New To Tying

Big E

Active Member
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. 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.

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
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!


Active Member
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.
FT, Thank you. That was pretty indepth, I appreciate you taking the time to type all that out. I'll check out your article. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. I hope this will prove to be a lifelong addiction as it seems for many of you!
FT, Thank you. That was pretty indepth, I appreciate you taking the time to type all that out. I'll check out your article. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. I hope this will prove to be a lifelong addiction as it seems for many of you!
Believe me, it will.
Oh ok as Rob Ast says, didnt know how cheap tying materials were in the kits, just knew there were kits to tie specific flies.
Anyway most of the guys have given some good advices on how to start.
You are on to it, so I would recommend to start with good tools, about vises yes it may be good for you to try them and see what vise is good for your money and comfortability when tying, there are lots out there, maybe check out Griffin as well as its tying tools.
Pick the flies you will be using starting with simple salt water ties like the clouser, Deceiver, Glass minnow, bendbacks, sea-ducers and whistlers.
All of this flies will be tied with the same materials, you will need:

- white bucktail and a darker color bucktail, can be chartreuse or blue thats your choice.
- Strung saddle hackles, this are cheap, you can get white, chartreuse, red and yellow for example.
- Crystal flash and flashabou in pearl, rainbow and red, there are lots of colors thats your choice.
- Chain eyes in different sizes, this are pretty cheap! Or lead eyes or even dumbell eyes.
- Hooks, 1/0 to 3/0 hooks lots of brands Gamakatsu is great but check out Mustad, Owner, Daiichi, Eagle claw etc..
- Get flat waxed thread whichever color you like to match your flies.

Ask for advice at your local fly shop, most of them have people who are friends and come around to tie some flies, meet with them this is great help. Of course there is always you tube and mainly good books.

Once you get your first fish on your first fly, you are done you'll be so into fly tying you'll be spending more money than you ever thought.
Another suggestion, but not to overwhelm you. Read all you can about tying and the theory
behind it. There is a lot of good information on line and even through the library.

Tying is one thing, catching is another. It is very easy for a beginner to become discouraged if
his flies do not take fish, IF HE IS FISHING THEM.
I say that, because some fishers tie for the pure enjoyment of wrapping feather and foil.
The sight of the colors and the flash is what it is all about for them.

Others, it is the thrill of catching a fish on the fly YOU TIED. I know, I have been there.

Some do both. One of the advantages of this sport.
Search your area and see if there are any flyfishing clubs. If so join a club and attend the mtgs. There are normally a few seasoned fishermen willing to sit down with you and get you started. Nothing beats a little one on one to help you get started. Utube and instructional vids are certainly useful and will advance your tying but many have found face to face to be the most rewarding. A little birddogging could pay big rewards, don't be afraid to ask!
Doc, Fly tying is a great hobby and will make your flyfishing more enjoyable for sure.
One of the things we do here at Westslope fly shop is put together beginner tools and supplies for people like you.
We have a real basic set of tools and a vice for around 45.00 or a basic set of tools and a Danvice rotary for 125.00.
Then we put together material "kits" based on what flies you want to tie. We hand pick all of the materials for each fly. We kind of keep track of what we have sent out so when you go on to additional patterns we know what you have and we just supplement that.
The flies that have been mentioned above are a good way to start. With a starter set, some qualtiy materials and the internet tying demos you will be on your way..
Let me know if i can help.