"Sometimes, you just need to go downstairs and waggle a rod..."

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Last Fly Blues

Maybe it's just me, but my last fly oftentimes sucks. I don't care how many of a certain fly I have been tying, and how good they all look, that last one is usually the worst of the bunch. Why is that? Does that happen to anyone else?

Nowadays when I tie I am usually tying for production, trying to meet a deadline for one of my local fly shops. That doesn't mean I sit down and tie 6 or 8 dozen at a time or anything. Most nights, after the kids go to bed, I have time for a half dozen or maybe a dozen flies before I pass out. I don't think that's enough to ever really get into "autopilot" mode, where the flies appear without my putting any thought into them. But I am able to get into a pseudo-rhythm, so with a minimum of thought I can get most of my flies to look pretty good, and without any major mess-ups on my part.
What the first eleven Hi-Viz Parachute Adams look like: good proportions, everything in its place.

But then I get to the last fly of the night. You would think that by the last one everything would work out as well as can be expected, but for some reason my last flies have a tendency to look abnormal at best, and completely deformed at worst. I don't get it. Is it because I am excited to be done and don't pay attention as well as I had been? I try to do all the same thread wraps as before. I try to cut the same amount of pheasant tail fibers as before. I try to wind the hackle in the same direction as before. Yet, somehow, something happens to make me mess up. Sometimes the thread breaks. Other times the wire gets gnarled. Some feathers seem to have a mind of their own. Tails and/or wings want to roll around to the wrong side of the hook. I trim things I don't want to trim. I accidentally knock my lamp off the table, it instantly ignites when it crashes on the wood floor, and the house burns down...Those are just examples...
What the last Hi-Viz Parachute Adams looks like: body is too fat, wing post is floppy, hackle is going everywhere, and tail is limp. No good!

After much soul-searching and brainstorming, the only thing I can think of that might keep all these last fly catastrophes from happening is to not ever tie a last fly again. Instead of getting out 6 hooks and tying 6 flies on them, I think I will get out 7 hooks but only tie 6 flies. Or get out 13 and tie 12. I'm not sure what else I can do... I've gotta try something, I don't want my house to burn down!

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