The colder weather is fast approaching, maybe even already here for some parts of the country, so that mean fly tying season is nearly upon us. We’ve asked around and if you’re looking to improve your skills at the vise this winter, these are the rules to get you there. Happy Tying!
1) Get The Best Materials
Investing in cheap materials will not only effect the quality of your flies and their durability, but it’ll also be harder to tie. When it’s tough to tie with certain materials that means you’ll either use the wrong material that’s easier to tie, but alters the way the fly moves, or you just won’t enjoy tying as much. What’s the point of that?
2) First, Knoll Everything
Learn from my OCD engineer father when he’s building a model or a puzzle and lay everything that you’ll need for the fly, ready to assemble, besides your vise. Need a certain length of bucktail? Select, trim and sort into a nice little stack. Dubbing? Select a few clumps before tying. This way you can complete step after step much faster and tie more flies faster than ever.
3) Don’t Drop The Scissors
Sam Looper, one of our Signature Tyers and a genius at the vise said, “If you can’t tie with your scissors in your hand, you’ll never tie fast enough.” Now, laying out your materials beforehand will mitigate this need, but it’s still helpful to be able to snip, cut or trim anything faster than you can think it, without needing to pick up your scissors first.
4) Superglue Is Your Friend
If you ever watch a commercial fly tyer at the vise one thing you’re sure to notice is that the superglue almost never leaves their side. Adding a dab of glue in between each step with ensure that your flies are more durable, but also that it’ll move through the water as designed.
5) Hurry, Take Your Time
Sure, the faster you can move the more flies you can tie and the faster you’ll get out on the water, but as good’ol Benny Frank (you know, Benjamin Franklin) once said, “Haste makes waste.” Smart man, smarter name. Spend enough time to execute each tying step correctly, nothing more, and you’ll be a better tyer for it.
6) Stay Hydrated
Now I’m not saying you should drink heavily, as no one likes a sloppy fly, but keeping the libations flowing is a good way to pass time at the vise. Sure you’re having fun whipping up pattern after pattern, but sometimes that damn hackle just isn’t staying on the size 24 hook the right way and you just…relax; take another sip.
7) Create An Atmosphere About You
The reasons for this step are two-fold, one, it’ll make sure that you’re in the zone, so your flies will turn out better for it, but two, it’ll also make sure people leave you alone because you’re so in the zone. Dim the lights in the room and turn on a tying light at your special tying desk. Get your materials ready, pour a drink, light a “cigar,” turn up the greasy licks of The Black Keys and get started. This is your special bubble of fly fishing and dammit, you deserve to revel in it.
Want to start tying your own flies and become a master of all things fur and feathers? Check out our 7 piece tool kit and tie one on. Have fun.