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Hendo Hammer Pattern & Tying Instructions

Fly Tying Recipe: Hendo Hammer
This is fellow New Jersey tier and Regal Pro Staff member John Collins’ Hendo Hammer. It’s supposed to imitate an adult female Hendrickson, struggling to escape its nymphal shuck. The front part of the fly is meant to float on the water’s surface while the trailing shuck hangs just below it.

For a hook, John chooses a size 12 Daiichi #1167 Klinkhamer. He gets it firmly secured in the jaws of his tying vise, with the eye and the front of the shank roughly parallel to the tying bench.

For thread, John loads a bobbin with a spool of rusty dun 8/0 Uni. Start your thread on the hook shank behind the eye and take wraps rearward then back up to about 3 eye-lengths behind the hook eye. This will be the location of the wing post. For the post, John separates out a small clump of dark dun calf body hair and snips it free from the hide. He then places the hair into a stacker, tips first, and gives the clump a real good stacking to align the hair tips. He’ll then remove the clump from the stacker so the tips end up in his right hand, allowing him to pass the butts to his left. While keeping the tips aligned, he measures to produce a post about a hook shank in length, and then takes thread wraps to secure the hair to the top of the shank. With his tying thread hanging at about the barb, John snips the remaining butts off at a shallow angle. He then secures them really well so they kind of taper down to the bare hook. Next he advances his thread forward to the base of the post.

He pulls the hair tips back and up to vertical and builds a small thread dam in front of them. He follows this with posting wraps well up the hair clump. This fly requires quite a few wraps of hackle to help it float, so the post needs to be fairly tall. John ends with his tying thread back at about the hook point then snips free any wayward hairs that’ve been trapped in the posting process.

With his thread at the hook point, he rotates the fly in the vise to gain easier access to the back half of the hook for the next couple of steps.

Brown Antron yarn is used for the rear part of the trailing shuck, a 1” length is plenty. John places the Antron on top of the hook shank and binds it down well into the hook bend. He then takes thread wraps forward and pulls the butt ends of the material back and binds them down for a short distance before snipping them off close. This does wonders in terms of adding a nice taper to the back end of the fly.

To complete the shuck and add to the fly’s realism, John separates out a single brown turkey biot and strips it free from the stem. He lashes the very tip to the hook shank with a few turns of tying thread, binding it down all the way to the Antron. He follows this with wraps of tying thread all the way up to the point where he doubled the butt ends of the Antron back. A strategically placed single whip finish is used to save his work up to this point.

With hackle pliers, he gets hold of the butt end of the biot and starts making slightly overlapping wraps up the hook shank with it. On this size 12 it’s necessary to use nearly the full length of the biot. He binds the end down really well then snips the excess off close with his tying scissors.

UV cure resin is used to increase durability and enhance the realistic look of the shuck. Just the smallest amount is all that’s needed to coat and penetrate the wrapped biot. Once cured with UV light, the delicate biot becomes all but indestructible.

With the rear of the fly complete, John rotates the hook back to its original position. He uses a few more wraps of tying thread to lightly build up and smooth out the area behind the post that’ll become the abdomen of the emerging adult.

This time, he separates out a single Hendrickson pink turkey biot and strips it free from the stem. As before, the biot is tied in by its tip and wound forward with touching wraps. Biots, their tips in particular, are rather delicate and care must be taken not to break or tear them while wrapping. John wraps the biot all the way up to the base of the post, before securing it with several wraps of tying thread.

He then reaches for his dubbing wax and applies a very thin skim to the tying thread. He’s incredibly fortunate to be the owner of a small patch of urine burned female fox fur, a traditional favorite for light Hendrickson patterns, thanks to Art Flick. Feel free to substitute any light Hendrickson-colored dubbing here. John creates a short, thin dubbing noodle on his tying thread and takes wraps with it to build up a partial thorax in back of the post.

Natural medium dun saddle hackle is used to hackle the fly. John strips off the lower fibers to expose a 1/2” of bare stem. He then places the butt end of the stem at the return of the hook eye and takes tight wraps of tying thread to bind it down. After making a single open spiral wrap with the bare stem up to the top of the post, he begins making touching wraps with the feather back down. As stated earlier, this fly really benefits from a robust hackle job. John pulls the remaining part of the feather out over the hook eye and takes wraps of tying thread to bind it down. Sometimes a little finagling is needed here to keep from trapping a whole bunch of hackle fibers. A few don’t matter as they can be trimmed out later. John then snips the hackle tip off close and gets rid of anything blocking the hook eye.

To finish building the thorax, he once again forms a small dubbing noodle on his tying thread. After pulling the hackle back, he then takes wraps with the noodle to cover the relatively bare hook behind the eye. As before, any stray fibers should be snipped out.

Next, John takes a few more wraps of tying thread and completes a 4 or 5 turn whip finish right at the back edge of the hook eye. He uses his bodkin to pull any trapped fibers free before snipping the tying thread off close. John uses his fingertips to get the hackle fibers evenly distributed around the post. At this point, the Hendo Hammer is about ready to fish. The final step is to trim the Antron off at about a hook gap in length as kind of a continuation of the trailing shuck.

As you can imagine, by simply changing the dubbing, hackle and post colors, this fly could be used when imitating a multitude of hatches
Show / Hide Hendo Hammer Transcript

Video Transcript:

Klinkhamer dry/emerger hook (here a Daiichi 1167), sizes 12-16
Rusty Dun 8/0 or 70-denier
Wing post:
Dark dun calf-body hair, cleaned and stacked
Shuck (rear):
Brown Antron yarn
Shuck (front):
Brown turkey biot
UV-cure resin
Hendrickson-pink turkey biot
Light Hendrickson Dubbing
Natural medium-dun saddle hackle
Tying thread
Hair stacker, dubbing wax, bodkin