I started tying just a few weeks ago. I am relatively new to the fly fishing game on the whole, I have about 2 years experience going after panfish and Bass in still water on a 5/6wt, and at the end of last season decided to try my hand at Pike and Musky. Being from Central Minnesota my stream fishing/cold water opportunities are limited, so I put a 9wt and 10wt in my quiver to target the Esox species available to me a bit closer to home (cool side point, my 10wt 'supposedly' came out of Larry Dahlberg's personal collection, but that is another story). This lead me to find out that I am dissatisfied with the Esox flies that I could order offline, both in price point and quality of construction ('googly eyes',are you kidding me?), and I was REALLY unhappy about dropping $12-$30 per fly in my local shops to pick up well made large articulated Esox streamers, especially when my color and material options never seemed to be what I wanted (is it really too much to ask for a red and white pike bunny?).
So around the beginning of April, I went into a large 'big-box' sporting goods store and come out with a fly tying starter kit, complete with a vice, tools, hooks, and materials. I brought it home, opened it up, dug through it, and immediately put it back in the box and returned it. On the second go-round I purchased an, only slightly, more expensive vice and tools kit, a handful of materials and an assortment of hooks running from size 8 to 5/0. I sat down my first night at the vice and tied up some barely passable "Flys".... seriously, if you looked at my first few flies you might assume that I either: 1. Had never seen a fly of any type before that night, or 2. Had a severe drinking problem coupled with acute color blindness. These were BAD!!! colors (being targeted at Esox and Panfish) aren't that important, but the proportions and tying were definitely sub-par.
Days went by, and many night passed with Netflix running in the background while I cut, tied, trimmed and glued after the kids went to bed. Downtime at work was filled with YouTube videos about tips and techniques. I added materials and methods to my madness, and I am proud to say that I fished this past weekend (MN opener) with a box of flies that exclusively came off of my bench, and only one of them will be going 'under the knife' so I can trash the materials and get the hook back for another attempt. The fishing was terrible, super cold water temps as I was fishing northern MN, and I was only able coax up a single Northern Pike that flashed on my fly when he saw the boat, but the feeling that "My" fly coaxed that beast out from hiding was enough that I will be back on the bench as soon as life allows.
If you made it this far, do me a favor.... pray to whatever G/god(s) you worship because if I don't have a successful year fishing on the rods, reels, line, and flies that I have invested in, my wife may try to find out just how good my life insurance coverage actually is.