Tying Instructions for the Cosseboom Muddler


Step 1 - The hook is a Mustad # 9671, single, down-eye, 2X long shank. In my opinion the 2X proportions of this hook are the most ideal for Atlantic salmon muddler patterns. the thread is red size 8/0, and although quite fine and requiring some time to "get used to", the results are well worth the effort.

Step 2 - Attach light green floss for tail with the remainder for the body. Temporarily wind the floss for the body forward to permit easier attachment of the silver mylar tinsel. John Cosseboom's original recipe called for olive green floss. Joseph D. Bates, Fishing Atlantic Salmon, the flies and the patterns, Stackpole Books, 1996, page 331. The floss pictured is slightly "greener", nevertheless it works well.

Step 3 - Attach medium width mylar tinsel. John Cosseboom's original recipe calls for oval silver tinsel but to reduce weight and maintain original brightness over time mylar is a better choice.

Step 4 - Unwind floss to from "out of the way" position to prepare red thread base for the floss winding. In addition wind the red thread to a point about 2/3rds of the way along the shank towards the hook eye. Be sure to leave roughly 1/3 of the shank for the deer hair skirt and head.
Step 5 - Wrap the floss forwards, backwards, and forward to build-up and complete the body. Body should be well proportioned with sufficient floss as shown.
Step 6 - Wind the mylar tinsel forward and tie off and trim the floss tail.
Step 7 - This photo is the Gray Squirrel wing ready for withdrawal from the hair packer cylinder. Use of a hair packer aligns the ends and keeps them even for a nicer wing. When the wing is withdrawn from the hair packer, it is ready for attachment.
Step 8 - Attach Gray Squirrel wing as shown. Note: to keep the wing straight on the hook I learned to hold the wing at a 45 - 90 degree angle from the hook shank and without applying pressure make one complete wrap and then apply pressure and wrap thread towards the rear of the hook. With the wing in position I apply a Wrap knot (also called a "whip finish" knot to secure the wing position against thread loosening. Do not omit the "whip finish" before going to the next step, otherwise your wing may change its position. This is an awkward situation to use a "whip finish" tool, so instead I use a "wrap knot". I learned this knot from Flytying Techniques, Jacqueline Wakeford, Nick Lyons Books, 1980, page 23.
Step 9 - In step 8 the "wrap knot" was completed so the wing would not loosen during the spinning process. Trim the butt ends of the Gray Squirrel wing. Once the wing ends have been trimmed as in the photo, I like to put a small drop of head cement on the thread securing the Gray Squirrel wing for additional security against wing shift during the skirt spinning process.
Step 10 - Cut a clump of dyed yellow deer body hair with a sufficient amount of hair to form a skirt. The photo for this step shows a fur comb to remove under fur and short hairs. As with the Gray Squirrel wing, place the skirt hairs in a hair stacker to even the ends for a perfectly formed skirt. Remove the stacked hairs with your thumb and forefinger and place at a 90 degree angle over the shank of the hook as shown in the next step.
Step 11 - Measure the clump of deer hair between your thumb and forefinger. Determine the length of the hair to be spun into a skirt from the hook shank where they will be attached to a point of your choosing somewhere near the hook point. Add additional length for attachment to the hook. In the final length of my hair clump I estimate that the skirt hair will be 3 parts and the portion for attachment will be an additional one part. Then I cut the hair and place it at a 90 degree angle on the hook as shown in the photo. Then with the thread I make two complete turns over the clump and the hook and back to where I started. Then I raise my bobbin as if starting to a third turn. At this point I draw thread tight still holding the clump with my thumb and forefinger to keep the hair clump in place.
Step 12 - Carefully with thumb and forefinger to keep hair in place, tighten thread, and slowly draw thread and bobbin around hook shank. The hair clump should follow your bobbin. At the same time "reel-up" the excess thread to keep bobbin close to hook shank. The photo shown is after one complete rotation. In the same manner continue rotating bobbin and thread around hook shank until the thread comes "tight" and the deer hair skirt is distributed evenly around the hook shank. The photo shown is after one complete rotation. In the same manner continue rotating bobbin and thread around the hook shank.
Step 13 - Rotation is almost complete - Bobbin still close to hook shank and the long skirt hairs are evenly distributed around hook shank and the shorter ends will become part of the muddler head. Note the longer tipped skirt ends are easy to distinguish from the shorter ends for easier trimming.
Step 14 - The deer hair skirt is complete. The thread bobbin is hanging maintaining pressure to hold the deer hair skirt in place for the packing process and the next deer hair clump.
Step 15 - A hair packer gently "packs" the deer hair. Applying too much pressure with the packer will break the thread. During the "packing process" my thumb and fingers smooth the spun deer hair backwards so it will be easier during the trimming process to avoid cutting the deer hair skirt. Note - hair packers come with different center hole sizes. Use a size that is appropriate for the diameter of the hook shank. You will get better results using a packer than your fingers.
Step 16 - The thread has been wound several times through packed deer hair with two or three extra turns in front of the clump as shown to prepare for the second deer hair clump. The photo shows there is now additional space near the eye of the hook for an additional clump of deer hair.
Step 17 - Another clump of deer hair is in place for spinning. This clump doesn't require using the hair stacker because the thicker ends will be used. The fine hair ends will be clipped. A hair comb was used to remove any under-fur from the deer hair. In the photo two thread wraps have been applied and my bobbin is above the hook shank while my thumb and forefinger held the hair at a 90 degree angle as the thread is drawn tighter. In this photo my fingers have released the clump while my bobbin rotates around the hook shank spinning the hair.
Step 18 - The second clump of deer hair has been spun and I use my fingers first to "pack" the spun deer hair clump, then my hair packer finishes the procedure. The thread is still embedded in the deer hair clump and must be wound forward through the clump and secured with two or three tight wraps.
Step 19 - The photo the fly after the thread has been wound through the clump leaving just enough room near the eye of the hook to secure the thread with a "whip finish" tool (barely visible in photo) After the whip finish knot is secure, you can cut the thread and the fly is now ready for trimming as shown.
Step 20 - Rule: always trim (the muddler head shaping process) from the rear of the fly towards the hook eye. In this trimming step, the extra length and fineness of the "skirt" hairs makes them stand out so you don't clip them. In the photo my curved trimming scissors are laid on top of the longer skirt hairs and cutting the shorter body hair in front of them. Be careful not to cut the skirt hair.

Step 21 - This photo is really a continuation of step 20. Always use curved trimming scissors for the trimming process. In the photo note the thicker deer hair in contrast to the thinner skirt hair ends. The scissors will be pressed against the skirt hairs so the thicker hair can be trimmed. Always trim from the rear to the front.

Step 22 - This photo shows a continuation of the trimming process. The trimming process is painstaking but a nice muddler head is the reward.

Step 23 - The scissors are trimming the front section of the muddler head. The head is nearly finished.
Step 24 - The muddler head trimming is complete. Reconnecting the red thread is the final step.
Step 25 - This fly is the same as in step 24 except it is in a vise awaiting reattachment of the red thread and completion of the head.

Step 26 - The finished Cosseboom Muddler. The red thread has been reattached and the head formed, whip finished, and cemented.



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