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Will's Wiggler

Will's Wiggler

A fly in two parts........

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Friday 25th March 2011.

Today was the last day of a hard week stock-taking, and 2o'clock in the afternoon saw us sat down at Will's kitchen table, drinking tea in large quantities as usual. Yesterday we were given some foam bodies to play with, so Will got out his fly tying box and we began playing in earnest.

I had been playing around with Greg Saunders Fly-lipps and to be honest, I was struggling to make them work properly. I had decided that the flies I was trying them on were too flexible, as all they seemed to want to do was to wriggle so fast that you couldn't see them working. What I needed to do was to find a way of producing a fly with a more solid body to slow the whole thing down a little, leading to a less frenzied action.

An idea formed around the new foam bodies, and we set to work. This is fly-tyer's heaven, poncing around with bits of fluff and packing material!

Will set-to and whipped the X-ray onto the shank, varnished over it and tied in a small half-length of Melon Orange to form a tail. I suggested that next should come a couple of twists round the shank of our new Gatso Fibre, Peacock Bass. Then the thread was tied-off and sealed with varnish.

Next came the cigar-shaped foam body, pushed over the eye of the hook and over where the tail and Gatso was tied down. Here came the mistake.......Will pushed the foam too far until the ends of the Gatso Fibre started to get lost underneath the foam. Realising this error quickly, he managed to avert a total disaster by pulling some of the lost fibres back out, until there were enough showing to make a difference to the fly.

After re-connecting the thread at the head end and again liberally coating with varnish, the Fly-lipp was applied underneath the hook, tight behind the eye. After firmly whipping down and varnishing again, the thread was tied-off and varnished yet again. Then the foam body was eased-up tightly behind where the Fly-lipp left the hook shank and left to stick to the wet varnish.

Two eyes pushed on either side, a bit of an art-job from Uncle Greg down the back and sides (I knew I should have been a Barber!) and then..........Da DA DADA DAAAA!!!!!!

A big blob of Mr. Bond U.V. Resin was then applied by I, after telling Will to stop pissing around and get some on, FORCE-IT WILL, FORCE-IT!!!!

Smoothing it around the entire body of the fly till it had a good even coat, I then stuck it under the light and rotated it around for a couple of seconds. We took it out and looked at it.......Bloody hell, that looks good! After another all-round application of the goop it was chucked under the lamp to dry for ten minutes. Will went upstairs and filled the bath with water.

It was while he was upstairs that I noticed a strange thing occur........the second coat of resin had, for some unknown reson, started to produce lumps and bumps, where the first coat had dried completely smooth. I thought about this for a while, and came to the conclusion that the second coat had reacted with the blue colour underneath the first coat, which was as smooth as glass. Blue light.....reflected from underneath back at itself......resin that dries under blue light.....you work it out!!!!!

After Will came back downstairs, he produced a length of nylon line at my request; we were pissing ourselves to try it! Into the tub she went and I pulled it along with bated-breath. Wobble, wobble, wobble, wobble........fantastic! Except for one thing; after a couple of seconds it wanted to swim sideways and fall on it's side....not good at all and certainly not the finished article.

Remembering Greg Saunder's advice, I twisted (or rotated) the Lipp slightly and tried again. Better, but not quite right still. I said to Will, "lets go make another one, only on a bigger hook". Now Greg had said that he had only tried them on hooks up to 2/0, and bigger hooks seemed to create their own problems so he had abandoned fitting the Lipps to anything bigger than this. Time to experiment Mr. Strelley!!!!!!

Back downstairs another fly was soon rattled-up, this time avoiding the mistake with the Gatso Fibre. And this time, instead of a Perch fly we determined to make a Roach, my own preference for almost all situations.

A green back was added over the top of the foam but it was missing something.......I remembered art lessons at school and reached for the blue pen. That's better! Under the light she went to dry, and we set about tying a link-swivel to the peice of line, again in an effort to get the fly to swim upright.

Into the bath and...........shit-hot, look at that little bugger wriggle! Brilliant, the bigger size 3/0 hook seemed to have cured the sideways swagger, but we weren't sure how much difference the link-swivel had made to the action of the fly, so I went and fetched the first fly to compare.......

The first fly still did the same thing, so it had to be the bigger hook that made the difference and got the wiggle going, so maybe even bigger hooks could be used?

And another thing.....what about fitting a rattle inside somehow? Hmmmmmm!

At this point I want to mention that the finish on the resin is now regarded (by me at least) as a good thing; the "bobbly bits" that appeared in the second coat lend a certain "je ne sais-pas" to the finished fly, they might even provide extra vibration as the pattern swims along, wriggling it's ass off, who knows?

One thing is for certain though, Greg Saunders invention really does work, and works better with big hooks better than ever I could have imagined. I salute you Sir, you are a clever man indeed!

The hooks we used for our experiments were both heavy-guage O'Shaunessy's, so a lighter, bigger pattern might work even better. We will have to try, but I suppose it will have to wait until I get the time.......that is, of course, unless YOU do it first! 

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