Flies & Fly Tying Help with Shaving brush fly pattern

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    Hi All,

    I’m trying to tie shaving brush in a way that the deer hair doesn’t flares out like the photo i attached. My problem is, i make a loose loop for the first wrap then when I pull the thread tight in the second wrap, the deer hair start to flare and it become like comparadun !

    Can some one give me some tip how I can te the deer hair without flaring it out?



    Try adding four or five “loose” wraps (tight enough to hold the hair but not tight enough to cause it to flare) at the beginning. Tie the loose wraps at the front of the wing, these restrict flaring and hold the shape when tight wraps are added further back to lock the fibers down and secure the wing.  At the same time, hold the wing in a bunch as best you can to retain its shape and orientation as you tie it in.



    Not all deer hair is equal. Harder (not hollow fibres) tend not to flair as much, not sure if this is seasonal or regional.



    The hair in the photo looks quite fine and is likely elk hair or similar.  You probably wont get deer hair to look exactly like the photo.


    1. Use about a third of the hair, you have way too much.
    2. Hold the hair tight on the shank between forefinger and thumb and make three or four tight turns.
    3. If you want the hair to spread out in a fan, put a turn between (under) the hair and eye of the hook and pull the thread back along the shank towards the bend of the hook.  That will cause the hair to splay. Finish off with a couple more tight turns.
    4. Clip the butt of the hair at an angle so the butt slopes neatly down to the shank.
    5. Use no more than 5 or 6 fibres for the tail. You have way too many fibres which is adding to the shape and length of the fly.

    One of the common mistakes I see by many fly tiers, and especially commercially produced flies from overseas, is overdressing the fly – too much hackle, too many tail fibres.  Less is more!  Insects are simple beasts, there’s not much to them.  Mayfly nymphs have two or three tail fibres, depending on species.  Whether you tie in three, five, or six fibres probably doesn’t matter because trout can’t count.  You just need a few fibres to give the impression of tail fibres.   Even so, I wonder if the presence of a few fibres makes any real difference.  I’ve caught plenty of fish using nymphs with fibres broken off.  However, a thick clump of tail fibres effectively makes the nymph (or emerger, dun, spinner) look so much longer. Example, the red spinner Atalophlebia australis has a final nymph instar body length of 9-11 mm long. That’s head, thorax, abdomen.  Add in a thick tail and now the body is double the size. Add in a thick clump of deer hair at the front and it’s now triple the size of the nymph that the trout is likely to encounter.  I bet that alone leads to trout refusing a fly.



    firstly thanks everyone for replying my question.


    To be honest that’s not my fly, i found the photo from an online shop. normally people want to fan out the deer hair, the photo is what i’m trying to achieve with deer hair. Basically I want the hair to stick together and doesn’t fan out !

    My fly just turns to comparadun !

    I will try the tips above see how it goes, thanks again.



    Good tips above .

    You do need to fix the deer hair to the hook shank so it doesn’t come loose , and whether this is direct to shank or over a dubbed body you will need tights wraps that will cause some flaring if you dont want it all to fall apart easily ( or at least this is how I find it to be ) .

    If you make the tight fixing wrap enough below the eye you can then put a bit of dubbing on your thread and continue wrapping a couple of turns over the flared deer hair to just below the eye  . The dubbing thread will hold down or bring back in the flared hair and you can then tie off ( you can see a bit of this technique in the commercial fly pictured ).

    You need to experiment a bit with how firmly to wrap the dubbed thread over the tied in deer hair to get the shape you want.




    To be honest that’s not my fly, i found the photo from an online shop.

    Understood, and fair enough.  That photo is the type of poorly tied flies I see online too, as well as in shops. It’s a prime example of what not to tie.  If you want the hair going straight forward then just follow my tip no. 2, no turn between hair and eye, but keep the wraps tight.

    When I used shaving brush emergers in the past, I tied them slightly differently.  Mine were based on Wigram’s Pot Scrubber. The deer hair was still sparse but the base of the hair formed a distinct hump.  I also tied a thinner abdomen. The hump may have provided a bit more buoyancy but the overall shape better represented the dun pulling itself out of the nymphal shuck through the thorax.

    I don’t use shaving brush flies anymore.  I find it easier to grease a standard Pot Scrubber so it sits in or immediately under the surface film.  I rarely miss.



    Great tips posted.
    Perhaps tying with a pinch loop initially may help reduce flare.





    really thanks everyone very great tips, I will try them out. Also I will try the pot scrubber thanks again.


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    Phoenix Bird

    I don’t use shaving brush flies anymore. I find it easier to grease a standard Pot Scrubber so it sits in or immediately under the surface film. I rarely miss.

     Sound advice,The floating nymph is also my preferred option,it’s very successful.


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