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Beginning to tie--how I would have done it differently

2009/9/4 20:33
Posts: 5
Hi guys,
I'm still VERY new to tying. I started about 2 months ago, which isn't enough time to really know what I'm doing. However having just gone through the daunting process of acquiring tools and materials I thought I'd share my experience--you guys give such great advice, I can at least try to give some back right?

The holiday season is approaching, and I'm sure a lot of fly guys will want to take the plunge into tying. The problem is that the tools and materials are so specialized it's difficult to know what to get. I asked here on the forum and got terrific advice, but ignored most of it and bought a cabelas kit instead because I was afraid I wouldn't get the right stuff on my own. The result was a perfectly workable kit for a few flies, but sub-par tools and materials, most of which I've had to supplement or replace. So here's a list of what I WOULD have purchased had a known better. Of course this isn’t to say that I know what I’m talking about, just some thoughts. Note, early on I found I ended up tying what I use the most. So within reason look up those patterns and get that stuff too. However you'll also start by tying PTs, Hare's ears, buggers, etc. Prepare to spend about $100. If you don't at the beginning you’ll end up not having what you need and spending more overall anyway.

So, for the first purchase, the “just to see if I like it…” Nymphs only.

Vise: Cabelas AA or, if you want to splurge, cabelas super II or whatever bargain equivalent ($12-20).
These will work for now, and eventually, when you know how you like to tie, you'll want to spend some time shopping for something you really like. No sense breaking the bank now.

Tools: Dr Slick kit ($50).
I don't have this, but replaced a bunch of tools with Dr. Slick. I hope the bobbin in this kit is ceramic tip. You need it, esp as a beginner with thin line.

Thread, etc: black, white, olive thread in sizes 8/0 and 6/0 each (or, 70 and 140 denier) ($2 each).
You can color the white thread with marker, but olive is hard to match. You'll use thin thread more, but break it a lot as a beginner. Also small copper ultrawire ($2), holographic tinsel ($2), small lead wrap ($2).

Hooks: Traditional nymph hooks (round bend, down eye, 2x long) sizes 14, 16. Streamer hooks (3x long, or just bigger nymph hooks) sz 8, 10. Emerger/scud hooks, sz 18, 20. PLUS Cyclops (or tungsten of you’re a good person) beads to match the nymph hooks in whatever color you like sz 5/16, 3/32, 7/64.
I use TCO brand while I'm learning. I'm sure you have a favorite. This could cost about $45 total, or less if you go cheaper hooks to start.

Feathers: 2 packs (pair) of natural pheasant tails (and one dyed if you like—I use olive a lot) ($5). 1 pack peacock herl ($5), 1 pack black marabou, 1 pack olive marabou, ($5) 1 pack each black and olive strung woolly bugger saddle hackle ($5 each), 1 pack mallard flank OR something similar.

Dubbing—hare’s ear dubbing

Black and olive chenille

Head cement

Second purchase. Getting a bit more serious—smaller nymphs, dries, etc.

1 whiting bronze grade small quarter saddle in brown ($20ish +).
Hair: Patches of elk hair, deer hair, comparadun hair ($5)
CDC feathers, grey and brown (or whatever you like)($5)
More hooks, smaller nymph, dry fly sz 16, 18, 20, 22.
Scud back/thin skin ($2).
More dubbing—olive, scud dubbing, etc.
Goose biots white and brown
Dubbing wax

Again, this might be totally off, it's just what I would have done instead of getting a kit, using some stuff, buying lots more, etc.
If anyone wants to add, or just totally disagree, feel free of course.

Posted on: 2009/11/14 21:41

Re: Beginning to tie--how I would have done it differently

2006/9/11 13:05
From Reedsville
Posts: 382
My advise is have someone who ties sit with yuo or go with you when making the first purchase(s). However, remember it's not their money they are spending, it's yours; so don't let them go too far.

Wildfish is pretty close to the basic materials you'll need.

Buying from a shop, you'll get more and better stuff for your money.
Most kits give you little amounts and left-overs for just under what you'd get if you bought it seperately. Peacock herl is the best example. (Kit: 10-15 crappy strands; Shop: 1/10 oz. aka sandwich bad full)

Posted on: 2009/11/16 10:03
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Re: Beginning to tie--how I would have done it differently

2009/9/4 20:33
Posts: 5
Peacock herl is definitely the best example. My frustration with the kits is not that they aren't helpful, but that if I had known what to buy I could have purchased greater quantities of better quality material for about the same price.

Posted on: 2009/11/16 10:16

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