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Beginner fly tier

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2007/6/24 16:25
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I've been fly fishing for ten years and have finally decided to start tying my own flies. I have absolutely no experience at all with fly tying, so I'm starting from scratch.

I'm wondering if some of you would be kind enough to point me in the right direction here. What are the bare necessities that I'll need to get started? I know I need a vise, and I don't want to spend much on one. How much would a decent vice cost me? Any that you would recommend?

I'm also wondering what books any of you would recommend to the beginning fly tier. I'd like a book that has all the patterns relevant to trout fishing in the Eastern United States, and a book that introduces the reader to fly tying basics.

Thanks for any and all feedback!

Posted on: 2007/9/25 16:20


Re: Beginner fly tier

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2006/9/10 21:53
From Greensburg, PA
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When I left Idaho, I bought my fishing buddy one of these. Since I tied all his flies I figured it might come in handy. He's doing fine and still using the vice and tools. Once you have the tools just start by buying what you need to tie the flies you want to fish. It'll accumulate in no time.

Posted on: 2007/9/25 17:39


Re: Beginner fly tier

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2007/1/25 5:24
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If'n ya ain't lookin' to spend a bunch on a vise, the DanVise rotory sold on Ebay is hard to beat. However, if it was me, and I knowed I wuz gonna be tying for the rest of ma life, I'd buy a Regal.

Of course....WTH do I know?

Posted on: 2007/9/25 17:53
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Re: Beginner fly tier
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I, too, stand behind the Regal vice as an option and a fantastic vice.
But, neither do I know, your "allowed budget" you've set for yourself to get started tying.
So, if you're really counting the coins, then for a lot less money than a Regal, but for a really GOOD all around vice, that's fully rotational and has very good jaws.......... I'd opt for the "Anvil" brand of tying vices!
An Anvil vice shouldn't tear any bigger hole in your money pocket than about $125.00.
Unlike so many vices on the market, the Anvil also comes with a C-clamp mount, a well as, a fairly d ecent pedestal!! It's nicely machined aluminum and even with the C-clamp and pedestal mounts, it's still slender and light enough to not seem to weighty or bulky, IF you should ever do any travel tying.
Open any catalog and you'll quickly see that the mass market boys have us fly fishermen pretty well "pegged" as truly.. "newest-latest gadget freaks" to which I admit being, one myself!! But, until you're SURE you're going to stick with it and enjoy it, I'd really suggest only starting out with the "minimal basics".
And, as to "books" on getting started................ God, there's a GAZILLION fly tying books in print today so I can only suggest to you...... that you check out as many as you can, from friends, the library, fly shop, wherever you can find them!
One, I WOULD suggest for you to get right away, is "Flies-The Best 1,000". by; Randle Scott Stetzer.
It's a soft cover book about 8-1/4 X 11, with 121 pages, of just about any fly pattern you would ever care to tie and/or, use! Every fly, represented, is pictured in full color and includes the "recipe" to tying them.
The above is only MY OWN ideas and thoughts. ASK people, who tie flies. 99% of them will be more than happy to share with you their tips and hints, short cuts and tricks,to tying really fish producing flies!
And, of COURSE............... never forget the overly handsome, suave, sexy, super "BABE-MAGNETS", that contribute to THIS great web site!!
Good luck and have fun!

Posted on: 2007/9/26 2:47


Re: Beginner fly tier

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2007/4/25 10:02
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My advice is to "borrow" as much stuff as you can from your buddies. But if that is not an option, most flyshops have some sort of fly tying starter kit. I also recommend buying maybe from a local flyshop since they may have feathers etc.. that might be selected/colored for the local waters you fish. That is what I did for the materials part but I was able to find a better deal on the tying tools from a non-local flyshop on the internet.

Not sure if I will ever get into tying all the flies I need but I would like to become proficent at the basics. PT's, hares ear,buggers,ants etc..

ps- try your local library as well- mine had a tying book that can be used for the basics

I am a total novice at the fly tying game so many folks may know much more on this topic than I but this was my experience.

Posted on: 2007/9/26 8:53


Re: Beginner fly tier

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2006/9/11 13:05
From Lewistown
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My advise, Don't chince out. Get good quality stuff, especially materials and tools. It will save your frustration in the long run and it you do like it (which more than likely you will) now you didn't waste any money.
Trust me, I learned the hard way.

Posted on: 2007/9/26 9:02
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Re: Beginner fly tier

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2006/9/11 11:41
From bucks cty
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Like MKern says don't go cheap. Do some research on vises and if possible stop by a fly shop and check out the vises before you buy. Then buy the one that works for you. Otherwise you will be upgrading a few times and end up spending more than that top end vise you originally lusted after.

As for books I would suggest two books absolute minimum. (Once you tie I dare you to buy only two.) Buy the Fly Pattern Encyclopedia put out by the FFA. And buy a book that shows tying techniques. If you only get one I would suggest Ted Lesson's Fly Tiers Benchside Reference in Techniques and Dressings.

Posted on: 2007/9/26 9:41


Re: Beginner fly tier

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2006/9/10 21:53
From Greensburg, PA
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dbl post, sorry

Posted on: 2007/9/26 10:03


Re: Beginner fly tier

Joined:
2006/9/10 21:53
From Greensburg, PA
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Quote:

MKern wrote:
My advise, Don't chince out. Get good quality stuff, especially materials and tools. It will save your frustration in the long run and it you do like it (which more than likely you will) now you didn't waste any money.
Trust me, I learned the hard way.


Ok, how does that make sense? Spend a lot of money and if you never use it again you didn't waste any money?

Buy what you can afford...make due with it until you decide its really something you want to do for a long time. The vise and tools I suggested are relatively inexpensive and they will do you just fine for more than a few years if you need them too. Would you go out and buy a $600 rod just to try FFing for the first time...?

Buy some hooks on ebay..hit up Jack Steel for some "cat" dubbing...get JackM to list his list of cheapskate rules to live by...but don;t go and spend a ton of money to get started...just get started and let it grow from there.

Posted on: 2007/9/26 10:06


Re: Beginner fly tier

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2006/9/12 21:16
From Suburban Pittsburgh
Posts: 1191
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I got a fly tying kit for a Christmas gift several years ago and it's one of the best gifts I've ever recieved. I've had more fun tying flys and learning than anything. The vice isn't the greatest, and some of the materials are not of the quality I'd prefer, but it got me started and I've been very happy with it. Mine is from Cabelas.

After tying with that vice for a while, I would love to upgrade to a rotary vice at some point, but I'll say this. Basic stuff works and is a good starting point.

As for books, I have 2 that I'd recommend:

Basic Fly Tying by Ed Koch and Norm Shires. This really helped me learn some basics.

The Orvis Fly Pattern Index is a nice reference. With that said, the internet, you have access to a lot of patterns.

Fly tying lessons would be a good route also. If you search youtube, you can find quite a few short videos on fly tying.

Posted on: 2007/9/26 10:12


Re: Beginner fly tier

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2007/1/2 11:55
From Bozeman
Posts: 19932
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The orvis fly tying manual is a good starter. I bought a kit from cabela's for <$100 and still use all of the tools. I'm going to get a nicer hair stacker, some new scissors, and a new bobbin. Everything else is totally fine. I can turn out flies like it's my job with that little kit. I don't enjoy tying as much as others, though I've been told I'm decent at it. I do it more as a necessity than a hobby, so I don't really feel that spending tons of cash would be right for me. I'll spend that on new rods and reels, thank you.

Posted on: 2007/9/26 10:41


Re: Beginner fly tier
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2006/9/11 8:26
From Chester County
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VTA Angler wrote: “I've been fly fishing for ten years and have finally decided to start tying my own flies”.


Since you are a fairly seasoned FF, and are not likely to give up the sport (let’s face it -you’re hooked!), my advice to you is:

Pick some easy flies that you use and want to learn to tie, and buy the materials and hooks to tie them – woolly buggers, GRHEs, etc. As you buy materials for one pattern, you have it to use for another pattern. You will slowly build up an inventory of usable materials and don't have to pay a fortune starting out. Kits are okay, but there are usually a lot of useless and poor quality materials in them, and the vise and tools are of usually of marginal quality. Spend you money on a decent vise and tools instead of useless materials. Go to your local fly shop and have them pick the hooks and materials for each pattern you want to tie. Learn to tie those patterns well, the techniques you learn can be used to tie other patterns – it’s a building process. One final thing about materials, start with nymphs, wets, and streamers. Most dry flies call for quality DF hackle and it is expensive. Don’t skimp, buy quality dry fly necks when you’re ready. Cheap hackle is a waste of money, and the reason why most beginning tiers become frustrated with the quality of their flies. Buying Whiting 100’s for your most used size and color hackle is a good way to start out without spending a fortune on DF necks.

Since you are hooked, it’s safe to invest in decent tools and a decent vise. Just get the bare minimum for now – a decent vise, hackle pliers, scissors, whip finisher (a necessity for me). Again, your local fly shop can help picking out tools and a vise.

Without spending a ton on fly tying books, you can get the recipe and instructions for most fly patterns on the Internet. I can fill half of a small library with the fly pattern books I have and rarely even look at nowadays. You can just Google/Yahoo a fly pattern. Also, here are two decent fly tying sites to get you started:


http://www.charliesflyboxinc.com/flybox/index.cfm


http://www.westfly.com/patterns/patterns.shtml

Tying is almost as much fun as fishing. Soon you will creating you own fly designs and testing them on the water. Most fail, but every once in a while…………

One disclaimer: Who ever told you that tying your own flies will save you money - IS A LIAR!! That's only a line that you use on your wife.

Good luck.

Posted on: 2007/9/26 11:53


Re: Beginner fly tier

Joined:
2006/9/10 21:53
From Greensburg, PA
Posts: 13623
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It may not save money, (and i'm not sure I agree with that anyway)
but when you decide to go fishing this weekend and you have to work all week and there isn't a fly shop within 20 miles from home, you just sit down and tie whatever you need and you don't spend a dime that day. Its more like an investment rater than an expense. The difference is that when you are done you have less left.

Posted on: 2007/9/26 12:01


Re: Beginner fly tier

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2007/1/2 11:55
From Bozeman
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Personally, I do save money. However, I only tie about 15 patterns regularly. I use them all consistently throughout the year, and they are all quite simple. I only have a few hackle necks and saddles which I use for the two or three catskill patterns that I tie. Beyond that, it's all relatively cheap for me. It depends on whether you use it as a hobby or a necessity.

In order to tie an effective box of flies, I'd only need herl, black foam, chenille (green, black, red), some various colors of dubbing, a pheasant tail, and some copper wire. The only really expensive material I'd add to that is cdc in yellow and natural. You can get all of that for under $35. Add in a pack of 14, 16, 18 caddis hooks, 12, 14, 16, 18 dry/nymph hooks and you can tie a bang up box of flies for PA streams. Grand total should be slightly less than $105 for materials. About $110 or so after threads. It's the hackles that get you.

If you churn out 50 or 60 flies, you're ahead of the game at this point, given that some places change upwards of $2 for a friggin green weenie or san juan worm.

Granted, as I said earlier... this is the approach for someone who ties out of necessity, not as a hobby. I have tons of materials at hand because I have made it into a hobby for short periods of time. I'd imagine that once I get out of school, I'll do it again. For now, I have no space to set up a nice tying station and tons of homework.

Posted on: 2007/9/26 12:37


Re: Beginner fly tier

Joined:
2007/5/29 23:38
Posts: 107
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Go with what you can afford. I'm sure there are guys on this forum that can tie with their hands. Its not the tools, its what you can accomplish with what you have. I think you are asking questions like how many wraps, what type of feather, what type of dubbing, hooks, colors, etc. I suggest you save money on gear and buy books first and take lessons from a local flyshop. And, be ready to take on a lifelong hobby.

Posted on: 2007/9/28 1:29



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