Using turkey biots must surely be cheating! With a little practice they are simple to use and produce spectacular bodies on all sorts of flies. I use them on nymphs, emergers and dries - I just think they give a very realistic segmented effect - a sure trigger point.
Turkey biots are easily trimmed from the main stem and have a very nice taper - suited to the gradual taper of a fly's segmentation.
Each biot has a concave shape and along one edge, depending on which of the wings it has been taken from, there is a furry, fluffy edge. On this photo this is can be seen on the lower edge:
Changing the way it is tied in gives you different effects.
I prefer to tie the biot with a good proportion of its tip under the thread wraps. Tying too close to the tip and then winding increases the chance of breakages as they can be brittle near the very tip:
I usually prefer to tie in along the bottom of the hook shank where possible. It makes the start of the rib a little neater (for the tyer's eye, not for the fish!. You can see her on the biot nymph:
When tying biot bodies, you want a neat layer of thread wraps underneath. Also a little head cement or varnish under the biot helps keep it secure when it is wrapped. Do not over-do it though or you risk damping down the furry edge of the biot and losing its effectiveness:
When I wind the biot I use hackle pliers - this stops grease from your fingers squashing the rib. After tying in, I fold the biot over itself and then start to wind forwards:
Now if you tie the biot with the furry edge facing downwards, as you wind it will be on the outer surface - this produces a lovely rib to the fly:
If you tie the biot with the furry edge upwards, it will lie downwards as you wind it and it will not be prominent. This is a little unusual, but can produce some really nice effects:
Another example of the effects you can achieve with biots for bodies; this time on a CDC-loop emerger:
If you are yet to try this material, give it a go and experiment with the results.