Someone told him that flies would not work. He took the challenge and proved them wrong!
[by Hans Van Klinken]
FLY TYING IS AN AWESOME HOBBY, but a lot depends upon a tier’s ability to use his creativity, inventiveness, and imagination. Many people tie only well-proven flies; others just make what they need for a successful day of fishing. Another small group turns the craft into art by creating realistic-looking imitations or beautiful full-dress Atlantic salmon flies. One moment a tier will be in the spell of making streamers, and then suddenly turn his attention to tying Yorkshire or North Country spiders and soft-hackles. I am no different: I once seriously dabbled in tying classic salmon flies, but I now concentrate on developing effective fishing patterns. There is a lot to this great hobby, and we should respect each other’s skill and help one another as much as we can.
Fly tying is also a great way to reduce stress; a few people have even fought depression through tying flies. It is no secret that fly tying was essential to me during my work in the army. I am not kidding: tying helped clear my head and kept me sharp for fulfilling my military duties. There wasn’t one single mission or exercise when I left my fly tying kit at home, and I know many military guys who do the same thing. I developed a lot of special flies during my spare moments in the army, and I want to share one of those patterns with you.
For more than 10 years, I worked on a series of patterns that I now use successfully in both salt and fresh water. I always wanted to create a special series of flies that would catch pike and large trout, but also cod, mackerel, pollack, snappers, tarpon, and even sea bass. I made some patterns that worked, but I wasn’t fully satisfied; I still had far too many different flies requiring too many special hooks. I found the solution to my problem in 1999 while visiting Tincup Lodge in the Yukon Territory.
My wife and I arrived at the lodge late in the afternoon. We were still unpacking and preparing our fishing gear when they called us for dinner. While eating, somebody at the table said that flies did not work very well for catching the big lake trout.
The lodge was packed with fly fishermen, including a small group of anglers from Switzerland. They had been fishing at the lodge for four days and had only two days left. They said that if we wanted to catch large lake trout, we could borrow one of their spinning outfits.
I can’t help it: when someone says that certain things—such as flies—will not work, I get motivated to prove them wrong. And when another fisherman said that any predominantly white fly wouldn’t work at all, I concentrated on making a white streamer, just to prove him incorrect.
I created a new and nameless predator fly by merging ideas from my Norwegian Power series with techniques I use for making my Bondal family of Atlantic salmon flies. The new fly worked extremely well, and after its amazing success, I called it the White Demon. That pattern became the start of an incredible series of predator flies that work in both salt and fresh water. And the fact that such a white fly worked so well in sub-arctic waters was a complete surprise for me; I was never a fan of using white streamer flies in such cold water, except for catching pike in wintertime, but this new one caught fish.
Because the White Demon, when used in combination with a fast-sinking line, worked so well, I started making similar patterns in different color combinations. After returning home, I perfected the fly and started using only two types of hooks. I never liked using flies tied on longshank hooks, so I developed all my Demons on saltwater hooks. To date, I have caught more than 50 species of fish using the White Demon.
Tying the White Demon
With respect to extra materials, connect the dumbbell eyes using superglue so they don’t twist around the hook. You can also use light-cured resin and a blue lamp to increase the durability of the body.
The choice of flash materials seems endless; lately, I like Mirage Flash. Not all flash products are durable, so make your choice carefully. My advice is to experiment. There is just one rule: Don’t use too much flash. You can use a little flash in a predator fly, but in a salmon fly or light streamer, I use only two strands of material on each side of the hook.
Tie the Demon in any color combination you wish, just so long as the colors fit together well. The secret—and fun—is searching for the most perfect color combinations. I like combining colors in a perfect harmony.
Hook: Daiichi X452 or 2546 saltwater hook, size 2/0 or 3/0.
Thread: Orange 6/0 (140 denier).
Eyes: Dumbbell eyes.
Tail: White arctic fox hair, white saddle hackles, and pearl flash.
Body: Pearl Bill’s Bodi-Braid or a similar braided material.
Rib: Gold or silver wire.
Wing: White Zonker strip, arctic fox hair, and your choice of flash material.
Throat: Orange arctic fox hair.
Tying the White Demon
Hans van Klinken is a regular contributor to our publication. He lives in the Netherlands but travels the world in search of good fishing, to teach fly tying classes, and more. To follow Hans, go to his website, www.flyfishinggazette.com.