Reel Wings Spinner by Nicole March

Reel Wings Spinner by Nicole March

Thread: Tan or Black 8/0 
Uni 8/0
Superthread 8/0

Tails: Cream Microfibetts

Body: Turkey Biots

Ribbing: Fine Gold Wire

Wings: Reel Wings Spinner Medium


The rusty spinner is an extremely effective fly, especially as the sun begins to fade.

Cut a 3” length of tying thread from your bobbin before beginning your fly, and set it aside.



Start your thread at the halfway point and take touching turns back towards the bend, stopping across from the hook barb. Select two microfibetts from the pack, measure them to about 1 ½ times the hook length, then tie them in with one or two wraps. Don’t worry right now if they are touching each other, in the next step we will be adjusting their position.


To separate your tails, first hold both microfibetts up and take one wrap underneath them, and bring your thread back around. Doing this will help lift them off the hook shank itself. Advance your bobbin a few turns forward so that it’s out of the way for the next step. You will want to keep the tail of the fly from bulking up with too many turns of material.


Separating your tailing.

Take your 3” cut piece of thread and loop it around the hook bend above the vise. Hold both ends of the thread in your fingers, slide it up in between the two microfibetts and over the top of the hook shank. Take one or two wraps to hold the thread down on top of the shank, then pull on the loop. You will notice the tails begin to separate.


The tighter you pull that loop forward the more they will separate, so use your own judgment to decide how far apart you want them. Then you only need to take a few tight turns to lock them in place, then you can snip off the waste ends of the micro fibetts and thread loop.

Now its time to create the underbody 

Using your thread, begin to create the tapered underbody. Start a little way up from the microfibetts so as not to crowd the next tie in point, and stop the taper one eye length behind the eye. Remember; anytime you are using quills or biots for a body material you want to keep that body uniform, since any lumps and bumps will show.


Tie in your turkey biot and gold wire at the back of the hook, but try not to take too many turns when securing, or it will bulk up the base of the fly. Depending on which way you tie in your biot, it will either create a segmented or flat body when wrapped around the shank.


In this case we want a segmented body, so bring your turkey biot forward, tie off the material, then bring your wire forward to follow the ridges on the biot. Tie off your wire, cut the excess and take a few wraps of thread to cover up the waste ends. You want a smooth surface there, since we will now tie in the wings.


A few tips when working with reel wings.

Removing the wings from the package

Reel Wings now come packaged on a small card with a light adhesive holding them down, which makes using this material a lot easier. The easiest way I have found to remove them without damage, is to open the pack and either remove the card; or squeeze it slightly to hold it open. Then using the tip of your bodkin inserted under the middle section of a wing, lift it off the paper.

The light adhesive will also allow the wing to stay on your bodkin while you get ready to tie them in.


Preparing your wing for placement

If you look closely at your Reel wing you will see that the middle of the wing has a small indentation in it. You can either cut out a small triangle or a simple slit there.


Preparing your body for the wing

One way to help hold your wing in place while adjusting and securing it, is by way of a dubbing loop placed on top of your fly. Create a dubbing loop as you normally would, but pull it vertical before taking a few turns to hold it in place.


Advance your thread behind the eye, and use your bodkin with the wings adhered to it, to decide on placement. Don’t worry too much about the size of the middle part of your wing since that will be compressed in the next step. Right now, what you are looking for is a general placement of the wings themselves. Once you have found that, push the wings down on to the thread base, as they will adhere for another second or two while you finish.


With the wings in place, take the dubbing loop you created and pull it up and over the wing mid-section, then loop it around the eye temporarily. Doing this will now allow you to slide the wings up and down as you decide on their final placement.


Compressing the wing:

Take a wrap around the dubbing loop right behind the eye to secure it in place.


Now pull that dubbing loop tag to the BACK of the hook, applying slight pressure as it compresses. Once the wings are compressed to your liking, lock them in place by bringing your thread under the BACK of the wings to tie it off. Doing this has created a slip loop that compresses the inside of the winging material when pulled, allowing it to stay in place. If you need to adjust it again, simply pull a little more, then secure and cut off the waste ends of the dubbing loop.


Now use a very thin dubbing noodle to create the thorax. You will want to take one or two turns behind the wings first, cross over to the front, then take two more turns in front of the wings before crossing back. Add more dubbing as needed to fill any gaps before creating the head and whip finishing.


Just mind your pressure when dubbing and don’t use too much. Either or both will result in turning of the wings like this.


When you are finished, simply whip-finish and apply a little bit of floatant to the thorax before fishing.


Also keep in mind, that if for some reason you happen to break off a wing; finish the fly and fish it. You’d be surprised how effective they are even with one wing! 



  • Mike James

    I’ve never used Reel Wings, but have had problems with similar flat sheet materials causing the fly to spin, quickly resulting in a linked leader. The solution usually proposed is a heavier or stiffer tippet, which can adversely impact drag. What has your on the water experience been with flies using Reel Wings, and have you encountered any issues using it? Lovely fly patterns, by the way!

  • Dan monaco

    Very good instructions, very detailed. Just curious, I’m sure you know who Walt & Winnie Dette are, or were, how come Dette As I said just curious, you should put your name to these instructions, as Rob, your uncle said, you should have your own show.

  • Robert Cucolo

    You need your own fishing show

  • Carl Marino

    Absolutely awesome .

  • martin deville

    like all your patterns instructions very clear thanks and would love to see more

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