I guess I’s say it is a blessing and a curse (just a little curse) that there are so many new fly tying products entering the market these days. I watched a very good Ted Talk recently that noted something close to 200 varieties of salad dressing available at the local grocery store. This huge selection is in some respects good and in some respects not so good because it can lead to indecision and paralysis.
Count me in.
During a recent conversation with Chris, he asked if I had yet tried the new JAWN tool.
“Nope,” I said.
“Let me know what you think of it if you do,” he said, “it’s supposed to help tying hollow flies”
Two days later, I sat at my bench with a pile of bucktail and flat wing saddles at my side, tying my first hollow fly ever.
First three flies were pretty darn good looking, then things went downhill, then got better, then got worse, then – – – – –
As we know, this is the normal process anything we begin tying an unfamiliar fly style, especially a style that requires new skills, proportions, materials and so forth.
Of course I am quite familiar with bucktail where Clousers are concerned, but I had never tied with bucktail in the lengths and methods involved with hollow flies, and flatwing style streamers were also new to me.
Coincidentally, I had been struggling recently, in a fly tying sense, trying to find a fly that I wanted to tie and tie and tie. Given that my Clouser boxes are full, my summer steelhead wet fly box is full, and I have more than a few steelhead Intruders stashed around the den, I wandered, looking for inspiration.
Well, thanks to the new JAWN tool, I found the new fly inspiration.
JAWN tool review.
* I like it and it works as intended.
* The tool set has thee sizes of plastic tube, each tube has a different size opening at each end yielding six size options.
* This tool replaces the pen tube and is used to push back the material (often bucktail or craft fur) during the process of tying a hollow fly.
* Can you just use a pen cap? Of course you can.
* But the JAWN offers sizes that are difficult to find in pen caps, and it has a slot along each tube that allows its use with jig hooks, something not possible with pen caps.
* The opening of each end of each tube has serrations that allow the tyer to re-distribute the material before tying a thread dam to prop the material at each stage of the fly.
* This tool is suitable to tie on relatively small (steelhead size) to giant (Musky and Pike) size flies. I have only used the second smallest size so far, but the variety of size applications is great.
* I have only used this tool with bucktail so far, but I know it works with Craft Fur and should work with a wide variety of materials.
Here is what a Hollow Fly looks like when fresh from the vise.
Here is what the fly looks like after soaking under hot water.
Now I hang the wet fly to dry.
Here are two finished Hollow Flies that I am looking forward to fishing in less than a week.
And yes, I found my inspiration.
I will be following with a video as soon as possible, but I wanted to share these ideas as soon as I could.
This tool is very useful, but the reader tyer should be advised that this tying style will test your ability to work with bucktail, and it will require patience and practice to select the best bucktail and correct proportions. I am having a grand time working with these flies. I can see possibilities fishing the estuary for chinook, the ocean for albacore and salmon, and those are only my personal starting points. Hollow flies are super effective fishing for fresh and saltwater species around the world – so I’m told – and the next few months are likely to find me building new boxes stuffed with various sizes and; color combinations of flies tied in this manner—with and without flatwing saddles.
Jay Nicholas – July 2018