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Friday, September 13, 2013

The Dragon Fly

I haven't posted anything for quite a while so I thought I'd post something unusual as kind of a new start.

I tyed this fly almost two years ago. Every once in a while it's fun to see how far I can take the techniques and materials. I like to call this type of tying "Beyond Fly Tying" because of the subject matter, the skin of tissue and in this case the wire. Other examples have been the Lionfish and Octopus though wire was not used in them.

The first thing I did was to figure out what to use for nostrils and eye sockets on the head. I decided on cut feather quills for eye sockets and cut porcupine quills for nostrils.
Using mono and thread to shape the jaws, deerhair and thread to shape the head, the glass eyes on wire are tyed in and the porcupine quills lightly wrapped down.
Once I'm sure of the spacing the nostrils are accentuated by sewing through both sides and pulling the threads tight.
The head is being tyed temporarily onto wire. It will be slid off of the wire and tyed onto the body with the mono tags.
The feather quills for eye sockets are added along with the two feather quills for horns.
Everything is then wrapped with thread and a light coat of Fleximent to keep it all in place.

Next the body is tyed up and sized for the head. Mono and light wire is used to make sure it will be free standing and allow me to pose it.

Here you see that I'm starting to assemble the separate parts. The head has been tyed on, the toes have been built up and claws added and a length of wire run through the body to slide the wing quills onto.
The wing spars are stripped pigeon quills tyed together with mono for strength. The extra thread extending from the bases of the quills will be sewn into the body to attach the wings and body together.

Here you can see I've added some muscles with deer hair. More work has been done to the feet, head and belly scales have been added.
The wing spars are shown being shaped as bone and tissue with bat like fingers added to the wing joints. The tongue has been added.

The wing material has been added and I'm testing for balance.
Time to add the rest of the parts and start playing with colors.

Tail fins in place and experimenting with some color.

Finished Dragon fly from the back.

From the side.

From the Front.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Realistic Spider Legs

I get lots of questions about legs. I use mono for most of my legs. It works great in production and has the durability Realistic fishing flies need. Still we worked with varieties of materials in the beginning. Almost all of them natural. The techniques discribed below are for those who wish to truely tye their Realistic flies and prefer natural materials.

The Feather is from a Ringneck Pheasant cape. It's the perfect size for a medium to large Orb Weaver or Black Widow.

You can leave a tiny amount of barb material at the tips to replicate toe hooks. Bends shown below are from using my thumb nail and first finger. Make sure you know the distance between the bends and the direction of all the bends before you start. This includes the small section at the butt end of the quill. In other words use adequate reference.

No glue, no thread, nothing artificial just the perfect material. Not good for production runs but small groups are easy.

For color I used a marker. If necessary coat the leg with Flexament or Hard as Nails polish and re-color. I coat them anyway with Flexament for durability. Coloring is easier off of the fly rather than on.

Four Porcupine quill sections are then tyed together like a raft. Then they are tyed to the underside of the hook. At this point you can finish tying your Spider without the legs being in the way.

Next with a Beading needle and thread run the thread through the end of the Feather quill and out the first joint. Tye it off at the joint. Now run your thread through the first section of Porcupine quill. Do the same with the second leg.

Pull both legs in to the open sockets and tye them off on opposite legs. Of course this will be done on the hook with the finished Spider.

This is what they look like on the spider.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New Grasshopper Pattern

This new Redlegged Grasshopper Pattern will be finished and up for sale on Bob and Daves' Auctions in the next couple of days.

Available Now

It can be tyed as a Fishing Fly or Presentation Fly. I've included new techniques for the head and legs.

I will make it available as a PDF or CD. Anyone interested can check out Bob and Daves' Auctions or e-mail me at davidrmartin2012@att.net.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Realistic Patterns for PDF Downloads

I'm doing some patterns as PDF downloads to make it easier for my friends here and overseas. You can download a pattern in a few minutes instead of waiting for the mail. Of course there's no shipping costs and the patterns are priced less than the CDs. Those that aren't concerned about signed CDs and just want the information should consider it.

Currently you can check them out at Bob and Daves' Auctions or contact me for more info...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Step By Step CDs

I've placed some Patterns for sale on bobanddavesauctons.com Under "David Martin Auctions". Below are some of the images from the Pattern CDs.

The Spider Pattern

The Scorpion Pattern

The Beetle Pattern
Pallid Wing Grasshopper...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Materials and Choices for Realistics

The difficulties of tying a Realistic fly go beyond the obvious " how in the world do I re-create that part" to "what materials do I use to make that part". If it's a "one of a kind fly" the material choices are as many as the possible methods for assembling the fly. If instead the fly is to be or represent a "fishable fly" then materials and the techniques must be easily available and the pattern able to be duplicated and taught. Below is a Spider I tyed using only deer hair and thread. It's fishable and easy to tye. The deer hair legs are delicate and don't hold up very well when fished. Although it was easy for the fish to suck the fly in. Replacing the carefully tyed in legs usually meant gluing a new leg on to save the fly for the next outing. These Spiders were sold through Fly shops and catalogs. Originally our price was $5.00 with the retailers mark-up they sold for $10.00. Yes, people bought and fished them.
Eventually we had to increase the durability of the fly. Deer Hair was exchanged for mono legs and for ease of teaching the abdomen was tyed on the hook. Vickie Eagle Elk tyed the example below from an article in Fly Tyer magazine we did.

Although our preference was all natural materials the resulting Realistic Fishable Spider became more durable ,more teachable and still fished well.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Thought it would be interesting to show a page from one of my sketch books.
The page shows how I set-up a mantis for our production.
The parts of the mantis such as the head, abdomen, legs etc. use standard techniques created for all our flies. The techniques were given names such as "wasp head" or "bee butt" and could then be referred to by me in my sketches. Someone else could then tye directly from them if they knew the "codes" and measurements. That way one page from my sketch book could makeup one pattern without repeating the basic techniques on every pattern.

This pattern was used many years ago to teach Becky and my son how to assemble a Mantis. After I met Bob I removed the production mantis from our line.
After all Bob is "Mantis"..!!

Friday, October 1, 2010


Realistic Fly tying seems to have spawned various Art Flies that are not considered to actually belong in Fly tying. Some believe they have little or nothing to do with fishing flies. So they have no reason to be called flies. Others say materials or techniques disqualify them. I had what I considered a simple question. I quickly figured out it wasn't so simple. As I broke the question down and tried to answer it in parts I found some answers had more questions. Let me see if I can show what I mean. Here's my question.

"If fly art or an art fly is a descendant of, or the evolution of fishing flies. What characteristics must be evident before it no longer shares any ancestry to the origins of a fly. In other words it is no longer an art" fly" or "fly" art."

I started with the first part of my question. "If fly art or an art fly is a descendant of, or the evolution of fishing flies." Which in turn created a new question. "What is a fishing fly and what did it evolve from." Maybe if we knew nothing of history or tradition we could just say evolution starts where we are and with what we see. Even if we knew some history we could argue that what we see is already the evolution of the fly therefore we are just continuing that evolution. That would make a case for new materials and methods other than tying. It could even eliminate hooks. I can reference tube flies and flies tyed with that "velcro" stuff that entangles the teeth of a fish. I might even call them "evolutionary branches of the hook."

Say that I knew some history. I knew that the original flies were made of feather and fur and tyed to a hook. Say I wished to tye an art fly using those materials and methods. Am I not just working from a point on the evolutionary tree? Aren't I just choosing to start with an older ancestor of the fishing fly? Don't all flies evolve and branch out from those original flies?

Why wouldn't it be acceptable to create your own branch. Say you tied a fishing fly. It might even be able to actually catch fish!?! Of course it's not really necessary that it catch fish. It would have to be made durable enough to catch fish though. You might even have to demonstrate that fact. Possibly many times. Now you can clean your fishing fly up and make it look nice. You may decide to spend too much time on it to fish and guess what, you have an Art fly. Wouldn't your Art fly then have a legitimate ancestry that evolves from a working fishing fly. Same materials and techniques just more time. Problem solved! Or is it? There's going to be questions about the fishing fly. Such as... "How far back in the evolutionary tree did you branch off?" "Is that an acceptable place to branch off?" And "how come you didn't branch off at the very first fly man tyed?" I should add that the "catching fish question" will arise now.

These are all legitimate questions but these questions, that have no acceptable answer to some, do cloud the debate. The technical aspect of fishing fly to Art fly would be answered but is it good enough to claim your Art fly has a fishing fly heritage? Will that make it acceptable to others?

So far it seems to me the more something such as Realistics appear to differ from other flies. The more we must try to show how strong our links to fishing and traditions of the past are......I'm sure there will be more on this subject.......

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A little time on my hands.

Today is the calmest day I've had in a week. Bob and I started a new auction site and have been wildly busy. For anyone who doesn't know about it the address is http://www.bobanddavesauctions.com/ ....

It's giving me a chance to do a couple of things I've put off this last week. So, I've also spent a little time looking around to see some of what's going on out there. Of course the view is from my computers window to the world. I like keeping an eye out for fishable realistics. I noticed more suppliers and shops advertise some of their flies as "realistic". Some are more so than others. I take that as a sign the "Realistic movement" has had an impact. I've looked at some sites too. A couple that stand out are Freds' and Ulfs'. They each have some great offerings.

I like the way Ulf has incorporated realism and traditional in a fly. It shows they both can co-exist. Others have tried but I think Ulf has it down.

Fred on the other hand has gone another direction. He's specializing in warm water, Gulf Coast realistic fishing flies. That's a difficult road when your trying to deal with teachable, fishable realistics. I know Fred, he'll definitely get it done.

There are many more I've seen or known that specialized in fishable stones or mayfly nymphs. We of course specialized in realistic dries.

So I guess my question is, how does some images from a handful of tyers depicting art flies give the average tyer/fisherman or woman the idea that realistics are an art form that's not for fishing?

Probably unanswerable .....


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Giant Hornet

This "Hornet" I tyed has been up for auction on my website and ends today. Unfortunately the site has been temporarily placed off line. If anyone would like to still place a bid they can e-mail the bid amount to me at davidrmartin2012@att.net. The bid must be placed by 7:00 pm PDT. today.
The high bid as of this writing is $250.00.
I wish to thank all of you who have participated.