Tying Supply Storage [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Tying Supply Storage

11-24-2003, 10:10 AM
All my fly tying gear has been moved to the basement. Hackles, bucktails, etc... are all stored in large snap-top Rubbermaid boxes.

While I have never experienced it, I ahve heard of people having bug problems when this stuff was improperly stored.

Pickng up some silica gel to store in each box and thinking about adding some cedar. Don't want to add moth balls.

Any other recomendations?



Doc Duprey
11-24-2003, 10:29 AM

Would you believe bay leaves?

Put several whole leaves (fresh as you can get) in each container. Started this over 20 years ago and have never lost material to bugs. Besides, it makes the materials smell a lot better than moth balls.

Option 2 is the small cedar pieces you see to put in drawers to protect wool clothing. I think Christmas Tree Shops has those. Be careful though, because the oil from the cedar can damage some types of plastic.

Hope this helps.

Best regards,


11-24-2003, 11:09 AM
Good to hear from you Roop!

I've definitely had bug problems with natural materials in the past. Cedar sounds good and the bay leaves are very interesting solution Doc.

Poisonally, I now use airtightness to combat the bugs and it's been workin' great. Besides I find the smell of napthalene to be undesirable - have you ever smelled moth balls? :hehe:

Flies I tie per year by percentage:

75% striper flies
20% steelhead flies
5% other

Used to be 95% steelhead and 5% salmon while living on the west coast - meaning lots of naturals and expensive at that!

But now, with 75% striper flies and that being 75% synthetic, I have much less of a problem with bug damage. Just don't have a lot of naturals in my tying kit compared to before.

For the bucktails and hackles I do have, the airtight container approach is working well especially when I put bags of sorted materials into the airtight tubs.

Anything synthetic does not go into the tubs. I use a section of flourescent light tubing to pack full swatches of flash materials and synthetics and they go into the tying kit just like that.

After investing in a few of those snap-tight cases even my rarely used atlantic salmon feathers (the rare and pricey stash) are good as new. And like... unused as well, but maybe this winter I'll bring a few rangers or a jock scott to the vise. :rolleyes:

For bucktails I have a dedicated tupperware container where all those smelly little tail rinds go into. I could use a little bay leaf in that one let me tell ya! ;)

Striper hackles are put back into the plastic bags or put into larger flat bags and placed into tupperware as well except for smaller portions I carry in my portable striper tying kit. I steal marabou swatches from my steelhead kit fpr striper flies but the rest of my naturals for stripers are small stuff used for shrimp, crab, flounder and other flats critter flies. These portions are so small I don't even think the bugs are interested in them.

Probably the best solution for airtight storage would be to use my Tilia Vaccuum sealer's adapter for bins and jars. Kind of a pain to re-seal but for long term storage of very expensive materials like jungle cock eyes, blue-eared pheasant, polar bear and heron :devil: it would be the way to go.


11-24-2003, 11:17 AM
I tried organizing materials into large zip-lock bags last year but it doesn't take me too long to have the stuff scattered about. I seem to have accumalated a number of those canisters that single malts come in and have decided they will work nicely for a lot of the stuff.

11-24-2003, 11:49 AM
"I seem to have accumalated a number of those canisters that single malts come in and have decided they will work nicely for a lot of the stuff."

My Father in law also saves these for me and they work just great; just put a lable on the out side noting what's 'in side.'

John Desjardins
11-24-2003, 12:09 PM
I'm a fan of heavy duty zip lock bags for storage and use them to try to keep items separate to limit the damage if 1 item somehow gets bugs. So far I've been lucky and only had problems with a patch of porcupine quills several years ago.

Be doubly carefull with any items acquired via friendly hunters.

11-24-2003, 04:10 PM
I use ziplock bags in several sizes for materials such as hackle necks and saddles or blue eared pheasant, other bird feathers, etc. that I then put in cardboard boxes that have been labeled with the contents. I've never had a bug problem with this type of storage. I also use airtight storage containers (my favorites are the shoe box size ones) and in these I just put the material in and close the top. Agian I've never had a probelm with bugs using this method.

I have among my materials 2 top grade Jungle Cock necks that were bought back in early 1972 (right after the import ban I acquired 5 of them because I didn't know when they might be available again) that have been stored in zip locks and they are still like new.

I never put uncleaned or untreated materials in any type of storage because that is just asking for trouble. I learned this the hard way many years ago when given a couple of very nice guinea skins by a fellow who raised them. Since that experience, I always either clean or treat materials that have come from hunting or farmers.

11-25-2003, 08:26 AM
Thanks guys, much apreciated.

Plan on spending way more time at the vice this winter.


11-25-2003, 08:27 AM
oh, how the mighty have fallen.

11-25-2003, 02:32 PM
oh, how the mighty have fallen

So true, had to make room for the bassinet.

I guess now the basement will get finished

11-25-2003, 04:13 PM
When was/is the blessed event? In either case, congratulations.

11-25-2003, 05:16 PM
I use a whole bunch of Nicks boxes...that I accumulated over the last couple years... the ones I was suppose to give................I mean the ones I was inspecting to make sure they were safe... they were not!... so I decided that for the protection of everyone ..I would keep them. I know, It's a sacrafice . but I was willing to take that chance for the good of the forum.:devil:

11-25-2003, 06:55 PM
A steal on e-bay...
Airtight and bug proof...
They're a bit heavy and things stored in them tend to glow...
1 and 1/2 thumbs up!

11-26-2003, 05:15 AM
For short term I use zip lock bags. For longer storage I use Food Saver bags, no air and compresses the material nicely.

11-26-2003, 07:40 AM
Check out the humidity level down there. Not only bugs, but mold can be a problem in the basement.... A dehumidifier is cheap insurance if necessary.

BTW, Juro, those salmon flies work just fine on stripers. They're very nondiscriminatory!!!