“Just For Grins and Fun — See If You Like Doing It"

🐟  Artificial Flies — An Art  History —  

Artificial flies are of several types; some imitating an insect (either flying or swimming), others a bait fish or crustacean, others attractors are known to attract fish although they look like nothing in nature.  

And then there is the last group, those that attract fishermen and attach themselves to their credit cards…

I go to auctions and Pawn sites looking for used gear and can safely say, “ No harm came to the fish, the fisherman’s wallet took a hit”. 

Flies can be made either to float or sink, and range in size from a few millimeters to 30 cm long; most are between 1 and 5 cm.

Artificial flies are made by fastening hair, fur, feathers, or other materials, both natural and synthetic, onto a hook. 

The first flies were tied with natural materials, but synthetic materials are now popular and prevalent.  Flies are tied in sizes, colors and patterns to match local terrestrial and aquatic insects, baitfish, or other prey attractive to the target fish species.   And they are available in midge, almost flea size to enormous streamers in salt water.

•  There Are Vices in Fishing  —  Basics  —  

  • You will need a Vise.  All the fly lures or flies are tied on a jig holder called a fly vise.  The pictures here are ones I made myself from a collection of “ Stuff”.  
  • Commercial FLY TYING VICES  range from simple to complex and from 14.99 to 1499.00 depending on your income and ability to hide credit cards from your wife.   The stands and portable bases I built with HD Magnets from Home Depot made this the most flexible Fly fishing station and more ideas coming…  
  • All my benches have tops that are magnetically inert but I have wood and silicon sheets for use as electronic toppers,   if something is magnetically sensitive  and easily interchangeable on top.  Because I ground, it has never been needed  — so far. just respecting two things Mother Nature and Murphey]s Law.
  • The larger X-Acto’s needed some filing on the locking ring to get the nose to protrude enough for gripping the hook.  And they also needed the gripper widened a bit to accommodate larger hooks. 
  • Neodymium magnets:   A neodymium magnet (also known as NdFeB, NIB or Neo magnet), the most widely used type of rare-earth magnet, is a permanent magnet made from an alloy of neodymium, iron and boron.  The round ones  ( home Depot)  come in three sizes on an end cap display.  You need to drill out,  we call it opening the hole in the center for a 1/4 x 20 bolt.  I used allen heads. Best selection ACE HARDWARE or Home Depot
  • Plain metal construction plates are found near the wood aisles in HD in various sizes.  And the heavier all steel bases are found in electrical, or plumbing, they are rectangle all-steel cover plates. The medium magnet and this all-steel plate hit sisxteen pounds gripping. Nothing moves. No clamps needed.   Brackets came from displays we tossed again from my old photo store.  The big stand holds everything especially items with live fish hooks in them.  Thats why the display stand.   
  • The term for tying a fly to your line as I initially and very naively thought was wrong,  but rather a term for making your own flies rather than buying them.   But fly tiers are thinkers and observers and do think differently,  it’s an art and in its simplicity the art is in duplicating, imitating and the presentation of what the fish are eating.  Some times , the alternative are flies that stimulate reaction by a fish or threat a when bass are on their nests. You would also tie flies to possibly save money.  Flies are easy to lose in trees, and ears.

•  First Aid For Ear Flies  —  

  • Barbless Hooks are a must for fly fisherman — It should be a law.  For those who catch themselves, Its best to cut the hook above the barb with diagonal cutters or pliers, pour merthiolate, bacitracin or iodine merthiolate on the hook, swallow two shots of good Tennessee sour mash, internally and on skin surfaces, and pull it back or through.  Go get a tetanus shot.  We automatically , not generally use barbless hooks in close quarters.  Safer  —  
  • Many flies truly are works of art, created with various materials like beads, foams, animal hairs, and much more.  The beginner angler will not be fly tying; there are literally fifty excellent books written on the craft, and it requires a whole other set of tools and skills. 
  • This is something to look into after you’ve gotten the hang of the fishing itself.  My Lasky model shown below handles the bigger Salt-Water lures.   These are not cut in stone, for sale or anything else, I built them for fun and the beauty of it is that is cost me little or nothing, and lots of experience. And if I don’t like something I Un-build the parts, they go back into the bin and we start over.


•  The Vice Grip — Great on medium and large size hooks like streamers for baby and adult Tarpon etc…  I found the Chinese knockoff mini vice-grips on promo at LOWES for $2.00 so I bought five, cheap enough and very secure. Use them for everything.  

NOTE:  To build this:  No vice-grips were harmed in any fashion. Again , I built these for demonstrating initiatives, thinking outside of the box,   fun and was surprised to find out they worked great. It really can lock down on large hooks.

I also have enough adapters to convert this to a tube vice in two simple steps.

It is on an adjustable tilt and swivel photo head which is mounted on a handle bottomed by a 16 lb. magnet.

•  The X-Acto Knives  —  Sooner or later we had to come to the X-Acto knives.  All the extra vises I made for teaching kids are equipped with magnets as the base to allow quick change of devices.

The magnets are from Home Depot - medium size and Anilco powerful, as are the steel reinforcement plates on all the black bases and allow many configurations and may be changed out as needed for storage or use.  

They are a cheap cool solution, they work, don’t move, rock solid and allow rapid changes in concept and even duplication with the same hackle or bobbin.  No vices were injured nor kids injured in the teaching of the gentle art.   All you see was from other projects no longer needed and reused.

Lots more coming you can build yourself like Bobbins,Bodkins, Bobkins, whatever,  forceps, Hackle holders and Bobbin holders…. 

I chose to build with magnets ( about 3.00 -6.00 dollars) as small parts and hooks, are safer and don’t get lost… they allow quick changes, multiple vices to allow duplicating or making two flies at once, heavier enough to stay put,  etc.  

HINT: The steel friendly magnet plates came from Home Depot, in the wood area, ll kinds of brackets and stuff.  They average from $1.00 up to $1.98 cents each.  

Or steel cover squares in electrical for $1.12 cents.  But heavier and more substantial plates are found in HOME DEPOT either plumbing area or electrical for 1.64.  Mid aisle, bottom row,  left side unless they moved them.

The heavier the plate the stronger the magnet hold, so heavier is better.  It allows me to make my man cave COMPLETELY CONVERTIBLE and very versatile.  I have a dozen assorted devices that allow my work benches to be converted into different platforms and projects for again small builds, experiments , soldering, glueing and so forth.  Those magnets are brutally strong. I have never had one slip or move. 

And to create a monster base just clean one side each of two plates, one over the other, just double the metal, simple,  and screw them to the board together.  Like Vegas,  “ When a vice stays in boardland, nothing leave boardland”.


•  Jacobs “ Big Boy Bobbins”  Custom Bobbins —   

  • We bought out some threads and needles for making Bobkins from stores that went under.  It seems that today's women, I  have been noticing, have lost  the homemaker skills like cooking and seen exchanging their sewing machines for credit cards to be used at he mall.

  •  Lots of thread, not fishing brands which are thinner for smaller fly trout fishing ( No one told the trout) but great for teaching, bass, pike, walleys, musky, salty and streamer environment.  They work just fine.  And UV glue hardheads last extremely well.

  • Lots of cotton and synthetic bobbins in all colors and sizes, brands and weights. Many were larger than the standard fly patterns in mini spools that cost a fair amount of money.   We got them cheap.  Bigger spools, a half dollar a spool, 300-500 yards, many, many colors in some cases.  Some deals better… 

  • My next thought was I work very fast and hate changing bobbins.   Off to the ACE hardware DIY section  pile came home with a bag  and a bunch of angle irons, small two incher's and straight iron's, good quality from ACE hardware.
  • Once again, disappointment of hardware goods from Home Depot Hardware,  they were cheaper in price,  but size, alignment and finish, sucked.  I had a huge supply of good quality marine nuts and bolts, stainless, US made because two bags from Home Depot in 6mm x 24 never properly introduced the bolts to the nuts and did not hold.  Off to ACE hardware.

  • For Small Size Bobbins I Use 1/4 x 20 threaded screws in two sizes  or lengths to suit the spool which allows truly flexible tools for any size bobbin thread holder just change the screw length.  You can make these for next to nothing and most of these parts are value packed four up at ACE hardware for more savings.

  • Also I used some plastic drinking straw material,  slit and over the screw inside the bobbin and it made the fit perfect.  Or shrink tube works great.

  • I made a partial dozen in no time and with better quality from ACE and all nuts and bolts are 1/4 x 20 to standardize all I build.  You will probably have to ream out the holes in the brackets very slightly as they are tight, with a good 1/4 inch drill bit, that insures this rig is stiff and permanent, no plastic.

  • The thing that holds the thread.  Since the Heavy Duty threads in large spools were available at Michaels Closeouts and various garage and closed business sales, and  donations from garage sales we score,  we have mixed size spools mostly larger of good quality cotton, many new unused.  Enough for twenty lifetimes and friends. 

  • Salt water kills lures and especially streamers fast and I wanted a cheap way to make streamers and a break-off is just part of the game.  I harden the head with UV and my UV super dryer can do ten at a time.

  • UV on Saltwater Streamers  — They work great on bigger streamers and are sealed with UV after assembly I had no problem using this heavy stuff on the tube in any size to 4/0 -6/0 and bigger for offshore trolling.  The white shrink wrap is temporary anti-unwinder but I have a better solution in the next picture.   Yellow wire caps wok perfect.  Just light twist.

  • Tube Flies  are great and pretty indestructible after building with coats of any of the fine products I found at Sally’s Beauty Supply, the giant makeup and personal grooming store which was right next door to Michaels Craft Shop which had great chenilles, yarns and synthetic furs, God know what you can use for streamers.  All you need to use is your immagination.  

My Disguise did not work  —  The manager of Sally’s greeted me, she asked point blank… she asked are you a hairstylist or fisherman, another fisherman?   I almost fell over…   “ Most men don’t shop here and the last one was here two days ago”. 

I asked her what he bought and if she got his name…  I had on my list almost everything he had on his.   Pure Acetone, final super Hard GEL Coats, that are incredible, Glow-in-the-dark stuff,  and head colors from Hard As Nails in a million colors, nail polish with built in sparkle in all colors which took some really old spoons and made them new with a clear coat on top and I got a small discount as a new customer. 


  • But larger streamers for salties are easier to build if you have large hands.  BUT, no one makes a bobbin really big enough for the bigger spools.  So I made a quick 3/4 dozen just for this project.  Nuts and bolts from Ace Hardware.  And fully adjustable for size and tension and about two dollars work of parts.   The needles are 36-gauge from Amazon, a hundred for 6.99 plus bicycle spokes cut and shaped to fit.

  • The picture shows the sizes standard fly spools, larger fly spools and giant spools and these bobbins can adjust for all those sizes by a simple nut adjustment or changing the bolt, the brass tube can be moved inside or outside to center the tube.  So you have tension adjustment, size adjustment, and with Nylon  plastic washers, and cheaper than anything else.  Plus they are indestructible.  In the next issue:  Im waiting for some ceramic parts and teflon we will bulletproof the rigs) 

  • I am in the process of making the “ Big Bobbin 2.0 version”   with a few tricks because thats what I do and nothing in this world can’t be improved.  Even stuff I already improved.  As soon as I find the time and build the new one , I will post it here.  Same basic gear, nothing gets wasted, we upgrade here. 

•  Parts List  - Best Bet Ace Hardware  —  ( Better quality, selection)


  • “ L” Brackets, an inch  just about covers all size spools,  1-1/2 covers really big spools - Comes in four pack -
  •  2 inch Straight Brackets ( also called a mending plate) (Any size may be subbed)
  • 1/2 inch 1/4 x 20 short Zinc Bolts 
  •  21/2 inch 1/4 x 20 Zinc Bolts
  • 1/4 x 20 Regular Nuts ZINC ( Lots) 
  • 1/4x20 Nylock Lock Nuts  ( Lots)
  • Spool size determines amount of bend in neck to center spool
  • 1/8 small washer ( I used rivet backing plates)
  • 1/8 inch brass pipe thread tubes ( easier to solder) 
  • Washers — Nylon white 1/4 inch as a smooth transition for the spool and do not bind - Better tension control. Works smoother than the metal washers.  IMPORTANT TO PREVENT CUTOFFS
  • Also many spools need a piece of tubing or shrink tube on the shaft inside the spool so no binding.  ( KIDS STRAW WORKS GREAT)
  • If keeping on a boat Stainless nuts and bolts work better from rusting.
  • Connect L bracket to Straight bracket using short Bolt  and one of the lock nuts...
  • Those two and a half inch Zinc Bolts you want them magnetic, not stainless so they will stack on magnets.go through the base of the straight bracket and secured with second nut on the inside and tighten…  this does not rotate.
  • The thread tubes are 1/8 inch round tubes, brass cut to about three inches.  I used an awl and flared the ends and polished them.  
  • OPTIONS :  I soldered some or you can use UV resin glue and then glue to horizontal end of  the plates . The UV glues are strong.
  • The 1/8 brass tubes fit in the 1/8 small washers, I ever so slightly crimp the tube for gripe where the ring sits
  • The white shrink tubing caps or yellow wire caps if you have them hold the end of the line, I heat pinch the end of the white tubing. The caps are great, slight twist and voila.
  • Next: 

—  PLAN B:  I also created the RESPOOLER another inexpensive invention — 

©  Copyright   01/12/2022