James Lund is a Swedish fly tyer, known as @onceandaway on Instagram. Recently, he sat down with a friend of Flylords, Hugo Harlin, to do some art tying and that’s when this crazy bat fly creation was born, after a 3-4 hour tying session. We got in touch with James to ask him a few questions about his spooky fly and how he tied it.
Flylords: How did you create those incredible wings?
James: Basically it’s a technique called origami wing that I learned from Hugo Harlin a while back. It’s a really good way of getting nice-looking wings I think. I’ve mostly used it in caddis patterns and it’s also surprisingly durable for fishing flies. For this Bat fly, I wanted to see how much you could shape the wing and since the batwing has a unique look I thought that it would be the ultimate challenge. I use a pair of tweezers and bend the hackle stem (on a half-stripped coq de Leon feather) in the places where the shape chances and then I run the wing through a nozzle (used for silicone tubes). That way the fibers align quite well and if there are some of them that end up wrong you can correct them with a dubbing needle while the feather ends are still in the nozzle. I’ve made a short tutorial (Youtube link in my Instagram profile) on how to do this technique on caddis wings and it’s exactly the same thing with this only the batwing has more ”bending points”.
I think there is still room for improvement and bolder shapes because the feather seems to adjust really well no matter how you want it. The potential of the technique is huge I believe!
Flylords: Was this fly freehand or did you have a design in mind when you started?
James: Well, it’s kind of freehand because I hadn’t seen anything like it so there was no fly I was trying to copy but I had done a lot of ”head tying” (trying out different techniques in my head) so the pattern was sort of clear. This is actually the second one I tried because I wasn’t satisfied with the proportions of the first one. It became a bit too fat basically.
Photos and fly by James Lund, check him out on Instagram: @onceandaway, and on his Youtube channel for more amazing fly tying content!