Monday, January 7, 2019

Tying the El Diablo Fly

El Diablo
The first time I tied the El Diablo Fly, which roughly translates to, "The The Devil Fly" was on my kitchen counter a few nights ago. It was the Friday night of my first week back at work after the holidays, and even though it was a shortened week, it somehow didn't feel that way. The baby was sleeping and wife was working, so I busted out my Christmas toys.

The El Diablo is the first in a series of six flies I will be tying as a part of my subscription to PostFly, a subscription all-in-one fly-tying materials package my wife, Emily, gifted me for Christmas. I had never heard of the company or the fly pattern before, but wow, she really knocked it out of the park. The package included all the materials one would need to tie a specific pattern, and even though it didn't come with instructions, it did have a complete model fly example included that I could try and copy. Ultimately, I think my first effort could have been a bit neater, so I decided to try again tonight to get a better example. I am happy to say my sophomoric effort was much more successful, and I am looking forward to tying more of this pattern in the future.

The El Diablo Fly

  • Hook: Curved #12 - #18
  • Thread: Black Uni-Thread
  • Head: Tungsten Bead 
  • Core: Solder Wire
  • Tail/Wing: Golden Pheasant Wing
  • Body: Orange and Green Dubbing Material
  • Rib: Fine Black Wire
The El Diablo is a heavy fly, with a tungsten bead head and a solder wire core. The goal is to get it to sink as fast as possible, so the heavier, the better. The first step is to shimmy your bead in place at the hook eye, and secure it in place with several wraps of your fine black uni-thread.

Next, you'll need to add several loops of the solder wire to add more weight to the fly. This wire will not be visible in the end product, so don't be too worried about how tidy your wraps are. As shown below, I used my fine, needle nose pliers to help wrap the solder. Secure it in place with your thread, and then bring the thread down the hook shank to the bend.

Once your thread is wrapped to the bend, it's time to tie in the golden pheasant feathers and fine black wire. The pheasant feather fibers will serve as the fly's tail, shell casing, and its wing, so be gentle with them. You don't want to break the fibers, bend them, or accidentally pull out most of the fibers when tying the tail in place. I made my tail equal to about half the length of the fly. Full discloser, I did trim my tail and wing fibers. Most purists will avoid trimming feathers, and even in the demo fly, you can see that they did not trim them. Oh well.

Once your tail feathers are in place and you like their length and position, tie in a length of the fine black wire.

Now it's time for the orange dubbing material. Add a pinch to your black uni-thread (not to be mistaken with the fine black wire), and make several wraps until you are about halfway or two-thirds of the way to the bead. You don't want to overcrowd the area immediately before the bead, so be careful. And don't go overboard with the dubbing material. It's easy to do. You'd be shocked how easy it is to put too much on the thread, and how far a seemingly tiny amount of dubbing material will stretch out. If you do put too much on (and we all do it), don't be afraid to pinch it off and throw it right back into the dubbing material storage bag.

Once the dubbing is in place, it might look a bit messy. Mine did. That's okay. It'll all come out in the wash following the next few steps. First bring forward your remaining pheasant feather fibers to form the shell casing over the orange dubbing material and tie it in.

Next, wrapping in the opposite direction of your thread, bring forward the fine black wire from earlier to form the fly's ribs. This will lock in and tidy up your orange dubbing.

Now, it's time for the green dubbing material. In the same manner as before, add the material to your thread and wrap towards the eye, but be sure to leave yourself a smidge of room at the end to work with the wings. These wraps should be tied on top of the pheasant feather fibers. Once it's in place and tied in, pull back on the remaining portion of the feather fibers to form the fly's wing.

Use a whip finish to complete the fly, and feel free to tidy up the wing, tail, and remaining wild dubbing fibers with your scissors. Here's my end product from tonight.

And here's a comparison between the fly I tied tonight (left) and the model that came with the kit (right). I like this pattern a lot. It's a good amount of materials and isn't too overly complicated to tie. It's a nice pattern that benefits from the messiness of the dubbing fibers, so for someone who is still a novice (i.e., sloppy) like myself, it's perfect.

If you're looking for that special gift for a fly-fisherman, you can check out PostFly here. I can't reccomend it enough. It's perfect for amateurs and expert fly-tiers alike. Thanks, Emily.


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