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tctrout

Is Fly Tying Worth It?

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I do it to make my own so I don't have to buy them and with cold winter's here in Vermont gives me something to do.  But I also use the materials to tie jigs, which I also make.  

Save money?  I'd have to say no.  

Learned how to prep feathers that duck hunters sent me and learned to dye them so I'm only buying the dye to do them.  But get the really nice big feathers that you usually don't find in the packs at the fly shop.  

I have an old Herter's Vise, a couple Thompsons and I wanted a new vise and years ago bought a Dyna-King Kingfisher.  Can't believe the cost of them now!!  

Like others have traded for different materials and have way more than I'll probably ever use myself.  

Everyone has to decide for themselves how deep into they go.  Mine will NEVER make a show fly but they catch fish.  Good enough for me! 

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On 11/29/2021 at 8:02 PM, Mark Knapp said:

Perhaps if I had some Grandchildren of the opposite sex I could impress them with my fly tying. My wife is becoming more and more difficult to impress. Now whenever I show her a fly that I am particularly proud of she just kind of glances up and says "That's nice dear" with not even that much faked sincerity. You're probably right, I don't know any enthusiastic female fly fishers.

I'm waiting on grandchildren, fly tying helps take up some of that time.😄. If I were to substitute girlfriend where you used wife, brother, we're in same boat.

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Fat man made me remember that I started tying and still tie buck tails and teasers. Buck tails in my area will sell for 3 to 10 dollars each. It’s impossible not to save money at retail prices of “custom” buck tails where it’s extra for two colors, even more for three and even more for a couple pieces of flash. I wouldn’t be able to throw a 5 dollar buck tails into the rock piles I fish them. I have no problem tossing one that maybe cost me a buck on the high end to make. 

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15 hours ago, Poopdeck said:

Fat man made me remember that I started tying and still tie buck tails and teasers. Buck tails in my area will sell for 3 to 10 dollars each. It’s impossible not to save money at retail prices of “custom” buck tails where it’s extra for two colors, even more for three and even more for a couple pieces of flash. I wouldn’t be able to throw a 5 dollar buck tails into the rock piles I fish them. I have no problem tossing one that maybe cost me a buck on the high end to make. 

Those custom flies are cheaper than crankbaits. I have seen them up to $20 each!  With that said, I have about $3K in my tackle boxes. Didn't pay that much for them in days gone by.

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Saving money...? Maybe, since I have probably a dozen storage boxes of dry flies with 12-18 dozen in each - caddis flies alone with all their wing, body and hackle variations take 4 boxes. And 2 nymph boxes with maybe 15 dozen in each. And a box of streamers with 2 dozen or so. So about $4000 worth of flies at $2 retail. Would I ever by that many? probably not.

Plus I have tied about 250 presentation streamers for my own framing and maybe a dozen or so classic Atlantic Salmon flies I have tied. Now if i were to buy those, there is about $7000+ in those - and I probably would not ever buy that many... And I have sold maybe 100 additional the presentation streamers, which has of course all been spent on materials...Would I ever spend that on all that stuff? - probably not.

And there are thousands of $ of hooks and materials in my office - clearly would not have bought them.

But as a result, I have reaped these benefits:

  • Hours learning patience, discipline, hand-eye coordination, and the ability to go from fluff on a hook, to miniature works of art that catch fish.
  • Used those miniature works of art in some of the most beautiful places to catch fish
  • Been able to learn about the ecology of trout habitats and understand how I can help or hurt that, and the trout that live there.
  • Learn about fly fishing for other species, warm water and salt-water, and fish with flies tied for that environment.
  • Collected beautiful skins of various pheasants and other birds, and some animal pelts.
  • Learned about the history of various tyers and their impact on regional and international history - and I have frequented the institutions (museums) dedicated to that history
  • Met all sorts of people with similar interest from around the world, both on-line and in person - many of whom I maintain friendships with
  • Met authors and recognized expert fly tyers from around the world and developed lasting friendships with them.
  • Had the opportunities to be taught by world-renowned fly tying experts, and to be mentored by one, now deceased.

Cost, a few thousand $ in materials over 25 years. Value: Priceless.

-Peter

 

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Ephemerella, well said. Tying is another venue to meet other people of a like mind. It's fun to be at a tying session at a shop or someone's home and banter about the poor tie, bad colors, etc. All taken in fun but, at the same time, learning from others.

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Is fly tying worth it?  Depends on what perspective.  

If you love to tie flies then yes, it's worth it for the pure enjoyment it brings.  I like tying flies, but don't "love" it.  I enjoy tying around a dozen or so then I want to move on to something else.

Is it worth the investment?  Maybe.  If you only buy materials and bare minimum tools to tie only what you'll fish then yes, financially it's probably worth it.  But that never happens.

I shoot a lot and got in to loading metallic cartridges a couple of years ago.  Started reloading when I was 17 but that was shotgun shells.  I shied away from metallics because it was so tedious and there is no room for error.  Once I got in to it, it has started to consume me like fly tying did years ago.  Is re-loading worth it?  For me yes because I like it.

 

Short version: don't get in to fly tying to save money.  Get in to fly tying for the enjoyment it brings.  There is no price for that.

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16 minutes ago, DrLogik said:

Is it worth the investment?  Maybe.  If you only buy materials and bare minimum tools to tie only what you'll fish then yes, financially it's probably worth it.  But that never happens.

Yeah ... it does happen once in a while.  Apparently, we're rare cases, though.

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I enjoy tying as a hobby so saving money is not a consideration for me. We recently moved from Texas to Montana and my bench was packed away for a while during peak season here in Bozeman. That forced me to buy some commercially tied flies and they were terrible. A 12" cut straightened a size 14 nymph hook in still water, they often started coming apart on the second or third fish and I had to sharpen them before I used them. Give me my Mustads and Tiemco any day.

IMG_1386 (2).jpg

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If there are guys that make money tying flies, and we know there are, then there must be some guys saving money tying flies. I'm not sure why it's so hard to believe that one can save money tying flies.

It's just like knife making. There are some guys that will never make money making knives. There are some that are happy to break even, and they do it 'cause it's enjoyable. Then there's the precious few that make money making knives. One of them is a close personal friend of mine, he sleeps with my wife.😁

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12 hours ago, Mark Knapp said:

he sleeps with my wife.😁

s that good friend only seen in front of a mirror? 😉

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3 hours ago, upnorthtier said:

s that good friend only seen in front of a mirror? 😉

Yeah, I'd hate to think there were two guys in the world that looked like that.

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20 hours ago, Mark Knapp said:

Yeah, I'd hate to think there were two guys in the world that looked like that.

I'm absolutely certain Angel would agree with that 😁

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