Friday, December 11, 2009

Day 96 - Repetitive Motion

As a heads up, I've been toying with the idea of moving to a different blogging service. While I like the use of, I think the use of Word Press may offer me some better opportunities in the future. Currently I'm posting on both sites, but I think by the end of the year I will be using strictly Word Press. If you'd like, you can visit the new site at:

Today has been pretty much been a day of fly tying for me (that and pot roast, but that's another story). After getting a few comments on yesterday's Slumpbuster, I agreed to tie some patterns for a few people. So a quick check of current supplies on hand and I realized that I was in need of some materials. So off to the store I go. The Wonderpup was happy to get out of the house for a little bit, even if he did stay in the Trout-mobile the entire time.

After picking up some material (zonkers in pink, black, and olive, some conehead beads, and hooks in #6 & #8) I was off to go finish a few other errands before I could get going at the vise. I finally made it back home around noon time, but then spent the next 30 minutes prepping the pot roast that was dinner tonight (got to love crock pots).

By 2:00 I had eaten lunch, had the crockpot up and stewing, and had finished the tail end of an old B&W comedy movie on AMC. It was now time to sit down at the vise. To be honest, I've never taken on such a project before and didn't know what I was really getting myself into. But with valiant spirit and dogged determination and I settled into the chair and got started.

One of the first things I did was to do a little prep work. As a student of lean & agile (a business philosophy for production) it made sense to get everything ready. I divided my hooks up into piles of twelve and then slipped the coneheads onto the hooks. After this I set aside one pile for my work in progress and started to get moving. I tied the black version of the Slumpbuster first.
It's interesting how a person thinks about modification to the process when they know that they will be doing a lot of it. Let me reword that: when things become a pain in the butt, you learn quickly how to change your process. Yesterday's tying session required the tying on of both holographic braid and zonker at the same time. I have a rotary vise and a Scottish inclination towards being thrifty (some say cheap). When I tied on the zonker, I couldn't use the rotary vise to build the body with the braid as the zonker would get all tangled up. I wasn't an expert of how much the zonker had to be so I couldn't trim the zonker down before hand.

I reviewed the steps for this pattern in my head and realized that I could tie on the braid, build the body, and then come back over the body with the thread in large spiral loops and then tie on the zonker strip. Doing it this way kept the zonker from tangling up, and allowed me to focus on one material at a time. I think the end result actually turned out better than the ones that I tied up yesterday.

I either read or heard from a professional fly tyer that it takes at least a dozen flies before you get some of the kinks out of the way. I have to say that is true. While the first dozen came out pretty smoothly for the most part, I do have to admit that I was having trouble with the last step of wrapping the zonker strip to create the collar of the fly. It wasn't until I was in my second dozen that I realized that a 90 degree turn of the zonker strip and then butting wraps towards the conehead eliminated my problem. I also learned that to get a wrap done so that it looked right required that the last few wraps of the zonker had to be wedged under the conehead. After that it was just a matter of time to finish that dozen.

The next dozen is still under way. I moved to the gold tungsten beads that I used yesterday instead of the coneheads. I also dropped down a size from #6 to #8. These will be the pink Slumpbusters. The holographic braid that I'll be using is in claret. The thread is a new brand that I'm using and I will probably not purchase again. I forget the namebrand, but it keeps breaking on me. I bought it because it matched the flourescent pink zonkers. It is so brittle that I'm considering going to the red thread that I used for the Woody Troutpecker pattern that I tie. I've only tied up two flies and the thread has broke about 5 times on me. The first two times that it happend I thought I was putting too much stress on the thread, the next time it broke with very little tension. Hmmmm...

I think before I head to bed that I will tie a few more up. I might not get the whole lot done tonight as I'm getting a little tired and I'd like to spend some time with my wife as well. It's all about finding the rhythm of fly fishing and family life.

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