phases where I seem to have lots of time to tie flies, and then I go for weeks without tying even one fly. As usual i tie flies way agead of my fishing. I seem to change and adapt a pattern several times before i even have the chance to fish it. The cabbages have kept me really busy over the last month. I haven’t been fishing even once in that period which is normally when I am on the stream every weekend. When you spend time behind the vice you can switch off and dream, you can plan things on the farm, or you can get really deeply focused on tying a new fly. It all depends on my mood. If I’m not in a deeply focused tying mood then I will just spin the bodies of my beetles or other dry flies. Then I will trim them and finish them off another day.

I recently comitted to selling a bunch of my favourite fly patterns. I sold them for the ridiculous price of R50 each. It was partially a way of getting rid of my surplus flies, more than a way of making money. I suppose it’s the novelty of having something different that some guys want and I consider my fly tying an art, so like any artist its gratifying that someone else likes what you tie. It was just a fun way of sharing some of my flies, and I think I have now raised enough money to buy a base for my brand new J-Vice. Jenny got me a J-Vice for my birthday a few days ago. Wow what a beautiful piece of equipment that is. Jay Smit, you’re a master, you really have a fantastic product there.

One thing that I thought I was good at, was spinning deer hair. In actual fact I was very average at it. I never got my hair tightly packed enough and so I didn’t get the buoyancy that I really wanted from a fly with a Deer Hair body. Packing the hair was something I never really did. I just spun the stuff on and the snipped it into shape. Needless to say, I struggled to get a consistent tightly spun body. The biggest change I made was the packing technique I will demonstrate. Once I learned this technique I started my whole order over from scratch using this much better packing method. It’s really not rocket science and if I had listed better at the fly tying course or if I watched a few more YouTube videos in would have been doing this for a long time. I have also recently discovered Klippspringer hair via a material exchange. It’s the most awesome stuff to spin! No horrid bumfluff to get rid of, and it’s nice and waterproof. It doesn’t seem to absorb as much water as deer hair does and so is fantastic as a natural buoyancy material. My Bungezi Beetle floats beautiful without any assistance. It floats in the film, sort of half in and half out the water, which is exactly as a natural beetle would float. Unfortunately I have only used this fly(the deer hair version) twice, but it’s proven deadly on both occasions. The Klippies looks a far superior material to me, so bring on the the summer and a bit of free time.

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A beautiful patch of Klippspringer hair
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Spin two small chunks of hair onto the hook.
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After each chunk that you spin on, you squeeze the hair together in an aggressive manner. You have to really squash it together with your fingernails. This packs more hair onto the hook, making a denser body.
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I then tie the fly off and then whatever shape you are cutting your body, remember one thing, cut it as short as possible underneath. This opens up the gape for better hookups.
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Then you gradually trim the fly down into the shape you want by using several aggressive snips in the beginning and then smaller and more delicate snips to shape the fly. Good scissors are essential here.
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The perfect shape for a Bungezi Beetle
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The two flies top left were the first two Bungezi beetles I tied. Well I had in mind a deer hair beetle but they didn't come out according to plan. See how poorly packed the bodies were. The biggest difference was that I didn't squeeze/pack the hair together at all. The two in the bottom right were packed properly and notice how much better the bodies are. The Green one is tied with deerhair and the pale one is with Klippies

For more on how to tie the Bungezi Beetle, see my blog post written on it back in January this year.

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