Hairwing flies and squirrel tails

When I started fly tying more than 3 decades ago, squirrel tails were used in a lot of the fly patterns that first caught my eye. I tied some quill-winged wet flies as well – but, lacking tying experience, these pretty much sucked. The hair-winged flies, however, turned out right most times.

I used a lot of other hair-materials as well. Bucktails, calf tails, foxhair and other stuff – but squirrel hair has a special place in my memories of the first flies. Nowadays a lot of Scandinavian fly tiers use some kind of fox hair for most hairwing flies – and it seems the squirrel tails has taken some kind of a nosedive on the popularity scale.

Well, being an old fart and trying to catch up with my roots, I am giving the trusty squirrel tail a revival at the moment – at least on my tying desk.

I think there will be a small series of squirrel hair flies on my blog in the coming weeks. So drop by if you remember the squirrel:0)



    Joel D Stansbury

    (January 10, 2017 - 3:36 pm)

    Michael, won’t the bead eyes cause the streamer to flip over when fished?

      Michael Jensen

      (January 10, 2017 - 3:50 pm)

      Hi Joel,
      No, these eyes give the fly a slightly jigging action – but they are not heavy enough to flip the fly upside/down. I use small to medium size bead chain eyes on these flies (mostly tied on size 8 – 12 streamer hooks) – and I have never had problems of that kind. If you choose dumbbell eyes (lead or tungsten) it’s another matter. They might change the balance of the hook, and turn the flies around.
      Tight lines, Michael

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