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Fly Tying

How to go about tying flies

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I will see what I can tie with a certain material. If I come back with a fine looking bird after a day of hunting, I will almost always wonder what I can tie with the new materials. Just like if a friend gives me a nice looking walnut board, say it would plane down to a 1/2 inch thickness I will wonder what kind of project I can make out of this board. Weather it be a nice music box, or trim for a hope chest. Or even see some good prices on lumber, stuff I could use for about anything I'll ponder what I can make with these 2x6's. Perhaps I can build those deck steps I've been meaning to do.



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I am definitely a new to tying, and new here, this is my first post. I am not new to materials however.


I purchased my tools, and a whole bunch of capes and saddles about 10 years ago- for a class I was going to take at a local fly tying shop. great place and the owner was an interesting friendly fellow almost in his 80's (he didn't say more specifically) The class was a month and a bit away. I spent a good deal of cash picking out stuff, watching him explain how to judge grade, and basically enjoying that process. About three weeks later I got a call that The class was canceled due to an unspecified medical emergency. Then a week later the shop sign changed from temporary closed to out of business.


Well that meant no class for me. not at that point. That didn't spell any sort of end however. I loved the materials, the capes and saddles were beautiful, the fur and caribou hair was tactility appealing, the flash was interesting, everything appealed to my creative side. (artist by profession) the flies them selves were interesting and some were incredibly beautiful. so I continued collecting what appealed, looking about for what else might work, and generally learning more about process while looking for classes.


No classes, but eventually I discovered videos on how to tie on you tube, blogs about materials and other resources. I've started learning how to use my materials. I used to go fly fishing with my grandfather- something I did to spend time with my grandfather, but do not as an adult enjoy. I see fishing as a great way to spoil my day and the day of any fish I meet. I'm aware I'm very much in the minority here. That however means I don't have any specific patterns I want to tie at the get go. This makes my approach different.


I buy materials I want to use, learn how to use them properly, practice using them, then find out what patterns I can tie with that material. once I have that list I see what other materials I need and have for each one. watch videos on how to tie it if I can find them and see how different people approach that fly. Then I try these different approaches and practice that fly till either I decide I've had enough of it or feel I am tying it well. (this often involves handing them to family who fish and finding out what they think about how they fish, look etc)


Do I spend more on materials than I need to to tie? You bet! Do I have more materials than someone new to tying needs? you bet! Do I regret having the materials and tools? Not one bit. In fact I'm becoming even more obsessive- buying and dyeing my own wool, alpaca, llama, angora, cashmere, feathers, fur by the pound you name it. Matching colors where I can- managed a beautiful mossy olive green yesterday that is barely darker than a olive dyed grizzly cape I have. this is a win for me. I did what I was trying to do- had fun and have added a material to the list of materials I have that I can use.


I bought 23 bobbins and then decided to see what I can make. hey some one makes every bobbin out there right? I thought, I weld, I silver smith, I black smith, I can do this. That was 60 bobbins ago. I've tied fewer flies that came out 'right' than I have made bobbins. I'm enjoying making my own tools, as much as I'm enjoying finding new materials, customizing materials and learning to use my materials. These are all things that keep me eagerly coming back to watch videos, read books, and all the rest.


maybe my approach would work for no one else, but since my goal is to first and foremost to enjoy what I am doing it works very well for me. a good part of my approach is built on a solid base of buy that material and see what it does, see what others can do with it and find out what I can do with it. is it the right approach- well it is for me, probably isn't for most others. It gets me to my goal of enjoying my tying experience, and any approach that does that for someone is the right approach for them.



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