Posts Tagged ‘fly tying classes


Fish Tails (Tales) Requires Planning………

If are a fly fisher for Trout and other Spring through Fall species, you may have hung your gear up and won’t give it another thought until Spring looms near. Maybe you will pursue Winter Trout on a few year around waters or Salmon and Steelhead. A few hardy souls fish year around. But, a couple things, as my annual reminders, to consider.

~Did you organize your gear before you stuck it away? Did you put any part of it away wet or damaged? Did you clean up your fly lines and do a tune up on your reels? Is there anything you stuck away in a hurry, at the time, saying to yourself ‘I take care of it later…remember to take care of this later’. Did you?

~You considered learning to tie flies. Have you explored classes/lessons from a fly shop, community college, private lessons, fly fishing club etc. Maybe none of those options are available in your area. There are excellent on-line (S-B-S…Step By Step) tutorials on how to tie that are better than not trying it at all. Also, they are excellent to visit after you take person to person instructions. 

~If you do tie, now is the perfect time, while this past season’s fly selections/losses are fresh in your memory to inventory and make lists of what flies need to me replenished via tying (or purchased, if you don’t tie). This is best done while anticipating a timeline of when and where you will fish this coming year. What are the hatch sequences or subsurface life forms available in the waters you plan on fishing this coming year. Keep a plan pinned up and look at it, especially if you are a new tier so you don’t flit around tying this and that and never really tie all you needed.

This will help you in planning and enjoying your fishing outings and of course having plenty of ‘fishtails’ to expand upon for years to come. Now go check on that gear bag you filled with wet, stinky clothing and then zipped up last month.


Art and Creativity: Yes, Fly Tying

The Bare Medium (Well Almost Bare) to Create

It is time to check out whether there is a local fly tying class offered near you. Most classes start in September or October and run through the late Winter. Whether you take it from a fly shop, community college, rec center, private lessons…however, it will enhance your overall enjoyment of fly fishing.

Do you recall being a child in elementary school? That wonderful time came around for Art Class. Fun sessions of molding clay or finger painting, pasting pieces of paper together, eating paste, crayons and drawing. Everyone did it, some better than others, but everyone participated and were creative in some form or fashion. Dare I say it….fly tying is like that. At the elementary level, it is about basic creations that let you follow instructions, avoid instructions (just like back then), create, take pride, sigh or sit and stare. And, if you just put a little effort into it, you will create pieces of art that seduce not only you but the fish! Give it a try.


Beginning Fly Fisher’s: Keep Your Eyes On…….

Beginning Fly Tying Courses at Fly Shops and Community Colleges

If no shops are nearby then find those Podcasts & other on line resources

Find Hatch Charts for Your Local Streams or Planned For Destinations

River Levels & Gage Station Reports for Your Area or Destinations

Reporting Stations for Mountain Passes

Hire a Guide Someday…Save Your Dinero

Identify a FF Club in Your Area and Attend a Meeting to see if it fits 

Check Fly Shops and News Papers for Fly Tying Expositions & Attend 

All these are practical planning ideas to spend the Winter months planning for open waters or Spring  openers. Tying, Watching others tie, safe road trips, planning for a trip, anticipating ice-off, hiring a guide and watching the river levels are all part of the planning process. Find the resources and keep your eyes on the charts, gages and levels. Part of the fun! Did I mention ‘planning’?


Fly Tying: Are The Materials Sacred?

I was just recently talking to a friend about a beginning fly tying class they had just completed. My friend remarked how the instructor embarrassed the beginning tier in front of the classmates for failing to properly cut the material for use on the fly. The not so delicate implication was the student was being disrespectful to the material, wasteful and to the creature that had given up its hide in the process by not cutting the material from the hide close enough. Hmmm? Seriously?

Now, I appreciate there are endangered critters out there protected and hence we most probably should not use the critter’s fur, hair or feathers because of that protected status. But, beyond that is it coming to the point that now the materials are sacred?

BS I say. My $$$, my choice to hoard, waste or share. Such foolery! Like moralizing away over the waste not, want not, ways of utilizing every ounce of a harvested whale or cariboo.

Save it righteous one for bigger issues. Like all the premium hackles being scarfed up for head bands, hair weaves and earrings. What say you pious one to that?


Fly Tying: Starting To Tie?

Fly tying is a seemingly complex pursuit, yet at the beginning I suggest you keep it as rock bottom simple as possible. I say this because, like many pursuits in life,  you most probably will dabble and drop.

Take a class. Most classes start in the early Fall. There are usually 3-5 classes for under 100.  This will often show you if you really have an interest to continue. If so, buy a reasonable starter kit for under 100. If classes are not available at a nearby fly shop or community college then take the time to watch the countless You Tube videos and read sites, like here and from my blog roll, and get a sense of the techniques that are typically employed. Books abound re fly tying, but start with basic how to books.

I hope you would not succumb to walking into a shop or sporting goods store (sorry shops) and laying out a cool 1000.+ for a trout fishing set up with out a clue whether you will continue. I know shops love the customer of means that walks in and doesn’t blink plopping down such money. But, for the beginning fly fisher and for the beginning fly tier…start slow, buy reasonably priced gear to start and upgrade later if the passion is there. If you are so well healed that you can afford top of the line, then have at it.

Next, know thy self. In your pursuits, do you accumulate lots of stuff (me)? Or, are you more self contained and organized (not me).  Plan for this. I have to strongly urge that you keep your fly tying (and fly fishing gear) organized. In the beginning it seems easy enough. But, diverse avenues of interest can spread you out before you know it…so, plan the organization of your materials and gear.

Lastly, plan a pleasant place to tie. I have tied on bread boards, kitchen counters, cold garages, damp basements, dining room and kitchen tables. Make it pleasant and have excellent lighting and a perfect back drop to avoid eye strain. Clean up after yourself after completing each pattern. Otherwise you will create that layered look of spey fly materials on top of stillwater patterns on top of ….'”now where did I put that dubbing?”  Tie the basic patterns and master the techniques while creating worthy, productive patterns. Enjoy!

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July 2020

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