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Old 03-06-2018, 09:37 PM
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dp820 dp820 is offline
Learning as we go
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 149
Learning to tie

Hey guys. I thought I would pick your brains here. I have been fly fishing for several years now and decided that this year I would like to begin the daunting task of tying my own flies. I have purchased a vise and the basic tying tools but I am at a bit of a loss as to how to learn this art. Would you guys recommend I take a class? I knew at one point that Orvis offered a basic tying class. Maybe Bass Pro does the same? Any good books on the subject with a materials list for each fly? I have found over the years that I keep coming back to about a dozen or so patterns that I fish here in AZ. Sure, I have boxes full of various flies and I still toss them too, but I keep coming back to those top 12-15 patterns so I figured I would focus on those to start with and only acquire those materials to begin.

Any suggestions you may have on the subject of getting started in tying would be helpful. Thanks guys!
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Old 03-06-2018, 10:18 PM
Bill V Bill V is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 15
Thumbs down Fly tying

You might consider Arizona Flycasters Club. They offer free tying classes and a family membership is very inexpensive. Check out their web site.

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Old 03-07-2018, 07:53 AM
herefishy herefishy is offline
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Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 374
Best to take a class, but while you are waiting to start, you could begin with youtube - probably most basic useful fly is a San Juan Worm, you could tie a dozen of those, and if you feel that you like them, go to Wooly Bugger, then some favorite nymph. Youtube has taken the place of the mentor we all used to have.
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Old 03-07-2018, 08:06 AM
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david vaughn david vaughn is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Payson
Posts: 1,334
Dan, what helped me a lot in my early moments of fly tying, was YouTube videos. Usually, there are recipes given prior to the pattern being built, which helps a lot. Having the monitor in front of me allows the opportunity to first watch the video, compiling all the needed materials, then slowly proceed through the video as I tie, pausing it so I can complete a section of the fly build-up, all the way through completion.

I have many of these videos bookmarked for my needs, and use them often.

Also, if you have any fly fishing websites bookmarked (such as John Rohmer's materials, etc), he has several video's available to both follow and bookmark. Similar websites from varying fly fishing resources often have tying videos which you can peruse.

If you get any soft cover books, I would suggest going to an office store and having it ring bound, which makes keeping the page open a breeze. It only costs a couple of dollars to have a book ring bound as well.

Hope these ideas help you somewhat...

Oh yeah, welcome to the madness of fly tying! And you thought your terminal gear was expensive...................
- David

"Mistakes do not define you...mistakes refine you"
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Old 03-07-2018, 10:38 AM
Pinetopbob Pinetopbob is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Pinetop, Arizona
Posts: 515
U tube is the best for repeating the instructions.
Start with the ez ones and you will do a dozen before you have it working.

Stay with the ez flys as the difficult ones will test you and your new hobby.

You'r right, about 12 patterns will be your best for fishing. Work on these for the first year. Catching fish with your own flys will be rewarding.

Try to catch a rainbow that knows how to talk and you will get some good ideas. They will usually be small, black bugs near the bottom.
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Old 03-07-2018, 01:22 PM
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dp820 dp820 is offline
Learning as we go
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 149
Thanks for the advice guys. I have watched multiple videos on YouTube already and find it to be a great resource. I'm thinking that I will do the same thing that Dave does and watch the video right on my tying desk and pause it as I complete each stage. I figure there is going to be a learning curve and my first attempts are going to be a poor result. I'm planning on buying an extra spool of threah to play around on some bare hooks learning how to use the whip finish tool as well as practicing doing tapered thread bodies.

I found Tim Flagler's YouTube channel called Tightline Productions and there are dozens of tying videos there with closeup camera angles and clear instructions.

I'm not sure I have the time to dedicate to joining the AZ Flycaster's Club at this time though it seems like they do some great things to give back to the community as well as their conservation efforts. It's something to look into for the future for sure.

Thanks again everyone!
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Old 03-07-2018, 01:48 PM
lakelady lakelady is offline
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: White Mountains
Posts: 32
I agree with everyone on here, with one addition. I first learned to start tying flies by watching a friend who tied and then, eventually, tying in front of that friend and having him help me. I'm sure you know someone who ties who would love to help.

Then I inquired at my local fly shop about classes and took a few there. Since the basic concepts are the same, all you need is to learn them and you can tie most flies. So when I see a fly in a shop that I like, I do what everyone else has suggested and use youtube to figure out what order things get tied on in.

Finally, I use "The Fly-Tying Bible: 100 Deadly Trout and Salmon Flies in Step-by-Step Photographs" by Peter Gathercole which is a great book, not very expensive, and gives the material needs, step-by-step picture instructions and suggests which fish might like that fly. I find this one helpful if there's a technique that I can't figure or if I just want some inspiration for tying.

Good luck!
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Old 03-07-2018, 03:37 PM
aztightlines aztightlines is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: tucson, az
Posts: 2,590
Getting started

I would recommend Skip Morris' "Flytying Made Clear & Simple" book - preferably in the spiralbound version, so it can be held open to the page you want - as a first step.

Randall Kaufmann's "Nymphs" is excellent and, at some point "Fly Patterns of the Umpqua Feather Merchants" as a "recipe" manual for over 1100 flies with photos and ingredients.

Since there are so few flyfishing pro-shops remaining in the Phoenix area - only one in Scottsdale right now - it is virtually impossible to get get good information at a retail establishment when it comes to flytying.

The best thing is to have a friend sit down with you, or come kind of class, but most folks are self-taught - trial & error, after a bit of reading, is essential. Start simple, woolly buggers, peacock nymphs, elk hair caddis dries in fairly large sizes to give yourself a fair shot.

You have the advantage of fishing for a while, so you already know what a good fly looks like, so getting the proportions is the main challenge.
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Old 03-07-2018, 09:14 PM
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almostlost almostlost is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 559
dp820, I agree with you on the Tight Lines Youtube channel. It's one of the best I've found, and his voice reminds me of Marty Stafford's Wild America.

One person not to overlook is Kelly Galloup when it comes to nymphs. You probably know/have heard of him at least when it comes to giant streamers, but I really dig his theories about nymphs. They are a little more complex but the theories can be used with more simple techniques.
Check his
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Old 03-08-2018, 05:05 PM
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BigPoppa BigPoppa is offline
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 37
Most beginners struggle with the whip finish which is an essential ending to tying most flies. Buy a whip finish tool and just practice with it over and over until you have it down solid. Using bigger hooks in the beginning will help.
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