Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Denier Discussion Paper

Click on paper's title below to read at its link.  Document is a PDF.

By. Christopher Helm

I find articles like this one to be useful when choosing fly tying thread from various manufacturers.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Original Disco Yarn

This is a pretty cool yarn, especially if you consider that it has woven-in flash that matches the yarn filament color. I began tying with this yarn nearly 9 years ago. My wife brought home a skein for me to figure out what to do with it and I'm glad she did. I practiced winding it around long hook shanks and, soon, ideas began to form.

The yarn's been discontinued for quite some time. Occasionally, it can be found on eBay. The bait pictured above is tied with two strands of Bernat Disco. The brown strand is called Mr. Brown, I believe. The green one is called Jungle Jive. I gripped the two together and furled them to create the tail. The remainder was palmered over the shank and combed back. Two pieces of boot lace comprise the legs.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


This is my latest tie. It uses Martha Stewart's eyelash yarn over gray chenille yarn and a 3/0 weedless hook. Its googly eyes are mounted on a 1/24-oz. dumbbell behind the hook eye.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Suede-Legged Leechy Kreature

A black and brown creature bait with light-colored rusty brown legs.  Its body length is about 4 to 4.5 inches long.

  • Eagle Claw Weedless Sproat Hook 249WA-3/0.
  • Spirit River Real-Eyes 3/16" - nickel/pearl.
  • UTC Ultra Thread 140 denier - rusty brown.
  • Premier LashMax Yarn - Black Star and Caffeine.
  • The Beadery Suede Lace 1/8" - brown.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

LashMax Leech

Been wanting to furl LashMax eyelash yarn for a while. Makes for a somewhat fluffy critter (above water), but I bet it makes a good leech-like creature beneath the surface. Found a description of a tie similar to what I wanted to try here. I substituted LashMax for Disco yarn with mine. Furled colors are Black Star (black) and Electricity (purple). Its hook is an Eagle Claw 249WA-3/0.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Paradise Woolly Baitfish

A jig or a fly?  It's about 3-3.5 inches long.

  • Spirit River Real-Eyes Plus 7/32" Dumbbell Eyes - nickel/yellow.
  • Eagle Claw Weedless Hook 249WA-1/0.
  • Bernat Boa Yarn - Mocking Bird #81104.
  • Lion Brand Suede Chenille - Ecru (discontinued).
  • Danville Flymaster Plus Thread (140 denier) - fl. blue.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Back To Tying...

My latest bass tie is called the Boa Yarn Crawler.  Used a new-to-me technique to make its tail with an eyelash yarn.  It's called furling.

Furling is the process of twisting a section of yarn, attached to the hook shank, so that it will twist onto itself when its tag end is tied back to the shank.

  • Spirit River Real-Eyes Plus 7/32" Dumbbell Eyes - nickel/yellow.
  • Coats & Clark Trilobal Polyester Embroidery Thread (40-wt.) - Chona Brown #51.
  • Lion Brand Suede Chenille - Canyon (discontinued).
  • Bernat Boa Yarn - Dark Mink #46913.
  • Kiwi Boot Lace - brown.
  • Eagle Claw Weedless Hook 249WA-1/0.
The tail is extremely limp and lightweight.  Total lure length is approximately 5 to 6 inches.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Half Hitch Finishing Knot

A very fine video.

When you tie your first jig or fly, this is the knot to use.  The pen barrel is a clever idea for flies.  Apply head cement or nail polish to your finishing knot in order to prevent its slippage.

Monday, November 12, 2012

More Gray Eighths

Heads are dotted with black acrylic paint and coated with 2 part epoxy.  Plan to try a few ties with poly yarn after I've visited the fly shop.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Prototyping The Spellman 1/8 Gray

These jigs have been drawing some attention in the state of Kansas and in other fishing circles.

Here's my very first prototype:

More on its materials to come later.  Future versions will have dotted eyes. ;)

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Bearded Grub Spinner

  • Grizzly craft fur - black/white.
  • Gamakatsu Weighted Superline EWG Hook 74415-1/8 (1/8 of an ounce, size 5/0).
  • Hammered-silver #1 Colorado blade, split ring, and swivel.
  • Gloss black powder paint.
  • Spirit River Dumbbell Eyes 3/16" - nickel/pearl.
  • Lion Brand Suede Chenille Yarn - Ebony.
  • Tandy Premium Leather Remnant - dk.brown/black.
  • UTC Ultra Thread (140 denier) - black.
  • Danville Flymaster Plus Thread (140 denier) - white.
  • Coats Nylon Upholstery Thread - black.
  • Kiwi Boot Lace - brown.
To secure the swivel, the upholstery thread was looped though one of the swivel eyes and tied directly to the hook shank with black Ultra Thread.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Purple Prince Jig

  • Gamakatsu Weighted Superline EWG Hook 74415-1/8 (1/8 of an ounce, size 5/0).
  • Coats & Clark Trilobal Polyester Embroidery Thread (40-wt.) - Electric Violet #378.
  • Spirit River Real-Eyes Plus 7/32" Dumbbell Eyes - nickel/yellow.
  • Pro-Tec Powder Paint - purple.
  • Tandy Premium Leather Remnant (3 or 4-oz.) - purple.
  • Yellow craft fur from a bolt.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hairy Worms à la Gapen

This is my version of an "Old School" Hoosier Favorite of long ago.  Read more about it here.

  • A 1/8-ounce ball head jig with a #2 sickle hook.
  • Gloss black powder paint.
  • Deluxe craft fur from bolt - black.
  • UTC Ultra Thread (140 denier) - black.
  • Tandy Premium Leather Strip - black/very dark brown.
A jig that's quick and fun to tie. :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

More Jigs-N-Leathers

Tied a "hairy curl" and two more craws for the river bass.

Each is tied on a 1/8-ounce ball head (collarless) with a #2 black nickel sickle hook.

Friday, October 26, 2012


This jig shows a pair of claws styled similarly to those of a popular plastic craw. Combined with craft fur, I hope that it will entice finicky cold water bass.

The jig is a 1/8-ounce ball head (no collar) with a #2 black nickel sickle hook sold by Grandpa Bob's. Its head has a plum brown color formed by a 1:1 mixture of red to matte black Harbor Freight Powder Paint. The craft fur is orange and brown long pile by Darice. Claws are cut from brown-colored Tandy Premium Leather. Everything is held in place by UTC Ultra Thread (140 denier) in rusty brown color.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Red-N-White Leather Swimmer (Second Edition)

This one is my second edition.  Tied on a spike tail leather strip and added some grizzly craft fur behind the weight.  Who knows if it will make a difference?  Regardless, it looks kind of cool to me.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Red-N-White Leather Swimmer

Recently, I've been introduced to tying with weighted EWG-style hooks.  This is my first attempt with a red 3/0 Vicious Vertical Drop Hook weighing 1/8 of an ounce.

Used a Tandy Premium Leather strip for the body and red Ultra Thread (210 denier) to tie. The eyes are a 3/16-inch Spirit River dumbbell in nickel/pearl. Powder painted the weight with white powder from Harbor Freight.

The tail is fluted towards its tip. Hopefully, this will produce a sinusoidal swimming action behind the jig hook. Sinusoidal...I like that word. :D

More to come later on Gamakatsu hooks. ;)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Curly Tails

More for the jig boxes.

These are tied on 1/8-oz. ball head jigs with #2 bronze hooks.  Their leather is quite supple.  I look forward to testing them in the coming weeks.  Will tie a dozen more, then it's off to designing and tying my version of the popular Zoom Brush Hog.

Often Overlooked (Or Snubbed)

So many times I read opinions about jig tying materials on the web where, if a product isn't marketed by a fly or jig tying supplier, the vibe is negative.  If you read these same opinions, do not give in to them without seeing what hobby, craft, and fabric stores offer first.  You just might be surprised.

Here are photos of a couple of feet of craft fur that I purchased at Hancock Fabrics in Carmel, Indiana.  So, where have you found grizzly craft fur either locally (to you) or on the web?

Granted, I haven't field tested either of these and so it remains to be seen if the material is colorfast.  Regardless of the outcome, it's going to be fun doing the tying and testing! :)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Weedless Leather Grubs

I really enjoy leather work.  Here are two grubs that I tied this evening.

Each is tied with a 1/8-oz. weedless insert head jig having a 2/0 bronze hook.  The leather tails are traces of an old Galyan's Performance Series 4-inch grub that are cut out with scissors.

These will be heading south to Hixon, Tennessee soon for a Tennessee River swim. ;)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Grub Crawler

This jig combines the best features of two of my favorites, the curly tail grub and the ugly bug.

  • A 1/8-ounce weedless insert tube jig with a 2/0 bronze hook
  • Tandy Leather Factory Premium Leather - brown
  • Lion Brand Suede Yarn - coffee
  • Kiwi Boot Lace - brown
  • Coats & Clark Machine Embroidery Thread (Trilobal Polyester 40-wt.) - chona brown
  • Harbor Freight Powder Paint - brown mixture

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Spiketail Minnows

Tied these yesterday for clear water fishing.  Hope to attract a bass or two with them.

  • Two 1/8-ounce weedless tube insert heads with 2/0 bronze hooks
  • Harbor Freight Powder Paint - gray mixture
  • Tandy Leather Factory Premium Leather - off white
  • Herrschners Bulky Chenille Yarn - gray
  • Coats & Clark Machine Embroidery Thread (40-wt.) - light slate
  • Black and white acrylic paints for eyes
  • Devcon 2 Ton Epoxy for topcoat

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Another Bug...

This jig has a spike-like tail of leather.  Its body is made of a dark green chenille.

  • A 3/8-ounce football head jig with a 3/0 hook
  • Lion Brand Thick & Quick Chenille Yarn - basil
  • Pro-Tec Powder Paint - orange mixture (hot pink + green chartreuse in a 1:1 ratio)
  • Tandy Leather Factory Premium Leather - brown
  • Kiwi Boot Lace - brown
  • Danville Flymaster Plus Thread (210 denier) - olive
  • Coats & Clark Machine Embroidery Thread (40-wt.) - dark olive

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Chocoate-Caramel Bass Dessert

I hope that this jig becomes a dessert, or the main course, for hungry bass. ;)

  • A 3/8-ounce football head jig with a 3/0 hook
  • Kiwi Boot Lace (quartered) - dark brown
  • Tandy Leather Factory Premium Leather for spike tail
  • Lion Brand Suede Yarn - caramel
  • UTC Ultra Thread 140 denier - rusty brown
  • Harbor Freight, Pro-Tec, and Orbit Powder Paint - caramel mixture (HF red + PT green chartreuse + Orbit clear in 1:1:1 ratio)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Canyon Craw Bug

Tied this one last night using a fairly interesting chenille yarn that shows combinations of reddish-brown hues.  I've used it before on other jigs.  It looks pretty good on this type of jig, I think.

  •  A 3/8-ounce football head with a 3/0 hook
  • Kiwi Boot Lace - dark brown
  • Harbor Freight Powder Paint - plum brown mixture
  • Lion Brand Suede Chenille - canyon
  • UTC Ultra Thread 140 denier - rusty brown

Monday, August 20, 2012

Saving For Tennessee's Temperate Bass

Tied this craft fur jig over the weekend for the brutish white bass of the Tennessee River.  If a striped bass should hit it, well then, I'd better be living rightly. ;)

Its tail is made from red leather.  Though thicker, I have some off-white and purple-colored leather that I've yet to experiment with.

This jig weighs about 1/4 of an ounce and has a 1/0 bronze hook.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Whip-Tailed Ugly Bug

I love to tie these and hope to fish one very soon.

  • A 3/16-ounce ball head jig with a 1/0 bronze hook.
  • Kiwi Boot Lace (quartered) - dark brown.
  • Tandy Leather Factory Premium Leather Scrap - brown.
  • Lion Suede Yarn (Lion Brand) #5  - coffee.
  • UTC Ultra Thread 140 denier - rusty brown.
  • Pro-Tec Powder Paint - bright orange mixture (hot pink + yellow chartreuse @ 1:1 ratio)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hogsucker Jig

Cut a zonker strip and tied two chinchilla coque saddles around some antique white chenille to produce this jig. It weighs 1/4 of an ounce and has a 1/0 hook.

The tool in the foreground is a seam ripper. It's useful for cutting your own zonker strips from rabbit pieces and whole pelts.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Extended Leather & Chenille Grub

No need for a long hook shank to tie a longer grub. ;)

 This one is about 4 inches long.  Its body is extended by Latigo Lace.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Mantis-Style Jigs And A Tick

Thought of the praying mantis insect and how most of these jigs resemble it.  Well, a little bit maybe?

The jig in the upper-right portion of the picture looks like a tick to me.  A closeup of a black "mantis" appears below.

Here it is performing a headstand, quite possibly like it might on retrieve. ;)

I plan to continue tying with leather in the near future, but will look to produce different styles.  It's been fun to work with!

Thread Snips - A Tool Review

I purchased a pair of thread snips recently from a local hypermart.  The snips are made by Fiskars.  They are approximately 4.75 inches long and are very comfortable to grip.  I had high hopes for them.

Some observations from using this tool:
  • Blades are sharp and remain flush against each other throughout the cuts.
  • Blades points are extremely thick and prevent precise cutting of tags away from finishing knots.
  • Blades are too thick for extremely close trimming.
  • Tool seems appropriate for trimming longer hair (e.g. deer hair) and shaping it into form on large jigs or flies.
  • Cuts chenille yarn quickly and cleanly.
  • Blades appear to be replaceable.
Keep in mind that this tool isn't made specifically for fly or jig tying.  It will perform well for trimming threads from clothing or furniture and has a variety of sewing and floral craft uses.

In conclusion, I found it to be unsuitable for trimming thread tags on knots.  So, I will continue to use fine-point cuticle scissors for that purpose.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Recent Personal Favorite

My personal favorite bug...

I enjoyed tying this one.  It's one of my favorite color combinations and styles.

  • Kiwi Leather Boot Lace (quartered) - dark brown.
  • Lion Brand Suede Yarn - coffee.
  • A 3/8-ounce football head jig with a 3/0 black nickle hook.
  • UTC Ultra Thread (140 denier) - rusty brown.
  • Harbor Freight Powder Paint - plum brown mixture.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fuzzy Bug

Here's one I'll call a Fuzzy Bug.  It's tied with a wrap of Bernat Fab Faux chenille yarn in sable color.  The legs and antennae are quartered boot lace.  Used a 3/8-oz. football head jig with a 3/0 black nickel hook.  The head is painted "plum brown" with a 50/50 mix of black and red powder paint by Harbor Freight.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

More Leather

Tied a "quad" version of the leather bug that I'd posted previously.  This one has 4 swimmerets (legs) per side.

I've learned to use only quartered lace with grainy, shiny outer hide.  Without this, the leather breaks apart easily and you'll lose your legs and antennae eventually.

Here's a jig that I think I'm going to like a lot if my intuition serves me well.  It's a simple 1/8-oz. ball head jig with a 2/0 Gamakatsu hook tied to mimic a curly-tailed soft plastic grub.

Its looks above the water are promising.

I want to field test this bait in the very near future.  Currently, I can't and it's tough to wait to do so! :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Leather Bug

I've been enjoying my work with leather.  Boot lace is limp when cut in half.  It's very limp when quartered. ;)

  • A 3/8-oz. football jig with a 3/0 black nickel hook.
  • Harbor Freight Powder Paint - brown mixture.
  • Brown saddle hackle feathers (2).
  • Kiwi Leather Boot Lace - dark brown.
  • Rozetti Velvet Chenille Yarn - golden brown.
  • UTC Ultra Thread 140 denier - rusty brown.

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Material That's Somewhat New To Me... Leather

My first try at tying with leather.  It might just be one of the ultimate "Old School" materials that you rarely see used anymore.  However, there was a time back in the early to mid-20th century when leather was prevalent.  Ever hear of a "Plucky" lure?  It had a diving lip on its head that was crafted with leather.  There was a variety of mouse-like surface lures that had leather tails.

My jig has leather from head to tail. ;)

  • A 1/8th-oz. football head jig with a 3/0 black nickel hook.
  • Harbor Freight Powder Paint - green pumpkin mixture.
  • Tandy Leather Factory Premium Scrap Leather - pebbled brown.
  • Lion Brand Thick & Quick Chenille Yarn - basil.
  • Danville Flymaster Plus Thread 210 denier - light olive.
The jig is designed after the shape of a popular soft plastic crawfish. Can you guess its name?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

My Apologies...Regarding Comments

I apologize to those of you who've visited my site and have left comments that I've failed to read and reply to.  Rarely do I revisit posts beyond the first blog page.  The blog is now set up to notify me by e-mail whenever a comment is added to any blog post.

I promise to do better. :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Feather-Legged Kreature

This lure has feathered legs.  I used four small hackles and gave each one a curly shape with the use of a blunt pocket knife.  Next time, I may try using two more hackles to form an additional pair of legs.

  • Eagle Claw 249WA-3/0 Weedless Hook.
  • Leather boot lace.
  • Lion Brand Suede Yarn - Coffee.
  • Four brown saddle hackles.
  • Darice Craft Fur - Brown.
  • Dumbbell eyes (1/24-oz).
  • Coats & Clark Machine Embroidery Thread 40-wt. - Chona Brown.

Friday, June 8, 2012

More Kreatures

Again, these are tied on 1/8-oz. football heads with 3/0 black nickel hooks.

Used a dull knife to curl the tail feathers of the jig on the left.  I am hoping for a ripple type of swimming motion from the feathers that is similar to curly-tailed plastic grubs.  But, we'll see.  It will be an interesting jig to fish even without a ripple movement.

The black jig will be hopped and paused.  I like the silver flash contained in the chenille yarn along the hook shank.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Off Topic: Label Adhesive Removal

I bought a really nice storage box recently to store all of my unpainted jig heads.  A problem occurred when I attempted to remove the labels from the box lid.  The adhesive beneath the labels was so thick that I could not remove it using soap and warm water.  So, I attempted to scrape a small section with a razor blade and determined that I'd likely damage the lid.  Warm water and a plastic pan scraper (Pampered Chef?) couldn't get the darn stuff off.

Eventually. I thought about some information I'd read on the back of a carton of sticky traps used for mice control.  The directions suggested the use of vegetable oil to remove the trap's "goo" in the event that any of it should come in contact with something it shouldn't.  Why not try that?  I asked myself.

I did and it works well.  I peeled off as much of the labels as I could and then scrubbed the lid with a kitchen sponge in warm water.  Next, I poured the vegetable oil onto the areas covered by the adhesive.  Using circular motions, I scrubbed the adhesive away from the lid.  Then, rinsed the affected areas with warm water and wiped them off with a dry paper towel.

Finally, the remaining vegetable oil residue on the lid was removed by a spray and wipe with glass cleaner.  My box looks great and now nothing will stick to its lid. :)

Two thumbs up for vegetable oil!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Chinchilla Coque Kreature

  • One-eighth ounce football head jig with 3/0 black nickel hook.
  • Lion Brand Suede - scarlet.
  • Chinchilla coque feathers (2) - natural.
  • Lion Brand Fun Fur - chocolate.
  • Harbor Freight Powder Paint - brown mixture.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Yarn-N-Hackle Kreature

  • A 1/8-oz. football head jig with a 3/0 black nickel hook.
  • Moda Dea Zing Yarn - black/silver (Midnight - No. 1887).
  • Lion Brand Fun Fur - black.
  • Saddle hackles (2) - black.
  • Danville FW Thread (210 denier) - black.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Willow Leaf Tail Spinners

Tied these last night.  Used small hammered willow leaf blades for trailers.  I'm hoping that the added flash might trigger strikes whenever a dark-colored jig simply isn't working well enough.

Plan to use these on cloudy days with reasonable clarity throughout the water column that I'm fishing.  Jigs are 1/16-oz. darter heads with #4 Aberdeen hooks.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Stealth Tail Spinners

Tied these all-black tail spinners for fishing on cloudy days and in roiled waters.  Each jig has a size 0 Colorado blade attached to a swivel by a split ring.  The swivel is connected by black upholstery thread to the hook shank.  Both weigh approximately 1/16 of an ounce and have #4 Aberdeen hooks.

LashMax eyelash yarn is tied in as the "skirt" in place of traditional silicone.  Hope to field test these at my local reservoir on cloudy days or when stiff winds are traveling in from the west/southwest.  The winds will roil the inshore waters in many areas, providing turbid conditions for field testing the jigs.  Black lures often do well under these conditions.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tail Spinners

Tried my hand at tail spinners for the first time this week.  These have the potential to be good lures for white bass and crappie.

  • LashMax Yarns in green chartreuse and white.
  • Swivels, split rings, and Colorado blades in gold and silver.
  • Flat wax threads in white and fluorescent chartreuse - 125 denier and 210 denier, respectively.
  • 1/16-oz. darter head jigs with #4 gold Aberdeen hooks.