🐟  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.

Our cat an American shorthair supplies us with a lot of beautiful dubbing when she does her winter and summer coats — there is tuff all around you for making flies - just use your immagination — 


  • Most upgrades I get into are because I hate bad workmanship,  ( usually slave labor based on numbers not quality )  always helping friends and customers and I realize improvements are good things.  I am neither cheap nor frugal.   
  • I am not on some crusade but some things are so apparent, If I can make something better I will tackle it. But there are limitations,  junk is junk no matter what you coat it with, the old lipstick on a pig only works when the bacon is cooking.
  • Unless you were gifted with no tools talent and wouldn’t know a file from a pipe wrench, most of this a tenth grader in metal shop could handle.
  • They use soft cast metals that can and have zero stress level, over torque nothing - when tapping use oil, and also on the brass and amazing what a few strikes and strokes here with a file can straighten. 
  • And here and there with a small model makers square and I had the straight thing in gear.  
  • A carefully applied coat of  “ Sally Hansen’s Hard as Nails in Black out” applied to the filed areas and Voila!   
  • Then I re-tapped and counter-sunk all the nuts bolts and screws to conform with locking nuts when applicable and no slip lock washers when needed.  
  • Polishing the inside of tubes and smoothing contact surfaces made mounting hooks easier.   
  • Adding spring line holders finished things off so the kids see me using it and they have the same thing.
  • I knew for ten to fifteen dollars not to expect much, but little persons, such as grandkids and friends willing to learn,  need for the stuff to be decent.  These do work out fine.  I made them decent and actually for Tenkara flies thats all I use.  
  • I took one, and  kind of solidified the specs with Red lock tight, pointed, reshaped  the nose sharper for really small hooks and made a tiny millimeter slot.   So good does it perform I'm making Tenkara flies while watching the news on TV.   But the kids can see,  and they are as critical as I am as they mature, thats a good sign because when good is good and kids respect it they will be their own critiques.
  • So when teaching I use the same vice they use, modified and simple , upgraded and smoothed out.  



  • 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”.  To see If I like it, I did and returned the stuff to its former usage. The Japanese in Tenkara or Keiryu fishing professionals do tie flies holding the hook in the hand standing in water while fishing.

  • 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 —
  • 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.

  • Sometimes , the alternative are flies that stimulate predator 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. I love predator flies.


🐬    First Aid For Ear Flies  — Whats an ear fly?  

  • 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 heavy shots or more 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  —  You can always buy an earring, you already have the hole.  


🐬   Jacobs “ Big Boy Bobbins”  Custom Bobbins —   

We bought out some threads and needles for making Bobkins from stores that went under.  On the road, we would stop at thread stores with ‘ Going Out Of Business Signs”  and make an offer.   Some still in business had dated colors  and thread with no labels etc — we grabbed those too.   

Nail polish in colors not popular anymore are a good buy. You can coat them with UV clear and they make heads that are a rock.

These are bigger spools four to five each of the smaller spools — was the gain for fifty cents.

NOTE:   It seems that some of today's women, I  have been noticing, have lost  the homemaker skills like cooking, sewing , cleaning,  and seen a lot of ads for sewing machines exchanging their sewing machines for credit cards to be used at the mall for cheap Chinese Clothes that fall apart after two washings. their loss, my grain — gain!

Lots of thread, not fishing brands which are probably some of the same threads down spooled for profit —  Thinner for smaller fly trout fishing, so I thought,  but twenty percent were lighter weight, thats a score, super thread in thinner sizes — great score --( No one told the trout)  but great for teaching, Bass, Pike, Walleye's, Musky, salty and streamer environment.  They work just fine.  And UV glue works just great,  hardheads last extremely well and quite frikken cheap —  Even cheap nail polish coated with clear UV makes a great head —  

I now have tots of cotton and synthetics,  bobbins in all colors and sizes, brands and weights. All were larger than the standard fly patterns in mini spools that cost a fair amount of money.  We bought the rack — Bigger spools, a half dollar a spool, 300-500 yards, many, many colors in some cases.  

Some deals better than others but I’ll never buy thread again for the rest of my life.  I have two hundred spools in nice wood — using my automated spool loader — the next project —  you will see here —  

🐬  Best Bet Ace Hardware  —  See List and suggestions below: And I built a mess of Bobbin Holders  You can make these for next to nothing and most of these parts are value packed four up at ACE hardware
I used some plastic drinking straw material,  slit and over the screw inside the bobbin and it made the fit perfect. No wobble.  Or shrink tube works great. 
The real best feature is the lock nut on the end of the spool that allows tension adjustment so you don’t unspool. 

Plus Nylon friction washers and washers with rubber one side, metal the other.  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 Beauty Of Standards”  —  A take off on “ Bureau of Standards "— This suggested part list is totally flexible — Buy bulk if applicable — Use your talent to create size,  spread, depth, whatever for your spools — And these same parts standardized are used on all my other tools that you can make  1/4x20 tools and jigs from.  The “ Beauty of Standards” (pun) is all my tools use  the same parts, build what you need, you have spares, you can disassemble, create, destroy, modify, upgrade and so forth —  and i’ll never stop coming out with new stuff —  My other favorite pun is ‘"One part Fits all "

❒  One inch “ L” Brackets, 1-1/2 covers really big spools - 

❒   2 inch Straight Brackets 

❒  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)

❒  1/8 small washer ( I used rivet backing plates)

❒  1/8 inch brass pipe thread tubes ( easier to solder) 

❒  Spool determines amount of bend in neck to center spool

❒  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 on plastic spools  — 


❒  Also many spools need a piece of tubing or shrink tube on the shaft inside the spool so no binding.  


❒  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 storage.  

❒  Tighten Nut on inside track to lock  spool holder bolt from turning.

❒  The thread tubes are 1/8 inch round tubes, from brass tube to about 3 inches.

❒  I used brass tubing  cut to about three inches.  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

❒  I used an awl and flared the ends and polished them. with my DREMEL — 

❒   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 yellow wire caps if you have them hold the end of the line.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 work perfect.  Just light twist.


Threading Needles, Opportunity And A Lucky Buy,
 — Knee Deep In Spools  —  

•  BRIEF BORING HISTORY  —  My business partner and I from our photo business hit the road some time in search of close-outs, auctions, garage and  home sales, estates,  whatever, many times we score, curious and lucky I ran across a former sewing machine store, that had died off, you really think you will teach your daughter somewhat,  typical teenager to sew, many can’t even remember  to wake up for school  — 

I grabbed and asked the auctioneer how much for the cotton thread.  They  were on  bigger spools than  I needed, so many I was hooked in the deal. So I went to the drawing board ( fanfare) and I adapted them with parts on hand to my newest metal device —  This is a newer version called the spooler lite --

Screen Shot 2022-08-06 at 8.25.31 AM


Look familiar made from the same parts all my other gizmos are made from.  I received an E-Mail from a gentleman who told me I am embarrssing the fly tiers of this nation by building stuff out of metals and — high end plastics — instead of the beauty of wood —   Wood?  — like everybody else's — I am not everybody, never was and never will be — But he said it in a nice way.  And I respect that — 

1 - I  explained I have allergies,  (REALLY BAD AT TIMES) to certain woods, even touching some wood and wood dust kills me with a rash —  anything like pretreated wood is packed with Arsenic.  The closest series of ponds and small lakes to my Condo where I intended to do some panfishing —  if nothing good was on TV on two pound test with my Tenkara rods is shut down due to Arsenic dust boardwalks with chainsaws and the dust permeated the soil — 


2 - I worked on my own airplanes ( Piper, Cessna , Grumman)  for thirty two years  and have really nice Snap-on and Craftsman metal working tools -  Over those years I built a hundred different devices and stuck with 1/4x20 in Zinc coat and Stainless marine —  I had accumulated from jobs more fresh nuts and bolts stock than any one could use —  Have you priced wood today — when 2x4’s go for 5.00 dollars — I'm done — I go to my own stockyard — 

3 - I do some gunsmithing and other metal fabrication since I was in a Brooklyn NY High School and learned how to make ZIP guns from Car antennas — and graduated to competition shotguns and rifles in the .338 range — and competed all with plastic stocks — 

4 - I live in a condo with white walls, no wood panels and the smaller stronger metal stuff like the re spooler all goes in a closet on shelves  and is hidden.   And small —  

5 -  For the spools I had to use wood - but started with 100 good ones from the vendor in polished birchwood  and lined them up and sprayed them lightly with acrylic clear coat and voila - no allergy problem — see ad below for size and do not sub - the others are “ Le junk” from the land of Junks —  These are the good ones — 

6 - Sometimes what I build being experimental doesn’t work out — and I can Johnny Five it and start over— 


  • For XX.XX of dollars, I had enough thread to make a rope and raise the Titanic.   Some extras went to my charities where the women make clothes and household items for the poor.    
  • I had black and white in thousand yard spools for commercial machines.  I needed that re-spooler.   And it cost me nothing but an hour and a half of time. 
  • I still had left more than a hundred spools of large capacity.   I can get four or so smaller spools off my respooler from one.  
  •  I got spools growing out of my closet.  I gave extras and dupes to CASA House and other charities  for mending.  But where to get spools, I was googling in plastic — nothing — then I figured a way to re-spool them when I got a woody of an idea — and they are better than the plastic — 


  • But quality is a problem — and solved from a specific company who, works in polished birch. When I looked at wood and it’s a night and day.  I found the better answer, natural hard polished birchwood and finished beautifully from Woodpecker's a Hobby brand popular on Amazon.  
  • Competition from other companies were rough looking un-finished raw edges and will snag your line.  Compared to others these are jewels. 
  • And a slice with a razor knife into the wood holds the ends.  Here is how you order:  

Wooden Spools 1-1/8 x 7/8-inch Pack of 25 Splinter-Free Birch Wood

spools for Crafts and Unfinished Wood Ornaments by Woodpeckers”   

Available  in larger numbers — Discounted —  And On AMAZON

  • Being particular when it comes to choosing your unfinished wood is not being fussy. It's being smart. This smooth, splinter free, 1-1/8” wooden spool, takes easily to paint, glue and fabric giving you the freedom to focus on the task at hand- your fun! 
  • (Spools measure 1-1/8” tall, by 7/8” wide. Interior core is approximately 7/8” wide.)  They can also be used as- is to hold craft thread or twine.or embelished as desired — Perfect, no work.  No Binding great on all Bobkins.
  • WOOD PARTS BY CRAFTERS, FOR CRAFTERS, The company said it all -- We care because we share your passion. As crafting and woodworking enthusiasts, we're passionate about bringing you quality wooden products to assist you on your creative journey and help make your dreams into reality. 
  • And we love the creative inspiration (pics, videos) you share! Here's to ensure only happy, fun crafting!
  • I agree, a quality simple product that worked great.

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