Tag Archives: flies

So much to master “Every Day is a school day”!

I have during the past few months thrown myself into trying to understand the basics of fly tying. On the one hand this has proven to be a great way to pass the long dark evenings when fishing is not an option. One the other hand whilst really enjoyable, not to say addictive, it has been with mixed success and only heightened my absolute respect for those wonderful fly tyers who craft their beautiful, amazing and consistent ‘works of art‘. Aside from pure admiration, I often smile when I see facebook posts that are annotated with innocent comments such as “a small order created from the vice this evening….” illustrated with images of a 40-50 amazing creations! Aside from the quality of the flies shown I chuckle to myself thinking “assuming I could tie such beauties, 40 or 50 flies would take me the best part of 4-6 weeks!”.

Anyway what have I learned so far as an infant fly tier?

One – it’s not as easy as it looks but I am really enjoying the learning and the challenge!

Two – it’s compulsive, addictive and expensive to get started with constant orders for more materials!

Three – Listen to others – Including “Less is more” as so many of you have advised, thanks the message finally starting to sink in. Pay heed to advice so freely offered i.e. less material., less turns and to use the “false head principle‘ to avoid those clumsy big heads and keep head size to a minimum.

Four – Thank goodness for YouTube and Davie McPhail, Ryan Houston and others without whom I would be completely lost.

Five – Reduce time spent searching the table for things by starting with only what you need in the first place for the pattern that you are tying.

Six – Finally persistence and practice pays off eventually. Sometimes frustration takes over when things seem out of reach, including early attempts to master the whip finishing tool which often ended up across the other side of the room in the early days!

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So much to learn but enjoying the ride and cannot wait to try to tempt a fish or two on these first self tied creations – even if they are not the Miss World of fly tying. I fully expect that the vice may take second place once the season gets into full swing. Thank you to everyone for all of the the advice and encouragement.


Fly-Tying trials and tribulations

27th November 2019

On these long cold , dark nights what else is there to do but try to learn something new and prepare for the season ahead. Gradually feel I am starting to get the hang of some of the basics, with some cursing and swearing at thread breaks which thankfully are becoming less, I am very slowly able to produce something recognisable. They ‘mystery’ that was the whip finish tool has finally been overcome after many attempts and expletives.

1″ copper White Willie Gun (Davy McPhail)
1″ plastic Green Highlander spey tube (Davy McPhail)

Probably not the easiest patterns to start learning to to tie but enjoyed the challenge and Davie McPhail’s videos are invaluable. A special thanks to Dave McPhail for sending me some of the heavy duty tubing which I struggled to source, thank you Davy for your kindness. An enormous thank you also to everyone far and wide for all the helpful advice and support on Facebook without which I would probably have quit!

McKenzie Cascade on Gold Patriot (Davy McPhail)

Now I plan to concentrate on some doubles including cascades largely as a result of such advice in order to try to practice ‘the basics’. Observations thus far is the amount of ‘waste’ materials – where there seems to be more on the carpet than the vice! Other factors is the constant on-line orders for yet more materials when you start to tie something new!fullsizeoutput_78a