Cheap Flies

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by Big E, Nov 20, 2011.

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Where do you buy flies?

Cheapest place you can find 6 vote(s) 11.5%
Local fly shop 43 vote(s) 82.7%
EBay 2 vote(s) 3.8%
Local Commercial Tier 6 vote(s) 11.5%
A Friend who likes to tie 6 vote(s) 11.5%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Big E Moderator

    Posts: 1,426
    Coon Bay
    Ratings: +358 / 0
    FT brought up a comment in another thread that sparked some curiousity...he said when speaking about commerical fly tiers, "a virtually non-existent profession these days due to imported flies that are much cheaper than a US tyer can tie for and make a decent amount of money per dozen flies."

    Given that there have been several comments about supporting your local fly shop, ad nauseam, does the same hold true when you buy flies? Do you buy them locally or from known US commercial tiers or do you go to a psuedo cheapafricanflies website?
  2. zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

    Posts: 2,977
    Moses Lake, WA
    Ratings: +891 / 1
    I want a well built fly. If the fly falls apart or is sloppily tied, or has fragile hooks...then it doesn't matter how cheap it is.
  3. Richard Olmstead BigDog

    Posts: 2,417
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +685 / 0
    I'll venture a guess that most fly shops stock both domestic (specialty flies for local needs) and imported flies (common patterns for trout). Unless you ask, you may never know, since shops rarely indicate where they get their flies.
    D
  4. Flyjunkie Hunky Dory

    Posts: 45
    West Hills, CA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I do Custom orders as a sideline business.. I do Only Saltwater Flies for Clients. I use to be a Commercial Tyer but stopped 15 years ago. I only started back to tying for Individuals 1 year ago as a supplement to my regular work. I choose Saltwater Flies as they are better money makers for me and it's a waste of time to tye standard Trout flies for people with all the Mass production flies out there.
    I'd say a Tyer who thinks they can make good money at Standard Trout flies is fooling themselves these days, as Most Shops buy from the big Fly Companies for the majority of their Stock nowadays (Thought His & Her Fly Shop, in Costa Mesa, CA. tyes nearly all their inventory in shop and from hired Tyers locally).
    But if that Tyer specializes in certain areas of Tying (Steamers, Steelhead, Salmon, Bass, Saltwater) and deals with Private Clientele they can make some good Money, thought never make a living doing it...


    DEAN ~~~
  5. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,273
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Ratings: +1,236 / 9
    I almost always buy some flies from the local shop. Probably more than I need. I tie some of my own too. I also get some from friends/swaps. I have bought low priced flies but have found many of them to not hold up well or last long.
  6. Rob Ast Active Member

    Posts: 1,849
    West Pugetopolis WA
    Ratings: +211 / 3
    "He doesn't always buy flies, but when he does it's from the local fly shop. He is the most interesting man in the world"

    (But seriously, where's the "I don't buy flies" choice)
  7. Matthew Kaphan Active Member

    Posts: 267
    Olympia, WA
    Ratings: +38 / 1
    I do both. Standard trout nymphs and dries I buy from online fly dealers. More localized patterns I buy from shops. I've had good luck ordering flies online, both in price and quality.

    Matthew
  8. Steve Call Active Member

    Posts: 1,517
    Wetside, WA
    Ratings: +165 / 0
    I don't tie, so I buy all my flies. I mostly buy from local shops, but in the last year have bought more trout flies on-line at less than half the cost of retail at the shops. To be honest, I've found virtually no difference in quality and in fact, many of the flies I've purchased via the internet have been better quality than those carried by some local shops. Plus, usually a better selection of colors, sizes, etc.

    I'm a big proponent of supporting local fly shops, and don't hesitate to pay 10 or even 20% more for a lot of items. But, for flies the price differential is usually 100-150% higher.
  9. Philster New Member

    Posts: 2,479
    .
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    While I was working in shops, and tying commercially, if Orvis, or Umpqua sent us a notice about a clearance, I'd buy the crap out of them for personal use and not bat an eye about where they came from. I even bought size 4 sardine Sea Habits once, and they were, and still are my speciality. I still have boxes and boxes of brown birds nests and green lafontaine bead emergers, Flies I tied quite literally every day at the time, because I got grosses for $2 wholesale. :rofl::rofl::rofl:
  10. NCL Member

    Posts: 327
    Northern California
    Ratings: +19 / 2
    Once I started tying I usually don't buy fly except on certain occasions. If I buy flies it is now from a shop. When I buy it is usually for one of the following reasons, I am going to tie the fly and want an example to look at, I am going on a guide trip and it is the fly/flies the guide recommends, lastly, I am headed to the river and it is the "hot" fly of the moment and I don't have any.
  11. Methow Roamer Seeker of the Exotic and Aquatic

    Posts: 66
    Winthrop, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    ^^^This^^^
  12. Shawn West Active Member

    Posts: 206
    Vancouver,Washington
    Ratings: +68 / 0
    I tie just about every fly I fish. That being said, if I am fishing an out of town destination, I will go to the local shop to get information regarding the local waters. I always purchase a hand full of flies from said shop as a way of supporting the shop for being there to answer my questions. It is the least I can do.
  13. Philster New Member

    Posts: 2,479
    .
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    Yeah. When I went down to Anil's and bought 2 of each color of small shock and awes. I needed one for a model, but kind of felt it was the right thing to do. I really do think it's the most significant development in "guides flies" since the clouser. So simple. So elegant.
  14. FT Active Member

    Posts: 1,233
    Burlington, WA
    Ratings: +100 / 0
    Many folks have the mistaken idea that if they buy their flies from the local fly shop, they are buying flies that were tied by local or other US or Canadian tyers. Unfortunately, that is very rarely the case. Virtually all fly shops in the US are buying their flies from one of the large, overseass tied, import fly distributors. Regardless what the local shop is selling the flies for, rare is the shop who buys only locally tied flies. There are two main reasons for this: 1) a local shop can call up, or order via the internet, many dozen flies from one of the import fly companies and have the flies overnighted to them (a local tyer is not able to do this, he or she requires lead time in order to tie the flies and order materials or hooks he might need to fill the order); and 2) price. Local tyers simply cannot tie flies for same price/dozen the import fly companies can sell them for. The import fly companies have the flies tied in very large factory buildings and pay their tyers the huge sum of $1.50-$2.00 for the whole 10 hour day they sit and tie. I don't know of anyone in the US who can afford to spend 10 hours a day tying many dozens of flies for only $2.00 total gross profit before taxes.

    Another myth is that trout flies that sell for $2.00 or more each, or steelhead flies that sell for $2.75 or more, or for that matter atlantic salmon flies that sell for $4.00 are locally tied. Quite the contrary, they are almost always tied overseas. Like I said earlier, the only way to know if the flies the local shop sells are tied in the US by local tyers or other US tyers is by asking to see the invoice for the flies (you don't need to see the prices on the invoice which the shop should not show you, what you need to see is the name of the company on the invoice to whom the shop will send its check for the flies. The invoices won't lie, but I highly doubt you will have the owner or his employees show you the invoice. The other way to know if they are tied locally is shops don't mind telling you who the tyer is (don't expect to get the tyers contact info, nor expect to have the tyer sell you flies at the discounted price he sells to the fly shop) because having local tyers tying their flies becomes a marketing and sales point.

    If you know for sure your local shop has all its flies tied by local tyers, buy everyone you can from them if you don't tie your own. Otherwise, you are helping to support overseas tying operations that are paying their tyers virtually nothing. And if you ask the average local shop employees or owners were they get their flies from, they are not very likely to tell you they get them from one of the import fly companies. Heck, even Dan Bailey's Flies in Livingston, MT who made its business in the beginning by Dan tying the flies and then teaching and hiring local folks to tie in the tying room in the shop, no longer uses local tyers except for special orders. The rest of their flies are bought from one of the overseas tied flies import companies. Kaufmann's did the same. Orvis does the same. Mariott's does the same. And the local fly shop does the same, if they even offer a custom fly service (many don't because they don't want to bother).



    Because of the above facts about were the flies are tied which are found in virtually all local shops around the country, the only sure way to know if you are buying flies from a local or other US tyer is through contacting him or her directly and buying from him provided you give him or her sufficient lead time. In other words, don't expect to get 5 dozen 1/0 GP's, spey flies, or dee flies in a week because local tyers, unless retired, have jobs to support their families and that means they have only a couple of hours any given day to tie. Likewise, don't expect to get 30-50- dozen trout flies for your dream trip of 2 weeks in Montana in a week or even in two weeks.
  15. Big E Moderator

    Posts: 1,426
    Coon Bay
    Ratings: +358 / 0
    Excellent post FT. Very well said.

    One thing I would add about fly shops selling locally tied flies is that I know Orvis in Bellevue does sell some locally tied flies (Miyawaki popper being one) but I would think that Leland makes this specific Orvis store unique and special in this area. I'm sure there are other shops here in WA that do the same...tie a few local patterns in-house or with local tiers and supplement with overseas ties.
  16. luv2fly2 Active Member

    Posts: 1,552
    .othello
    Ratings: +24 / 0
    i buy 1 fly as a copy and attempt to tie that pattern. it doesnt always work that way but it sounds good. mike w
  17. Kcahill Active Member

    Posts: 882
    Renton, WA
    Ratings: +255 / 2
    This is what I have seen, and even more recently they are in separate sections and labeled "Locally Tied" or "Tied in the USA".

    When I fished on the east coast this year(Catskills) the fly shops with locally or USA tied stuff actually had huge signs in their window, probably due to the amount of fly shops, sometimes they were even across the street from each other.
  18. DennisE Topwater and tying.

    Posts: 302
    Tacoma, Washington
    Ratings: +61 / 0
    I know that many of the flies available at Gig Harbor Fly Shop are tied locally. I've met one of their tier's at several events they've held. Seems like he and his SO tend to win a significant number of the nicer drawing items they have at the events. Hmmmm...? ;-) Just thinking.
    They seem to specialize more in Puget Sound and Steelhead flies. Nice folks and a really nice shop that they moved into this past January.
  19. Terry Bare Member

    Posts: 149
    Independence, Oregon
    Ratings: +4 / 0
    very well said FT.. I like tying my own flies but some times if I dont have the time I buy from a local shop..
  20. troutwoman Member

    Posts: 36
    Billings, Montana
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    I get my flies here http://bighornflies.com/ they are excellent and he can tie what ever I want. He also can tie
    large quantities as well, he has a source in the states that can produce for him. If you don't see it on the website,
    just ask for it and he can tie it. His prices can't be beat and all are MADE IN THE USA....