Fly Tying Season
everywhere are taking advantage of indoor winter time to prepare for the next fishing season. Fly shops are restocking to
supply customers with hooks and materials, and each year new natural and synthetic materials hit the market. During the past
40 years I’ve been amazed by many improvements in hackle quality along with new feather products bred specifically for
fly tyers. New synthetic materials, such as incredibly fine yet strong GSP thread, also enhance the fly tying experience.
And we’ve even discovered another use for a dead coyote – they have wonderful fur for fly tying.
how to tie flies has never been easier. Fine quality books, videos and hands-on workshops at your fly shop make it easy to
master the skill. An early challenge for a beginner is master the whip finish knot, used to tie off thread as the final step
in tying a fly. So, we Googled “whip finish knot” and found a wealth of video clips showing very clearly how this
finishing knot is tied, both manually and using a whip finish tool. It’s a far cry from my beginning days when I borrowed
fly tying books from the library. If a new library book had any color plates of flies, they soon were torn out and hoarded
by over-zealous tyers.
Fly tying tools such as vises and scissors have also improved over the years. New full-rotary vises speed
up fly-tying and are fun to use, as well as new styles of non-rotating vises. Some of our better medium-priced vises are now
lifetime warranted and made in USA, such as those made by Regal or Anvil USA. There are also some good imports available like
the Danvise and some Regal knock-offs. They are both economical and reliable. Many cheaper vises are available, but they frustrate
the tyer and soon find their way to the landfill, possibly ruining the hobby for a beginner. Several years ago a doctor who
tied flies believed that surgical-quality scissors and tools would be welcomed by fly-tyers, and he was right. His company,
Dr. Slick, now supplies our market with excellent quality tools at quite reasonable prices. Anvil USA and Tiemco (branded
as Metz) likewise supply good scissors.
Development of the fly tying bobbin, which happened
after I started tying, made fly-tying much easier. They are available with metal or ceramic tubes. Ceramic bobbins last longer
and don’t cut our thread, but the cheaper metal bobbins can be used for tougher materials, like tinsel, when they become
worn. We tyers also use a hair-stacking tool to even animal hair tips, resulting in a neater looking fly. These devices work
well except in dry air (winter), when static electricity makes hair stick to the tool. Fortunately, Anvil USA now makes a
stacker that is not affected by static electricity, and it’s a joy to use anytime.
of these developments were fuelled by steady growth in popularity of the hobby. There never was a better time to begin this
hobby. Fly tyers have never had it so good!
Our fly of the week is a dry trout fly that we
created at River Magic’s fly tying workshop last week. These workshops are free, held every Saturday from 2 –
4 pm. Hooks and materials are provided, bring your vise & tools.
UTC G.S.P. 50 Denier black thread
Mustad 94840, size 10 - 14
Black barred white coyote guard hair from the animal’s back (don’t cut butt ends)
Tan coyote underfur
Wing (optional): Butt
ends of tail material looped over, tied down, and divided in two
Grizzly neck or saddle hackle
Black thread finished with head cement
Please send comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
stay on the line …