New To Tying

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by DrFly, Feb 20, 2012.

  1. I was wondering if someone could give me some advice on startup materials for tying. When researching fly tying, there is obviously a ton of information and I don't want to be overwhelmed. Until my move to WA in June, I'll be fishing salt in Florida. I'm looking for information on what is required to tie effectively without going overboard on inventory. Any advice is truly appreciated.
  2. Words such as "don't want to be overwhelmed" and "don't want to go overboard" have no place in flytying. Truth is that if you think you can save money by tying your own flies, get out now while you can because it just isn't true. Otherwise I would decide what flies you want to tie and then buy the material to tie them.
  3. Choose some good patterns and buy the tying kits, there are kits for Clousers, Poppers and Deceivers. Even so you must buy tools.
  4. Clearly you had to start somewhere, and it's not about saving money. It's about having the right fly when I need it and having the pride of catching fish on a fly I tied myself. In Florida there's no such thing as a good fly shop, and waiting for things to be delivered is inconvenient. Most fishing stores around here have maybe 20 flies in stock at any given time, and the majority of those flies are useless and flashy just to get someone to buy them. You extrapolated what I meant when I said I don't want to be overwhelmed. I meant that there's so much out there that I didn't want to go out and buy a thousand different materials and colors and buy equipment that I don't necessarily need at my level. What is a good vise to start with, what are some other materials you should have when tying flies that are necessary or make the job a little easier and handier are some things that could be included in a meaningful reply. As with fly fishing in general, I'm sure tying can begin on a simple level with simple materials and equipment and then the possibilities are endless as to how complex you can make it. What I'm looking for is the lowest common denominator for effective tying and equipment that won't fall apart after a week but won't require a second mortgage.
  5. If you are fishing in Florida, you are probably looking at Deceivers or Clousers. Find the materials needed to these and begin. Once here, you can use those flies for salmon in salt water. But you will need to switch your tying toward freshwater trout bugs and/or steelhead - a very different group of materials for the most part.

  6. Thank you Armando, I'll have to check into the kits. What equipment would you recommend I start with?
  7. What BigE said. Fly tying (and for that matter, rod building) are fun ways to get deeper into the sport, but in reality are just additional money pits. Of course, that doesn't keep me from enjoying either of them. If you want to tie for the enjoyment pick a pattern or two, buy the materials you need, and tie up at least a dozen of each. Don't be afraid to cut the materials off the hook and start over if you don't like the way it looks. Repetition is the key to learning proportion and material control, so tie a bunch of the same pattern until you learn how to get it to a satisfactory state before starting another pattern.
    Contrary to armando I would stay away from the kits. The tools are cheap, you will get a bunch of materials you will never use, and the quality of the hooks and materials is generally poor. I know because this is how I started. There are many reviews about different vises, but if you want a good basic vise that will last look for a non-rotary vise from a major manufacturer. Anvil, Griffiths, Peak, and others all make mid-priced stationary vises that won't break the bank but that you could use forever. You can spend more for a good rotary vise, but you may find it too complex and overkill for someone just starting. That being said, as long as you buy a vise from a well known name you will always be able to sell it in the classifieds if tying doesn't become your thing. One thing to note, if you are tying up significantly larger flies for salt water (say sz 2/0 and up) you may have to buy an additional set of jaws for many vises. Other basic tools you will need are a bobbin, a whip finisher, a bodkin/half-hitch tool, a good pair of scissors (don't skimp here) and possibly a hair stacker (depending on what you are tying).
  8. Once you pick a few patterns and secure a vise, tools, and materials . . .Do a youtube search for the patterns you are interested in (i.e. "how to tie Lefty's Deceiver"). You'll have to weed through results that feature poor production and listen to some bad music but there is much to be learned from finding a good instructional video.
  9. A vise is the place to start, probably a rotary model. There are many options here and your choice depends on how much coin you want to spend and personal preferences. Most quality models can hold 2/0 hooks for saltwater and size 20 hooks for freshwater. You will need several bobbins (ceramic inserts are nice), two or more pairs of scissors (one for fine work and another for cutting harder materials like lead or wire). You will needs hooks in various sizes and styles (depends on what you are tying). Thread in different thicknesses for different purposes and colors. You will need materials, lots of materials. Focus on a few fly patterns and their recipes and purchase the materials for these.

  10. look at the flys you want, get the matts for those. start out easy, then work on the harder ones. dont dive on the deep end first.

    take a class also that is a easy way to learn.
  11. A class is great if convenient. I was fortunate to begin flytying while living in Maine. There isn't much fishing in the long winters and several of the salmon clubs and shops offered flytying classes. There are some great books available for beginning flytiers (see Skip Morris), but there are also many great YouTube videos that can provide you with guidance too, something not available when I started.

  12. Well Doc, I will throw my $0.02 into the pot. I started with a desire and very little knowledge about
    forty years ago. I have dressed flies off and on during that time. It is an addiction to most and a
    need to other. You can spend a great deal of money on the hobby but you will find that little by little
    you will sift out the things that you do not need or want. I council you to be patient with your
    decisions to purchase.

    First off, you will NEED a vise, some scissors, tying thread, and of course hooks and materials.
    A good bobbin is nice and almost a necessary item. Some folks have tied some very nice flies
    without one.

    I also have heard of one tyer that even tied without a vise. I would not recommend
    trying that way but it can be done.

    Some books on fly tying are also a good investment.

    Buying a vise is usually a lifetime investment, although some folks here on the forum own more
    than one. I started with an inexpensive Thompson B vise which I gave to my Grandson. I also have
    a Price vice, I believe that is the name of it, that I have used for thirty years. It is just as efficient
    as the day I bought it. So if you buy one of the more popular brands it will most likely serve you
    until you tire of it or give up fly dressing. The rotary vises are the most popular today, but I have
    never used one. The other tools are out there also. My advise is to get on line and look at the
    offerings out there and then ask questions here on the board. I am sure you will get more answers
    than you wanted or needed, but it may help you make a wiser choice. Good luck to you in your
    search and if I can be of any assistance, please let me know.
  13. I've been tying about a year and it just takes fly fishing to another level. I still remember my first fish on one of my own flies. I used many of my own flies on my recent trip to Belize for bone fish and the guide was impressed with the patterns but wants weed guards on them next year. The permit were less than impressed with my patterns (and everything else I threw at them).

    I took a class at Orvis in Bellevue to get started. I have a friend on this forum who has also been extremely helpful with my steep learning curve, we get together to tie. Other folks have been really helpful when I posted photos of my creations, comments were always positve though I'm sure I brought some level of entertainment to their lives.

    The main advice that I got early on was to NOT buy a kit, rather, hit the fly shops, examine the vise options, find a couple of simple patterns (my only kind of pattern...), watch Youtube videos, and have fun. The folks at Avid Angler in Bothell, Patricks in Seattle, and Puget Sound fly in Tacoma were also very helpful.

    You mentioned that you are going to relocate to this area. Why not wait on your fly tying stuff until you get here and see what kind of fishing you want to do? We have beach fishing for sea run cutthroat trout, coho salmon, chum salmon, and in odd years, pink salmon. There are a few steelhead in some local rivers, lakes on both sides of the Cascade mountains with rainbows, rivers with cutthroats and rainbows. A few lakes have brown trout, too. Being up this way, there is also Alaska and Canada, plus Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. Oregon aLso haS some great fly fishing in their rivers and lakes. I may be wrong but you are coming to a real terminal for fly fishing options. You start tying flies to fill these needs you are going to go into the poor house.

    Welcome in advance and thank you for serving your country.
  14. I guess you missed when what I was saying was tongue in cheek. ;) Seriously though, I standby what I said in that I would decide what flies you wanted to tie and buy the material for them. No sense buying Rhea if you aren't going to be steelhead fishing. Well you get the point.

    As for the equipment...a vise is pretty much a personal choice. Any of the major mfgs should last...Renzetti, DynaKing, HMH, etc. I would recommend you go to a flyshop and put hands on vises to decide which one you want to tie on. When I first started tying about 8 years ago I bought a Renzetti 2000 which I still tie on. Great vice that I've had zero problems with.

    Tools...I believe Dr Slick does a package that has basic tools. These will get you started and by the time that they start wearing out will be about the time where you can start buying other, more specialized tools.
  15. Sorry Big E, hard to read tone on here, thought I was getting a little new guy cold shoulder! =P I apologize for the misread. I appreciate the input.
  16. fault entirely for not putting in the icons.

    When you get here, look me up and I'll be glad to tie a few with you and impart what little I know.
  17. Awesome, I'll take you up on that. I look forward to it.
  18. Big E is a brilliant tyer, simple fact that he'll deny. Rob Ast is a brilliant tyer, simple fact that he'll deny. Browse the fly tying forum and gallery, time well spent and likely often overlooked by new tyers. Thousands of photos and lots of how to's in print. Supplement that with the you tube videos of choice. Classes will teach you the basics for now and hone your advanced skills if you so choose.

    Don't buy any "kits" because there will be things you just don't need. Take Steve's advice. Find a good vise, round out some basic tools to get started and build your pattern list. Find the items needed for those patterns and start there. Nothing more, nothing less. Your tying will, and must evolve over time. Don't think you "have" to tye everything you fish, unless that is your goal. Find a few friends that can tie, each perfect a few patterns and then tie and swap with each other. When all else fails, ask Big E and Rob Ast to tie some up for you, that is my approach!
  19. I wrote a post a few years ago that was promoted to an article. To find it and other articles, click on "content" on the top of the forum page, then click "articles" and you will be able to find any of the articles the forum has.

    Since that article was about tying freshwater flies, the material recommendations will have to be modified for your saltwater needs. The tools don't change though.

    I'd start out with a simple bucktail streamer because they are easy to tie and are effective. You will need to get #2 stainless steel saltwater hooks, white bucktail, black buctail, green bucktail, and blue bucktail. You will also need a spool of thread and I recommend you get 6/0 Danville Flymaster, 8/0 Uni-thread in black, or any other thread that is 70 denier. Yes, I know this is the same thread you can tie #24 flies with, but I tie everything including #2/0 married wing salmon flies for fishing with it.

    The fly is very easy to tie. It doesn't require a body. Simply tie on the thread at the front of the hook (leave about 1/8" between the hook eye and where you tie the thead on). Tie on a bunch of white bucktail about the diameter of a match stick, cut the butts, then tie on a similar bunch of black bucktail. After you tie at least 6 and preferably 12 of these, change the color of the dyed bucktail and tie another dozen flies. Do this until you have tied each of the three colors of dyed bucktail.

    Next I'd tie a CLOUSER MINNOW. All you will need to do is get some #4 stainless steel hooks, white thread, pearl Krystal Flash, and nickel plated dumbell eyes to add to your materials to tie them.

    Third, I'd tie CRAZY CHARLIE's. To do so I'd buy some #6 stainless steel hooks, some oval tinsel for the bodies, and either use the bucktail or buy some caftail to tie them.

    Doing things this way, you will never have materials you aren't going to use. And as you need to get some material to tie another pattern, you only have to buy that one or two materials.

    I never recommend the tying kits because the almost invariably contain materials you aren't going to use or need.

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