The Rats Nest

Friday, December 30, 2011

A Cool Tying Material You Most Likely Have At Home

Web Wing CDC Caddis

Although I haven't been a huge proponent of fixed synthetic wings on dry flies, i.e; web wing style flies, I do know that many other fly fisherman out there approve of them.  Hey, I know, any fly can have it's time and place, some are more consistent producers then others, and some fit into that other category of situational options as I like to refer to them.   If you enjoy tying web wing style flies, read on as I stumbled into a rather interesting way to make web wing flies with a very common household product that I am certain many of you married folks have kicking around the house.  

There are a few products that come to mind, Web Wing, Thin Wing, Thick Wing, Mottled Web Wing, etc.  All are products offered by Hareline and all retail for around $3.00 or so a package.  Each package  typically comes with about 1 piece of rectangular material that measures around 3" x 9".

Cheaper alternative?  Dryer Sheets.  That's right, dryer sheets.   The material used in your standard dryer sheet is virtually the same material used in most of the web wing style products give or take.  The only difference is the dryer sheets are impregnated with a little scent.  With a little bit of extra effort you can get rid of that smell and have yourself a virtually endless supply of web wing material at your disposal.  Be sure to remind the person in your household who does the laundry to save those sheets after they've been used.  I keep a large ziplock bag attached to the wall next to the dryer to remind my wife to throw those used sheets in the bag rather than dump them in the garbage.

Here's how to get rid of that smell, using a helpful solution that may be very familiar for any of you folks out there who hunt.   A quick solution of  3 percent hydrogen peroxide, bottled water, baking soda and unscented liquid body soap will build a solution geared for scent blocking.  Get yourself a large container or  pitcher, a long handled, plastic spoon and your in business.

1). Place a container in your kitchen sink, bathtub or outside area, which can catch any overflow of the ingredients. The mixing process can be messy, and should be done somewhere that will be unaffected by the products used.

2).Mix the bottled water and liquid soap together in the container, and stir with a long handled, plastic spoon. The liquid soap and water should be mixed thoroughly together before moving on to the next step.

3).Add the hydrogen peroxide slowly to the water and liquid soap mix. Once again, stir with the long handled, plastic spoon thoroughly.

4).Pour the baking soda into the container and stir once again. The contents of the container should begin to foam, which is normal. Allow the mixed scent blocker to continue foaming until it no longer overflows the container.

5).Wash the dryer sheets with the solution thoroughly.  If you let the solution sit longer the air will escape and it will be easier to store for later use. 

Read more:   How to Make Scent Blockers 
Used Dryer Sheets

Now down to the nitty gritty.  One of the great things about this material after it has ridden the Ferris wheel we call the dryer, it is typically crinkled making it a very good alternative for winged dry flies.  After a thorough bath in the solution above, and left out to dry,  the sheets are now ready for use.  There are a slew of wing cutters out there at the tiers disposal, or if you want to save a few buck you can cut them by hand at the bench.  Either way, a single sheet can tie dozens of flies.

Close Up Of The Dryer Sheet
What is nice about the dryer sheets is they color up very easy and quickly with any type of prismacolor, pantone or sharpie marker, so making mottled wings, wing cases etc is just a few seconds away.  I hope this trick works out for you, with a little bit of time you will have a very cheap and bountiful resource for web wings.  Enjoy.

A Colored Wing For The Caddis Pictured Above

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