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Salmonfly.Net Salmon and Steelhead Fly Tying Guide  In Memory of Yuri Shumakov 

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A Simple Approach to Flies for Alaskan Salmon in August
Making Propeller Hooks, John Glaspy

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You use essentially the same propeller hooks for all of the Rotabunny and Rotapixie flies.  You can find propellers at fly shops and on the internet from sites devoted to supplies for making bass lures.  Usually propellers classified as large or sized as just under one inch are about right.  Choice of propeller is a balance between providing maximal vibration in the water (the larger the propeller the greater the water disturbance) and casting ease (the larger the propeller the more air resistance it causes which has to be overcome with casting force).  Propellers are available in silver and gold colors; I havenít found it to matter much, but try to use silver on bright flies (pink and chartreuse) and gold on darker flies (purple, fuscia and orange).  You will want to use large fly coneheads for these flies; they are available in gold, silver, copper, orange, pink, black and red.  There is no reason to use the more expensive tungsten coneheads; weight can be increased if you really need it by increasing the number of lead wraps.  I donít know how much difference cone color makes; in each pattern I give the color I prefer for that pattern if it is available, but donít worry too much if I donít have that color and have to use something else.  I make my propeller hooks in batches, making a dozen or two at a time, then applying the epoxy to batches of three or four flies until I have them all done and drying on the rotating wheel.  Using the method described here, you produce flies that are adequately weighted but not overweight, with the weight toward the front of the fly making the finished fly function well as a jig, twirling and vibrating while sinking nose down after the cast lands (which is when many strikes will occur).

Debarb the hook and thread the chosen propeller and cone onto the 
hook. Make sue the concave face of the propeller base faces the cone.

1. Debarb the hook and thread the chosen propeller and cone onto the hook. Make sue the concave face of the propeller base faces the cone.

Wrap three to four winds of large diameter copper wire tightly onto the hook between the propeller and the cone.  Leave the two ends of the wire long enough to easily remove later.

2. Wrap three to four winds of large diameter copper wire tightly onto the hook between the propeller and the cone.  Leave the two ends of the wire long enough to easily remove later.

Wrap eight tight winds of .30 lead or lead substitute wire onto the shank behind the  cone.  Clip the ends very close with fingernail nippers and push the lead firmly up into the cone so that the cone is pushed tightly against the copper wire and propeller and remains straight and centered on the shank.  There should be no wiggle in the cone at this point. If the cone is crooked, it usually means that the front tag of the lead is not clipped close enough.

3. Wrap eight tight winds of .30 lead or lead substitute wire onto the shank behind the  cone.  Clip the ends very close with fingernail nippers and push the lead firmly up into the cone so that the cone is pushed tightly against the copper wire and propeller and remains straight and centered on the shank.  There should be no wiggle in the cone at this point. If the cone is crooked, it usually means that the front tag of the lead is not clipped close enough.

Start a thick thread on the shank behind the lead wraps and build a thread dam against the wraps to prevent any backward movement of these wraps.  Wind on the shank behind the dam to build a taper from the shank to the wraps. Wind on the lead a few turns and tie off and clip thread.

4. Start a thick thread on the shank behind the lead wraps and build a thread dam against the wraps to prevent any backward movement of these wraps.  Wind on the shank behind the dam to build a taper from the shank to the wraps. Wind on the lead a few turns and tie off and clip thread.

Move the fly in your vise so that it points downward, and mix some 5 minute epoxy on an index card or Post It.  Use a needle to fill the cone with epoxy around the circumference of the cone.  Place a thin layer of epoxy over the lead wire and onto the thread wraps and hook shank to prevent any forward movement of the lead or cone after the wire is removed later.  Put the epoxyed hook in a rotating drying wheel or rotate the hook slowly in your vise until the epoxy is dry.

5. Move the fly in your vise so that it points downward, and mix some 5 minute epoxy on an index card or Post It.  Use a needle to fill the cone with epoxy around the circumference of the cone.  Place a thin layer of epoxy over the lead wire and onto the thread wraps and hook shank to prevent any forward movement of the lead or cone after the wire is removed later.  Put the epoxyed hook in a rotating drying wheel or rotate the hook slowly in your vise until the epoxy is dry.

When the epoxy is dry, remove the copper wire.  The propeller should rotate freely in the space left by the wire.  The propeller look is now ready for making Rotabunnies, Rotapixies or RotaESLs.

6. When the epoxy is dry, remove the copper wire.  The propeller should rotate freely in the space left by the wire.  The propeller hook is now ready for making Rotabunnies, Rotapixies or RotaESLs.

 

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