Fly Tying For the beginner:


For a beginner, fly tying can be a real mystery. There are the tools (potentially dozens of them), there are the materials (literally thousands of them) and then there are the "techniques" involved in putting it all together to make a fly. On this page I will try to demystify a lot of these things. Fly tying should be fun and it be relaxing...once you know the basics, it will also be rewarding.

When I started fly fishing over 40 years ago, it was not long before I wanted to learn to tie flies. YouTube and the ability to deliver quality videos to a mobile device, even a computer, was still over 20 years in the future. I first bought a couple of books and read through them in order to see what it was all about. As I read, I  The next daymade a list of tools and materials that I saw referenced most often and eventually made a trip to the local fly shop to purchase tools and basic materials. I had seen all of this stuff before in numerous shops in my early travels. It was still a little bit intimidating but with a little help from the shop owner, I had all I needed to become a fly tier. As a favorite fly at the time was an Adams, I had purchased everything I needed...I was stoked. It wasn't long before I sat down, set up the vise and laid out all of the rest of the tools and materials, opened a book to the Adams, reviewed the article and started on my first fly. The books I had never showed or discussed things like getting the hook in the vise, starting the thread...any of the real basic stuff. It took about 20 minutes to get the hook securely in the vise and the thread started and in the right position for the first piece of material. Between breaking the thread a couple of times and having to start over, it took two hours to tie my first Adams...I was happy and maybe a little proud of myself until I dug in my fly box and pulled out an Adams I had purchased. Short of similarities in color, it really did not resemble the store bought fly. Most noticeably, my wings were close to twice too long, the tail too short and the hackle was all caught up in the thread. The next day I called the fly shop and inquired about fly tying classes...6 or 8 weeks later, I was a fly tier.

If there is a moral to this story, it is to be thoughtful and realistic about the process from the beginning. Do not run out to the local fly shop or get online and buy a bunch of stuff. Go to YouTube or any of the great websites dedicated to fly tying and invest a couple of hours. Think about the kind of fishing you do...the species you target, the flies used and most importantly, start with the easiest pattern you can find that will meet you fishing needs. Listed below are a number of videos I can recommend to get you started. Good luck, be patient and you will be rewarded with the great satisfaction of catching a fish on a fly you have tied.

As good as many of the fly tying videos are, there is no substitute for personal instruction in the basics. Often you can find classes at a local fly shop or you can see if there are any local fly fishing clubs as they often offer instruction in both fly tying and fly casting. I have a friend who wanted to take up fly tying and he went into a local fly shop and simply asked if they could help him get started. They made one phone call and introduced him to a local retired guy who was very happy to become his teacher...that has since blossomed into a very good personal friendship. You never know until you ask...