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Judson

What materials are needed to get started?

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I have just started tying flies. I have some materials in a kit. But am a little overwhelming when picking out new material, since there is so much to choose from. What are the essential materials for getting started for fly tying? A list of you top 10 or 15 materials would be fantastic!

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Where do you fish? What do you fish for? And more importantly what do you want to tie ?

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Judson, welcome to the site and fly tying. As mikemac1 said what do you fish for then look at patterns that you want to tie. You can search this site for patterns and materials, one member (flytire), has a nice site with plenty of links http://flytyingnewandold.blogspot.com/ and some good starting patterns. The most important thing is to learn technique. Wooley buggers are always a good starting place. It is hard to recommend material without knowing your interests.

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Welcome to the site!  And for the third time - what do you want to tie (streamers/nymphs/wet flies/soft hackles/dry flies/classic salmon patterns/salt water???  Each type of tie has that "pantry" of 15 or so materials that you should always have on hand (as well as hook sizes/styles).  Here's a site that anyone on this site has seen me show to ANY newer tyer that asks your question, that's because it helps! Here it is (and don't let the article name throw you!) - Don't tie flies | Global FlyFisher | This is in reality a declaration of love to the art and craft of tying fishing flies with lots of tips for the beginning fly-tyer.

Hope this helps.

Kim

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Here's how I would answer this if I asked myself that same question before starting to tie flies.  You can use the same method.    

What do you mostly fish for? Trout

What size flies do you use most? - 10-16

Of those flies, what % are wet/nymphs vs dry vs streamers vs etc?  - 75% wet/nymph, 25% dry

What are some basic patterns in those types of flies? - Pheasant Tail Nymphs, Hare's Ears, Comparaduns, Elk Hair Caddis

What are the materials for those flies? - hooks in those sizes; white thread; black thread; a natural hares mask; natural pheasant tails; a pack of peacock herl; a small pack of dry/fine dubbing in assorted colors; a small pack of wet fly dubbing in assorted colors; a mottled turkey tail feather; a patch of fine/comparadun deer hair; India hen back in grizzly or mottled brown; copper, gold, and/or silver wire; Sally Hansen's Hard as Nails; a selection of permanent markers.  

Now I can tie a decent representation of an Elk Hair Caddis and Comparaduns for drys, Pheasant tail nymphs and all the variations, Hare's Ear nymphs and all the variations, Zug Bugs, etc, etc. Now I would learn the skills needed to tie those patterns (proportions/thread control/material control).  Now I'm off to the races, and I can branch out from there.  Plus, those basic materials will never go unused, and are relatively inexpensive.  So when you tie a crappy fly, and you will, repeatedly, it's no big deal.  Scrape off the material and reuse the hook.  

Pick out a few of your favorite trees and work on them, don't let the whole forest overwhelm you.   

I think I could just use those materials I listed above, maybe in a few colors that permanent markers can't fix, (plus whatever I found around the house) and never need to buy anything else for a fly, and do just fine.  Unfortunately, somewhere along that simple and well thought out path, I became addicted. 

Hi, my name is Kevin, and I'm a fly tyer... (hat tip @Noahguide for that one, ha ha)

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Welcome to the site.

I have:

  1. flip flops ... for punching out flip flop foam popper bodies.
  2. bead chain ... for making bead chain eyes.
  3. dubbing ... I haven't found a cheaper alternative to dubbing, since it's already pretty inexpensive.  You gotta have it to make bug-like bodies.
  4. some type of long fur.  I have raccoon tails, because I harvested them locally and I like the way the hairs act when wet.
  5. Synthetic flash ... Fly Tyers Dungeon has some fantastic boxed assortments of materials at certain times of the year.  You can't find a less expensive source of flashy materials, in my research.
  6. UV resin and a UV flashlight for curing the resin.  I use it to build up clear bodies on minnow imitations.
  7. Superglue ... to secure the final wraps and make the fly more durable.

I tie for Sunfish and Bass, so that's my list of materials to make the few patterns that catch fish for me.

Good luck with your tying and your fishing.

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These are all good advice.  Tying for Bass is somewhat different from Salt, but the cross over.  Some larger Trout flies work for Bass, and some Bass and Salt work for Pike.  Trout flies and panfish cross over.  Salmon and Steelhead are a bit different but there is some crossover with Salt, trout and Bass.

I recommend that you start with Wooly worms and Wooly Buggers.  Fairly simple, cheap and effective.  Then work your way up (Bass, Salt) or down(Trout and Panfish).  Work on thread control, durability and proportion.  Compare to the photos. 

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I tie for all of these because I have lived in different places.   Get some Chinille, strung neck hackle and some Buckhalter for salt and bass.  Add some popping bodies and some eyes.

For Trout and panfish see the above lists.  Plus rubber or silicone legs.

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On 2/4/2021 at 12:18 PM, Judson said:

I have just started tying flies. I have some materials in a kit. But am a little overwhelming when picking out new material, since there is so much to choose from. What are the essential materials for getting started for fly tying? A list of you top 10 or 15 materials would be fantastic!

Why don't you tell us where you are, what type of fish you are targeting, and whether you fishing "still water" (lakes & ponds), tailwaters below a dam, or freestone waters (rivers & streams).

Then we can suggest some patterns to start with.

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I've have top ten materials on the top of three different shelves.  Unfortunately they tend to rotate a bit as I tie, so the top ten lists would be out of date every day or so.

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I'm thinking I will mostly target trout and steelhead. I will probably target pan fish for the occasional fish fry. Sorry, for responding so late in comparison. I was not expecting such fast response. Thank you! Although, I am not entirely sure what I will target in particular. I am located in Michigan lower peninsula, so it would be all freshwater species. I am planning to fish lakes a little bit, but mainly rivers a streams. I"m not exactly sure if there is a way to respond directly to a post. But here is my attempt! I was just hope for all around best materials.

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Welcome Judson.  You live in one of the great historic fly fishing areas; Au Sable, Per Marquette, Manistee, Rifle (that may surprise some) rivers are near by.  There is a huge tradition of Michigan flies.  Check out the late Tom Deschaine's web site for information on Michigan Dry Flies

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On 2/4/2021 at 12:18 PM, Judson said:

I have just started tying flies. I have some materials in a kit. But am a little overwhelming when picking out new material, since there is so much to choose from. What are the essential materials for getting started for fly tying? A list of you top 10 or 15 materials would be fantastic!

 

10 hours ago, Judson said:

I'm thinking I will mostly target trout and steelhead. I will probably target pan fish for the occasional fish fry. Sorry, for responding so late in comparison. I was not expecting such fast response. Thank you! Although, I am not entirely sure what I will target in particular. I am located in Michigan lower peninsula, so it would be all freshwater species. I am planning to fish lakes a little bit, but mainly rivers a streams. I"m not exactly sure if there is a way to respond directly to a post. But here is my attempt! I was just hope for all around best materials.

For trout I suggest you tie popular patterns that are known to work.

The two most popular nymphs are the pheasant tail and the gold ribbed hare’s ear.

The two most popular dry mayfly patterns are the Adams which I prefer to be a parachute and the comparadun dry. However, instead of the comparadun, I suggest you tie the sparkle dun which is the emerger pattern,

For the caddis adult, tie the Elk hair caddis.

For an underwater “streamer” type pattern, tie the black wooly bugger, olive would be the next color to tie.

Terrestrials are insects that live in land and fall in the water. The most popular pattern is the ant.

So buy materials to tied the pheasant tail nymph, gold ribbed hare's ear nymph, parachute adams, sparkle duns, elk hair caddis and wooly buggers. You could tie ants if you fish streams that flow through meadows.

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Re: the Adams, I tie a fly that is an Adams but leave off the wings. Can't see spending money on a feather that only supplies one part. I call it the Simple Simon as it's simple to tie. Here- hook, tan thread, dark tail, tan dubbing, brown or ginger hackle. I also tie it with yellow dubbing for the sulphur hatch in the summer. Any variety of materials will work. Been successfully fishing the SS for years.

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