Anchor Wrap Tying Technique by Paul Shurtleff

Anchor Wrap

After spending some time working with and field testing various materials over the years, I’d like to stress the importance of what’s called an “Anchor Wrap” in fly tying when working with various materials. I’m not just talking about any materials though, I’m more refering to corded or furled synthetic/semi-synthetic types of materials such as chenilles and braided/variegated types of tying materials commonly used as bodies in numerous fly patterns. For those that don’t or didn’t know or have never heard of what an “Anchor Wrap” is, it’s a tying procedure/technique made to anchor or seat and tighten down onto the hook these types of materials while wrapping them on. It’s intent is to tighten down as much as possible to prevent those types of materials from becoming loose. More specifically, an “Anchor Wrap” is performed to prevent the core of the material itself from coming loose and becoming exposed. This typically happens after the material gets wet, like while using or fishing the fly! When those types of materials get wet, some of them can stretch out and become loose on the hook. Loose wraps are what makes flies subject to failure, particularly against fish teeth or anything else that could cut or destroy the fly if an “Anchor Wrap” isn’t implemented in the tying of it. The importance of an “Anchor Wrap” becomes evident for the durability/longativity of finished flies when using those types of corded materials in their construction… Specifically and especially when tying flies for certain types of fish, particularly for predatory fish with teeth such as pike and large trout. When tying flies for toothy predatory fish, the “Anchor Wrap” tying procedure/technique can mean the difference between a fly that lasts a couple of fish before being destroyed, or one that survives dozens of fish. It’s not a new technique by any means, and I’m not the one to come up with it nor am I claiming invention either. But it is a technique/procedure I think could help fly tyers world wide to increase the durability and add a little bit of security to their flies. Some fly tyers may be doing this already while using those types of corded materials and not know or realize it, while other tyers just starting out or even some seasoned pros for that matter, it could really be a potential “eye opener” and help them to tie a better more durable fly.

Anchor Wrap Procedure:

To perform an “Anchor Wrap” is simple to do when wrapping any kind of corded/furled materials like chenille for example.

(Semperfli’s Extreme String is used in the demo pictures)

The procedure is simple:
1. Prepare the material for tie down by exposing the core and then tie it in.

2. Begin wrapping the material 2 to 3 turns and then stop.

3. While keeping tension on the material after 2 to 3 turns, support the hook eye (so it doesn’t slip in the vise) and pull down on the material to tighten and seat it into position on the hook. You should see the material spin/turn on the hook and then stop on its own, having been seat into position.
*Important: Use some caution by not pulling so hard that it’s enough to break the material or pull it out of the tie in spot.

4. Repeat step 2 and 3, or until you reach the tie off point or to the point you want to stop wrapping.
(Its personal preference, but I personally make Anchor Wraps after every other material turn on all of my flies using these types of materials.)


(In addition, if working with corded materials that are long fibered such as polar chenille (or Extreme String) for example, the material fibers should be pulled/preened back after each turn so that the material core more closely comes in contact with the hook shank and material fibers don’t get trapped while wrapping them. Doing so will also allow for closer and tighter wraps to be made.)

~Paul “Paulie” Shurtleff


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