Saturday, March 17, 2018

Articulation Nation: An introductory into the world of shanks

Over the years of fly fishing for pike my choice of flies as changed a lot. I'm a firm believer that size does matter , and this does not mean only using big flies. The size of the fly goes with the appetite and mood of the pike. Generally i tend to use  my big flies early spring and mid to late autumn into winter. Big flies range from 20 to 30 cm
The rest of the time i fish "small" flies (around 10 to 13 cm).
As for the models that are prominent in my boxes, well that's easy: the articulated ones. It usually involve one or many articulations.
If i only use one shank, its placed in front of the hook and not behind. I like that position as it pushes the hook back and balance the streamer very well.And it can result in more positive hook ups.
Mini T-bones are an absolute killer and you can make so many variations.
MiniBone, 40mm shank in front, 6/0 behind, rabbit whiptail

For this type i only use strong shanks, like the big game shanks from Flymen, or homemade shanks ( made from hard stainless steel wire of 1mm)
One type of fly that requires shanks is definitely the game changer.These are time consuming to tie but i absolutely love using them! Variations are endless on a GC, but i use two types:
Large, two hooks GC.
The first is the one with two hooks, and that's the larger model i fish. One large hook at the front, 6/0, four shanks and a small hook at the back  1/0. Only big game shanks should be used for this one as you dont want anything to open up if a large fish is hooked on the back hook.
Big game shanks, 100% secure.

Smaller GC where the lighter shanks are a good choice

If you want to make these yourself i made this short video where you can see how i make mine.

The second type is a smaller version with only one hook at the front. The body and tail is made with lighter shanks, stainless steel of  0.7 up to 0.9 mm. These are the normal shanks with the little eye at the front. Same here you can buy the directly from fly shop, or you can save money and make them yourself.

Normal shanks with a closed eye on one end.These are strong but could open as the eye is not secured with thread.

For this small shanks, you can of course buy them already made, but with the right tools you can make them yourself as well.If like me you can go though 100's of shanks  (i do tie a lot for clients that come to my lodge) It's something to consider doing, if you only use a few , many buying them from a shop would be a better option money wise...
So for them u need a lighter wire and one special pair of pliers, the Beadsmith 1 step-looper.This is going to make your life so much easier! 

Three different type of looper exist, make sure you get the large 3mm model so your shanks will articulate with ease.

Now for the wire i use, and where i get it!
The wire is stainless steel grade 316 ( medical/marine) solid, and never any rust even in saltwater use.( try them on seabass!Well with it!)
I order all my wires from fast postal service and great products.

No comments:

Post a Comment