I would advise you to spend your money elsewhere. Do you already have a kit/supplies? If you do not, bo to Cabela's and buy a kit. The deluxe kit comes with a step by step manual and video made by Jack Dennis.
Also, I have noticed the Seattle Times running an ad for beginning tying classes/workshops during October and advanced classes in November. I could give you this number if you want.
the kit is a pretty good deal. i learned to tie with it. it has materials for tying enough flies and to get you knowledgeable about the techniques and other things. jack dennis' bookis very good. it has lots of patters but it is a little outdates. this kit is still a real good deal. i think there is 3 different levels of kits, i got the mid one
I tried to once.I gave him my phone no. but he never called. I've had some bad dealings with that shop and would not recommend anybody to that shop. But thats just me. I live in Marysville and I go to Hook, Line, and Sinker when I buy supplies and if they don't have it I go to John's in Everett or Ted's in Lynnwood. I quit going to that shop.
I hadn't tied flies since my dad taught me when I was a kid. Didn't remember much, but that book has brought it all back to me. It discusses every material and technique you or anyone on this board can think of. And I can always whip out the book instead of trying to remember what my dad had taught me or what some Ned tried to teach you in class.
Also, get a good pattern book. I prefer the Federation of Fly Fishers Fly Pattern Encyclopedia. Plus there are lots of sites online with patterns, incase the 1600 in the FFF book doesn't meet your needs.
And always remember, you can razor blade the flies that don't turn out and start over. Why? Well it's a lot like, why does a man scratch his nuts? Because he can. Start out with a kit knowing full well the vise and the bobbin will suck, but keep looking around at your local shops until you find what you want. After about your tenth fly, you will know what you want.
But the most important thing for me, was to just swallow my pride and ask somebody. I love tying flies, it holds me over until I can get back on the water.
Well you know some people need lessons and I wish that I had taken a few of them. For one thing I can't apply dubbing to save my ass. I've seen videos and videos on the subject and still can't do it so I just make a dubbing loop. But I'd rather do it the other way
Check out the Everett parks dept. Some times they have lessons. I signed up but passed on it. I thought I was too smart for them. Bad choice.
But I keep trying and I'm starting to catch fish on what I tie. That is the most fun of it all.
I know it's late but when you can't sleep you got to have something to do. So that's why I on here so late tonite,oops this morning.
My experience with Fly Smith has been about like "old man". I live near Ted's Sport Center so I just go there. They have good prices and a helpful staff.
Cabela's is a good bet. I just got one of their Super Vise II tying vises as a traveling spare. It is the least expensive vise that allows you to rotate the fly if necessary.
The Benchside reference is an excellent book. It is also available on CD. Fly clubs are an excellent source of information, most have libraries,and also offer tying lessons. Another advantage is they are not selling anything so the advice you get is pretty straight.
You're on the right track just keep asking. :BIGSMILE
being fairly new to the area i only know a few of the shops, but i do feel that it is good for most folks to take a class. i took a class with a very good tier in the east and think it helped me alot. books and videos are great for some stuff but like old man said, there are certain things that you need to see done live, and in person. also the teacher can give you critisizm(sp?) on your work. just my 2 cents, hope your flies catch fish! jer
I assume up north. I'm not the world's greatest fly tier, but hold my own. You ever make it into the Tacoma area I'd help you out. On vacation rest of this week and stuck at home. Fishing vacation all of next week. :THUMBSUP Let me know, I'd be more then willing to help you out.
After reading all the posts on this topic I would reiterate my advice to buy the mid-level Cabela's kit. This kit costs $50.
As for the advice to buy the "Benchside Reference", I would strongly advise AGAINST doing this. After you have become a little bit experienced you will be able to pick up a catalog from Kaufmann's or Orvis and tie any of the flies you see (without even looking at any kind of step by step instructions!).
When you weigh your options I think that the ability to buy the kit and $50 worth of additional materials relative to a measly book for the same price ($100) is by far the better route to go.
I'd highly suggest NOT buying the kit. I have been tying for years, and someone bought me the kit and most of the stuff was useless for my fly tying. And would've been useless during my beginning fly tying as well. I guess it really depends on what he wants to tie. Usually they pack alot of extra stuff in there most won't use. If he only plans on tying say cuttie flies, or steelhead flies, go get a decent vise and buy materials for the first fly he wants to tie. Then once he gets that one down, buy material for next. So on and so on. By time he's done, he'll have a complete array of materials for flies he ties, and also won't have thrown all the $$$ at once. It's how I started. Bought a vise, slowly accrued materials. Then, in around 80' was given that Cabela's kit (which I salvaged maybe some tinsel, that's about it) and have constantly bought stuff for flies I tie. Normally nothing I have goes to waste, unless I buy a bulk lot of stuff from someone and pick out what I want. Then I normally sell off the rest.
You have to also remember, some people can't just pickup techs on their own. The book in question is a damned good book. I have read through it, but never bought it. Especially for those planning to do it on their own is good for techs. When I started tying in the 70's, wasn't alot of access to classes. I had no idea of how you lay a feather on hook to palmer changed profile. I learned through trial and error back then. Luckily for me, I slowly started buying books that helped with techs. If I had had the reference, I'd jumped in leaps and bounds. Say it this way, you can look at a steelhead muddler, but may not be able to spin deer hair, even by looking at the photo. The reference helps with that. Just my honest opinion.
I agree about kits, I have never even seen one that could allow a beginner to tie even the most common beginner flies. I would love someone to sell a kit the way beginning classes are taught, with quality equipment.
I was recently in Ted's looking at fly tying materials, and I ran into a gentleman that wanted to learn to tie flies, and I steered him toward a good "how to tie" book, with a decent vise and tools, and the right materials to start the basic flies. Personally I feel that he saved money and frustration, and I told him that if he wanted lessons he should look into it, as that was the best way to learn.
I learned to tie from my brother, and my continuing education is in fly shops.
Genetic pollution damages wild
stocks, bonk those Hatchery Zombies!
Even though I am not a big fan of Kaufmann's I do believe that the instruction books by Randall Kaufmann on dry and nymph patterns are awesome. Thy come in a binded version I have so the book lays flat and walke you through everything from basic's to very complex techniques. I actually bought a starter kit there and would not do it again, I would just choose the basic fly's to start with caddis, buggers and buy materials as needed for the types of fly's you are learning. Best of luck!!
Buy a Thomson "A", Griffin, or some other decent vise that's under $50. These are all the vise you need to get started, and won't cost so much that you won't be able to invest in a "better" vise if you decide you really like it. (Hell, they're really all the vise you'll ever need. I've been tying for 13 years with the same Thomson A I learned on, that cost $25; I mean, for pity's sake, it just has to hold a hook tight. A pair of needle-nose pliers and a couple c-clamps would work.) I would be cautious though about very cheap, mail-order "kit" vises; too many are built to spill. Pretty much any vise you find in a good fly shop will be good enough; get the cheapest one.
Then get one decent bobbin, some half-hitch tools or a whip-finisher, a bodkin for applying head cement and teasing dubbing, a medium-sized hair stacker, a good pair of fine-pointed hackle pliers, and the best pair of fly-tying scissors you can afford (the most important tool in your arsenal, a hundred times more important than the vise).
That will get you started on tools. Eventually you'll want extra bobbins to save time (and maybe some fancy ceramic ones), a couple different sizes of bodkins and hair-stackers, and various other sundries and gizmos, as strikes your fancy and/or tying needs. But the above are the essentials, and will tie 99.9% of all you'll ever need.
For materials, get the following: A natural hare's mask; a muskrat pelt; a natural calftail; a natural squirrel tail; a patch of elk hair; a patch of coastal-deer hair; packets of natural/artificial dubbing in various shades; some saddle hackle (either whole saddles or selected feathers) in grizzly, grizzly-dyed-olive, grizzly-dyed-brown, and black; some neck hackle (get packages of selected feathers; capes are too expensive to start) in grizzly and dun; a partridge skin or selected feathers (a skin will have more variation in size and color of feathers); some peacock herl; some turkey quills; a pheasant tail; some medium and fine flat gold/silver tinsel; some fine copper wire; 6/0 waxed tying thread in olive, tan, dun, and white; some antron yarn, fine and medium chenille, and fine v-rib in various colors; some head cement, and some flex-cement; and of course hooks in various styles and sizes. Eventually you'll find hundreds of other things to buy, but this stuff (probably about $50) will tie most of your beginner trout flies, including streamer/leeches, nymphs, and dries.
Tying your own will eventually be cheaper than buying flies, but it will be awhile before you recoup your initial investment, especially once you begin buying good capes and other exotic materials (and never skimp on materials; it's not that hard to tie good flies with good materials, but almost impossible with bad stuff). You kind of have to want to do it for reasons besides economics.
If you want to start with salt-water, bass, or steelhead flies, the materials would obviously be different (the shop, or I'm sure someone else here, will help you there), but learning the techniques for trout flies will set you up best for almost all patterns. Tying is not that hard, and based around not that many fairly basic techniques.
However, I believe the best way to learn those techniques is to sit next to another human, watch, listen, and then let her/him watch and coach you. I don't know anything about the Flysmith, but most shops offer lessons. Take some. They're the best, quickest way to learn, a great way to meet other angler/tyers, and generally cheap (a lot less than a $100 book! The shop wants to sell you tools and materials, which you want to buy; everybody wins).
i agree. the best thing that happened for me was watching my dads freind and just listening to him talking about it. it was better than a book because he helped with my problems. also it didnt cost no $100
Here's a great resource for cheap fly fishing stuff. Below is the link for Hook & Hackle's vise page. Just scroll down to the bottom of the vise section--past the Barracuda, Dyna King, and Regal vises--to the standard vises. There is a rotary vise for $22. It ain't pretty but it sure does the job for me. And you can't beat the price!
There's one place that everybody over looks and that is the library. I went there and found a whole wealth of info. A big book on all types of flies. Some I could and some I couldn't tie. I've done most of my tying by trial and error. Nothings perfect the first time that you do it. But the good part of all of this is when your flies catch fish. Mine are simple and they work. I'm trying to catch fish not other fisher men.
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