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Fly Tying


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About jeffnc

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    Bait Fisherman

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  1. OK, so with regard to comments about quality vs. quantity... First, you have to decide what kind of fly tier you are. Do you enjoy fly tying as a hobby and art form in and of itself? That's fine, that's one school of thought. Then you should follow tiers like Dick Talleur and Oliver Edwards. They tie "perfect" and beautiful flies that look great on the covers of books. Sometimes there are competitions for tying in and of itself. for flies that will never even be fished. Another type of tier is more interested in the function of the fly in terms of how it fishes and its durability. Examples of these types of flies would be ones that appeal to fish more than to fishermen, for reasons beyond what we can see with our eyes. How a dry fly lands on the water, what impression the dry fly makes on the meniscus, how the streamer moves when wet, how fast the nymph plummets. For example Marinaro's thorax pattern is an interesting version of this kind of fly. So is a perdigon nymph, or LaFontaines caddis pupa. If you are more interested in this kind of fly tying, read tiers such as AK Best, Gary LaFontaine, Rich Strolis, whoever invented the perdigon, etc. Another type of tier is more interested in technique (technique trumps pattern). These are usually fly fishing guides or even the professional Euro nymphers. They have to tie lots of flies, often the night before they go out, and have to catch fish for their clients. If the flies took too long they'd starve to death or be sleep deprived. Their clients might hang a dozen in the trees or break them off in rocks. They can't lose sleep either from worrying about this or from staying up late tying. There are many videos from guys like these, such as Lance Egan, Dominic Swarensky (Troutbitten), Rich Strolis (his book Catching Shadows), Devin Olsen or George Daniel. These are not fancy fly tiers, but they catch a billion fish (although to be fair some streamers nowadays get a bit complicated). I personally am a combination of the second and third type, but you have to figure your style out on your own. Learn to make your own changes if necessary or even cut out a material if the pattern is too complicated. I like a fly from Troutbitten called a Bread N Butter nymph. He calls it a "guide fly" however it involves 3 thread changes, which IMO makes it not really a guide fly. I changed that to one thread and it's faster for me to tie, and I'm quite sure makes no difference to the fish. Or barring that, watch 3 videos from well respected tiers, and choose the one with the fewest materials or the video that has the shortest length.
  2. IMO you're asking the wrong question. Except with rare exceptions, I never just tie one fly. You should really be asking how long it takes to tie a half dozen or dozen flies. There are 2 reasons that's important. First is that you get into a rhythm and used to certain movements, without having to stop to remember how you did something, or make mistakes. The second reason is that there's overhead that's too costly if you tie just one fly. For example, let's say you just have one bobbin. First you have to put in the thread, and load it through the tube (when I started this took 2 or 3 minutes, lol). Then you have to get a hook out of the bag. Then you have to get a bead out. Continue with other materials. But with "production tying", you do things more efficiently. And yes I realize we're both amateur tiers but we should still use some production techniques. Do not tie 50 different types of flies. Pick only a few simple ones, and get good at them. For example, there are hundreds of stonefly nymphs out there, but I only tie one pattern, and it's a relatively simple one - Pat's Stone. I'm faster at it because I tie only that type, and also because it's an easy pattern to begin with. So let's say you're tying beadhead Wooly Buggers. Find a good video you like and tie that pattern. You can change colors because that takes no more time. Use the same thread color for each, it doesn't matter. Using black chenille vs. white chenille takes no extra time. First get out 10 hooks. Then put 10 beads on the hooks. Now you're ready to start tying. You've taken a couple minutes, but if you kept doing this one at a time it would take twice that long. etc. Have all your other materials out of the bags and ready to go, with anything else on your bench out of your way. If you have to stop halfway through for some reason, leave your tying table just as it was - don't put those materials away until you're done tying that type of fly for awhile. You can even leave your thread hanging from a fly halfway done, no harm. So, you should be asking yourself, how long does it take to tie 10 flies? Because it will be less than 10 times as long as it takes to tie 1 fly. In this way you should be able to tie 10 flies in about 2 hours at your current speed. By the time you've finished those 10, you will probably be up to 12-15 in 2 hours, which is to say about 8-10 minutes per fly.
  3. There are a few issues with this approach. First of all, do you ever fish 2 nymphs? If so, then we might say the same thing - it's indecisive. But of course what we're doing is letting the fish decide, not trying to tell them what they want. But more importantly, a dry has a few advantages. A thingamabobber looks unnatural and between a dry fly and thingamabobber, the dry fly is less likely to spook a trout or make it cautious. Whether casting or mending, the bobber can make a splash, and it looks weird. A dry fly is lighter and easier to cast. You can catch a fish on a dry where you can't on the indicator (I'm sure we've all seen a trout nip at a little indicator when it wasn't spooked by it.) And finally, if some fish are more interested in nymphs and some more interested in dries, then you cover both types of trout rather than restricting to one or the other.
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