by Paul Egan


Phone: (916) 640-5126




Fish eat 70-80% of their food below the water.  So nymphs make up a large part of their diet.  If I am tying flies to catch fish, I’m going to be tying a lot of nymphs of all shapes, colors and sizes.  Most nymphs have the same body parts: a tail, abdomen, thorax, legs, head and wing case.  The wing case is what gave me trouble for a long time.  It never looked right when it was done.  I could dub a wonderful body and pull the wing case forward and it would split or kink.  I had ideas on how to solve this, but none of them worked until I used a turkey tail feather coated with thinned Dave’s Flexament.  Once dried, it is made strong, but flexible. It dries clear and gives the feather some shine.


To prepare the best wing case material I have ever used, here is what you will need:

1.        Turkey tail feather

2.        Dave’s Flexament

3.        Dave’s Flexament Thinner (It is important that you use the right thinner.  Every glue has a different chemical make-up and thinners will not interchange)

4.        Small glass container (I use a shot glass)

5.        Stir stick (i.e.: Popsicle stick)

6.        Small paintbrush, disposable like the ones the kids use for watercolors.

7.        Push pin

8.        Paper towels

9.        Damp cloth

First, marry the fibers of the feather together. With your thumb and forefinger, slide your fingers from the stem to the edge of the feather, along the grain, so that all the fibers (or as many as possible) are stuck together, but not over or under each other.


Now mix the flexament and thinner.  Put a small amount of flexament in your glass container, about ½ tsp.  Next put in the thinner (1½ the amount of glue, or ¾ tsp), and mix with the Popsicle stick.  The mixture should be almost as thin as water.


Next, paint the entire feather with the mixture, using strokes going along the grain from the stem out.


Put the pushpin through the stem and hang up to let it dry.


This process will stiffen the feather fibers and hold them together.  So, when you fold them forward, they won’t split apart.  It is also harder for the fish to chew them up.  This pre-treated turkey feather is a great material for hopper wings too.  I hope this tip helps you tie better flies. 


Please write back with any comments, suggestions or tips you would like to share with us:


Beyond the Vise

c/o Granite Bay Flycasters

4120 Douglas Blvd, #306-356

Granite Bay, CA 95746-5936

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