“I cant thank you enough for offering your fly tying class! I had no idea that I would enjoy learning to tie flies as much as I did, and assuring everyone that you are there to answer any questions made me very comfortable” -Lisa…
Turkey biots and goose biots look very similar at first glance and while they share many of the same characteristics; they aren’t always used the same way. Both come in a “stalk” so to speak and with just one of these stalks you can tie many flies. But the biggest difference comes in length.
A goose Biot is shown here in black is the shorter one when removed from the stalk, and serve better as wings,tails, shucks or whatever it is you would like to use them for.
The most common patterns you may have seen them on are prince nymphs and stoneflies.
But a turkey Biot is much longer in length when removed from the “stalk” and is mainly used by being wrapped around a hook to achieve a segmented or flat body; depending on which way you tie it in.
But before we get into how to remove a biot from the stalk, let’s take a look at another way they come packaged. So if yours don’t look like this below:
Then they may look like this:
As you can see the left side of this feather is still intact. But that big side is not the side in which the biots are found.
Let’s take a closer look:
See here? If you look up close you can see that this right side here is exactly the same as those smaller stalks and if you were to disregard that entire left side( I don’t mean throw it out because there are uses for it)
I just mean if you held a small one side-by-side with this fully intact one; you will see that the smaller side is just the same piece removed.
When it comes to removing a Biot you don’t want to cut them because by doing so you will lose the “handle” to where you will attach your hackle pliers, I will explain this in detail below. So here we go!
Now whether you have a turkey Feather that is fully intact with the biot on the side or just a stripped stem the technique is exactly the same. But I will still demonstrate both.
If You have only a Biot stalk, First things first; hold it up and take a look.
To make it a little bit easier to see, I’m going to pull them from the tip of the Biot but normally I would work towards the middle.
And this gets easier as you remove more because there’s room to work.
Fully Intact feather? Lets take a look,
If you have a fully intact feather with Biot on one side, just grab the feather with one hand, and splay out some of the Biots with your fingers.
Keep in mind that the Biots towards the tip/middle of the stalk are normally longer than the ones at the base.As you can see here below I have pulled three of them; one from the tip one from the middle and one towards the base, and each one is different length.
So try to keep that in mind as you are tying different size flies, so that you don’t end up running out of a good size Biot for what you need it for.
“Flat or rigid body?”
The choice is up to you
First I’m going to demonstrate how to tie a Biot in so that you get a segmentation that is raised, but just like I showed you in the how to wrap a Polish quill troubleshooting, the way you tie this in is dependent on your personal technique and may need to be reversed/adjusted once you see your final result.
So Grab one of your turkey Biot and let’s begin!
If you need help creating a uniform underbody please see this tutorial.
They’re all different types of hackle pliers, me personally I use the one shaped like a D not the ones that rotate around a stick.
Well here we are all tied in and ready to go
BUT this is where you are once again going to find out if you are a “flat around the hook Tyer” or a “wrap over your material Tyer.”
I’ll be honest with you, it doesn’t mean either way is right or wrong, a lot of it is just the technique you have been taught, whether you are self taught or were taught from someone else. But if you cant correct it, just adjust your tie in.
So take a look at the way I am doing a below and if you are having a problem take a look at the troubleshooting photos below this, then adjust your material or technique to achieve your final outcome. I will also show you a troubleshoot in case you’re having an issue.
When it comes to Turkey biots I have a tendency to wrap over my material,
Here we see the turkey by was tied in with the ridge on the top, because when I hook it with my hackle pliers and hold it straight up in the air as seen below, it will move to the “bottom” Thats ok
Now did your body come out raise and segmented like this?
If not in the body came out flat such as below, It may not be because you tied it in wrong: once again it may be because your technique is different.
Everyone’s technique is different as in everyone’s way of teaching is different.And if you have a tendency to lay the material completely flat around the hook then your outcome will be different than my way of wrapping over the material. That is not a problem all you have to do is adjust.
Take a look here at what happens if you keep your material flat around the hook as you bring it around.
See? Now what has happened is the Biot has been reversed and you will get a flat body. It doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It just means your technique is different than mine. If so all you have to do is back it up, tie over your material instead of flat or if you cant: then tie that turkey Biot in the “wrong” way-with the raised edge side down. And that’ll go with your personal technique.
“My biot body flies tend to get destroyed quickly after one fish how can I fix that?”
“What do I do if my pattern requires a smooth body turkey Biot?”
Remember if you tie over your material as opposed to laying it flat around the hook, you will have a different result. So start wrapping your biot forward and you will immediately see how you need to adjust what you are doing.
.. it will flatten over the ridge and give you the flat body.
you may also want to back wrap one and then go forward because what that will do, is get rid of that tie in point that will be showing if you left it alone.
I hope This tutorial has helped to take some of the fear out of using turkey Biot’s because they are a really great material that are used on a large number of patterns.
So don’t be afraid!
And Please let me know if you have any other questions, I can add a few more detailed photos!