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Old 02-17-2009, 09:02 AM
jross jross is offline
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Location: southern Indiana
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Default to tie or not to tie!

I only get to trout fish a few weeks a year. I do get to bluegill and bass fish all the time. SOOO is fly tying a pursuit worth pursuing? Does it save any money in the long run? Or is it more of an artistic approach to a hobby? (Not to say something I shouldn't) but I checked on LRO's catalog and didn't see a fly tying kit. So can ya'll suggest a good starter kit?

ps. when I was a kid my dad and I made all kinds of baits. I tied little streamers for creek chubs!
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Old 02-17-2009, 09:28 AM
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flyred06 flyred06 is offline
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Location: Gadsden, Alabama
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I am in the same boat. I usually just buy my trout stuff but I tie up my bluegill and bass stuff. Alot of your material can be used in several different applications. I will say once you get started it is addicting. There are people in our fly fishing club and area who had rather tie than fish. But when a popper cost anywhere from 2.50 up and you can tie for less than 1.00 it does begin to add up. Check around and call LRO and ask daniel about some starter kits and get their opinion. I started this about a year ago and already have more flies in different patterns than I will use in three seasons. Start with clousers, wolly bugger and foam terestrials. You tube is a good place to watch free tying demos. Good Luck
Romans 10:9-10 KJV
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Old 02-17-2009, 12:15 PM
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monktrout monktrout is offline
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Default tying

It's kind of like flyfishing. With $100 outfit you can catch fish. With $1000 worth of Gore-Tex you can look like you catch fish. Flytying is no diferent. A set of simple tools and cheap materials and you can tie up nymphs, midge, leeches. High floating match the hatch hackles and swirling vises will cost you as much as a vest full of production flies. It is great fun. Monk
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Old 02-17-2009, 12:24 PM
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PeteCz PeteCz is offline
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Location: Maryville, TN
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Default To tie or not to tie...

Without getting too Shakespearean, I'll give you my two cents. If you are going to tie flies to save money...forget it. I have a pretty basic setup of tools and a few small bins of materials. If I had to guess (and hopefully my wife isn't reading this...), I think I probably have $700 involved in everything. So at $1.75 per fly I would have to tie 400 of them just to break even. I usually fish about 30x per year and lose 2 flies per trip on average (which is actually on the high side, I usually do everything possible to snag them out of the trees after putting so much effort into tying them, but I digress). I had a pretty well stocked set of fly boxes before I started, so I'm usually only tying things that I have to replace. So at that rate, I'm going through 60 flies per year and it will take approximately 7 years to breakeven!

The fact is, you may settle on a handful of patterns and can limit the amount you spend to just the materials you need. Even still, the materials may cost you upwards of $0.50 per fly that you tie (hooks and hackle primarily), so you are only saving $1.25 per dry trout fly (obviously other types have different costs associated with them).

So if you are going to tie flies to save money. Forget it!!!

Now that all being said, I'm one of those people that almost enjoys tying as much as I do fishing. I'm not sure why, but its true. (And trust me, I enjoy fishing...). I can't describe it and won't even try. I have boxes of flies I will never fish with. I have tied well over the 400 to breakeven, so my production has matched my investment, if I stopped right now I doubt I will use all of the flies I tied in 10 years or more (and I keep tying....). I have been giving away flies to try and rationalize the need to keep tying (I'm tying about 4 dozen per month, right now...). Can you say addiction?

Tying is not for everyone, and it will take some time to start tying decent looking flies (which of course is quite subjective) or at a speed that seems worth the effort (2-3 flies per hour in the beginning, is about the best you can expect - much fewer I would think if you want to tie poppers). But as you gain skills, it becomes a lot more enjoyable. Taking a class and watching other tiers is VERY helpful, as well. Plus you can do it on a moments notice and for as little as 10-15 minutes (assuming you have a place to tie at). So its easy to do it when you want...fishing is not quite as simple...

Net-net: If you want a new hobby (a potentially addictive one) it can be very rewarding. If you want to save money, forget it...(have I emphasized that enough?)

btw, If you use the search feature on the forum and type in "tying kit" or "beginner tying" it should bring up some useful posts about start-up kits and tips to get started.

"Even a fish wouldn't get into trouble if he kept his mouth shut."
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Old 02-17-2009, 03:45 PM
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jeffnles1 jeffnles1 is offline
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Location: Northern Kentucky
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My input is much the same as Petecz's

It may make you feel better to tell your wife / significant other that you save money tying flies, I'm sure we'll all support you in that effort.

The reality is you will not save money.

However, since you mentioned warm water fish (bluegill and bass) tying your own will allow you to have a ready supply of a lot of different types of flies that are hard to find commercially if at all. A lot of the foam body "gurgle pop" type of flies are not readily available commercially but are deadly on the warm water fish.

The same with some of the streamers / woolie bugger type flies. You can customize them for your specific water (color combinations, size and weight) to match your conditions where most commercially tied flies are specific patterns (Adams) or a generic fly (woolie bugger) vs. something you can create for your specific waters.

Also, tying your own means that you won't get caught short handed. If you wake up one morning and decide to go fishing just to realize your last yellow popper was hung in a tree two days ago, no big deal, tie up a couple new ones and hit the lake / stream. No trip to the store or no waiding on the UPS truck to deliver it to you.

Those are the practical reasons.

Now for the more poetic reasons.

There is just something about catching a fish on a fly you tied yourself that is very rewarding. Additionally, catching a fish on a fly you more or less created (usually by making alterations to existing patterns) is even more rewarding.

Also, there is the creative output. There is something of a creative release from taking a bunch of hair, feathers and fuzz & a hook and turning it into something that looks like a bug the fish will eat.

Stress relief is also another benefit. I find it quite relaxing to get my stuff out and tie up a dozen or so flies. I may end up giving them to friends and I usually end up giving them to local trees, rocks and snags. However, one can quickly have a lifetime supply of flies. That does not mean one stops tying. I've found as I have gained skill, I will toss old flies that were effective but not tied well with newer versions that are better dressed.

As for what to get, I would recommend calling LRO and discussing with them. Better yet, take one of their beginner fly tying classes. If you can't get there for the class, check with a local fly fishing club and see if they are offering any beginner classes.

A class is going to get you going a lot faster than trial and error.

I took the advanced class at LRO this month and it was a hoot. Walter is an excellent teacher and the atmosphere in the class was light and fun. We all had a great time. No, I do not consider myself an advanced fly tier, the class had some flies that I really wanted to learn how to tie and I have been at this for a couple years therefore I'm not a beginner either.

However, I'm sure the beginner class would get you well along the way to tying flies that will catch fish. Also, you'll be able to see what tools, gizmos and gadgets you really need.

Hope this helps.

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Old 02-17-2009, 05:15 PM
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Carolina Boy Carolina Boy is offline
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Location: Waynesville NC
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Default I would just do it?

There isn't, in my opinion, anything cooler than fooling a fish of any type to eat a bit of fur and feather that you created! Not to mention how excited you get tying up flies for your next trip. For me there is such a sense of satisfaction in going to some far off place and catching fish on your creations. I personally have several ricker boxes in my office that display flies that are important to me that I have tied and used succefully in places as far as away as Ireland to the first flies I tied and caught trout on in the park. Right now I have tied over 100 bonefish flies for an upcoming trip, can't wait, and tying just gets me more excited about the next adventure! Try it out, you will love it.
If it swims throw a fly at it!

Barry Murphy
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"Healing Those Who Serve"
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Old 02-17-2009, 10:10 PM
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MickinMS MickinMS is offline
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Location: right outside Memphis, TN
Posts: 69

I agree with the comments so far. It is addictive and there is no way you will save money. There will always be a fly you want to try so you have to buy some obscure piece of material that you will never use again. But there is nothing more satisfying than catching a fish on a fly you tied yourself. Like Carolina Boy, I have tied over 100 flies for a redfish trip I am taking in two weeks. If that was not enough, I built my own eight wt rod for the trip. Jump in and enjoy!
The greatest treasure we can leave our children, is the knowledge and love of the great outdoors.....
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Old 02-18-2009, 01:48 AM
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milligan trout degree milligan trout degree is offline
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Just another step in fly-fishing maturation.
"I've got to stop wishin, I've got to go fishin"
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Old 02-18-2009, 09:36 AM
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Grannyknot Grannyknot is offline
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What if you only bought the tools and materials to tie midges?

Seems like at $1.50-2 a pop, you could save money on those. Maybe not.
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Old 02-18-2009, 09:38 AM
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flyred06 flyred06 is offline
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Location: Gadsden, Alabama
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read the book small flies by John Gierach and the introduction alone will answer your questions. And he is best friends with one of the best A.K. Best.
Romans 10:9-10 KJV
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