Squidro Tutorial Continued: Holding Shanks, Rigging Shanks and Tying Materials for Squidro Flies

Our Squidro Fly feature continues the video series with demonstrations and discussion about what to tie the Sqidro on, specifically, Shank Options — and just as important, how to secure the fly shank of choice in a vise.

Scott Howell apparently uses a really cool drill-chuck gizmo to secure his shanks to tie Intruders and Squidro flies, but we had to come up with an alternative approach because we do not have one of those things and figure that most of our viewers don’t have access to this tool either.

Three alternative means of securing a Squidro Shank are as follows. First, simply use a Fish Skull Articulated Shanks. This is the simplest approach. The downside is that these shanks are constructed of fairly light wire and are therefore very springy. This requires one to support the shank while tying, using whatever spare hand is available. The fine diameter of the wire also made the process of lashing in the rubber legs a little more challenging.

A second approach is to simply secure a long shank hook like the Daiichi 2461 Long Shank Aberdeen Hooks in a vise, tie the Squidro, and then cut off the hook when finished. This gets the job done just fine and the wire diameter of this Daiichi fly hook seems to fit well with the Squidro. Only downside is that we are limited to a straight eye and not an up-turned eye. Not an issue if you use a trailer stinger hook but not adaptable to using a tube-attached trailer like some folks prefer.

A third approach is to use a pre-prepared shank, say a trimmed up Waddington Shank (not so readily available), or a Daiichi 2461 Long Shank Aberdeen Hooks pre-cut, or even some sort of stainless wire with a self-created looped eye. This straight shank is securable in an HMH Tube Fly Adaptor Tool, just as you would secure a Tube Mandrel.

The HMH Tube Fly tool is our preferred method. It provides a secure hold on the shank, and you can loosen the shank, rotate it, and tie rubber legs on the bottom of the shank very easily. The ability to use the HMH tool (in essence) like a rotary vise, is very nice.

Squidro Shank options:
Fish Skull Articulated Shanks
Wadington Shanks (very hard to find)
Daiichi 2461 Long Shank Aberdeen Hooks (Cut hook bend off)
TMC 7999 (Cut hook bend off)

Stinger wire options:
Maxima Chameleon
Dacron (30 Lb.)
Fireline (30 Lb.)

Dubbing and collar options: The Squidro fly offers an opportunity to create your own style by using different dubbing and collar materials. Scott’s Squidro often used marabou collars and nice grizzly wings, but our versions are a little simpler to tie and are a good place to start tying this fly.
Ice Dub Hard to bettter, full color range, fuzzy and easiest to use.
Senyos Laser Dub Great steelhead and salmon colors, lots of fuzz, and the fish eat it like candy (a transparent attempt to promote sales of this product, yes, but all true).
STS Dub A favorite, never out of style standby.
Possum An interesting Possum-possibility for collars and butts on steelhead and trout flies.
Rabbit Always easy to spin perfect collars.
Eumer Arctic Fox Tail Quite possibly the most useful and versatile material for wings, tails, and spun collars of medium length.
Hareline Arctic Fox A slightly longer version of natural fur/hair than the Fox tail, this is best for marabou-like collars on Intruders and Squidro flies.

Eyes Many options for Fly Tying Materials and supplies exist here, with lead offering the fastest sink rates, and we prefer the hourglass shape barbells (dumbbells) on thin shank and the extended mid-section like on Plated or painted lead eyes or Balzeyes for shanks like the Waddington or the Daiichi aberdeen because they fit better with the looped wire at the eye.
Pseudo Eyes Pupils built in to these hour-glass shaped brass and plated barbells.
Heavy Lead Eyes These offer the heft of lead and the smoothest, most durable finish in black or Nickel plate.
Tungsten Predator Eyes Great fit, off-set cross bar, and fast sink.
Plated Lead Eyes The simplest approach and fast sink.
Painted Lead Eyes Red, chartreuse, or pearl paint with black pupils.
Balz Eyes Brass with permanent red pupils and a good cross bar make these a easily table and durable, good looking set of barbells with decent sink rates for modest flows.

Legs We love all of the following options in various colors.
Crazy Legs These are two-toned flat rubber legs and are slightly translucent.e
Enhancer Legs Two tone color options abound.
Loco Legs Nice translucent flat rubber legs all shimmery and spotted as you chose.

Chris and I hope this Squidro Fly series is helpful, and that your experimentation will help us all explore the innovative universe that Scott Howell has opened.

Jay Nicholas
January 2012

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