Monday, May 30, 2011

Are you a new Fly Tyer?

We all started somewhere.  Do you remember how you got started in fly tying?  I do.  It was all on my own.  Read about it here.
If you are a new tyer, there are a couple of things I'd like to share with you about some tools and materials.
First, if you are looking at some items to start off with and some patterns to tie, we will start with bobbins, scissors and a couple of easy patterns.

Bobbins: As far as bobbins go, I highly recommend spending the extra money for a ceramic bobbin.  There are many types out there and I use a Tiemco Standard Bobbin.  It fits my hand and I have used it since day one.  The cheaper metal tubes get little burs in them and those burrs can create terrible frustration.  Just when you are ready to tie off the best Elk Hair Caddis you have ever tied, the thread gets cut by the bobbin and your best tied fly goes "poof".   Believe me, it's worth the extra money.

IMG 3234
Ceramic Bobbin & materials for a San Juan Worm.
Scissors:  Again, I cannot stress the importance of having a good tool to work with.  Having a poor pair of scissors can create more frustration than you ever though possiblewhile tying flies.  Save up your money, maybe by taking your lunch to work for a week or two and get yourself some good quality scissors.  A pair of Dr. Slick Arrow or Standard scissors will last you a log time and are great for starting out.  Montana Fly Company (MFC) also offers the same type of scissors if you can find them.  Anvil is another scissor company that offers great tools for use.
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Good, Sharp Scissors are a must!
Materials:  As far as materials go, you can get better quality if you do a little looking around.  Hooks are one of the first places people try to skimp.  Looking at a wall in the fly shop, there may be a couple of brands to choose from.  TMC, Dia-Riki, Mustad, and Diiachi are just a few of the ones you may see.  Dia-Riki and Mustad offer some great prices and will work well for you.  I tie most on Dia Riki and MFC hooks and have had good results with them.  In my opinion, TMC offers the best quality but that quality comes at a price.
IMG 0134
Just one type of hook model and brand.
Threads:  I use three brands of theads:  UTC 70 Deiner, Uni Thread 8/0 & MFC 8/0 threads.  I am now using more of the MFC threads as they offer a great combination of the other two mentioned above and give me great colors. The other two brands are more widely available and will do  you just fine for all your tying needs.  Gordon Griffiths is also one I use a lot of.
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Uni Thread, Gordon Griffiths, UTC and MFC threads.  
Easy patterns:  A San Juan Worm is a good place to start for a useful pattrern.  Thread Midges are simple and are the only game in town during the winter months.  By using a few different colored threads and maybe some brass and glass beads, you can fill up a box for cheap.
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Thread Midges are easy to tie and fish eat them up.
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Pink San Juan Worm
Don't get carried away with trying to tie one fly of each pattern.  Tie at least a few dozen before moving on.  If you tie midges and jump to parachutes, there is a lot of valuable information you are missing in between the two.  Take it easy!


  1. I wish I had seen this post a year and a half ago when I started tying...ha! My biggest problem was taking it easy...I thought just because I had a vise I could and should be able to tie everything right away...needless to say that was not the case.

  2. Sanders,

    I guess it's like getting a car for the first time. We want to drive all around town and hit all the streets. See what we can do with the thing. It's hard to only do a few patterns when you first start. By doing so, it will make you a better tyer in the long run.

  3. Great advise Juan. A lot of people make the mistake of buying a cheapy fly tying kit and wind up with a bunch of stuff they'll never use and junk tools.