Copper John - step-by-step

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Copper John
Originator: John Barr

Hook: Mustad R70, #12
Thread: Gudebrod 8/0, black
Weight: Gold bead, 3mm
Tail: Goose biots, black
Abdomen: Ultra Wire, red
Thorax; Peacock herl
Wingcase: Fly Film, mottled black with a strand of pearl holographic tinsel as a flashback.
Legs: Partridge
"Finishing touch": A generous layer of epoxy over the wingcase


(Full-size pictures on click.)

Step 1
Copper John - Step 1

Slide a bead onto the hook, with the bigger hole facing the bend and mount the hook in the vise. To center the bead on the hook I have built up some bulk of floss behind the eye. Its tapered backwards for a reason. The floss will center its front end, but at the back it will leave space for excess material to slip into it.


Step 2
Copper John - Step 2

Tie in the thread behind the bead and wrap it down to the bend.


Step 3
Copper John - Step 3

Tie in two biots, one on each side. The convex side should face the hook so that they curv from eachother.


Step 4
Copper John - Step 4

Tie the butts down, keeping them on the sides of the shank. Cut the excess at the start of the thorax area.


Step 5
Copper John - Step 5

Tie in the wire on the side of the shank, about an eye length from the bead. (The bead has slipped back on the picture.) Tie it down all the way to the tail.


Step 6
Copper John - Step 6

Build a tapered base for the abdomen. Make sure that you keep the thread flat so you get a smooth surface. Every wrap will twist the thread and eventually it will be round as a rope. Stop therefore a little now and then and spin the bobbin counter clockwise (seen from above) to untwist it again.


Step 7
Copper John - Step 7

Wrap the wire in touching turns and secure it with thread a couple of millimetres from the bead. Wiggle it back and forth until it breaks. This way there will be very little excess and you give your scissors another couple of years.


Step 8
Copper John - Step 8

Tie in a little piece of the holo-tinsel or two pieces of flashabou (beside eachother)


Step 9
Copper John - Step 9

Tie in a piece of Fly Film, Thin Skin or something similar on top of the holo-tinsel.


Step 10
Copper John - Step 10

Tie in 3-5 peacock herls in their tip ends.


Step 11
Copper John - Step 11

Twist the herl a few turns around the thread and wrap the package to the bead. Secure it on the underside of the hook and cut the waste of the herls (but not the thread).


Step 12
Copper John - Step 12

Prepare a partridge feather for legs. The fibres forming the V are here supposed to be the legs of the fly.


Step 13
Copper John - Step 13

Fold the feather over the bead, so that the feather barbs are on the sides of the tie-in point, but the stem is still in front of it. Only the barbs are to be trapped with the thread.


Step 14
Copper John - Step 14

Tie in the barbs on each side with a couple of wraps. If needed, adjust the length and angle and secure with a few tighter wraps.


Step 15
Copper John - Step 15

Cut the waste from the feather.


Step 16
Copper John - Step 16

Fold the Fly Film (or whatever) over the peacock herl, secure it behind the bead and cut the excess.


Step 17
Copper John - Step 17

Fold the flashback over the wingcase. Using Flashabou, be sure to get them close to or slightly overlapping eachother. Also make sure its centered before securing it behind the bead. Cut the waste end.


Step 18
Copper John - Step 18

Build a little neck and whip-finish.


Step 19
Copper John - Step 19

Tip for cutting thread close to the fly without cutting everything else: Tighten the thread and open the scissor blades just a little bit. With the tips on each side of the thread you can now PUSH it off instead of cutting in the regular manner. The thread can be in a jungle of hackles and legs, but everything will move away and the only thing breaking will be the thread.


Step 20
Copper John - Step 20

Mix some epoxy and cover the entire wingcase, from side to side and from back of wingcase to back of bead (including the thread.)
Epoxy tips:
1: Mix calmly to not whip down air bubbles in the mix.
2: Use a darker material to mix on. It makes it easier to see if its clear or milky.
3: The mix should be 50/50 to give the best result. The larger amount you mix, the easier it gets to get the parts equal. So, to make good mixes without wasting too much glue, do more than one fly at a time.



... and picture below shows quite clearly why they call it "flashback"

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