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beginner material list?

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#1 Popparex


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Posted 04 November 2018 - 10:45 AM

Is there a list on this site of what is a decent set of materials for a basic set of flies? I am just starting out and have a decent vise and tools but want to start a collection of threads/yarns/ and general fly tying materials.  Is there a vendor with a decent package? i don't want to spend $100 and find that half of it is unusable.


I realize that i can likely get some basics at various hobby shops but with tons of colors and various expenses it's difficult to choose.  I think i'd like to get a set of threads/wires, tinsel and chenille and various feathers and furs. Re there vendors with basic sets of these at decent prices?


It may be i am finally getting old as most prices seem ridiculously  high.


Any and all comments are welcome.


My goals are to fish generically. I am retiring this spring and will be travelling all over as much as i can (just bought a new truck and truck camper).




#2 HookedOnFTF


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Posted 04 November 2018 - 11:31 AM

I can relate to your situation - I am 66 and retired earlier this year. I started planning my fly tying hobby over 3 years ago. I did tie in my early adult years but basically started at ground zero material wise. I’d be ashamed to admit how much I have spent over the last few years. I’m a classic materials hoarder. It takes discipline but I’d suggest picking two or three patterns of interest and only purchase the materials needed. Become proficient at those and expand from there. Just my two cents. I did purchase a materials collection but was mostly disappointed. I’m sure others will be along to be of help. Good luck and welcome to FTF.

#3 CasualAngler


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Posted 04 November 2018 - 12:56 PM

It really depends on what kind of flies you want to tie, & what Species you're fishing for. Buy the Materials for the type of fly you're interested in. Have a look at the Thread I started called "First Stab at Materials". Member "flytire" posted a Wish List of Materials for the beginner that covers all of the bases.

One thing I will mention, & it was mentioned to me as well, is that if at all possible, take the plunge & purchase a "cape" (1/2 or full) of the hackle you're interested in. It's spendy initially, but will give you the most complete selection & choice of feathers for hackle, as opposed to buying an "assorted" bag of feathers. A lot of the time, the Materials included in the "all in one" Kits may not have what you need for what you want to tie.

Gather some basic Tools (including a Vise), pick a couple easy fly Patterns you want to try, then buy Materials for those specific Patterns. Steer clear of the "complete" Kits. Keep asking questions; these folks are helpful beyond measure!

Welcome to the Madness! :P

Alan :D

#4 Poopdeck


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Posted 04 November 2018 - 01:01 PM

Yep, pick a few patterns that you want to tie and buy the materials for them. Your material pile will grow just by doing this and you won't be buying materials that you don't use. A few things I use routinely are pheasant tail, strung peacock hurl, black, white and brown goose biots, and lots of various color dubbing.

The list your looking for does not exist since we all tie for different waters, fish, and style. I simply tie and use the basics and lots of general use flies, as I need them, so I don't have a single issue with hoarding flies or materials I don't use or need. I tie for conveinance and to save money, not to hoard, collect, to express myself or for any satisfaction of catching fish on flies I tie. I would be equally happy catching a fish on your flies. Congrats on your pending retirement and Good luck in defining your style.

#5 tjm


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Posted 04 November 2018 - 01:07 PM







#6 chugbug27


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Posted 04 November 2018 - 01:27 PM

I've got a variety of good beginner materials and book/s on the trading floor (this website) at good prices. Some time soon after 11/8 I'll be removing it all from here and posting it instead for auction on eBay.

"Fly tying is replete with unproven theories and contradictions and therein lies much of it's charm and fascination." George F. Grant, The Master Fly Weaver

#7 flytire


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Posted 04 November 2018 - 02:50 PM



This list of beginner tying materials is simply a list based on my 30+ years experience in fly tying. The list provided below is for a new tyer who wants to tie trout flies but can spill over to different genres of fly tying. It is a BASIC list. Could other items have appeared on the list? Of course they could but that's somebody elses list. Other tyers will add or subtract materials to their liking. So be it. Remember its a BASIC list of materials. It contains materials the can tie hundreds or even thousands of fly patterns.

This list is in no order of preference. This list is provided for your convenience and in no way requires you to buy all tying materials all at once or any materials for that matter. It is also a generic list of materials as I really don't have any preferences as to what brand of materials you buy.

Eventually you will need materials if you want to continue tying flies. The list may give you a head start as to what you might want to buy

Again, you do not have to buy the entire list all at once! 

Buy what you want when you need it!

1. Hooks (in different styles and sizes)
2. Thread (6/0 to start in black & white)
3. Pheasant Tail (center feathers when possible for the longest fibers)
4. Peacock Herl (eye feathers and strung herl)
5. Marabou (blood quills are better)
6. Deer hair
7. Elk hair
8. Buck tail (in different colors like red, yellow, or white)
9. Lead or non-lead wire (in different sizes)
10. Ribbing wire (silver, copper & gold)
11. Rooster Hackle (grizzly, brown, white & dun) A good option is an introduction pack
12. Hen neck or saddle (grizzly, brown, dun etc) (great for soft hackle & wings)
13. Hungarian Partridge Skin (great for soft hackles)
14. Dubbing dispenser of hares ear (various colors) & superfine dubbing for dry flies
15. Gray duck or goose wing feathers (used for wing cases)
16. Head cement
17. Tinsel and other flash materials (in assorted colors)
18. Calf tail (start with white, add colors when necessary)
19. Yarns & chenille (used for making bodies, both in assorted colors)
20. Floss (1 strand or 4 strand in assorted colors)
21. Strung hackle (practice wrapping hackle with this. cheap alternative to the pricey hackles)
22. Beads (not necessary to begin tying flies but if you really need them get them)

23. Turkey tail feathers (multiple uses)

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

Another recommendation seen on most forums is to pick out 5-10 that you want to learn how to tie. buy the materials provided in the recipes of those flies. these materials are now the building blocks for tying different fly patterns in the future.

Respect someones else's ideas. We are all different people. Your way is not the only way.

Never argue with a self proclaimed expert

#8 mikechell



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Posted 04 November 2018 - 04:38 PM

Welcome to the site, Poppa.

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

#9 rockworm


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Posted 05 November 2018 - 09:32 AM

When I started I bought a good beginners tying book and each payday I would walk to Ben La Mouche's fly shop (in Montreal) to buy the two or three materials I needed for that week's flies. Ben's was a small shop with most of his fly-tying merchandise on pegboards on the walls. There was so much stuff that was new and mysterious. I was like a kid in a candy shop- I wanted everything! So I always came home with a few things not on my list. The most valuable thing I came away with was my discussions with Ben, a master tyer. He would sit at his vice wreathed in tobacco smoke tying salmon fly after salmon fly, patiently answering my (stupid) beginner's questions ; sometimes demonstrating a technique. I could examine and run my fingers through the new capes from Metz (this was the 1980s) and admire the deer hides Ben would be preparing in the back room. My point here is that I learned a lot and was never disappointed by my purchases, having handled and compared the stock beforehand. I think this is the best way to build up a collection. 


I don't know if you will be lucky enough to find a shop like Ben's but you say you will be travelling all over. I bet there are still lots of small fishing shops out there with patient, friendly owners, a welcome mug of (steaming but usually terrible) coffee where you can hear some stories, get answers to your tying/fishing questions and, of course, buy a few materials for your collection.


Whenever you visit one of these places I suggest you purchasing a fly or two recommended by the people there to use as models for your own tying.

#10 flyty1


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Posted 05 November 2018 - 04:33 PM

If you are fortunate enough to get some "hands on" experience from another tyer or two, you can start to choose hooks and materials first hand specifically for the flies you like to tie and fish. Otherwise, probably the best beginner material kit would be to pick up a well written and illustrated book on introduction to fly tying - such as Skip Morris' Fly Tying Made Clear and Simple. Take the first 10 patterns in the book and pick up the materials to tie them. If you share capes with another tyer, or pick them up in an intro pack, you can save a few bucks and get a great start with premium materials.

#11 Mogup


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Posted 06 November 2018 - 12:38 AM

rockworm your experience with that flyshop in Montreal sounds like the makings of a good story. With all the internet purchases we make today we forget the value of the local flyshop and it's owner.

#12 chugbug27


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Posted 06 November 2018 - 02:04 AM

Mogup I had the same thought. It would make a really good short story.

"Fly tying is replete with unproven theories and contradictions and therein lies much of it's charm and fascination." George F. Grant, The Master Fly Weaver

#13 Tom Cummings

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 07:42 AM

It would be quite hard at the market prices these days to stay below a hundred dollars for a few different patterns let alone size of hooks to get same pattern in different sizes. Example at Orvis store a bugger pack 1 collor is 22.00 hooks vary but a 50 pack per size averages 12.00 Thread 3.00 dubbing 2.00 could opt for chenille instead of dubbing at same price but has less uses. Good part is at store you can examine the feather pack unlike online orders. A good bugger pack can yield up to several 20 sizes and a great deal of 16 and 14 with majority for streamers and buggers. Online you can get a bad pack usable for buggers and streamers only. A half cape is about 40.00 while the intro cape gives you 4 half capes in the most used colors for 80.00. To save a few dollars you can use yarn to make your own dubbing and feathers can be easily attained if you or someone you know is a hunter as well as furs. Just be sure to properly clean prep and store the natural materials or it could ruin your invested materials.

As stated choose a few patterns get hooks and 6/0 thread make or acquire rest and purchase only what you cant get. Also note that most of the famous tiers will say there is nothing wrong with substitute materials. As you progress you will notice that the pricey materials is easier to work with and results in a better fly.

Start cheap and work on proportion and technique and progress from there.

Btw head cement isnt really needed but preferred and a cheap substitute is sally Hanson hard as nails clear. I use that as well as true head cement and generally find sally to look better.

Good luck and best of wishes. Welcome to the site.

#14 Flicted


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Posted 06 November 2018 - 11:56 AM

My suggestion goes along with the "buy for the fly" posts.  I bought a kit from Cabelas 30 years ago and I still have some of the materials.  Although Flytire gave an outstanding list of materials, I always tell beginners that it's more efficient to come up with a list of flies that will gradually build your skills.  But to keep it even more economical, that list would need to be tailored to where you fish and what you will fish for.  Unless you have big pockets, buying a quality dry fly neck isn't necessary at this stage of the game. You can get Whiting packs that have enough dry fly hackle to tie dozens of flies but at a more affordable cost. Dubbing packs instead of hares mask and fur patches and hackle packs instead of necks and capes are all good cost cutting ideas and you won't have left over skins you won't use.  Then, once you know the direction you want to go with your tying, you can save up for the higher ticket items.

#15 Popparex


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Posted 06 November 2018 - 04:50 PM

Thanks all...!


Yes... I now realize I am officially "old" and even $100 doesn't get  much these days. 


What i am likely to do is start with one of those "10 best flies"  lists - guaranteed to catch arm length trout - and get what i need for those patterns and start there. Looks like there's a wealth of free Youtube videos for tying so i shouldn't need a book (you know, one of those old things made of paper that has pictures and text).


OK, i have some work cut out for myself.  Time to get my butt in gear.