When I was a kid, tying flies.....


New Member
I tyed flies for my friends and some of my teachers when I was about 10 or so. It was a hobby and gave me a little spending money.

But what I remember was that I used to tie all the material on the back end of the shank by the bend. The tail, body, hackle, ribbing, etc. and then work my way to the head and secure everyting down and then whip finish.

But when I was in my tying class, sometimes we would tie things in at the front of the shaft by the eye.

Do you all tie everything at the back of the shaft and work your way up or.......?


Active Member
That would depend on the fly and the way the materials are to be utilized. Tails are, of course, tied in first, then ribbing (if any) then the body material and hackle (if the hackle is to be palmered), all at the bend of the hook. In most flies, conventional hackles and wings are tied in where they will be applied (usually at the front of the hook shank, behind the eye). Of course, there are exceptions. For instance, the original technique for Al Troth's elk-hair caddis had its palmered hackle tied in at the front and wound back to the bend of the hook where it was secured by two turns of the wire rib which was then counter-wrapped forward to reinforce the hackle.

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
Chef, I'd say that normally, in general or for the most part (disclaimer) materials are tied in at the tail. Whatever you touch/wrap last gets tied in first and whatever you wrap first gets tied in last.

There are some items that get tied in at the head though. Some flies with tapered bodies get materials tied in at the head. Some flies are tied in sections such that a material is only present on one portion of the fly. An easy example of such a fly would be an egg sucking leech pattern. Maybe the tail is marabou, the body might be chenille and the head or egg area might be chenille of another color that only makes its appearance at the head area.

As you get into tying more and more you'll find patterns, guides and books that will pretty much step you through the process. Youtube offers many video tutorials/demonstrations. Many fly tying resources are on the web. Check the fly tying sub forum and gallery to see some examples of great flies tied by members here. Pick a fly, tie up at least a few of them to try to work on getting them tied consistently from one fly to the next. The more you tie, the more you will need to tie!

Big E

Active Member
+1 what Mumbles said.

Some of those flies where you don't start with the tails would be such instances like for clousers, I always tie in the eyes first or the parachute on some dries. Sometimes the pattern has the head at the bend of the hook and that is started first, ie crawfish, shrimp, etc. Then there are those ties that start the tail and the tying at the eye and work back, ie USD flies.

Latest posts