by Tim Rolston at The Fishing Gene Blog.……is a nice introduction to fly tying. Tim provides a great deal of informative how to’s on not just fly tying, but fly fishing as well from his home base in South Africa. If you have been considering fly tying please take a look at Tim’s excellent site. If you already fly fish, but don’t tie your own flies, you must consider tying your own creations to fully enhance your fishing experience…nothing like catching fish with your own creations!
Archive for the 'Beginning Fly tying' Category
A pleasing component of fly fishing is tying your own fly patterns. It is a past time that allows for varying degrees of artistic flare. It requires one to study insects and their behavior, to study the traditions of fly patterns around the world, to study the behavior of fish that consume insects, invertebrates, critters and other fish, to study the habitat, in which, fish and their food reside.
Yes you can just order flies on line or buy some at the local fly shop or big box sporting goods store. However, you might want to enhance your fly fishing experience by taking fly tying lessons and then improving your new skills with online research. There is something, after decades of tying, that gives me great pleasure to seduce a fish to a fly I tied and then to release that fish to safety (anti Catch & Release? Get over it!).
Fall is the time many fly shops and community colleges offer fly tying lessons. The lessons are usually offered in reasonably priced allotments for beginners. This is a nice gift for someone to give the fly fisher. Classes are often provided through Winter into Spring. Consider it. Create your own flies that either match traditional patterns or create your own magical experiment.
As a beginning fly tier, I would suggest you assess yourself as follows and form a plan of action that reflects that assessment: am I organized-anal-precise or am I willy-nilly-messy? Yes, you could vacillate somewhere in between but I bet you will have a propensity toward one ‘extreme’ or the other in your hobbies, in life.
In would help you in planning how to store your materials and maintain their quality. It helps in developing a list of what patterns you want to tie up for an approaching season, trip or specific piece of water. Life can be chaotic and sometimes overwhelming. Having a plan, whether you are organized or disorganized is helpful in getting the most out of your fly tying and subsequent fishing experiences. What fly tying techniques do I want to improve upon (whip finisher, winding hackle, parachute posts, proportions, etc.); what patterns will I need through the season ahead? How do I manage my materials so the mice, cat or moths don’t wreak havoc? How do I create a nice tying environment so I enjoy the process year after year? Know your tendencies and plan accordingly.
Most fly fishers don’t brave the Winters and fish waters open year round. With that in mind, the season openers are but a few months away in many parts of the country.
It’s time to start organizing that gear you stashed away last Fall. Check out the rod, reel and line. Organize those fly boxes and if you tie, start charting what you need to tie up in advance of the opener and what hatches will progress through the year.
It is possible that your region will have various ‘sportsman’ shows or fly tying expo’s and club sponsored how to expo’s. Check on line for your region or ask at fly shops etc. for any possibly close shows/expos you could attend. These shows always add some anticipation to the season and some motivation to get busy.
If you tie flies or have been considering it, these shows are a great way to learn various styles of tying and also to often figure out how to do that certain technique by watching someone more adept at it than you. Fly tying materials, tools, gear and techniques await you at these shows.
This is a very simple Bead Head (BH) Caddis Pupa pattern to tie and quite effective tumbled through a riffle. It has had some success on lakes, but less so. The green sparkle braid gives a nice translucent look to the abdomen. I have used the bright green and the tan with good success. A small piece of braid tied in and burned off at the end…a small noodle of dubbing spun onto the thread and then wrapped one to two times behind a tungsten bead. The hook this time is a size 16 curved shank pupa hook. This is a perfect beginner’s pattern for Caddis Pupa.
It is nice to tie/fish size 10’s than size 16-20’s. I have to admit, I spent a good many years tying/fishing, with some success, patterns in the size 10-12 range, particularly nymphs. The thought of tying on a size 18 anything and fishing it with confidence did not/could not compute.
But, finally, I had a couple encounters with trout, bigger than anything I had ever hooked, on size 18 flies and I started to consider it as an option. I specifically started tying more wets/nymphs/flymphs in 16/18’s and having success. I have yet to venture into the size 20’s with any confidence.
Pay some attention to small hook’s gape size (go bigger), your thread size (8/0 minimum or smaller to 14/0), magnification devices and less material/bulk on the hook. Of course, basic to all this small fly stuff is studying the insect life of the waters you fish. Study the hatches and learn the probably size of a BWO nymph, a Callibaetis nymph, a PMD nymph, a Golden Stone nymph etc.
The smaller Pheasant Tail Nymph (PTN) and the smaller bead head Chironomid (upper left) have been easy to tie and productive small nymph/pupa patterns to fish with. I would suggest simplistic, small patterns as an option and then pay attention to presentation/location and fish with confidence on rivers and lakes.