Over the past month or so I’ve been doing my best to learn how to tie my own flies. So far it’s becoming more and more of a success. Although I’m shooting big goals a bit early, I might as well share them. I’m hoping to master the art, and be able to get a shop opened up here at Explore-North-Georgia.com to sell the flies that I tie, and some supplies as well!
Fly tying so far has been amazing. It’s a great skill to pick up, as you learn the characteristics of the flies that you fish with, you can still be involved with fishing at times that you can’t get out on the water, and it’s a great way to express creativity.
I’ve always had this idea that fly tying would be extremely difficult, hard to learn, and more expensive than I can even imagine. Not that I was surprised, but this is mostly true. I’ve learned that you have to be very patient in the learning process. You have to be able to accept when your fly doesn’t look exactly how you planned it to, you’re going to waste some expensive supplies on flies that turn out horribly, and you’re going to get frustrated here and there. In the end though, when you do get that perfect fly, it’s all worth it.
The best advice that I can give for the beginning fly tier, per my experience (obviously as I am still a beginner) is watch lots of YouTube videos about fly tying. Even when you’re tying flies not paying attention, let those tutorial videos play. I watched a video last night about properly adding dubbing to thread. As I started trying it (the proper way, that turned out far better than it did the way that I was doing it), and never pausing the video it went on to the next video: using a dubbing loop.There are so many tips, tricks, and methods that it’s unbelievable. When you just let the videos play in the background you may catch something that you didn’t even know existed, and it can revolutionize the way that you tie.
So far I’ve only learned several “real patterns”. Honestly, I feel like real patterns just take away from creativity. Look up online different flies and types of bugs and nymphs in the rivers you plan to fish. Be creative and base your tying on those things, not someone’s specific “by the books’ way to tie. The only advantage I’ve seen to tying “by the books” is learning the methodology of it. It helps a lot with knowing how to get the material where you want it.
Here’s a quick list of some tools that helped me get started, and keep a lookout! I may have some tutorial videos soon!
- Bobbin – The bobbin is what you use to hold your thread as you make wraps around the hook, as well as when you let it hang it keeps tension on your thread while you tie other material onto your fly.
- Two pairs of scissors – Two? Why two? You need one pair of nice, sharp, small point scissors for snipping thread and trimming material while it’s on your fly. They’re basically for precision. The other pair you’ll use for cutting material getting ready for the fly. Things like feather stems and other thick material can dull your scissors. Thus, one pair for precision, one pair that you can dull and replace easily.
- Hackle pliers – Hackle pliers are basically vice grips of the fly tying world. They’re great to help wrap feathers and other similar material to your fly. They’ll keep material from twisting while you make your wraps around the hook!
- Table clamp magnifying glass – You don’t “need” this, but if you have poor vision like I do you will. The one that I use also has LED lights around it to help light your workspace, and since it’s attached to the magnifying glass it helps prevent shadows.
- Fly tying forceps – These can literally be used for anything, but I’ve found them most useful when wrapping wire. When you wrap wire it often sticks out where you cut it. You can use the forceps to help push that last wrap of wire to the hook.
- Dubbing loop tool – Although this is not required, it’s a very cool and useful tool. As I was saying earlier about the youtube video that I watched, I didn’t even know what a dubbing loop was, and since my tools came in a starter kit, I didn’t even know that I had a dubbing tool (lol).
These are several that I’ve tied! Of course, these are the better ones, and they took a few tries.
Wooly Bugger w/a flashy tail –
Just messing around –