Jump to content

 Welcome to FlyTyingForum.com

FlyTyingForum.com is the largest fly tying community in the world and we hope you take a moment to register for a free account and join this amazingly friendly and helpful group of anglers. FTF has over 12,000 registered members that have made over 300,000 posts and have uploaded over 6,000 patterns to our exclusive fly pattern database!

If you are an experienced fly tier or just starting out FTF is the perfect place to call home. Click Here To Register for a Free Account

Fly Pattern Database / Browse by Topics / Browse by Material / Fly Tying Bench Database / Fly Fishing & Tying Videos / FTFCurrent(NEW!)
Featured Products: Fly Tying Hooks / Fly Tying Scissors / Waterproof Fly Boxes

Your favorite fly tying tip?

  • Please log in to reply
59 replies to this topic

#1 flyty1


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 206 posts

Posted 16 June 2017 - 02:31 PM

I used to have problems with superglue becoming hard in unopened containers.

I have found that by keeping my superglue in the referigerator, the glue won't get hard in the container for years.

What is your favorite tip to pass on?

#2 RickZieger


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 459 posts

Posted 16 June 2017 - 03:24 PM

When dubbing, take it out of the package. Split in half.

Put half back in package,  Split in half again and put half in the package.

Then dub the fly.  Over time you will learn the amount needed.



#3 fshng2


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 811 posts

Posted 16 June 2017 - 03:34 PM

Use a round toothpick vs your bodkin to distribute epoxies and UV adhesives.
They are useful to clean larger hook eyes too.
When done toss the toothpick and your bodkin remains clean.

#4 FlatsRoamer


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,613 posts

Posted 16 June 2017 - 03:52 PM

Music and a nice cold lemonade when you're tying a lot of flies


Also practice practice practice!

Still hunting for my first tarpon on fly! 

Why are windknots in love with me?

Can't wait for that diy trip to Acklins!!



Find my youtube channel in the link below



#5 rstaight


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 648 posts

Posted 16 June 2017 - 08:26 PM

When crushing the barb or offsetting the hook point do it before placing it in the vise. That way if it breaks you won't have the time invested in tying.


When applying dubbing think fuzzy thread.

"Scholars have long known that fishing eventually turns men into philosophers.  Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to buy decent tackle on a philosopher's salary." - Patrick F. McManus

#6 GP flyfisherman

GP flyfisherman

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 488 posts

Posted 16 June 2017 - 08:40 PM

Don't worry about tying a perfect looking fly because most of them will catch fish.

#7 rstaight


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 648 posts

Posted 16 June 2017 - 08:42 PM

Don't worry about tying a perfect looking fly because most of them will catch fish.


I call them cripples. I have a lot of cripples in my fly box.

"Scholars have long known that fishing eventually turns men into philosophers.  Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to buy decent tackle on a philosopher's salary." - Patrick F. McManus

#8 Mogup


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 691 posts

Posted 16 June 2017 - 08:44 PM

Less is more !

#9 Poopdeck


    You damn kids, get off my lawn!

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,199 posts

Posted 16 June 2017 - 09:49 PM

Work the fly don't let the fly work you

#10 flytire


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 9,704 posts

Posted 16 June 2017 - 09:56 PM

take tying lessons


When using marabou, wet it first. It will be easier to handle.


Use a sharp blade like a scalpel blade or razor blade, instead of scissors, to cut the tensioned thread after making a whip finish. That way you only cut the thread and not the hackle fibers.


Another variation is to keep the thread tight and use the "V" of the scissors to cut, same principle and safer


Replace the lids on bottles of head cement etc as soon as you’re finished using it


Add a small amount of head cement to the thread just before whip finishing . This saves you getting head cement on the hackles when finishing the small dry fly.


Moisten your finger tips before adding dubbing to the thread 


"Measure twice, cut once" particularly when making wings from quill feathers.


 When dubbing, pick out how much you think you need for the fly, then reduce it in half.


If your hackle pliers are slipping, glue a thin piece of rubber band to the inside of the blade to hold the feathers securely.


I would recommend a beginner to wax their thread.


When tying in deer hair use 2-3 pinching loops then if you want it to spin it tighten by pulling thread down and if you want to tie in as a wing pull thread upwards to hold in place


Tie flies in batches. This will lead to greater consistency and you don't waste as much time handling different materials.


Wind rib material the opposite way to the feather fiber etc underneath so that it secures it more effectively.


When tying in chenille etc strip the material from the core with your finger nails. Tie in the exposed thread core to the hook. Less bulk at the tie in point.


When coating buzzers, 4 coats of Sally Hansen’s gives the right degree of coverage.


Learn to whip finish with your fingers.


Save those chip bags. They can make excellent tinsel in an array of colors. Great for body material too!


Always have a look in your local big box craft shop, home center, department store or dollar store. You can find some interesting fly tying materials at a fraction of the price you’ll pay in a fly shop.


ALWAYS keep materials you don’t want bugs to get into in the original sealed plastic bags they came in.


Peacock herl is brittle – always rib with wire or make a rope around your thread.


A frequent half hitch will stop things becoming undone. perfectly acceptable to do so regardless of what someone may tell you.


Tie in game feathers such as partridge by the tip as the stalk is too large.


Leave plenty of room for your head (I’m guilty of not doing this)


Save the old appliance cords and cut them to approximately 6-8 inches long. Strip away a few of inches of the insulation to expose the fine copper wire inside. Great for ribbing wire


You CAN use your expensive scissors to cut wire! Just cut wire close to the pivot area.


Use what ever kind of feather is lying around your tying area to clean out the head cement from the hook eye. Many other tying items can also be used to accomplish a clean hook eye.


Every single turn of the thread better have a damn good reason for being there.


Thread tension is very important. Try to tie with the thread at 90% breaking strain.


2 tight turns of thread are better than 6 slack ones.


Break your thread! Get to know how much pressure you can apply to your tying thread by making it break. If it does break, don’t panic! Simply attach your hackle pliers to the broken end, unwrap a bit and then reattach your tying thread


When tying with flat stick on eyes, bending them into a vee shape like this < >, will make installing them onto a rounded head much easier. After they are installed, I will make an x wrap with clear mono thread and then coat with epoxy or the current goos on the market. The mono will disappear, the eyes are held on tight and the epoxy or goo makes a nice head.


When tying deer hair wings a couple of loose wraps around base of wing prior to fixing it in position prevents unwanted flare.      


Keep pets especially puppies away from fly tying tables and materials. Genetic capes seem to taste best.


A stick with a magnet taped to one end or a telescoping magnetic wand is the easiest way to find stray hooks and flies on the floor.


Sharpen fly tying scissors by taking kitchen aluminum foil and folding so that it is four layers thick. 

Use scissors to make about 10 cuts with the full length of the blades ...... give the tips another 5 snips. Bingo sharp scissors again.


Peacock herl! Tie one in at the eye and one at the tail; take your thread back to the eye. Wind the herl at the eye to the bend and then secure this by winding the tail herl to the head, then secure with thread wraps.


Wet your fingers when handling Goose biots. They'll stay in between your fingers and save you the embarrassment of swearing at yourself.


When using Holo tinsel and UV strands as a rib. Place the UV on top of the Holo tinsel. On a bright day the tinsel glistens and when overcast or in low light the UV glows. 


Do you want your dry flies to float all day and do so after catching fish? Use Scotchgard. Only use this as a pretreatment on batches of new flies and do not over do it. Let them dry for a couple of days.     


You can also convert your articulated reading/fly tying lamp into a gallows tool with the aid of a child’s hair band and a spare hackle pliers.


If you ever need emerald green tinsel, take a piece of pearl put a weight on each end and cover the pearl using a black marker pen. When dry, turn it over you’ll have emerald green.


Thread control. Use thinner thread where possible.


Modern bobbin holders and plastic spools have very little weight to hang and hold mid-tie when winding ribs and hackles etc. Put a piece of lead or brass rod which will fit within the spool between the holding axels to give weight.


Use ceramic tip bobbin holders. It will greatly reduce swearing


A bit of Velcro super glued onto a flat stick, dowel, coffee stirrer etc makes a simple dubbing brush


Keep most things JUST out of reach, You get some exercise with a good old stretch and are less likely to knock things off the work surface. 


A washed out mascara brush makes a more delicate dubbing brush


When tying in deer hair wings, use you dubbing needle to work a bit of head cement into the butt ends before binding down on them. They'll last much longer.

When tying in herl bodies, wind them onto wet head cement. They'll last much longer.


Do not be afraid to bend the hook to suit the pattern you are tying. Just don't over do it.


Learn a tying technique. You dont know them all.


Poor quality materials and tools are destined to discourage beginner tiers and cause greater expense when the time comes to replace them.


When posting your fly on a forum, post your best one and please use the focus function on your camera

Someone stole my coffee cup. Now I have to go to the police station and look at mug shots.


I was about to tell a joke about time travelling, but you guy's didnt like it.

#11 Gene L

Gene L

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,100 posts

Posted 16 June 2017 - 10:07 PM

Don't tie drunk.

#12 RogueFlies


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 197 posts

Posted 16 June 2017 - 11:35 PM

Less is more !


Took the words right out of my mouth. 


#13 Rocco


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 970 posts

Posted 17 June 2017 - 06:22 AM

I know it is hard but don't use beads on your dry flies!



#14 rich mc

rich mc

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,057 posts

Posted 17 June 2017 - 06:46 AM

i always have a ruler in front of me . and a note pad to jot down recipes as im creating a new fly or variation  fly . always tie two so you have one to fish and one as a  sample.   rich mc

#15 mikechell


    Cold weather afficando- Give me Snow or give me death!

  • Super Moderators
  • PipPipPip
  • 12,398 posts

Posted 17 June 2017 - 08:37 AM

I can't post pictures at the present time ... you'll just have to imagine what I am writing.  I used to have a problem with thread breaking.

There was nothing wrong with the bobbin holder or the thread.  I solved the problem by changing the way I wrapped thread.

I see this on videos all the time.  The tier pulls the bobbin holder out 3 or 4 inches, then holds the bobbin tight while wrapping the thread.  When the bobbin holder gets close to the hook, they pull out another 3 or 4 inches.  It works most of the time, however ...

When wrapping this way, the thread circles the inside of the bobbin holder tip over and over again, exposing the same section of thread to friction.


Instead of doing that, keep the tip right next to the hook, constantly paying out thread as you wrap.  This prevents any one section of the thread from rubbing constantly around the tip.  On size 10 and larger hooks, it also allows wrapping the thread inside the hook gap, keeping you from nicking the thread on the hook point.

Barbed hooks rule!
My definition of work: Doing something in which effort exceeds gain.
Ex-Marine ... quondam fidelis