Modifying Intruder Shanks

This fall/winter steelhead season I’ve had alot more intruder type style of fly orders. One of the main flaws I’ve found in these “ Senyos Steelhead And Salmon Shanks” is that they are cut/made and thrown in the bag, a majority of the shanks are bent, not finished properly or still have sharps edges, that being said tying with these can be very frustrating at times. Breaking your thread off mid fly is certainly not uncommon, and being a commercial fly tyer time and consistency is very important and makes tying that much more enjoyable when sitting down for 4-5 hours at a time. 

The most efficient way i found to modify the shank to my personal preferences is using a rotary tool equipped with a small soft sanding bit. When doing this I will sit down and go through a full pack of 20 shanks at a time, each shank only takes 25-30 seconds, once you get into the sanding groove, not only will this make your life easier when tying with thinner threads and materials, it will also help with keeping a smoother body when tying intruder type style of flies instead of having a quick “ drop off / bump “ at the rear where the return ends.

Is it worth it ? Well you have to ask yourself that question, for me? yes certainly, I benefit in the long run from taking the extra 5-10 minutes to go through a pack before I start tying, knowing I will have a smooth tapered body and little to none thread breaking. If you are a casual fly tyer and only go through a handful of flies a season then it might not be worth the time.