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PUBLISHED: 10:53 AM on Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Fly-Tying: Irresistibles

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So, after struggling with last month's Marabou Muddler, you're probably ready to put away the deer hair and get on with the rest of your life. Well, that's too bad, because I feel the irresistible urge to spin some more deer hair. I know - it's a strange compulsion - but let's work through it together.

Irresistibles are a family of dry flies that are similar to Humpies (see Outdoors, Oct. 2003), in that they both have bodies made of deer hair. Unlike the Humpy, however, which has a body of deer hair tied along the shank, an Irresistible uses spun and clipped hair in place of a fur-dubbed a body. Both styles definitely float like corks, and both have their particular fish-fooling charms. As for which one is easier to tie, well, you tell me. Let's try an Adams Irresistible.

1. I'm using a #10 long-shank dry-fly hook. Get your thread started as normal, and then tie in a clump of moose body hair for the tail. You can substitute here, but make sure you're using a dark tailing material that is stiff enough to support the fly on the water. Looser thread wraps at the bend will keep the hair from flaring.

2. Unlike most dries, the body comes before the wings. There's no way you'll want to trim this baby with wings in the way. Spin three or four clumps of deer hair until you've covered the body, compacting the hair back toward the bend as you go. Don't forget to leave some room at the eye for your wings and hackle.

3. Before that, however, we need to give it a haircut. This is either the fun part, or the tedious bit, depending on how well you handle your scissors. You'll want to sculpt a nicely tapered body, so take your time. I like to finish it off with a disposable razor, which really smoothes out the rough edges. DO NOT use your spouse's razor.

4. We call this an Adams Irresistible, because like a traditional Adams, it uses grizzly hackle tips for wings. Since the body came first, you'll have to work backwards a bit and mount the wings with the stems past the eye. Use your thread to prop up the wings, and then divide them with figure-eight wraps.

5. The Adams style also calls for a mix of grizzly and brown hackle for the collar. If you're using top-grade hackle, you might get away with one feather from each cape.

Otherwise, use two from each. Use a hackle gauge to match up your feathers, and then wind your collar just like any other Catskill-style fly. Hey, you're getting good at this!

A lot of folks figure that deer hair floats because the hair fibers are hollow. Well, sort of.

The hair's not hollow like straw. Instead, each fiber is filled with hundreds of tiny air pockets that keep Mr. and Mrs. Deer warm during the winter months.

Think of deer hair as nature's Styrofoam. Until next time, happy tying!


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