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  • Introduction. I started a small entrepreneurial business called Fly Tying Smith during 2020 (Lockdown). Tying custom tied flies, mostly for salt water and predatory fish. I specialised in Game Changers and came up with the idea of making them using calftail as an alternative to synthetic material. Since then, I have become a Property Practitioner in the Garden Route but still love tying flies when I get an opportunity to.
  • How to fish it. - Slow or fast, you can strip and pause, even with the fly stationary in the water, the kinky calf tail makes it shiver bringing the fly to life. This is probably my favourite pattern to fish and have caught multiples of species with it, including carp.
  • Materials used - Calf tail, crystal dubb or normal dubb, stainless steel wire, 210 thread or any strong thread, hackle feathers/Maribu or rabbit fur or just the calf tail itself for making the tail and stick-on eyes are optional.

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  • I chose a yellow calf tail for this fly, but you can use a mixture of colours.
  • And hackle feathers for the tail (using the bottom fluff).
  • I am going to make tab eyes.
  • And make my own spines/game changer links with 105lbs Stainless Steel Leader wire using a 1 step looping pliers.
  • I am using a 1/0 Mustad C475D Hook. You can use any short shank hook.
  • Gel Super Glue is used to make the Tab eyes.
  • Quick Setting (runny) super glue is used every time I make a knot.
  • A piece of velcro is used to brush out the dubbin.

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  • Making the Tab eyes using nylon and a stick on 3d eyes.

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  • Burning the nylon on each end and press it flat.

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  • Glue flat nylon to the eyes using gel super glue and let it dry while making the fly.

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  • This is the skeleton of the fly, to give you an idea of how big to make the spines / links. Note that the tail link has one loop and a long straight piece that you clamp in the vice which you cut off afterwards.

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  • Build a small thread bump at the end of the tail spine then apply super glue.

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  • I am going to use these 4 feathers to make the tail.

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  • Tie the feathers in, 2 on each side and apply super glue.

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  • I am going to use UV dub under the Calf tail.

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  • Twist Dub on your thread, turn it on to the shank, tie the thread off, brush it out and apply super glue.

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  • Cut off a small clump of calf tail.

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  • Tie it on so that it completely covers the shank / spine then tie a knot and apply super glue to the knot.

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  • Cut away the calf tail that is over the eye of the spine / link and neaten it up with a lighter, burning away hair that you cannot cut. Make sure that there is enough space for the next spine / link to freely move.

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  • Now you can cut off that piece of wire on the first link using a side cutter and pulling the material out of the way.

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  • Clamp your second spine in the vice, wrap it with thread and apply super glue to the thread.

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  • Repeat the same step with the dub as you did with the first link / spine.

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  • Brush the dub out like you did on the first link / spine.

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  • Repeat the same step with the calf tail as you did on the first spine / link, this time make the calf tail slightly longer giving a taper to the fly.

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  • Add the next spine and repeat the same process.

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  • Repeat the same step with Dub and then the calf tail as you did on the previous spine / link. Remember to make the calf tail slightly longer, giving a taper to the fly.

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  • You are now done with the body of the fly, note how the body tapers from big to small.

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  • Put your hook in the vice and tie the wire you bent to attach the body of the fly to the hook.

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  • Add the body of the fly to the hook.

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  • Tie down the wire attaching the body to the hook and apply super glue.

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  • Stack some dub at the top and bottom of the hook.

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  • Repeat the same step with Dub and then the calf tail as you did on the previous spine / link. Remember to make the calf tail slightly longer, giving a taper to the fly.

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  • Repeat the same step with Dub and then the calf tail as you did on the previous spine / link. Remember to make the calf tail slightly longer, giving a taper to the fly.

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  • Repeat the same step with Dub and then the calf tail as you did on the previous spine / link. Remember to make the calf tail slightly longer, giving a taper to the fly.

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  • Reverse tie in the last clump of calf tail to form the head. This is where you can be creative and give the fly a different colour head.

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  • Use an empty pen to push the calf tail back over the body.

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  • Bring your thread through the calf tail to the eye of the hook and clamp the head / calf tail down with a hair clip then apply super glue to keep the calf tail in place, forming the head.

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  • Tie in your tab eyes if you wish to use eyes. I usually put a toothpick in the eye of the hook when doing this to help keep the thread in place.
  • Once you have both eyes in place apply more super glue.

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  • Cut the nylon tabs of the eyes shorter, then burn the nylon ends flush with the hook eye.

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  • Here the nylon has been burnt.

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  • You now have a complete calf tail changer ready to catch you some fish.

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  • Here are examples of others that I have tied.

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  • Here is one I used to catch bass with a 4wt rod.

 

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