View Full Version : getting started tips

milligan trout degree
09-18-2007, 06:17 PM
I'm looking into beginning to tie my own flys. Not really for the fact that I spend a lot of money on store bought flys now, but rather because I like the idea of sitting in my dorm room planning out patterns a few nights before I actually hit the water. And just the creativity aspect of tying my own flies.

My question is whether I should compile a list of material/equipment that I'm gonna need, or should I look into a beginning fly kit? If so, does anyone have an suggestions toward a good kit?

Thanks for any advice.


David Knapp
09-18-2007, 07:06 PM
Take the class LRO offers! The best way to get into fly tying is to try it out before making too much of an investment. Also, let LRO put together a good package for you. Most of the kits on the market are not all that great and will give you a bunch of stuff you don't need or won't use for awhile anyway. Just get the essentials to cover your most used flies (starting with the easy ones)... Beware, if you start down this path you won't be able to step into a fly shop without buying some new materials...:rolleyes: :biggrin:

09-18-2007, 07:14 PM
I second PA's recomendation......I took the LRO class and it was a great benifit.....Walter and Brian taught our class and they are great at working with beginners to moderately experienced. Plus you will tye your first flies right there and have a guide book to take with you to keep working with.....the LRO fly tying classes are well worth the money ( and make sure you ask questions if you have any)......I am at the point all of my tying equip. has been upgraded and currently about 90% of my equip is from LRO...the price is good and you don't pay shipping if you order online or via phone..........


09-19-2007, 02:49 AM
take the class for sure! buckeyetrouter and I were in the same class. the value in the class lies not so much in learning to tie the 6 patterns they show you, you can learn those yourself. the real value is getting to spend all day with 2 excellent tiers, watching them tie, and all the info and personal opinion you'll gain. I guarantee you'll learn more than just tying in that class. you'll probably pick up a wealth of general fly fishing info as well. walter babb (one of the instructors) is a no b.s. kind of guy. he gets straight to the point of what works. brian courtney is also a great teacher.

as for a kit, I bought an orvis kit from LRO apprx 1 year before I took the class. I screwed around with it a little, but never really got into tying until I took the class. now that I tie, I don't use hardly anything from that kit. in fact, the vise broke within a week and paula was nice enough to give me a much better vise for free. for the same price, maybe a little more, you can piece together your own little kit.

milligan trout degree
09-19-2007, 08:14 AM
I appreciate the advice. I'm really looking forward to getting into tying my own stuff. Like I said, I'm excited more for just the hobby and art of tying my own flies than finding a way to save money. Heck, if I didn't "need new flies every week", I wouldn't have any reason to go to a fly shop every week just to look around.

Right now, I'm planning on taking the fly tying class at LRO, but it may have to wait till later in the year when I get to come home and stay for a few days. Maybe fall break or Christmas break. Anyway thanks for the advice, I'll start doing some research on some equipment I'll need and make a swing by LRO one of these days.

By the way, is fly tying equipment not sold online. If it is, I couldn't find it. Perhaps it's jut me though.


Byron Begley
09-19-2007, 01:33 PM

Thank you for your question. We don't sell fly tying materials on the website. As a business we can't depend on the fullfillment of orders from fly tying vendors. For instance, I'm receiving a Tiemco hook order right now and I only got about half of what I ordered. Hackle is even less reliable. We just can't keep everything in stock so putting it on the online catalog wouldn't work. We may put tools on the site at some point though. If you need materials give us a call and we'll try to fill your needs.

And guys,

Thanks for the comments about our classes. Walter and Brian do a great job. I've learned a lot by hanging around those guys.


Flying Trout
09-19-2007, 07:32 PM
I agree with the classes comments and plan on taking the second class this winter. Another thing that helped me was watching the free demonstrations in the winter months. I can not even come close to tying some of the flies that some of those people tie, but you can get great advice from them on tools and materials. The other advantage from the demonstrations is that you walk away with more confidence and that helps when doing anything. When I bought my tying materials and tools I had Daniel take me around the shop and help pick out the basics. he was very honest about the tools and the quality you either needed or did not.

09-21-2007, 04:30 PM
I appreciate the advice. I'm really looking forward to getting into tying my own stuff. Like I said, I'm excited more for just the hobby and art of tying my own flies than finding a way to save money.

http://www.smilieshq.com/smilies/happy0188.gif (http://www.smilieshq.com)

Like others have said take a class from LRO...it'll shorten your learning curve immensely.


09-21-2007, 05:31 PM
Also make sure you check out the "beginning fly tying" section of flyanglersonline. Working through that will get your skills together quickly.

I also took the beginner class at LRO, and it was fantastic. IMHO, one of the real values of that class is that they base their series of classes on flies you will actually use - by the time you get through the advanced class you will have a quiver of patterns that all work in the Smokies and local tailwaters.

The downside to the online tying guides (like the one I mentioned above) and some video presentations is that you will end up practicing on flies you may never use here.

But the LRO beginner class? Heck, most of the time I'm fishing with a Hare's Ear nymph and an Elk Hair Caddis - both of which you learn to tie in the beginner class. Very cool.

Byron Begley
09-22-2007, 06:55 PM
We have dates for the Tying Classes. I'm sure you will see this all over the website but:

Beginner Fly Tying with Walter Babb & Brian Courtney
November 3, 2007
November 17, 2007
January 5, 2008
February 23, 2008

Intermediate Fly Tying with Walter & Brian
December 1, 2007
January 19, 2008

Advanced Fly Tying with Walter & Brian.
December 15, 2007
February 9, 2008

Call the shop to sign up. We may have a popper class with Dean Campbell. Let us know if you are interested.


milligan trout degree
09-23-2007, 11:47 PM
So, here's my plan:

I'm coming back home in a week and a half for fall break. I'll be in for about five days and one of those days I'm gonna swing by LRO and see if I can't get an idea as to what I'm gonna need.

Then, the Jan. 5 beginners class is set up perfect for a Jan. 4 b-day present.:smile:

Thanks for the responses on this. I'll be making a run through Townsend in a about two weeks. See ya then.


09-25-2007, 06:47 PM
How much of an investment would it be to get started? You can ball park it.

milligan trout degree
09-25-2007, 11:10 PM

I can't answer that for you. I've never really done much more than just browse through the fly tying material sections at fly shops. Hopefully someone can give an estimate.


09-26-2007, 12:46 AM
the investment would vary depending on many factors, mainly how much you want to spend on a vise. for basic fly tying, the vise just needs to hold the hook, and there are some decent low priced vises that will do that very well. you also need a bobbin or two. get one that is ceramic tipped. LRO sells a "beginner" bobbin for about $6, which is ceramic. I don't know what's beginner about it, as I actually prefer it to the other $20 bobbins I own. you also need scissors, hair stacker, hackle pliers, and a few other little gadgets you may or may not use right off the bat. you can usually buy a pack that contains all these tools.

as far as materials, just pick a few flies you want to tie and buy the materials needed for them. If you buy a bunch of materials up front, it could be very costly. you should be able to get started for maybe $100. and then just buy extra materials and tools as you need them. what will likely happen, if you're like me, is you'll buy a couple little things everytime you visit the flyshop, spending just a few dollars here and there. within a few months, you'll look at all the materials you have amassed and think, "how did I buy all this stuff?"

again, the LRO class is well worth the investment, if you can take it. something else of great value (and free) are the winter fly tying demonstrations at LRO. I went to almost every one last year, picked the tyer's brains, and learned a great deal.

also, please know that learning to tie is not near as hard as it may seem. it's much like fly fishing, in that it seems like alot to learn up front, but once you learn it, you realize it's not so difficult. It's also like fly fishing, in that you can always learn more or improve. I'm no expert tyer, I'm not even a good tyer, but I can tie flies and catch fish on them, and I enjoy it.

09-26-2007, 06:33 AM
hey Trevor........the new class dates are posted with the intermediate in January 08 and the advanced in Feb 08.....are you concidering any of them?
I believe I am going to try and make both classes.....and may even try to slip into a popper's class if they have one......

gotta call LRO today and get my name on the list......