help with fly tying start up? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: help with fly tying start up?

01-22-2006, 08:36 PM
Hi all, I am attempting to start tying my own flies. I have no idea about start up equipment. If you can through a little advise or guidance my way it would be great. Equipment, material....

Any help would be great. Thanks Greg

01-23-2006, 01:53 AM
This is usually a "kit vs. no kit" debate, both sides of which have merit.

What is your budget and what fish do you normally target?

01-23-2006, 05:52 AM
I would start with a good book (one that covrs some of the flys you fish with0 and purchase materials as you need them.
There are many threads on this topic, and you could do a search on "tying kits)" to find some more information on the subject.

01-23-2006, 04:19 PM
A good vise is a must (good one can be had for $50.00 or less- Thompson model A and Pro and the Griffin model 1A, and 2A are all excellent cheap vices), good scissors, a bobbin to hold the thread, a bodkin (a needle in a handle used to pick out materials and apply head cement when the fly is finished), and a good basic fly tying manual are the necessities.

As far as materials, get the materials and hooks needed to tie simple flies but effective flies like Woolley Buggers, Grey Hackles, Brown Hackles to start. Then add materials as needed to tie another fly. For hackle, Grade #3 necks are the best value; but you can get Whiting hackle packs for around $10.00 that will tie a lot of flies of one or two sizes, so they are what I recommend as the best way to go for a beginner. Hackle in brown and grizzly will cover a lot of your tying needs, and then you can add ginger and black.

Some marabou in olive and black, chenile in black, and yarn in yellow, red, grey, and black is all you really need to get started.

And the best thing you can do to learn fly tying is take a fly tying class at a local fly shop, fly fishing club, or from an experienced fly tyer in your area. Doing so will help tremendously and avoid frustration while allowing you to tie good flies pretty quickly.

01-23-2006, 07:15 PM
Thanks everyone. I have just signed myself up for a tying class. It meets once a week for 10 weeks. This should be a good foundation to build from. I have been fishing for years and have always been intimidated by what appears to be a very complex process. I am very much looking forward to learning as much as I can. It must be a great feeling to catch anything on a fly that you have created. I can't wait..

One more question... What do you guys think of the Danvise?? I have an opportunity to buy on for 40$. Let me know what you guys think.

again thank you for all of the advice

01-23-2006, 07:53 PM
I started out just a year ago with a kit and it's worked out well in very well in terms of supplying a diverse bunch of materials and especially a bunch of different size hooks. It allowed me to tie a bunch of different flies and figure out what materials I needed before resupplying.

The bad part was the really crappy vise that came with it. It worked ok (barely) for the first bunch of flies, but after about 25 flies it became very difficult to use and the jaws were all messed up. Since a good vise is one of the most important (if not THE most important) thing for tying, the kit approach gets a thumbs down from me. I think it's better to go to a local shop and buy an inexpensive vise and ask somebody there for a selection of materials and tools to tie a bunch of easy patterns.

01-23-2006, 09:03 PM
When your first starting to tie you can easily spend a lot of money. You shouldn't skimp on some items like (good hackles, vise, and scissors), but here are a few things that might same you some money.

Use cheap craft store beads in place of the more expensive tungsten bead heads you can find in the fly shops. Some of the colored beads can make very interesting looking heads when your messing around at the vise.

Standard wool yarn can be cut up very fine and will dubb onto thread with some wax. It will save some of the more expensive dubbings. Use only for streamers and wet flies. The wool will suck up water fast and be too heavy for dry flies.

Thread from discount stores can be found in packs of 50 colors for $1.00. It is mildly thicker than the thread in the fly shops, but can still tie desent flies.

Embrodery floss from craft stores works well. Cut the length of it you will need for your fly and pull it apart into single strands.

01-23-2006, 09:14 PM
I agree you should buy the best vise and tools you can afford. If you buy cheap tools you will become frustrated very soon and end up going back for the better equipment anyway. I also like to use DVDs that way you can stop and start when you catch up or rewind and get a better look at the techniques being covered.

01-24-2006, 04:18 AM
Take a lesson. Your local flyshop should help you out with this. It will give you confidence and then you'll know what to buy. FishHawk

01-24-2006, 06:40 AM
One more question... What do you guys think of the Danvise?? I have an opportunity to buy on for 40$. Let me know what you guys think.

The Danvise is fine. Not everyone likes it because the body is a bit fat, and some think it has too many plastic parts, but it's gotten good reviews. (I haven't used one so take the above with a grain of salt. On the other hand if you don't want it I'll buy it for $40. :D )

I was lucky in that my dad's firends all tied flys and they all taught me. I had a bunch of tying mentors. :D

My suggestion if you'd like to get started now, is to get yourself a copy of the Orvis Fly-Tying Guide by Tom Rosenbauer. Start at the beginning with a Wolly Worm and work your way through the book.

Only buy the materials you need for the fly you are working on. As you start tying new flys you'll get new materials and soon you'll find you have a ton of materials.

Don't tie one of a particular type of fly and move on to the next. Tie 10 or 20. Vary the colors if you want to.

The Orvis book has a ton of good patterns in the back and should keep you busy for a long time. (The only issue I have with the book is there isn't an index to the fly patterns. :tsk_tsk: )

If you run into a problem come ask. We'll be glad to help.

01-24-2006, 07:56 AM
I can't thank you guys enough. I am learning a ton just reading the replies. I wish I had a local fly shop around me....closest on e is 2.5 hours away. This makes it tough. If I had one I would visit often...very often wife would probably shoot me. So I guess I am lucky in that regard.

I have been reading some post by fly tiers who get fatigued tying and want to quit. They state many reasons. I don't want to go in that direction, all I want to do is have fun, tie a few flies catch some fish and continue to learn about this awesome sport. If you guys know of very common mistakes our just things I should avoid please let me know. I want to take a healthy approach toward this.

Again thanks for all the help..I really do appreciate your experience.

01-24-2006, 01:06 PM

The Danvise is very good, serviceable full rotary vise and at $40.00 it is a very good buy. I'd say buy it because it will last a long time and it hold hooks very, very well.

Once thing all of us forgot to mention is the necessity to have a good light when tying. I have found the best lighting is produced by the so-called full spectrum lights by lumenlight, Ott Lights, or the one Hareline Dubbing has had on the market the last year. None of these are cheap, they run between about $65.00 and $100.00; but after an hour or more at the vise you will greatly appreciate the light they produce. If you don't want to spend that much on a light, go with one of the cheaper drafting, swing arm lights you can find at Wal-mart or Kmart and use a "natural light" light bulb of 75 watts in it. The full spectrum lights (and the "natural light" light bulbs) are very close to sunlight at 12 noon and as such they let you see better without color distortion and are easy on the eyes as a result.

01-24-2006, 03:01 PM
Hi flytyer, Thank you very much I will look into a good light.
How about a magnifier of some sort??? Is a magnifier needed??
Tools..I have seen a very broad spectrum of prices..scissors 4-20$ Where should I land in that price range.

again thanks


01-24-2006, 03:46 PM
Definately get a good light, but the magnifier just depends on your eyes. Once you get over 45, like me, you will need one. I can't tie anything very small without my light and magnifier. I took the advise of a couple friends when I started tying and bought the best scissors I could find, about $18 and I'm glad now I did. But as someone else mentioned, if you can take a class you will see exactly what you need and can buy it as you go along. I bought a kit when I started and found that the tools were too cheaply made and I didn't need some of them in the package.

01-25-2006, 05:18 PM

A good pair of scissors can be had for around $10.00-$12.00. The Griffin All Purpose scissors are good ones as are the Gudebrod scissors, and both are around $10.00 give or take a little.

A decent bobbin can be had for that same $10.00. And if you can find one, the S&M bobbin is my favorite bobbin (I own 20 of them) and it sell for $6.00-$7.50. Unfortunately, they are not always easy to find.

I personally don't use a magnifier; but I know several tyers who do. If you want to use a magnifier, get one with a very lage field view that is frameless. The Hareline Dubbing light I mentioned in an earlier post comes with a magnifier as does the 18 Watt Ott Light (believe it or not this light has the same light output as a 100 watt regular light bulb).