Tapering the Head on Hair Wing Flies

Production tying is about speed, but it is also about well-built flies. We’ve discussed the concept of pre-trimming, and that’s the secret of building great looking heads on hair-wing flies. Rather than tying in a clump of hair, and then trying to trim the butt end to give the head a nice taper, taper the hair first. The taper is actually a rather steep one. The distance from the front of the taper to the rear of the taper is actually just a bit shorter than the full length of the head (Figure 1).

Begin wrapping at the rear of the head and wrap carefully and tightly forward to the eye. Then, still wrapping very tightly, carefully build the head into a nice taper (Figure 2.). This is a very fast way to attach the hair wing and get the tapered head that is so artistic.

Figure 1. Pre-trim the taper into the butt ends of the hair wing. Notice how short the taper has to be.

Figure 2. The finished fly with a nicely tapered, quickly built head.


  1. Chris says:

    Another quick and easy tip, thanks Gary. Happy holidays to you and yours.