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Fly Tying


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About Gregg

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  1. I will be hitting the drug store tomorrow. Thanks for the idea.
  2. I am using a head visor, I just meant that usines a fixed vise, when I try to see the side of the fly, then the top of the fly, then back to the side of the fly, each time I have to regain a focus. I think using a rotary vise will help me move the fly instead of my head.
  3. I am 41, and this winter when I busted out my fly tying gear to beef up my fly boxes, I noticed I simply couldn't see well enough up close to tie the flies any more. I was crest fallen. I have tied flies since I was 9 and my dad bought me a box of tying stuff at an estate sale. a year later he got me some classes at the "firehouse flyfishing" shop in Saginaw Michigan. I learned all the essentials, and I have been refining my skills ever since. I wouldn't say I am an expert or anything, but I tied all most all the flies I have used for fishing for the last 30 years of fishing. Well once I found out I couldn't see well enought to tie, I freaked out a little. I was planning on spending a lot of couch time over the holilday's tying up a bunch of stuff. My wife had a hands free magnifier for some needlework she does. (http://www.amazon.com/Wearing-Magnifier-Glasses-Magnifying-Power/dp/B000BKXHWW/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1261931798&sr=8-9) In desperation, I tried it on to see if I could make it work well enough to get some flies tied. It was awkward at first, but after 5 or 6 flies, not only did it work, but I was able to tie flies far better then I ever have in my last 30 years of tying. I felt like I had some much more precise control then I ever had without the magnifier. It was a revelation, I should have been doing this the whole time. If you haven't tried a magnifier before, don't walk...run to go get one. I was amazed at how much better I was with it. One thing I noticed, is that you had to keep your head at a specific distance from the fly to keep it in focus. I learned that I move my head a lot while tying. Look at the side, move to look down from the top, back and forth, etc. Each time I had to try and keep focus. It was a pain. I have been unwilling to switch from my fixed vice to a rottary. I guess I am a little stubborn. However, after an hour of tying, I realized, I am going to have to make the change. Having a rotary so I can view the fly from all sides without moving my head (and keeping focus) is going to make things go a lot quicker. Anyway, I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks. It was such a shocking improvement to me, and I guess I assume that not that many people use a magnifier, so I thought I would mention it on here, and maybe someone else can benefit.
  4. Thanks for the input guys. Good idea about spindles for spools. I always intended to add some dowels in some holes in the back left, but never did. It would definately be an improvement. I actually put a magnet down in one of the recesses for a while, but it made it tough to slide out the hooks. They would get caught between the side of the magnet and the side of the depression. A magnet would work good on flat wood.
  5. Building a Fly Tying Bench I shopped around for a fly tying bench for years. They are expensive and I never really found one I liked. In addition, there is a little part of me that doesn’t like to buy stuff I can build better and cheaper (I guess there is a little of that in most fly tyers). I built this one two years ago, and I really like it. I figured I would post it out here in case anyone was interested in doing something similar. I will add that I am no great wood worker. I have built some projects in the past, but nothing very fancy. This whole thing was built with a table saw, router, and drill press. I don’t know how much I spent, but it couldn’t have been more then $30. Here is a picture of the bench. You can see the rails in back that help hold capes, feathers, and other bulky items. I have never seen one with that, and it really helps keep stuff clean. Without it, those bulky items stack up on the bench really fast making it hard to find stuff. I sized it to fit on my lap while I am in my lazy boy watching TV. Here you can see all the parts pre-assembly. The only tough parts to make were the 4 on the bottom. The 3 that make up the holder for the vice, and the strip for the bottom has little depressions I routered out of the wood to hold beads and hooks and such. The second picture shows the edges that are tapered so you can slide stuff out. The white sheet is a thin particle board with a hard surface. You can buy 2’ by 2’ sheets at Lowes or Home Depot for like $4. The right side has a hole for my scissors drilled on an angle to make it easy to put them in and pull them out. I also added a patch of fly foam (Bass Pro Shops has a 12” by 12” sheet for like $10). Before anyone comments on the flies, they were tied by my 9 year old. Every fly she ties has pink, purple, or peacock. She won’t fish with them, but she likes to keep them out to show people. I have included a bunch of pictures to see close-ups of parts and assembly. The whole thing was assembled with no nails or screws. The whole thing was held together with peg joints and glue. You could do it quicker with screws, but I thought it would look better with just pegs. Like I said, it has worked really well. It is small enough to sit on my lap, but big enough to hold enough supplies for a dozen different patterns at a time. Anyway, I hope this gives some folks some ideas. If you have any questions, I would be happy to answer what I can.
  6. I would love to get in on this. I would be able to get in for a couple hundred hooks or $50 (what ever gets me more hooks).
  7. For the longest time, I have hesitated switching to Tungsten beads because of the cost, and I just couldn't imagine that it would make much of a difference especially on small flies. I finally decided to get past my pride, and to put tungsten beads to the test. For the test I used 5/64" brass beads and compared them to 5/64" Tungsten beads. I used a small bead for the test since I figured it would be more likely then a large bead to not make a difference. I set up a 2 foot glass cylinder full of water and both beads were dropped at the same time into the cylinder. I repeated the test 10 times. I then tied identical size #20 pheasant tail nymphs, using the same number of wraps of thread and material. I then dropped both nymphs at the same time and ran that test 10 times. You should know that when I was preparing for the test, I fully expected it to make absolutely no difference. With such small beads on such small flies, I really that the difference would be negligable. Well the results were shocking. The tungsten beads and flies fell through the water column more then twice as fast as the brass beads. The results were the same in all 20 tests. I am sure tests like these have been done elsewhere, but I hadn't seen it discussed before and I thought I would share. Ultimately if I want to really sink a fly, tungsten beads more then live up to their hype. I will be making the switch over to tungsten and for my most used flies, I will probably start tying both a set of tungsten bead and regular bead flies for different flies.
  8. Thanks guys, I really appreciate it!
  9. I need to tie up a bunch of bead head zebra midges. What is the best hook to tie really small bead heads, and why? At first I thought the Daiichi 1140 <Link> would be good, but then I worried about the short shank. Now I am thinking it would be something with a 2x long shaft or something to get as much clearance for the bead head, but I really don't have a clue. I would love to hear from someone of the great fisherman on this forum. Thanks!
  10. I am heading for a two week trip out west. I will be in Salt Lake City, and Ogden. I then travel to Cache Valley and Bear Lake to fish some of the little creeks on the North side. From there we are going up to Yellowstone. I am looking to find some fly shops that I should stop at to get some nice matterials. I hate to pass up a nice shop. Any Ideas? Also, if anyone has a heads up on how the Ogden and Logan are fishing, I should be there Wednesday.
  11. Gregg

    Cheap Ott Lights

    The CHEAPEST solution for an "Ott" light is to add a 6500K bulb to any compact flourescent lamp you have. There is nothing special about the Ott light but a daylight bulb. You can even get daylight screw-in compact flourescent bulbs at Lowes and HD for a couple bucks add a $1 socket, and you have a $4 version of "Ott" lighting. If you want to get fancy with it, you can add a daylight screw bulb to a $9 adjustable desk lamp from walmart and you are set, save a fortune.
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