Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tying Flies and Getting Flies

It all started innocently enough. The time was winter. The rivers were frozen, the snow was falling, and I couldn't fish. My other hobby R/C Racing was happening far and few between this winter. So we're out one day, and we stop into an outdoor store. I decide to pick up a few flies. During this time, my wife notices me looking at fly tying materials. Later on she asks, if tying flies would be fun for me. I say it'd be nice. It'd be a winter hobby I could do while watching hockey games on TV.

So Christmas morning arrives, and we are opening packages. Eventually, I happen upon a package that has a little bit of weight to it. I open it, and to my surprise my first fly tying kit.
Trophy shot Holding my new fly tying kit
So of course, over the rest of my winter break, I start tying flies. As I get more and more comfortable with the process, I find that there is an opening on the monthly swap on my favorite Fly Fishing forum. I ask to join in, and from then on, I start getting challenged, also forced (at least that's what i tell the other half!) to buy new materials for the next month's swap.

The swap forces me to tie a dozen or more flies each month. For the swap itself, it has 12 members, so I have to do at minimum 12 flies, plus a few for the host that month. One of my first themes, is creating flies based on Catskill Dries. I chose the Light Cahill. It was not a pretty fly. But it has signficance because I caught my first trout on my own fly, with this one! It was a tiny brookie on a clear water stream, I just dipped it in, and he jumped at it. That fly still sits in my truck, never to be used again as a treasure.

Each month the themes varied. Sometimes it was a nymph, sometimes a dry, once it was tie a fly one size smaller than you ever have before. (that meant a size 20 for me).

Since then I have collected quite a few more materials, hooks, and tools. However, I still use the vise that came in this kit. it works beautifully, and I've never had an issue with it. It's a big difficult to use on size 20 flies, but for now, it's great for my budget.

The best part about the swap, wasn't that I was just building my skills up, but I was also filling up my fly box. Each month, I'd get a dozen flies of various varieties. Sure, I couldn't use all of them. Periodically I'd get a warm water fly, a carp fly, or something just as strange. Those flies go in a separate box for when I decide to go warm water fishing. I also may have a few salmon and steelhead flies in there too.

I will warn, it takes commitment. When my daughter arrived, I had to bow out of the swap, as being a new parent was making it very difficult for me to get on my vise on a regular basis. But it was fun, and now, I just join in the periodic fly swap that involves something that will help me when I'm on the river.

I also tie flies about once or twice a week now. I generally do about 2-4 flies per session before the dog, cat, or my daughter need my attention.

If you are new, I also suggest you take a look at the great tutorials provided by Fly Anglers Online. They will have you tying like an expert in just a few short weeks.

This post isn't a review on my starter kit. The materials that came with that kit have all been used and replaced. But more, I want my readers who have thought about taking the plunge to consider it more. There really isn't anything more relaxing on a cold winter's night than watching hockey, drinking a beer or a manhattan, while tying a few flies for the coming fishing season.


  1. I agree with you. I would add one suggestion. Take one class at a local fly shop if they offer them. They are usually relatively inexpensive and you will learn some tricks that will stay with you.

  2. great story! Its cool you stuck with it! Great blog, you got a new follower!