New to fly tying

Andrew Ramsey

New Member
Hello all,

I just started tying my own flies and I have no clue what I'm doing, so I'm interested in gaining some tips and advice. The only fly I have tied is a Zebra Midge, which went relatively well considering it was my first time. I really enjoyed the experience of tying my own fly and I'm excited to continue tying and learning as I go. I struggled with performing a whip finish and was wondering if that is a normal thing for someone thats new to tying or is it something that will get better with more practice? I've heard that you need to get a nice bobbin and that the cheaper ones will somehow mess up your flies. Is investing in a nice bobbin a good idea, or does it really matter if you use a cheap one.
 

Bimini15

Active Member
No, you don’t need to get expensive tools. They may be nicer, feel nicer, but your flies are not going to look any better.
Practice makes perfect and you will improve on everything by asking questions, watching videos, ... and practicing.
Start with a few materials for a few flies that work in your area and go from there.
 

chromie

Active Member
Hello all,

I just started tying my own flies and I have no clue what I'm doing, so I'm interested in gaining some tips and advice. The only fly I have tied is a Zebra Midge, which went relatively well considering it was my first time. I really enjoyed the experience of tying my own fly and I'm excited to continue tying and learning as I go. I struggled with performing a whip finish and was wondering if that is a normal thing for someone thats new to tying or is it something that will get better with more practice? I've heard that you need to get a nice bobbin and that the cheaper ones will somehow mess up your flies. Is investing in a nice bobbin a good idea, or does it really matter if you use a cheap one.
You certainly don’t need a $60 bobbin to tie flies.
With that said, it IS important that the nozzle outlet where the fly line comes in contact with the thread is smooth. Some of the cheaper bobbins have slight metal burs that will prematurely break the thread. Ceramic insert bobbins can help.

Couple cool links to help with your tying journey:

My favorite fly tying tutorial site by far. So many simple tricks in each pattern Tim ties
https://vimeo.com/user3412872

Thread tension and thread control is your friend. This part usually prevents people from fully enjoying fly tying.

Intheriffle has great videos too

Kelly Galloup has awesome tips

Lastly, tie as much as you can! Learn thread sizes, don’t worry about wasting hooks and ask lots of questions!

Welcome to the addiction!
 

AdrianM

I am no longer new here!
Ceramic inserts are helpful for your bobbin. Your thread will not break as often. No need to spend an arm and a leg though. The general advice is get good scissors and bobbin and spend as much as you can afford on a vise. Buy materials for a few specific flies and learn the basic skills. Take those skills and move to the next fly buying materials as you need. I started last year and took a class from a local fly fishing club. Worth every penny. Where are you located? There may be a fly club near you with a tying class starting soon.

I started out with the class and learned twelve different patterns. I’ve since bought enough supplies for three or four different dry flies and three or four nymphs. All your basic trout variety.

Tied this guy tonight.
 

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Andrew Ramsey

New Member
Ceramic inserts are helpful for your bobbin. Your thread will not break as often. No need to spend an arm and a leg though. The general advice is get good scissors and bobbin and spend as much as you can afford on a vise. Buy materials for a few specific flies and learn the basic skills. Take those skills and move to the next fly buying materials as you need. I started last year and took a class from a local fly fishing club. Worth every penny. Where are you located? There may be a fly club near you with a tying class starting soon.

I started out with the class and learned twelve different patterns. I’ve since bought enough supplies for three or four different dry flies and three or four nymphs. All your basic trout variety.

Tied this guy tonight.
Im based out of Olympia, WA. I have looked into taking some classes and Im just waiting to find the time.
 

MileHighFlyGuy

Active Member
Also check out Davie McPhail’s YouTube channel. Most of the flies he ties aren’t ones we fish with here (he’s from Scotland) but concentrate on his technique. He is a master fly tier.
 

Steve Kokita

FISHON206
What kind of fly fishing do you do? Rivers, lakes, salt? I'd start by tying specific flies for your preference. No use buying materials you don't really need yet. Fancy tools are nice...but the fish don't care what you use, save your $ for good gear.
 

Andrew Ramsey

New Member
What kind of fly fishing do you do? Rivers, lakes, salt? I'd start by tying specific flies for your preference. No use buying materials you don't really need yet. Fancy tools are nice...but the fish don't care what you use, save your $ for good gear.
I typically fish lakes and rivers, but I am trying to get into the salt side of things. Im applying for graduate school, so I dont really know where I will be next fall. With that being said, I probably wont get too into the salt fly fishing until I have a better idea of where I will end up.
 

Buzzy

Active Member
Hello all,

I struggled with performing a whip finish and was wondering if that is a normal thing for someone thats new to tying or is it something that will get better with more practice?
Whip finishing made easy: https://www.fishusa.com/product/Matarelli-Whip-Finisher

Folks to hang out with once a month or so: http://www.southsoundflyfishers.org/ (although most of them are probably old, gray haired (or bald) but if you're cool, most likely you'll get lots of good information if you can find the time to meet).
 

MileHighFlyGuy

Active Member
I typically fish lakes and rivers, but I am trying to get into the salt side of things. Im applying for graduate school, so I dont really know where I will be next fall. With that being said, I probably wont get too into the salt fly fishing until I have a better idea of where I will end up.
One nice thing about fishing in the salt is that many of the best flies (e.g. Delia’s Conehead Squid) are very easy to tie.

Whip finishing is a challenge for beginners. It seems like you need three hands - one to apply the whip finish, one to hold the bobbin, and one to hold the materials on the head of the fly out of the way. Dexterity comes with practice. Patience helps. As does learning proper techniques like not ‘crowding the head’ by placing materials too close to the hook eye. But in time if you are like many here you may end up enjoying tying more than fishing.
 

fisherjon

Member
The only fly I have tied is a Zebra Midge, which went relatively well considering it was my first time.

Its all about practice the zebra midge is a good place to start its simple its just thread, bead, and wire. I would continue just non stop tying those in different colors and sizes. I would continue doing that until your thread control is good and you can consistently keep on tying almost the same exact looking fly. From there just keep picking out new patterns and repeatedly tie the same one until your consistent. Above all have fun if you get a moment of inspiration or a new idea on how to do something do it you never know when something will work out well and be effective.
 

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