Speed tying techniques

It is too hot and sunny to be out fishing today so am tying up some flies. So thought why not talk about speed tying techniques. Here are some that I use. What are some that you use?

1. Keep your tying scissors on your tumb and first finger near the first knucks. Randall Kaufmann's "Fly Tyers Nymph Manual" has a illustration on page 30. He said "Get into the habit of carrying your scissors on your hand. A great deal of time is wasted looking for, picking up and setting down scissors".

2. Use a loop dubbing tool unstead of waxing tying thread. This tool is quick and foolproof after you get use to it.

3. Keep your tying table organized and clear except for what you need at the time. Now that is a mouth full!

4. etc., etc, etc.

What are some tying techniques or tools that you use to make it simpler and quicker?

Brad Niemeyer

Old School Member
I have two tips:

1)Tie one pattern at a time, don't tie a few of these and a few of those...this way you can focus on proportion, get the details right and fill your box quickly.

2) tie in the off season...a couple flies per night really add up

One thing that really helped how many flies I could tie at a sitting was to have a designated tying area. I used to pull out boxes of stuff, clear the kitchen table...setup, tie a few, back starts to hurt and then have to put everything away.

It's nice to be able to leave things lay, if you are interrupted midfly, leave it and it will be there next time you sit down.

Another tip - have a "to tie" and a "to buy" list and as you think of things jot them down. That way, when you go to the fly shop you can get most things you need and not forget things that you will need for the tying session the night before an outing (when the shops are closed).

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
I've never read AK's book, but would love to (though now I don't do production tying anymore). But one key point is preperation. Have all the materials you need out and precut to lengths you need. Dubbing out in piles, etc. That way you don't have to stop, select stuff, cut, and start over each time. The scissors on thumb is imperative. Sharp scissors are a must too (that way you can slit it like a knife instead of clipping). If you're doing dubbed bodies (or chenille) rotaries will speed you up (or even palmered bodies like Showgirls).

The big key is to set time and tie. When you start getting blurry eyed or cranky, step away. You may think you're cranking them out, but you'll start slowing down and actually start getting sloppy if you keep persisting on tying when you just don't have the heart into it.
I second the "skip the head dope". I rarely use it, with a double whip finish the knot will outlast the fly most all the time.

I do use it on flies with bulky heads (like an elkhair caddis) because it does keep things together.
Skip the bobbin threader - get the thread 1/8" into the bottom of the bobbin tube, have some slack and suck at the opposite end to get the thread out the top.

Old Man

Just an Old Man
No a bobbin threader is a good buy and they are the cheapest thing you can buy. 3 for a buck fifty. I use one every once in a while if my sucker is not sucking very well.