Are all colors of EP Fiber created Equal?

EP Fiber Glo-In-The-Dark Deceiver #2

EP Fiber Glo-In-The-Dark Deceiver #2

This is a bit of a follow up on my post “White EP Fiber Comparison”.   More specifically I wish to speak a bit about EP Fiber Glo-in-the-Dark.  Are all EP Fibers created equal?  I think not.

I have yet to find another color of EP Fibers which is anything like Glo-in-the-Dark.  In years past Enrico had a SE Fiber which had a very regular wavy nap to it; he never exploited those SE Fibers in any of his fly product.  Now he had Glo-in-the-Dark; he isn’t using any of these fibers in his fly products.  Wonder why?

I personally tie thousands of EP Fiber Deceivers a year mainly out of his original and 3D Fibers.  These fibers are dead consistent right out of the package—with one exception.  The Glo-in-the-Dark fiber has a different feel to it.  Although I have no proof it is any different a base fiber product, I believe it to be.  The nap of this fiber makes it very easy to bulk up a fly, and very easy to over-dress a fly with too much fiber.  I truly believe that “Sparse is Better” as I’ve said many time.  Could the differences in the fiber be due to the dye treatment of the fiber?  Maybe.

So why isn’t Enrico using this color in his own fly production?  Consistency.  This fiber is a bit more difficult to portion out and is minimally softer than the standard EP Fiber.  Get completely competent with the other color before working with it.

Am I bashing this fiber?  Hell no.  I use this fiber a great deal in my own production of some kick ass night-time snook flies.  My friend Les had great success with this on Peacock Bass in the stained waters of the Amazon.  These flies take just a little more effort to tie with the consistency I try to achieve.

EP Fiber Colors Everyone Should Have

EP Fiber Colors Everyone Should Have

By: Craig Smothers

 

There are certain colors of the EP Fibers everyone should have for tying Deceiver patterns for this area.  Breaking the colors down into groups of similar colors is all part of my series of articles on “Demystifying EP Fibers”.  I don’t personally use ALL of the EP Fiber colors, but here are the ones I find myself using over and over.  The concept here is to purchase one or more in each of the groups to cover the majority of patterns you might be tying.

I start with one everyone should have and is often forgotten: Red EP Silky Fibers.  If you want a gill on your fly, this is the color and the correct material to tie it from.

Whites:  Absolutely everyone will be using one or more of these.  My first choice is “3D White”.  Colors of white in this group include: White, 3D White, Polar Bear, Glo-in-the-Dark, Bucktail White.

Near Whites:  Each of these can be substituted for white: Sand, Baitfish Belly, and Golden Olive Minnow (which could be in with olives)

Olives:  Olive, Golden Olive, 3D Baitfish Olive, 3D Pinfish.

Grays:  Silver Gray, 3D Gray, 3D Mullet (which could be in with olive).

Light Browns:  Tan, 3D Mutton Snapper, 3D Everglades, 3D Back Country (which could be in with olives).

Chartreuse:  Green Chartreuse, 3D Chartreuse, and 3D Pilchard.

Oddballs:  I use some of these colors for various atypical patterns and flies designed for Tarpon.  Black, Purple, Lavender, Pink, Red, Yellow, Tangerine.

The Flash:  EP Sparkle comes in a large number of colors.  The two everyone should have is one of the Holographic Pearl or Holographic Silver and Crystal Blue (pearl).  Optional colors might include Rootbeer or Speckle Gold, Fluorescent Chartreuse (not standard chartreuse), and Sparkle Olive.  Be sure and pick up the first two.

White EP Fiber Comparison

This is a portion of the hand out I use for my “Demystifying EP Fiber” classes

White EP Fiber Comparison

 

Most of the deceiver-style flies you will be tying with EP Fiber will include the color white.  EP Fibers come in five flavors of true white.  There are also a few alternates to white that I would like to compare.

 

Bucktail White – To my eyes, this is the brightest white.  It is a monochromatic color (Not a 3D {blended} color).  On its own, it makes a stunning deceiver.  Mix this white with bright accent colors (e.g., yellow chartreuse or such).  I like to use either Pearl Magic or Blaze Opal EP Sparkle with bucktail white.

White – The universal EP Fiber white.  This is also a monochromatic white, but less dynamic than the Bucktail White.  This is my least favorite of the whites.

Polar Bear – This appears on the gray side of white, with perhaps some ivory to it.  Again, this is a monochromatic white, but it appears 3D to the eyes.  It looks best with the holographic silver EP Sparkle’s.

Glo-In-The-Dark – This is a flat white, without the typical synthetic shine to the fiber.  This also has a different texture to the fiber—I call it fluffier—which makes it a bit more difficult to work with.  Don’t expect an intense glo-in-the-dark.  It will require frequent recharging at night.  A friend had great daylight success with this material in the coffee stained water of the Amazon.  Mix this with glo-in-the-dark Flashabou or Flashabou Accent—both of which glow brighter than the EP Fiber itself, to require less maintenance.

3D White – This is the white I use most frequently.  This works with any accent color; as such, this should be your first white.  It is the only one of the true whites which is made from a blend of whites.   It can be mixed with any of the pearl EP Sparkles.

Alternatives:

Baitfish Belly – This is a cool 3D white which is best described as a pale yellow/beige/sand white.  It mixes well with a Sparkle Gold or any Pearl EP Sparkle.

Beige or Sand – Both of these mix well with brown accent colors or can be used by themselves.  Mix with a Gold, Copper, or Root Beer EP Sparkle.

Golden Olive Minnow – Not white, but a good color for green or stained water.  Good accent colors might include the darker greens, olives, grays, or black.  Mix with the Gold, Olive, or Pearl Olive EP Sparkles.

Minnow or Silver Gray – A silver gray could use darker blue, gray/slate, or olives and black as the accent color.  Go with the silver holographic EP Sparkle.

Mint — A new discovery for me.  This is a very pale green.  It will work with any of the green tones or perhaps Pilchard, as a accent color.  It might stand well on its own in a lightly algae stained water.  Mix it with Pearl Magic or Blaze Opal EP Sparkle.

 

Do yourself a favor and find a fly shop which carries all or most of these colors.  Grab each, and in good light, compare them.  See how each works with the accent (top) color you have in mind to use.  Each of these whites will seem to work best with a particular shade of accent color.  Use the 3D colors for accents when you can—life isn’t monochromatic.  Buy two whites to one accent color—you’ll need it.

 

Fly Tying Class using Enrico Puglisi Fiber

I have been offering a class at the IFFF Florida Council Conclave shows for four years now.  It is titled “Demystifying the use of Enrico Puglisi Fiber”.   I’ve generated a hand out for the class to help attendees’ take home some of my concepts, how-to’s, plus products and tools I use.   I am currently revising some of this handout as I am not doing all things quite the way I once did.  There are changes in some of my visual aids for additional clarity and consistency.

Mangrove Coast Fly Fishers will be sponsoring this class, held once in Sarasota in February ‘17, and again at West Wall Boat Works in March ‘17.  We plan to film the class—if that turns out I may render a video.  This class is more of a demonstration than a hands-on for the students.  With the hand out, students should be able to practice and repeat my methods with confidence.

There should be firmly fixed dates and times very soon.  The Sarasota event will be held at The Meadows Community Association Building  one of Saturday afternoons (1-4PM) in February 2017.

Thread Choice–Veevus, Danville, Semperfli

Thread

I’ve been tying quite a few EP Deceiver Flies lately.  My choice of thread has always been rather consistant over the years.  I like Danville Flymaster in both 6/0 and + in 140 denier, + in 230 denier for tough work.  I’ve tried a bunch of others but never been quite as satisfied with them.  Many of Puglisi’s flies are tied with mono.  I really dislike this as I like a thread which wraps flat.  My thread choice really hinges on that.

Veevus has been marketing their their thread as being very strong, and I agree with that statement.  I picked up a few spools of white 6/0 and tried it out tying a few calf tail Clouser minnows.  It performed very well.  Soaking the heads with my tying glue made the thread transparent, which I like.  I could crank down on the thread tying in the lead eyes without breaking the thread.  BUT, it doesn’t wrap flat.  It has a rope-like quality and is likely difficult to split for dubbing.  I found that it was a bit slick building head.  I’m not sure if that is due to the round nature of the thread or the polyester it is made from.  Veevus is a great quality thread but it just doesn’t quite make it for me.

Danville Flymaster 6/0 lays flat which is my preference.  It becomes transparent when I soak it with my tying glue.  When tying Clouser minnows, use the stronger Danville+ 140 denier thread; the 6/0 thread will do the job, but it will break if not used carefully.  On EP Flies, the 6/0 is my consistent choice, waxed or not.  The nylon it is made from stays where I wrap it.

Semerfli has come out with Nano silk made from GSP.  Gel spun polyester thread is an extremely strong material.  The 12/0 has twice the strength of Veevus 6/0 and four times that of Flymaster 6/0.  It grabs the material you tie in.  It vanishes after applying tying glue.  It wraps flat.  I’d really love this stuff with three exceptions:  It is horribly expensive-Veevus is high, Semerfli costs more for half the length.  Second, it’s slick and moves from where I wrap it, sometimes.  The third thing is much more subjective.  It has a springy quality.  Release the tension on the thread, it unfurls. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I feel it compounds the slick quality and causes migration of my thread wraps.  Keep tension on it-use a heavier bobbin.  Perhaps this is true for all GSP threads?

Sorry, I guess I’m just cheap.  Put me on the program and I’d use the Semperfli.  Until then, I’ll stick with my old school Flymaster

 

Weed Guards

EP Glo-In-The-Dark Deceiver

Weed Guards

I personally dislike using weed guards.  If my fishing needs to be weedless, I generally use a bendback fly.  However, being in the fly tying business, I need to preclude my feelings and do what is generally expected of my products.  This means using weed guards on the flies that warrant them.  My greatest fear in using weed guards is creating a fish guard.

Hard mono is the only real choice for weed guards.  The stiffness of this type of mono is not created to spooling up a favorite spinning reel, but create a leader butt section to turn over a fly (or create a bite tipit).  The body of this type of mono is meant to be stiff.  Most leader materials are far too limp–to counteract the limp quality would mean stepping up the pound test the mono is.  Personally that is counter intuitive.  Keep the pound test and diameter of the mono as low as possible while maintaining the stiffness of the mono.  Don’t just “use what you got”.  Using a minimally small diameter also reduces “Big Gobby Heads” on the flies.

Being old school, the first hard mono that comes to mind is Mason Hard Type Leader Material.  Starting with 12 pound test and going as high as 25 pound test, I field tested the same basic flies.  !2 pound test was too limp to stop the weeds.  25 pound test prevented weeds, but I also feel prevented hook ups.  20 pound test also seemed to prevent hook ups.  So for years I’ve used 16 pound test Mason for all of my weed guards.  Trouble is, it’s old school.  Where everyone used to carry Mason, new brands have replaced it.  Mason is still available, just harder to find.

So I nearly ran out of Mason the other day.  I went shopping through all of the many brands of leader material and compared them to my old Mason (what I had left).  After going through dozens of brands of mono and fluorocarbon leader materials I ran across Rio Alloy Hard Saltwater Tipit.  New school with a great reputation.  I am thrilled with this.  The Mason 16 pound test has always been just ever-so-slightly too limp.  Mason 20 pound test, too stiff.  Rio 20 pound is .001″ smaller, and is a perfect limpness/stiffness compromise between Mason 16 pound and 20 pound.  Rio Alloy Hard Saltwater Tipit in 20 pound test is my new answer for weed guards.

Stay tuned for an explanation on how I tie weed guards and the tools required.

 

Making “Fly Tying” Glue

The term “Head Cement” is misused.  Head Cement includes two very different types of glues: Fly Tying Glue, Fly Finishing Glue.  This video is how to create “Tying Glue” used in building the fly.  “Finishing Glue” puts  the shiny finish on the thread at the end and can include things like clear nail lacquer and epoxy.   Making “Fly Tying Glue” like this is identical to the retail versions of Dave’s Fleximent and Softex.

 

Classic Tarpon Flies

Tarpon time is rapidly approaching.  With the warm weather we’ve been experiencing along the west coast of Florida, the Gulf temperatures never really dropped as low as they normally do.  I’d be quite surprised if the tarpon fishing doesn’t turn on in the Everglades by mid March.

I have been busy constructing Classic Tarpon Flies for my website-SaltFlys.com since the middle of January.  I’ve tied quite a few so far and there are more in the ques.  I need to order more specialized hooks, however.  I’ve pre-bundled matched pair of neck feathers waiting for those hooks.  I also need to place my order for EP Fibers to start with my synthetic tarpon flies.

An old acquaintance of mine and I spoke the other day and he asked me to do something out of the ordinary.  He’s done a tarpon wood carving and wants to display six classic tarpon flies along with the carving.  I though that sounded interesting so I told him I’d help, he’s a damn good tyer and plans to do three himself.  Then comes the curve.  Tie them on #6 or #8 hooks…

Personally, I began tying flies for small mouth, crappie, bream, and perch.  I did not begin tying for native brook trout.  I don’t own any 12/0 thread.  Tying a true classic “mini” tarpon fly with a squirrel tail collar will be a stretch for me.  Most of what I have been tying for years has been on #4-#1/0.  The rooster necks I’m currently tying #1/0-#3/0 tarpon flies from should provide me with an abundance of excellent pin feathers for the “mini’s”.  I accept the challenge…

If I can get some decent photos with my P.O.S. camera, I’ll be sure and post them.  I’d also like to get some photos of the tarpon wood carving along with our flies.  Stay tuned.  It should be interesting.

Who knows, it might just open a new market for SaltFlys tying Classic Tarpon Flies in bream/crappie size.

Fly Tying “Head Cement”

If you read my previous article on Glues and Solvents I think you can tell I’ve spent quite a bit of time researching this.  As I said there, “Head Cement” has two classes: “Tying Cement” and “Finishing Cement”.  I want to focus a bit more on “Tying Cement”.

Being the fly tying guru for my local IFFF club, the Mangrove Coast Fly Fishers, I was asked to purchase some fly tying supplies for the club.  In addition to teaching our members, we are frequently asked to teach kids to tie flies.  I bought several of the small glass jars that come complete with the bodkin from an online source.  Then I biked over to the local Ace Hardware and picked up a tube of Household Goop and a quart of Xylene.  It’s a lifetime supply of the fixin’s for my favorite type of “Tying Cement”.

The whole idea behind tying cement is to secure the materials to the hook.  It’s not to make it pretty and glossy, it’s simply to hold everything to the hook.  If you are smart, you use this type of glue throughout the tying process.

Dave’s Fleximent is what I create.  First, open the Goop.  Ream the entire foil seal open at the top of the tube.  Open one of the small jars and set aside the cap, bodkin, and inner plastic seal.  Squeeze a nice 2″ long cylinder of the Goop into the jar, about double what you’d put on a large tooth brush.  Now add Xylene to the jar up to where the jar starts to neck down.  PLEASE USE CAUTION–Xylene is a form of dimethylbenzene.  This stuff is not good for you.  I use a glove and an eye dropper–don’t try to pour it from the quart.  It is also flammable.   Now replace the plastic seal, bodkin, and cap to the jar and let it sit over night.

Have you ever had a jar of glue go solid?  With this stuff, just add more xylene and leave it over night.  Shazam…restored.  I think you could almost use the clear silicone scraped from around your exterior windows and restore it to glue.

After letting it sit over night, open the jar and check it.  Thin it to a point where the glue just barely holds onto the bodkin.  Maintain it that way by adding Xylene as needed.  Use it!  I try to put a drop on the thread and materials throughout the tying process.  I keep two jars with the volume of tying I do–a working jar, and a create-more jar.

I use Danville Flymaster 140 and 70 denier thread mostly.  The glue soaks right to the shank of the hook.  If you do happen to use mono thread (I don’t) please use the brush-able Crazy Glue.  My glue formula is not designed for mono thread.

 

Prince of Tides Bendback Fly

The Prince of Tides bendback was originally tied by Flip Pallot for bonefish. I find that it is an excellent fly for shallow water tailing redfish. The body is a bit difficult to build, but the resulting fly is one that everyone should carry in their fly box.

This fly has been included in the IFFF Fly Tying Skills Award Program as one of the flies for the Gold Award.  I was asked for a saltwater pattern for inclusion in this by the chairman of the program for a bendback pattern.  This is the fly I chose.  Skills required are not that difficult, however, correctly bending the hook, building a tight body, and not over-dressing the wing do require a bit of talent.  I am honored I was asked.

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