Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tying Bucktails on trebles

Misery loves company, so I thought I would put together a post with a few of the tripwires I've encountered tying bucktails.

Stop by Fish Creek Spinners Web Store and check out some of this handiwork and it's new format!

I've always got to test the ditches before I learn to drive and since blogs end up searchable, maybe somebody can avoid problem rediscovery and mitigate some of these risks I'm mentioning. If not, I still needed to make these, might as well post something, right?

Tying bucktails is not all aggravation and trouble, it has it's benefit too. Here's a few I thought of

You have them available to replace a cut hook on your favorite spinner
 - use a split ring or duolock to attach them
You can make a lot of custom color combinations you wouldn't be able to find or buy
You get the satisfaction of creating something yourself or showing someone you do have skills!

The downside is that it can be a tedious and frustrating project, with several risks and pitfalls in the timeline. Add contingency, mitigate risk, and start planning Bucktail Version 2.

You earn extra points for tenacity and persistence on this task. Also remember, in their finest hour, these bucktails will end up in a Muskie or Pikes mouth, (now that's a scary place). Primitive counts too. In my case, primitive counts a lot!

I wanted to tye some custom multi-colors to match the painted body bullets I had available on Muskie spinners I was imagining. I tyed #1/0 and #2/0 trebles.




Back to the pitfalls and trip wires.

Obstacle one - Adjust or change out the jaws on your vise

Muskie trebles are big and burly and the jaws on your fly tying vice need to factor the extra bulk. I switched to a different set of jaws and adjusted them to grab the 2/0 treble securely. I grab a single barb to hide its cutting edge if possible, but still the jaws need to open wide for these guys to be held and gripped. Wrapping a loose treble is not a fun job.

Trebles do provide convenient channels between the hooks for laying the hair, but they're positioned for catching fish, not wrapping silk thread or feathers. The three sharp barbs are excellent cutters for silk thread.

Obstacle two - Buy tough string

Tying trebles requires heavy thread for the job. I'm a wire twister these days, and I don't tye often. My eye hand coordination hasn't improved with age either. I found the #8 thread I had on a bobbin didn't tolerate a barb snag very well, and having a couple of these cutters lurking around the hook didn't help the job at all.

You have a few hundred wraps to get a decent sized bucktail and a lot of half hitches to get to end of job. Buy tough thread for this job, broken silk slows you down and its no fun.  I've found 6/0 silk works pretty good, but there are likely other thread materials, better for the job, Feel free to comment.

Suggestion - Take your time with the wraps

After a few (bucktails that is!), I found myself doing the dipsy doddle around the barbs while wrapping. If I slowed down, I could weave around the barbs and wrap further back on the shaft, leaving more room for finishing the head.

Suggestion - Wrap and glue in stages.

Bucktail is bulky. The hair is hollow and buoyant which is great in practice, but that bulk compounds after six sets have been wrapped and stacked up on the shaft. Tying a set of three further back on the shaft, avoids a big knot of hair to be trimmed and finished when you're calling it done.

I was doing two color bucktails and found I was able to tye them quicker and better if I did a three channel round, did a quick finish and a few drops of head cement on that round before adding the second color.


In my case, I cut the thread at this stage and removed the hook to let the cement dry. Then continued to tie a few more through this point before adding the second colors and finishing them off. 



By tying the first round further back on the shaft, the final finish had more room and wrapped easier.


I found I liked the outcome better if I put a lighter color on top and ended up using more white hair, but to each their own.

Matched up the custom bucktail with my painted bullets and will call it a good job, well done! 


This Dinnerbell prism ought to look great in the water. Looks good, sounds nasty.

I'm a fish, I'm gonna STRIKE! It's my DNA!

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