View Full Version : No set rules

01-01-2009, 02:44 PM
First off, Happy New Year to Everyone. I just wanted to share some insights I have gained since I reentered the game of fly tying. I enjoy the fact, that in my old age I have found that not following conventional wisdom and rules when it comes to fly tying and for that matter fly fishing has greatly empowered myself. Now, before you say I've lost it completely. Consider this. Most fly recipes I have seen for the same fly have different takes on the order of operations as well as ingredients in the dressing. It's a joy to have become liberated from the you need such and such materials or that you need to wrap this before you wrap that. Have I lost it or do someone out there have any insight?

01-01-2009, 05:01 PM
Will it fish? Thats the question, I don't feel like the rest even matters! As far as some of the old patterns go, they may still work, but they dont have my confidence like some of the new or tweaked patterns!


01-01-2009, 05:07 PM

It's not so much as new vs old patterns. I'm referring more to the fact that some instructions say to tie in the rib up front and the next recipe say tie it in at the back etc etc. Or on spiders, some say tie the soft hackles in by the tip, others by the stem. I guess everything is up for interpretation. I enjoy the liberation of it though. As for if they catch fish, I have caught more fish on a tore up fly than the perfect shaped ones. I think we over analyze the fact of a perfect fly importance.

01-01-2009, 08:08 PM
Hans, Happy New Year...there are some steelhead we need to start thinking about...

I agree with you on a number of points. I read somewhere about how Lee Wulff tied his flies. He hated for them to look too perfect. He thought they were much more effective when they looked "scruffy". I think most everyone has had the torn-up fly epiphany, as well. Its amazing how once a fly has caught a few fish and really starts to look ragged, that it seems to catch even more fish and at a faster rate. We spend so much time perfecting out tying techniques and yet the most ragged flies usually outcatch the perfect ones, go figure...

As far as rules, I agree as well. I enjoy watching other folks tie and watching videos, not so much for specific instruction on patterns but more so for leaning new techniques and styles of handling different materials. I enjoy tweaking patterns as I ties them. I may tie one or two flies the way we are "supposed" to, but I then quickly try to figure out to do it faster, and with different materials. Its the creative aspect that I enjoy more than anything else. Whenever it starts to feel to repetitive, I stop tying for awhile...

01-01-2009, 10:02 PM
Pete, Yeah, I spoke to one of my buddies on the phone today and I actually mentioned your name. I was thinking the same thing. I guess three four more weeks or so. I need to get that out of state license in a few weeks. Shoot me an email or call me when you think it's getting closer to the time.

01-01-2009, 10:42 PM
I agree with you Tennswede...There are good examples that back this up. In a dry caddis pattern tying the body from increased thickness to decreased thickness (backwards, from tail to end of body) helps the wing flow over the body in a natural manner. I've seen fellow fly tyers wrap their hackle from the hook eye back to the body, and then wrap it forward again. Frank Sawyer used wire instead of thread to tie his Sawyer's PT nymphs.

Gerry Romer
01-01-2009, 10:48 PM
I got a real kick out of watching Jack Gregory tie flies at Troutfest last summer. He'd tie up a big messy bug on a size 10 or 8 hook and I'd offer that it didn't look like any specific thing, but that it did look "buggy", and he'd kinda grin and wink and say, "Yeah, that'll fetch!"

Sounds to me like that's where you've gotten to... the point where recipe meets practicality. You learn the essence of the "bug" - the materials list that defines the best material for imitating the natural - and then you start to visualize that imitation floating toward you, bouncing along the stream bottom. That's when you throw the "formula" out the window and tie something that you'd take a chance on eating if you were that hungry brown hanging out in that side eddy... something that looks like it would "fetch".

Take a look at Oliver Edwards tying Frank Sawyer's "Killer Bug" (you can find it on YouTube, but if you don't I can supply a link). You'll probably never find the 85/15 yarn that Frank used to tie the original... but I've found a Bernat Felting natural wool that comes pretty close - although I'll probably have to break it down and use only about every other foot of it, since it's a newer hombre pattern.... and then there's the red wire... yeah, I've got that too.

Inspiration. Tie up what feels right in whatever order is best for your insight, and then go fish it.

If it doesn't work, tweak it!!!

01-01-2009, 11:11 PM
You said it Mr. Romer, if a trout is hungry, he will not care about the pattern but more so it's "fetchability"....:biggrin:. On the Davidson River in Brevard, NC, the browns are used to seeing the same ole fly drift after drift, and tying on that big messy bug that they haven't ever seen can make a world of a difference.