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NPurdy

Nathan Needs Advice

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Hey guys and gals. I am new to fly tying and just wanted some opinions/advice. I've only been fly fishing once and that was last year. Since then I've been dying to go back. I just tying my own flies last week. I bought some crappy starter kit and material kit. It was cheap and I wanted materials to use for practice so I am not worried about the low quality materials. I have a multitude of questions and concerns and would like to start getting some answers.

 

I try to find all the information I can on my own, however, I am running into some questions I cannot find the answers to. As far as hooks go; I live in an area that does not do much trout fishing at all. The nearest trout stream is 3 hours away so I do not have the luxury of finding a surplus of hooks and materials. We do have a craft shop nearby that sells tons of feathers and materials and thread that I cannot wait to get ahold of.

 

When it comes to hooks, does it matter what hook I use? I know this is a rather stupid question but since I do not live anywhere near that sells trout hooks, I'm forced to look at Walmart if I want something quick. The smallest hook they have is a size 8 panfish/crappie hook. My concern with these hooks are that they seem heavy, unless I plan on making nymphs and wet flies or whatever, and they have barbs along the hook shank which could tear my thread and materials. Are there any good options? Or just settle for driving a few hours away and spending $300 for 10 hooks at Bass Pro?

 

Since this craft shop I live near has thread, is it safe to use for fly tying? It does seem rather thick compared to the 140 and 70 thread I have now. The associates there had no idea how to gauge thread either.

 

I'll be posting some pictures of the flies I have tied this week and the techniques I'm using just for the practice. The flies look horrible but the point is to practice until I can make awesome looking flies. I am open to any and all criticism; good or bad. Thanks!

 

 

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Lots of questions here, mostly implied. The crappie hooks you see at WalMart that you described are bait hooks with the little barbs on the shaft. I suppose you could use them, and could float them with enough foam (also from WalMart) but they're by no means the first, second, or even third choice. And the bait-holding barbs along the shaft would interfere with dressing the hook.

 

Feathers are feathers, but in my experience, they're either the wrong color or the wrong size for fly tying. You can find peacock eyes and use the herls, though. The feathers in general are not matched (left to right wing) and while you might find some use for them, it would be more coincidenal than anything else.

 

Thread...like the hooks, you can use it if it works. But as you noted, it may be to heavy and build up very quickly on the hook and not make a neat fly. Some craft store thread is cotton, which will rot on a fly quickly.

 

I'm assuming you have a good book on fly tying, and you should get a lot of help and ideas from reading it. Once you make a list of materials you need, there are plenty of on-line catalogs that will furnish everything you need, but you have to know what you need. Which you will get from reading and experience. Others might and have disagreed, but I believe it takes a lot of skill to tie a good looking fly with improvised materials. And I assume good-looking flies are what you are after.

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Well first of all, why are you concentrating on trout flies if you have no trout in your area ? Seems it would make more sense to tie for what you have locally ( panfish or bass for instance ?).

 

Second I've tied many a streamer and wet fly on bait hooks, especially large streamers with a short shanked hook but long trailing body of feathers or marabou. Third, for dry flies you probably do want a bit lighter hook and along the way better hooks than bait fishing hooks. But just wanted to say I've done it and do it. In factr for some land locked salmon marabou streamers tied up on a #6 bait hook or even #4 works great, hooks up every time. I may or may not pinch down the barbs along the hook shank, have tied them either way.

 

Last, if you have a debit or credit card or pay pall account you can buy hooks about anywhere online without travelling and spending $300. You could even try some of these Green Caddis right here at the forums, they aren't priced too badly and seem decent. Scott at Bears Den deals online I think more than in house and is always willing to advise folks. Just look up Bears Den fly Fishing in your browser and you can get in touch, great store, great guy. And there are many more outlets.

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Dave, I am only interested in trout flies for now as it is something I do not do often but plan to in the very near future. We do have quite a few stocked and natural creeks that support trout, which is something I enjoy doing. Hiking and floating down creeks and trout fishing and camping along the shore is a lot more entertaining than taking the boat out to catch bass. I don't care for panfish (bluegill and such) as they are stupid easy to catch anyways and around here it doesn't matter what is on the hook they'll usually eat it. As for bass I use typical lures/jigs for them. I only plan on making flies for trout as that is what I am aimed for. I'm still new to fly tying and was just looking to buy bulk hooks that are "usable" and that's where the question of the bait hooks came in. Thanks for shedding some insight on that. I may have to try it for some streamers/worms since I don't think it will effect them too much.

 

Also the thread as the craft store varies. They have some that are 100% polyester which is what I was leaning towards. There are cottons ones there but I know to stay away from them.

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I get it ! Well to tie decent trout flies you will need proper hooks and thread and ultimately feathers too. They don't have to be the expensive ones though, Scott has some genericfeathers that work well and you learn to adapt patterns for what you have. For instance I've found you can used a half decent Grizzly patch or even neck for dries, you can mix them with othenr colors and if the other colors aren't the greatest floaters then grizzly cock usually is. IE, you learn your way around ! Mustad hooks are fine, the Green Caddis are fine ( GC $2.95 for 25 hooks). two or three popular sizes and a couple of streamer sizes should get you going. THe smaller dry fliesyou're going to want tying thread for, I suggest Uni 8/0 for little midges. In some situations UTC Ultra is really great thread, especially in the 70 denier as it's very stretchy, forgiving as far as break resistant in use and also forgiving as to material lay down ( tends to pull material around the hook less in my experience). So plan on a spool of black, tan and olive at first, maybe in Uni and UTC. They are cheap enough, under $2 a spool. So far you spent less than $6 per brand. UTC Ultra is my go to thread for bucktails as such ( or any fly where I want the material to stay put, it's slightly waxed works great), in generally 70 denier. It's a real tying thread not sewing thread so has properties accordingly. Danville on the other hand is not my favorite thread but I keep some in 6/0, also not big bucks

 

You will be amazed how quickly you will end up in multi tying boxes of materials, don't buy stuff you don't know will work is my experience it just ends up sitting around for decades..

 

Here is a fishing fly loosely based off the Green Ghost ( bucktail, saddle feathers, some silver pheasant cheeks, danville floss, Ultra thread, peacock herl, mustad hook and silver/gold tinsel, one gold pheasant crest). Nothing exotic in it, no high grade materials but you need the right materials lol.

 

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Dave, I am only interested in trout flies for now as it is something I do not do often but plan to in the very near future.

 

I don't care for panfish (bluegill and such) as they are stupid easy to catch anyways and around here it doesn't matter what is on the hook they'll usually eat it. As for bass I use typical lures/jigs for them.

I was going to add some info about tying with "cheap" materials ... until I read this post.

I don't tie trout flies, so I can't help you there.

 

It's too bad you have this attitude about panfish. It is very easy to catch small fish, of ANY species. But catching large panfish takes as much skill as catching large trout. And bass are great fly rod fish, also requiring more skills as you go for larger and larger fish.

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Large panfish?

Probably means adult ! Although I gotta agree with Mike a 1-1/2- 2lb Crappie can give you a good tustle on a light rod (2- 3 wt or 4 wt). In May we get some spawning fish that can be that size. Close to 1lb Pumpkin Seeds during spawn too. BIg Blue Gills. Put any of that on light gear they can fight as good as a trout on a 5 or 6 wt..

 

The reason I tied up a couple of those Green Ghost look a like " fishing flies" was my wife broke off her last one in a SM Bass in a river on her 6 wt rod.. She tends to fish with those flies more than I do.

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Crappie and bream, too, are both good for a minute or so. They run sideways, I think instinctively to increase resistance to the current, where there is a current. But then they give up but maybe I'm overpowering them. I've caught some decent crappie and some decent bream, but not any huge ones, so it could be I'm not giving them the credit they deserve.

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Mike, it's not that I don't like panfish or bass. Crappie fishing is my favorite. Around here trout are starting to be stocked in streams and what not and I wanted to begin my trout fishing trips this fall. When it begins to snow and get super cold then i'll transition to crappie. I'm not opposed to making flies for crappie, but the crappie in our lake are mainly around docks, not something an amateur such as myself feels like snagging a lot on a fly rod, so i'll stick to an ultra light. I can barely cast a fly rod 5 feet In front of me so targeting large bass and crappie are not in my near future. I still would not be opposed to hearing your comments on bass and crappie ties though. I guess I can practice on that stuff while working on building an arsenal to go trout fishing with.

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Mike, it's not that I don't like panfish or bass. Crappie fishing is my favorite. Around here trout are starting to be stocked in streams and what not and I wanted to begin my trout fishing trips this fall. When it begins to snow and get super cold then i'll transition to crappie. I'm not opposed to making flies for crappie, but the crappie in our lake are mainly around docks, not something an amateur such as myself feels like snagging a lot on a fly rod, so i'll stick to an ultra light. I can barely cast a fly rod 5 feet In front of me so targeting large bass and crappie are not in my near future. I still would not be opposed to hearing your comments on bass and crappie ties though. I guess I can practice on that stuff while working on building an arsenal to go trout fishing with.

Ah, crappie will hit a lot of traditional trout flies, not just jig looking stuff. Midges, Wooly Buggers, Wooly Worms , various streamers. They like bright and jiggy looking flies but hit plenty of other flies. I would send a well weighted peacock herl bodied wooly bugger their way any day ! Red or chartreuse too.. Rainbows will hit the same peacock herl wooly, so will land ;locked salmon and brook trout of sizable proportions. And the same small red whooly worm will get lake rainbows.. I bet a crappie would even hit the Green Ghost. The thing about crappie is they hang near the bottom a lot, so getting the fly down unless they happen to be up on surface bait becomes key. They don't care for a really fast retrieve for streamers and wets. They do like a bit of jerky action. Forward Weighted flies or a hefty bead will give you that almost automatically as you strip line in.

 

Casting only 5 ft is only temporary !!!! Before you know it with just a little guidance you can turn that into 50-60 ft or even more. Start thinking gearing up into the next level, it will come just as it has to the rest of us.

 

I know a guy who fished for crappie using a bubble trailing whooly buggers and hairs ear nymphs behind it. He fished evenings when the fish were likely to be up. Point being flies !! And actually his son did the tying, he never tied a single fly but the son liked to tie them.

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Well, anyway, the point of all this discussion is that one should decide first what he wants to fish for, then tie for that target.

 

And if you're a beginner, you really need to stop trying to tie advanced flies, and get some technique. Go to www.flyanglersonline.com and scroll down to Fly Tying... then go through the beginners flies. They're specially chosen to develop your technique (while also tying useful flies). You'll also get a good tutorial on the tools you'll need.

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FlaFly, I am aiming for trout and wanting to tie for trout. I'm not looking to tie advanced flies. I've been to the Flyanglersonline.com site and checked out the info. I have basic fly tying techniques that I'm using now I just had questions about hooks and thread so far. I'm on this forum to get insight like Dave's letting me know that I can use those hooks for certain flies. In some of my pictures up there I have used some of these basic techniques such as dubbing and using scudback and tying on multiple materials at once. Just looking to ask some random questions I have yet to find the answers to on various sites.

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As of now green scuds. Those seem to be the go to fly around here throughout most of the year. That's why I was wondering about those hooks from Walmart. The small curved ones almost seem perfect for what I'm after and with some dubbing and scudback the back barbs shouldn't be an issue.(?)

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