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.

2 comments:

  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.

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

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