View Full Version : Fly Tying for Beginners

05-13-2008, 02:34 PM
Hey guys. I am new around here, so forgive me if I am asking a redundant question that has been asked 1000 times before.

I want to learn to tie my own flies. I think it would be a great hobby to entice me to fish more. But, I need some help. I don't like having to purchase things twice so I thought I would ask your opinion about a list of fly tying tools for a new guy. I found this list:


I like this list because most of the gear looks pretty good and not really cheap like some of the kits you see. Would you recommend changing anything or upgrading anything? I don't really want to buy something and then upgrade it except for a vise. I am just not ready to drop 800 bucks on a vise at this point.

If you have any information that I should consider, please share it with me. Thanks.

05-13-2008, 09:05 PM
I don't consider myself an "expert" tyer - its a means to end for me, but I tie just about everything I fish for the last 10 years or learn to tie the pattern that a friend has turned me onto ...
Ceramic bobbins are nice, but plains one will do - to make em smoother feeling I make plastic washers from milk cartons for the metal to spool contact area...
Though every one of my tying buddies use em, I've just never found the need for a whip finish - I do it by hand, couple overhand loops an viola, close enough for government and hasn't been a problem yet - if I need some stying power I'll add some cement or nail polish...
did go with the roatary hackle pliers, nice tool to have, worth it in my opinion to handle all hackle sizes, even midge if you are delicate with the tension...
bobbin threader? ahh, nah no need, just run the thread it through or put pressure on one end and suck it through like a straw...
hackle guards, haven't used them nor had a need for them...not to say you wouldn't but...fingers work great...
You can less on gadets and put into a decent rotary vise (which can be had for less than 200 like a peak or spartan)
Your materials and hooks will grow (out of control mind you) with the season as you tie for what ever's hatchn or what your chasn...

tire guy
05-13-2008, 09:33 PM
Hutch a one time purchase of a moderate vise is not out of line. And with my age at 50 the need for great light and magnification are essential. The rest of the tools I would suggest using whatever your teacher uses. And after a time you will see and read about other techniques requiring other tools (toys). The list shown on the web site you listed would be very complete, with the exceptions of specialty items for your fishing needs. LRO has more toys (tools) needed for fly tying than most. It is where I purchased mine and a lot of add-ons since. Catching the first fish on your own bug is like Christmas for you not the fish.

05-14-2008, 06:42 AM
Thanks for the information guys. My first trip to LRO is on Monday. I am really excited. My wife and I are going to leave on Sunday and hope to be there in about 6 hours or so. I am looking forward to seeing what they have at the store. Everyone is so nice here. This is going to be great. Thank you again!

05-14-2008, 07:47 AM
Hutch, thats a pretty exhaustive list on the FAOL website. If you are sure that you will stick with it then by all means, go ahead and purchase all of the items that are in the kit. We had another thread on here about getting started as a beginner, that you might want to read: http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10242

I like the approach that Waterborn and Brian have taken (simplify). I think your best bet is to take a fly tying class and use all of the tools that you may or may not buy first and then decide which ones you need vs. want. If you can't take a class first, decide on a few patterns that you really want to learn how to tie and get a book and/or find the recipes online. Books usually go into more detail, but some of the websites out there provide good tutorials, as well. From the recipes get only the materials you will need. You could go overboard and buy a bunch of materials, but even once you start tying a lot you'll be amazed how few materials you use on a consistent basis. The 80/20 rule. I use alot of Peacock herl; grey and yellow dubbing; grizzly and brown hackles; yellow foam; yellow, black and fire red thread; #14 and #16 std and 2xl dry fly hooks; .015 lead and sm gold wire. For hackle, I would recommend Whiting 100s in Grizzly and another in Brown instead of whole capes, at least at first. Later on you may want to buy a few capes, but I wouldn't up front.

The tools that I purchased were a rotary vise, scissors (2 pair), hair stacker, bodkin, whip finisher, plastic applicator bottle (filled with Sally Hansen "Hard as Nails" clear nail polish for finishing), bobbins (3 - non ceramic) and a bobbin threader. I have tried to use hackle pliers but always end up breaking off the tips of hackles and have found I can do an adequate job with my fingers. You don't need a bobbin threader, but you can pick up a set of disposable ones for around $3, so why not. You could also survive without a whip finisher, but if you learn how to use one, they make finishing a lot nicer/neater/quicker. Personal preference will become the deciding factor once you start tying in quantities.

Good light is critical as is good eyesight. I bought a $19 full spectrum light from Home Depot about 2 weeks ago and can't believe how much easier it makes doing detail work. Also, even if you have great eyesight, pickup a pair of low power "reading" glasses at the drug store. You'll be amazed how much better you can do detail work with the little bump in magnification.

Good luck and prepare to become addicted......

05-14-2008, 08:56 AM

That was a great link you posted and contained some great information; thank you. I like the approach of taking a class first. It looks like the schedule does not include any upcoming classes at LRO.

Can one of the moderators possibly comment about the possibility of a class in Late May or June?

06-30-2008, 04:23 PM
If it is a matter of getting enough people to fill a class you can count me in...

07-01-2008, 04:13 PM
I'm not a 100% but depending on how much you want to spend I believe that they will do private lessons. Call Daniel and ask him what they are able to do.