Published Jan 25. 2009 - 14 years ago
Updated or edited Nov 18. 2015


Tying flies not meant for fishing sounds odd to some but dragging others into the world of advanced techniques. Anders Ovesen takes us into his cave of threads and feathers and reveals some puzzles needed to tie da old school style. Hang on to this detailed description and fly to the 

The Pefectionist - with a small salmon caught on a normal salmon fly
Vendula Smutkova

Anders and Rasmus Ovesen - two brothers who tie flies and they do it the way a fly should be tied. They are both very, very serious about their common hobby and have invented quite a few flies especially designed for sea trout along the Scandinavian coast lines and pikes in the lakes. Their fishing flies are tied showing small attractive details but when they dive into some real tying it becomes much more fascinating.

When Anders went to The Czech Republic for Christmas Holiday in 2008 he brought some materials and tools along with his girlfriend Vendula. She packed her camera and they relaxed for couple of weeks.

Some people would not equalize relaxation and tying a fully dressed modern feather winged salmon fly, but that is exactly what Anders does. Concentrated to the max but yet freeing his mind while tying a fly to perfection. It is meditation from the start to the end, which takes three, four maybe five, six or seven hours.
Some other flies from the hands of Anders
Vendula shot the sequence and they contributed with this looong step-by-step invitation for tying a classic. Well, "classic" might not be the correct term as Anders adds a modern touch to his flies which takes the classic techniques into our century and make them interesting for the serious, self developing and curious tier.

When the fly is finished Anders does not pay much attention to it. The challenge is over and is quickly placed in some box and will rarely see the sun light again. If you would like to be challenged but still want to have your hand held by some "grown-up" watch the easy to follow guide beneath - and please note, that the theory behind the new modern feather winged salmon flies and standards of proportions etc. takes quite some time to get into, but that is some of the fun.

Jock Scott -
Blue Tide -
Lime'n Jungle -
Vendula Smutkova
Classic Salmon Fly
Pattern type: 
Modern salmon fly
Anders Ovesen
4/0 hook, gut eye.
Fine oval tinsel and yellow silk.
Golden pheasant crest and argus pheasant.
Black ostrich herl.
First section body
Oval tinsel and orange silk.
First section under wing
Argus pheasant and orange turkey. Sided by jungle cock.
First section butt
Black ostrich herl.
Second section body
Oval tinsel and orange silk.
Second section under wing
Argus pheasant and orange turkey. Sided by jungle cock.
Second section butt
Black ostrich herl.
Third section body
Oval tinsel and orange silk.
Third section wing
Argus pheasant and orange turkey. Sided by jungle cock.
Main under wing
Dyed red turkey and Argus pheasant.
Main wing
Dyed orange and red turkey and topped with Argus pheasant.
Woodduck and Teal and jungle cock.
Indian crow sub.
Golden pheasant crest.
Skill level/difficulty: 
For the advanced only
Step 1: Find an overall design of the fly. This step will help you find the right crest for the tail and topping of the fly. You can design a low profile fly with a flat tail and low wing or a higher profile fly with a curved tail and higher wing. Play around with it and find a style that fits your liking.

Step 2: The gut-eye. Attach the 8/0 thread at the front, if you don't cut off the end you can use it to make wraps close next to each other. Make a series of wraps backwards and then turn back towards the front to have a good foundation of tread for tying the gut-eye on.

Step 3: Cut a piece of Gut, couple of cm.

Step 4: Shape the gut around a round object. I used my whip finisher as it has the right diameter for the eye size I want. Press with your nails at the point where the ends meet around the object.

Step 5: Tie in the gut-eye, place the legs of the gut-eye along the hook shank and make closely tied wraps, making sure you have the gut placed the way you want it, either on the side or underneath the hook shank. I prefer to have it on the side, others underneath.

Step 6: Shaping the ends of the gut is essential so we can make as smooth a foundation for the head area as possible. So you need to cut both ends in an angle so we can make close wraps over it.

Step 7: If you cut off the ends in the right angle you will be able to make close wraps all the way down over the ends and make a nice and smooth head area.

Step 8: whip finish the thread and cut it off, put a bit of lacquer on it to lock down the materials and make a smooth transition from hook shank to head area.

Step 9: Tag. Start the thread a few turns in front of the barb point, do 3 turns and cut off the end.

Step 10: Tie in the oval tinsel. I use the rule of 7 ties here, which means, I use 2 wraps to tie in the material and then 5 more wraps to tightly secure the material while I am working with it. After the tinsel has been wrapped its possible to unwind those 5 extra thread wraps and tie the tinsel down with 2 tight wraps. This saves a lot of potentially unwanted wraps that might leave a not smooth under body to work on. Don't cut off any of the ends just yet.

Step 11: here you can see the tinsel wrapped and the 5 excess wraps unwound ready to tie in the tinsel.

Step 12: Use 2 wraps to lock the tinsel down and make sure that the two ends lie next to each other on the hook shank. Don't cut off the ends.

Step 13: Make close wraps forward until you reach the point where the thread is above the hook point. Make sure these wraps are close and as smooth as possible. This will make the floss step a lot easier and the result more pleasing.

Step 14: Tie in the floss, again use 2 wraps and 5 more to secure it during the handling of the floss. Wrap the floss backwards down towards the tinsel and back forward again, when you reach the tie off point unwind the 5 extra wraps and tie off the floss with 3 tight wraps.

Step 15: We can now cut off the materials. Again it is better to cut it off at an angle so we get a smooth surface to mount the tail on.

Step 16: Find a tail crest that matches closely to the profile you want.

Step 17: If you want to flatten the curve a bit it is possible to do so with your nails. Gently pressing your nail into the feather will gradually change the curve.

Step 18: Flatten the tie in point to easier mount it on top of the hook shank, use a round nose pliers.

Step 19: Tie in the tail on top of the hook shank, make sure it is aligned well and strait. If this step is causing problems it is usually because the tie in point is not flattened enough. Cut off the excess end from the tail.

Step 20: prepare the 2 strips for the tail make sure they have the same amount of fibres in each strip.

Step 21: place them back by back on top of the hook shank. Make a tread loop and tie down the fibres while you hold them with your left hand to make sure they stay on the top.

Step 22: Cut off the waste material and taper the under body for the butt with a few wraps.

Step 23: Tie in the Ostrich

Step 24: wrap the Ostrich and secure it with 3 wraps. Then continue wraps closely forward. Don't cut the end yet.

Step 25: Use a piece of paper to measure out the segments of the body. Draw the butt points in the body so you get 3 equal sections.

Step 26: When your at the right point you can tie in the tinsel.

Step 27: Next tie in the floss, again using the 7 wraps rule.

Step 28: The floss has been wrapped while holding the tinsel with your left hand making sure its flat and smoothly covered. The 5 excess wraps unwound and floss tied down with 3 tight wraps.

Step 29: Make 5 wraps of tinsel equally spaced.

Step 30: Prepare the strips needed for the 1 section under wing.

Step 31: Merge the strips.

Step 32: Turn your wise and hold the two merged wings back to back on the hook with your left hand and make a thread loop and tie it down.

Step 33: Turn your wise and inspect the result from the front side.

Step 34: Cut off excess materials from the wing. And tie in junglecock feather on each side.

Step 35: finish the section butt and refer to your paper model again for the next section start. Perform step 26 to 34 again for the next section.

Step 37: The throat wing section is a bit larger than the other sections. You need 5 strips for it. And again tie in junglecock on the sides. When done with this step whip finish the 8/0 thread.

Step 38: Change your thread to a 6/0 which will make the mounting of the main wings easier. Its stronger and can save you some wraps. We will change back to a thinner thread after we mounted the main wings.

Step 39: The under wing is merged from two strips.

Step 40: Tie it in again using a thread loop and controlling it with your left hand.

Step 41: Cut the strips needed for the main wing.

Step 42: Merge then together.

Step 43: Tie in the main wing. Use some tight wraps and support the wing while you cut off the excess material. Then use a few extra wraps to tie down the material in the head. Whip finish the 6/0 thread. And switch back to a 8/0.

Step 44: Prepare the 2 sides.

Step 45: Tie in the front side and turn the thread to tie in the back side.

Step 46: Tie in the junglecock and the small cheek.

Step 47: Time to tie in the topping and make the last few wraps to finish off the head shape.

Step 48: Finish the fly, lacquer the head.

The instructions are found with each picture, but also above as a full text.

Step 1 - Overall design

Step 2 - The gut-eye.

Step 3 - Gut

Step 4 - shape the gut

Step 5 - Tie in the gut-eye.

Step 6 - Shaping gut ends

Step 7 - smooth tags

Step 8 - Gut eye done

Step 9 - Start thread

Step 10 - Tie in the oval tinsel.

Step 11 - Tinsel wrapped

Step 12 - Locked down

Step 13 - Floss foundation

Step 14 - Tie in floss

Step 15 - Cut materials

Step 16 - Tail crest

Step 17 - Flatten

Step 18 - Flatten stem

Step 19 - Tie in the tail

Step 20 - Prepare tail strips

Step 21 - Place tail strips

Step 22 - Cut off waste

Step 23 - Ostrich

Step 24 - Wrap the Ostrich

Step 25 - Measure

step 26 - Tinsel

Step 27 - Floss

Step 28 - Rear floss done

Step 29 - Tinsel

Step 30 - Strips

Step 31 - Marrying

Step 32 - Tie in rear wings

Step 33 - Inspect

Step 34 - Trim

Step 35 - Section butt

Step 36 - Second wing

Step 37 - Throat wing

Step 38 - Change thread

step 39 - Underwing

Step 40 - Underwing

Step 41 - Wing strips

Step 42 _ Marry wings

Step 43 - Tie in the main wing.

Step 44 - prepare sides

Step 45 - Tie in sides

Step 46- JC and cheek

Step 47 - topping

Step 48 - Done!

Vendula Smutkova
The finished fly
The finshed fly
Vendula Smutkova


hi, I`ve got very ol...

hi, I`ve got very old english flies with cat intestine hook. I`ve got 30 with double hook and 20 with single hook. I can take some photographs...?

my great uncle inven...

my great uncle invented the old faithful and their are not to many people who tie it any more just family members now most people who tie it ouside the family I am told tie it somewhat backwords the man that invented it was leslie hinshaw sometime back in the fifties

Has anybody ever hea...

Has anybody ever heard of a wet fly called the old faithful and know how to tie it

Beautiful!! Well don...

Beautiful!! Well done! Sooner or later I'll try my hand at this art form.

The fly has very goo...

The fly has very good balance in size of all its components, and a well thought out colour that mix well

You are a true artis...

You are a true artist Anders. Thanks for sharing the proces.


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