What do you keep your fly material in?

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by David Holmes, Nov 6, 2004.

  1. I am learning how to tie flies. So far the flies I've tied are so ugly and unkempt that I think they will cause the fish to come up for air from laughing so hard.

    At any rate, I'm tying the flies from a little starter kit that a family member got me years ago. The box is becoming worn and soon my marabou, hackle, tools etc will need a new home.

    So my question is to those of you who have a semi-portable setup. I can't dedicate a room or even a desk right now - I'd like to be able to "put everything away" when I'm done tying these monstrosities. I have a 2 year old and I can't risk him getting into the hooks and varnish.

    What do you use? A briefcase? A specialized-tackle box?
  2. I've always had a desk for my flytying stuff. My first desk was actually my "homework" desk I had as a child. Had a flip down door. Similar to some of the really nice ones you see today (except the one I had was real wood, I assume some of those nowadays are particle board). Now, I use my early inheritance. My Dad's rolltop desk. Funny thing? STILL don't have enough room. Like a house or anything else. The more room you have, the more stuff you put in it. But this one is nice, can just shut the doors and it's all hidden. When my kids were your kids age (while I was still married) I had to leave my desk in the garage. LOL. So the kids never had access to it. But this is what I use now.
  3. I keep my materials in these plastic drawers, wal mart specials, unfortunately i have to much materials for the drawers that i do have. i have some in a tackle box. most of the drawers are labeled, hackles, marabou, hair, etc.
  4. I am relatively new to fly tying as well I have found that some simple rubbermaid containers or drawers that you can pickup at Wal-mart or Bi-mart works well for my "small" amount of tying material.

    Also if you go to www.flyanglersonline.com and click on the Fly Tying link and then click on the Getting Organized link and they have a multi-part series about how to organize your fly tying area, they have some really good and cheap ideas.
  5. I started tying in 1972. At that time I bought a fly tying box manufactured by Cortland. It has trays for thread and tools, and space for materials. For some time, it was perfect for “putting everything away”. The box is a little worse for wear these days and has had to be repaired and adapted several times in over three decades. I still have it and use it for my materials, tools, etc, when I teach fly tying classes. The Cortland box was identical to a sewing box marketed at the time. Alas, the box hasn’t been available at fly shops or sewing/fabric stores for many years.

    I currently have a couple sewing boxes I purchased from Michael’s, a craft store. The boxes are blue and have purple handles. They have room for a vise as well as other tools. These boxes also have space at the top to accommodate four containers. The containers come in various formats. I have purchased the containers in different configurations to accommodate, beads, thread, body materials, assorted feathers, artificial materials etc. Underneath the area for the containers is more space for necks and larger items. My perception is that you will do much better in fabric/sewing stores finding suitable containers than you will in the fly shops.

    Additionally, I store my hooks in a container I purchased at Home Depot. It has drawers that hold both envelopes of 25 and boxes of 100. The item is designed to store screws, nuts, etc. It’s great for hooks. I store some other materials in pieces of Tupperware. My kids are out of the house but these items worked great when they were here and they still work great now.

    As the years pass you will accumulate more and more items "you can't live without". After three decades of that I sold off and/or gave away about 80% of my materials etc these past 18 months. I've downsized considerably. Through it all the containers I referenced served me well.

    Good fishing,
  6. For now, I'm using those Rubbermaid "Shoe Boxes" to store everything in (yeah, right!) along with some small pieces of flea collar to help keep the carpet beetles at bay. There are about 9 of the large shoe boxes under an 8 feet long by 3 feet wide tying table. Littering the top of the table are a varied assortment of tying material that never seems to find it's way to it's storage place. My wifes tying area is 3 feet by 4 feet and neat as a pin. I don't know how she does it. I guess I'm just a slob at heart.

  7. I use those plastic zip lock bags. And then I store them all in my desk or one of those plastic cabinets,the ones with six drawers. But over time it looks like I don't store them in anything. I couldn't be neat if I tried and I did once,tried. bawling:

    Jim...The one who couldn't if he wanted to :eek:
  8. Wow! Thanks for all the replies and ideas guys!

    I will always have an office in my house so ultimately I will turn part of it into a tying area with the rolltop desk, etc.

    In the meantime, I'm heading over to Michael's for a sewing kit!

    You guys Rock!
  9. As close as you are to Ikea, you might take a look there before you plunge into a really nice roll-top desk, when you get to that stage. They have a variety of spacious desks and with the addition of a storage unit with drawers, you might end up with something economical, reasonably attractive, and functional.
    I was there last night with the same storage concerns in mind, and found a storage unit with four drawers, (roughly) 16W x 20D x 23H, with casters, in wood. It's more spendy ($79.00) than the plastic WalMart-type containers, but put it under a "Anton" series desk (63" x 29" working area, two shallow rollout drawers, clear underneath) at $149.00, and you've got something that'll last and not look half bad in the process. Plus you're buying something that's made from a renewable resource.
    Just something else to think about, long term! :hmmm:
    By the way, I'm still looking, but certainly leaning this way, at least for the storage piece. I lucked into a nice table with one shallow but wide drawer at a yard sale for $25.00 a couple of years ago. My light is hard-mounted to it, but the drawer has long since overflowed... ;)
  10. I just got done/in the process of remodeling my tying room. We don't have kids and figured out that if we made company stay on the couch ; they wouldn't stay long. So I inhedited one of the 10x10 spare bedrooms.
    I too use to use an old office desk but, I found that I didn't have enough space on top of it for tools,stuff & etc. I also didn't like the carpet that hid all of the hooks that I dropped in it. I also started out with The plastic roll around storage units sold by the local WalMarche.I could never find anything and my tying room always looked like a hurricane hit it. So much as I even hated to have my tying friends drop in.
    So I ripped out the carpet and installed Laminate flooring (I like it now that I've put a radiant heater in the room).And I'm not getting hooks stuck in my feet anymore.
    I threw away the old desk that I used and got a full sized drafting table. I cut the dept of the table top down to 36" and it's 6' wide and laid it flat on the base.
    my tools all sit at the back of the table out of the way and neatly put away and always easy to find. For now I have 1 flouresent magnifying lamp and 1 incandesent magnifying lamp to light the tying bench as well as 2 "natural light"in an overhead fixture.
    Above the bench I mounted a 4x8' sheet of peg board that I made a Oak perimeter mpulding for. This is where my most used materials are stored; any extras are still in zip lock baggies inside of tupperware containers.
    I've moved the computer that as on one wall into the double closet and installed new electrical outlets and phone jacks for it.
    I also have a small 13" TV w/ VCR and a DVD player in this room to watch Fly tying programs. And I got tunes for "my space" also.
    On the other long wall I have my books, magazines and containers of flys ,dubbing materials and I use one of those 60 drawer nut/bolts cabinets for my hooks. I also use a 36 compartment shimano plastic box for the trout hooks.
    I went to Fred Meyers today and was looking at another "solution for clutter in this area. They have these things called "closits" which are a modular storage system. You can mix and match any configuration that suits your needs. I'm seriously considering this is the way to go. I can have storage and still have books racks and room for another pegboard (which I LOVE by the way. I can finnaly find stuff....
    The only thing that I want to look further into is better lighting that won't blind me or get in the way of the bench. I'm considering overhead Flouresent fixtures (4 bulb) w/ Full spectrum lights but was told by a guy at Home Depo that I should stay with an incandesent fixture because flouresents will have a tendancy to blind you if you're in the room very long. I dunno. I just want light without the heat of halogen track lighting.
    BYW "closits" has a website. www.closits.com and they look alot better than the the rubbermaids that I got now. I can cover 7' of the 10' wall for under $200.00 and have a nice shlf under the peg board.
    Hope this helps. It's fun designing your space.
  11. Okay - don't try to get a sewing kit from Michael's in Issaquah. They couldn't be more girly looking. I'm going to try Joann's next. Sigh - I feel like I've spent my whole adult life trying not to go into places like that.

    On a brighter note: I caught my first fish on a self-tied fly yesterday at a local lake. The fish was a 5" largemouth. I take no pride in this: its the equivalent of saying "the goat ate the food I cooked and didn't die!"

    Anyway, the fly was the best I've tied so far: I'm calling it a undead bugger because the hackle was black and the ribbing was red thread so it looked like it was bleeding. I am a little proud that it didn't unravel during the two hours of fishing.
  12. Old Man - You and Me both - Ziplock bags always worked for me also. I tried to keep my desk nice .... for about a second. Hey guys .... we're men we're supposed to be messy. If I had a desk I could actually find stuff on I'd be worried. I still need to clean-up occasionally - to figure out what I need to buy. But I've been using Ziplocks for a long time without much of a hassle at all.
  14. Clear plastic bins. I have one with the little compartments that I keep my tools in, beads, thread, & misc small stuff. I have one medium/big one that houses my longer feathers, capes, fur tails, and anything big or bushy. Then there's the one box (a little bigger than a shoe box) that stores all my chenilles, smaller feathers, marabous, rabbit strips, and anything else lightweight & small enough to fit into a shoe box. All three of these boxes stack into a nice little pyramid that fits nicely onto the top shelf of my closet. When I tie, it's either at my desk, at the kitchen table, or at the coffee table while watching TV. No tying bench here either...maybe someday.
    Hey, but don't listen too much to me, I'm not that far ahead of you on the learning curve. I am happy to say though, that about half my fish are caught on my own flies.....yup both of them! :)
  15. Containers from wally world ....sterilite is the brand. All different sizes and shapes. Some under the desk, some on top, some inside the doors. Its not typically this clean but here are some pics. I picked up the oak "tech bench" from work on an employee sale for absolutely nothing :eek: :thumb:. It has my tying lamp plus a built in two bulb flourescent light under the upper cabinet and a surge strip behind the light. It works very well for tying and storing.

    Note the beautiful thread holder a dear friend of mine made me;) and the awesome winston display rack another dear friend hooked me up with :thumb:

    Attached Files:

  16. Lots and lots of drawers. You can usually get pretty good container systems cheap at wal-mart or something.
  17. Hey i recognize that rod wrapper, i have one just like it.

Share This Page