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16 and smaller

2009/3/1 11:31
From wellsboro
Posts: 2
I have been tying flies for a little over a year now and I cannot seem to tie anything smaller than a 16 dry or wet that looks half decent so my question is can a fellow lead a prominent and successful life with 16s and larger?

Posted on: 2010/4/3 12:48
"The gods do not subtract from the allotted span of mens lives the hours spent fishing"

Re: 16 and smaller

2006/9/10 21:53
From Greensburg, PA
Posts: 668
So don't. Work out a trade with a buddy for smaller flies against bigger ones you tie well. I rarely tie anything other than pupae in smaller than a 16 myself.

Posted on: 2010/4/3 13:21

Re: 16 and smaller

2007/1/25 5:24
From Pa
Posts: 0
TGs idea of swapping out with somebody sounds like a good one.

My suggestion is to start out tying smaller wingless flies while getting the feel for it. Tie some soft hackles using smaller poor grade rooster micro saddle. Gordon Griffiths 14/0 is great stuff for the small flies. When wrapping, take two tight turns where you would normally take 4. This may sound odd, but learn your thread strength. Spend some time testing it and intentionally breaking it to get the feel for how far you can stretch it without it breaking.

You can survive with #16 and larger, but there will be a time where you will be wishing you had a smaller fly even if it's wingless or has less detail. There are tons of simple but effective midge imitations. If you have trouble tying a #18 Blue Quill with wings, then leave it wingless. Same way with Sulphurs. Give 'em what you can give 'em.

Hope this helps.

Posted on: 2010/4/3 13:53
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Re: 16 and smaller

2009/8/19 17:22
Posts: 0
ya don't need wings on a 18 blue quill , i caught plenty of trout today on size 18 blue quills without wings , even without hackle ! how that grab ya ? , blue quill with a pinch of compardun hair . waaaaLaaaaaH

Posted on: 2010/4/3 22:08

Re: 16 and smaller

2010/1/2 15:17
From PA and NH
Posts: 17
Smaller thread and a magnifier will do wonders. That griffiths 14/0 lays in nicely and with a magnifier the size becomes irrelevant, you think you're tying a 12.

Posted on: 2010/4/4 6:51

Re: 16 and smaller

2006/9/21 0:02
From Pittsburgh
Posts: 732
Other than BWO's and Blue Quills, most of the other spring time hatches are larger flies. And you should be OK with nothing smaller than #16.
But throughout summer and fall, matching the hatch becomes pretty much a small fly game.

I remember when I first learned to tie - and also thinking that a #18 is a pretty small fly. But I kept at it, and started getting the knack for it. Then gradually working my way down to #20's, #22's, and #24's for tricos. And it really wasn't very hard to do.
I now tie #28's and #32's routinely. And after tieing some of them for awhile, a #18 seems pretty large.

Posted on: 2010/4/4 10:13

Re: 16 and smaller

2009/9/24 15:02
From Montgomery County
Posts: 38
Never really needed anything smaller than a 20 or 22. I keep all my small flies simple and these should cover pretty much any situation...

Griffiths- herl and grizz hackle
small olives and midges- thread body and a couple wraps of hackle. Throw in a shuck or tail if you like.
midge emergers- thread and sparse dubbing for a thorax
tricos- thread, tail and clipped hackle

Posted on: 2010/4/4 16:50

Re: 16 and smaller

2006/9/11 15:10
From collegeville, pa
Posts: 64
Bam's advice is can easily tie one of the most effective flies in 18 and smaller...that being midge larva and pupa....just thread really...

Posted on: 2010/4/5 8:41

Re: 16 and smaller

2006/10/18 15:46
From Patterson twp, Pa (Beaver Falls)
Posts: 341
I think I catch more fish on top using a sz22 griffiths gnat every year than any other fly. It's a simple pattern and matches a lot of bugs. Tie a dozen of those and those 18's will look huge. All in all it just takes practice. You'll learn how to manage those smaller flies and they'll get better and better. Keep at it! Just sit and tie until they get better.

Also, try some different material.... cdc, hair wings, etc. Sometimes they are easier to tie on smaller hooks than your typical hackled flies.

Posted on: 2010/4/5 13:49
Owner of Risen Fly

Re: 16 and smaller

2006/9/12 21:16
From Suburban Pittsburgh
Posts: 9
All good advice given so far, especially relative to thread size. I have been tying Zebra Midges with 14/0 and it's ideal. I also picked up some reading glasses that I'll use for getting more intricate, but I'd imagine that a magnifying glass is a perhaps a better option.

There are lots of flies that I'll tie, but some that I just won't attempt--yet. Generally the smallest I'll tie is a 22, but with each year at the bench, I keep going smaller. A few years back, I wouldn't attempt anything below a 16. Start with simple patterns, like Zebra Midges, Griffith's Gnats, and Scuds. As you get more comfortable, go smaller.

Last season, I was fishing Neshannock and struck up a conversation with an older gentleman and we exchanged some flies. He gave me a size 26 Copper John that just blew me away. When I asked him how he was able to tie, his secret: lots of practice, patience and a magnifying glass. Pretty much backs up everything that the previous posts have said.

Posted on: 2010/4/5 21:02
~ Leave only your footprints ~

Re: 16 and smaller

2007/10/7 0:44
From philadelphia
Posts: 196
i rarely fish anything smaller than a sixteen.size eight to ten is my norm.i go down to an eighteen once in a while for starling and purples,but otherwise fourteen is small for me.

Posted on: 2010/4/6 17:08

Re: 16 and smaller

2006/9/12 12:07
From Berryville Virginia
Posts: 15
one thing that helps me is never tie down (hook size) only tie up and with age if i need something smaller than a 22 I will tie them short on a 22.

Joe E

Posted on: 2010/4/7 0:30

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