It is very rare for someone to completely invent a new fly. Most flies are basically rehashed ideas which evolve around a few central ideas, techniques or skills. Lots of flies are developed by changes in materials but these flies aren't really new. They are simply flies constructed using new materials. They become " new" because of the materials utilized. Two years, ago I happened to watch Carl Richards create what he calls, " Fly Modeling". Some time later it dawned on me how unique these flies are.
At the time I didn't really give these flies a whole of consideration because of how different these flies really were. In a way they reminded me of the "Creepy Crawlers" I made as a kid. For those of you that can't remember what "Creepy Crawlers" were ( or perhaps you're from overseas and didn't have these) I'll give you a reminder. The Mattel Corp had this very awful toy for kids in the 60's. You had a giant lead mold ( great thing for kids...toxic chemicals) in which you poured this plastic material . Then you baked the goo in a cooker provided and when the time was up you had these slimy plastic roaches and bugs. Much like your basic worm fisherman's assortment. Maybe that's why the traditionalist in me didn't like these.
Again by chance I happened across a limited edition book written by Richards and I began to think about why some of our flies are really very poor imitations of what real insects look like to fish. Consider this: increased fishing pressure, more and more life-like flies , flies which are very difficult to tie or flies which aren't very durable are all reasons to look at some new imitations. A few good examples of these are Richard's own no-hackle sidewinders which are very good dun imitations but they break up after a few fish are caught. Another good example are some these very difficult stonefly patterns or the crotched flies from Norway. While these are all very beautiful works of art they are way too complicated to make and my guess is most of them won't fish any better than anything else.
Richards believes that flies must have a soft texture to them. Since fish don't have hands they must put things in their mouths to find out how they feel. Richards also believes that in low clear water fish have very good sight at close distances. For these reasons, Richards sought out a new type of fly.
I really have no idea how Richard's discovered liquid latex...maybe it was something he uses in his dental work, I don't know. I do know that one of his first flies using this material was a crab he used for permits which first appeared in his book "Prey". I am guessing we can make some awesome crawdads and sculpins with this stuff. It should make deer hair bugs and such a whole more interesting also.
Like making any fly the difficulty lies in locating the materials. Liquid latex is a product used to make rubber masks and molds for rubber masks. It's most common use is with the theatre/movie folks that make monsters and face plates for aliens and such. The product that Richards recommends is called Rub-R-Mold. The product is made by Deep Flex Plastic Molds Inc. , Murfreesboro, TN 37133-1257. ( Sorry that's all the address I have). It comes in a giant 1 pint tin and sells for $12.50.
I bought the product at a local craft store here in Des Moines, so if we have it here my guess is that isn't all that hard to find. One web site by Joe Brenham suggests using something called permatex....I've never tried so this might be worth a shot. If you try it let me know.
I have put together a kit on the order info page of all the materials to make these flies. Included in the kit is liqiud latex, Rainey's Float Foam, Wooduck and a Metz 2 Hen Saddle for the wings. As an option I have added a set of wing burners.
1) Rub-R-Mold Liquid Latex
2) Fine artist's paint brush, exacto knife or razor blade
3) Patone markers or acrylic craft paint
4) Rainy's Float Foam size small-white ( note: you can sub small strips of fun foam or tiny tubes live body for the Rainy's if you wish. The flat foam will make a flat body.)
5) Neck Hackle & Dun Hen Saddle Feathers, Wooduck Fibers for tailing material
6) Hooks & Fly Tying Thread
General Method of Constructing the Flies:
Begin by cutting a 1/2" piece of Rainy's Float Foam with an Exacto Knife or Razor Blade. Trim one side at a 45 degree angle.Cut from the center to the end.
Insert hook into vise. Above the barb, tie on Float foam by making three wraps around the float foam. The cut end should extend over the back of the hook.
Move the thread to mid-point of the hook. Tie in hackle and make 4-5 wraps of hackle. Clip hackle on the top. ( Note: you may wish to undersize the hackle by one size.......the barbs of the hackle should extend no further down than the point of the hook.)
Cut the tag end of the float foam above the eye of the hook. It may help to stretch the foam some what. Wrap the thread around the foam and then crisscross the thread in figure- 8 wraps to form tiny eyes. Whip finish in figure 8 wraps.
Paint the body with liquid latex. You may wish to add acrylic paint to the latex before applying. This will color the body. Make three coats to the body. Allow 5-15 minutes for each coat to dry. To speed the drying heat the body by putting your fly tying lamp directly above the fly or bake in oven at 100 degrees. Otherwise, you can just air dry. If you make several flies put one aside to dry while you tie another up. By the time you're done with one step, another should be dry.
After the coats are dry, begin to color the body with a marker to match the natural. If you didn't add paint to the latex above, color the body first, then add the details. Add stripes to the back and orange or red to the eyes.
To add wings, use hen saddles or hen neck and size the wings. Attach to the sides with a small dab of latex. You may wish to make cut wings using a wing burner. For a spinner, attach wings level with the body. For duns attach wings in an up right position.
For tails strip 3 fibers off a wooduck feather. Add a dab of latex and stick on the extended body on the bottom/under side of the tail sectionYou're done!
As a side note: Liquid latex will clean up with a water and can be thinned by using small amounts of water.
If you have a copy of the book "Hatches 2" you can size the flies and match the colors by mixing paint or markers. Most of the mayflies are size 12-14-16. For the very tiny ones like blue-wings, tricos, flavs and paraleps, this style would be a very difficult method of tying. For your Cahills, Hendricksons, Hexes, Red Quills and such, these are excellent alternatives to your standard dry flies.
Richards also uses this technique on crabs, stoneflies, caddis puppa, stonefly nymphs and hex nymphs. Basically with nymphs, you start with a photocopy of the natural, cut it out and paint latex on the copy until the body is built up. You let it dry. Paint it and glue it on the hook with Zap-a-Gap. I'll mess around with this some and come up with a dynamite crawdad.....More to follow.
For more Info Contact:
Mike Hogue / Badger Creek Fly Tying / 622 West Dryden Road, Freeville, NY 13068