Over the past year or so I have been playing with wire for bodies. The many colours of UTC wire now available open all kinds of possibilities.
One thing to point out at this stage is that in my tying I never cut wire. UTC and other coloured wires are copper wire with a colour coating. Copper work hardens, that is as you bend it, it gets harder. If you waggle the wire around when it is anchored it will soon break at the anchor point. Doing it this way gives you two advantages.
1, It saves your scissors.
2, When the wire breaks it leaves a small burr that helps lock the wire in place.
The simplest way is just to wind a strand of wire to form the body. This is great for a lot of spider type patterns where you want a little weight. It is a more elegant solution than putting a bead on the head of the fly.
You can dub onto the wire, if you understand dubbing (Many don't, so think wax is needed). My most successful buzzer pattern last season was just black copper wire wound on a size 16 grub hook, one layer for the body two for the thorax.
Taking this on a stage if you want a ribbed body tie in two strands of the body colour and one of the ribbing colour, and wind together.
If you want to palmer this kind of body tie down the two strands of body colour, and unwind the rib. Wind the hackle in the grove left where the rib was. Then rewind the rib over the hackle stem.
The next stage moves things on a lot further, weaving the body from 2 strands of wire. Don't worry weaving with wire is the easiest way to weave I have found. This is because of the stiffness of the wire. It stays put when you let go so there is no need to maintain a balance between the tension on the strands. This is the thing that most people have problems with when learning to weave.
You can adapt almost any wet fly by giving it a body woven from the right coloured wire. Here I've taken the pattern for a Peter Ross and made the body from read and silver wire in place of silver tinsel and red seal's fur.
Czech nymphs can also be tied this way. Using wire for the body makes a slim but heavy fly. You can weave with one strand or twist a couple of strands together. Some very interesting effects can be made using two strands of different coloured wire. An under body of holo tinsel gives the fly an inner glint.
Imitative flies are best tied with single woven strands, for example:
and Ryacophilia pupa.
It doesn't end there. Salmon flies also benefit from this approach.
Giving the fly a little extra weight can make a big difference. Again it is easy to adapt many traditional and modern patterns using this technique.
These are the possibilities of just one material we often ignore. Another use that tiers often miss, is that you can take a piece of wire,double it over and use it as a bobbin threader.
There you go not only some new patterns to play with, but a money saving tip as well.