Re: How do I tie Faster?
I have tied flies commercially and for myself for over 20 years. I don't do as much commercial tying as I once did due to the fact that I have two young kids. I still tie all my flies for my clients that I guide but don't do much for shops anymore. As far as speed at the vise it all comes down to proper organization and efficiency with your thread.
Under proper organization there are several things that help. Just setting up your materials and tying several dozen of the same fly will help your speed, it sounds like you have already done the prep of your materials, which is huge. I like to keep the tools that I use on patterns to a minimum, each time you have to pick up a tool, ie.. whip finisher, hackle pliers or your scissors it takes up time. Learning to tie flies with your scissors in your hand all the time will increase your speed ten fold. I like a pair of scissors that have an open loop on them so that you can quickly insert your thumb into the loop to make a cut. I am a right handed tier and carry my scissors in my right hand. I place the closed loop on my scissors on my ring finger and simply cusp my hand around the shaft of the scissors while I am tying on materials. Once I need to make a cut I can slide my thumb down the shaft of the scissors and capture the other loop hole on my scissors with my thumb and make the cut. Once I have made the cut I can slide my thumb back out of the scissors and carry them in my hand while I attach additional materials. I prefer the Anvil curved scissors, the ones that are dipped in the blue liquid plastic. They have open loops and you can adjust the loops to fit your fingers. I also whip finish my flies by hand and don't use a tool. The more tools you use the longer it is going to take to tie the fly because you have to find, pick up and put the tool back down once you are finished using the tool. I used to tie on a Renzetti true rotary vise but I gave it up after I got over the coolness of the rotary feature. The use of a bobbin cradle slowed my tying down a ton and I abandoned it except if I am tying shadow box quality flies that are going to used for display rather than to fish with. The only real advantage to true rotary for me is for placing materials in specific locations on the hook.
In regards to efficiency it basically comes down to your thread wraps. Most tiers I see tying flies use far to much thread. It only takes a wrap or two of thread in most cases to very securely attach a material to a hook. Proper use of your thread is probably the one thing that doesn't get taught enough in tying. Most books and instructors I have seen teach tying don't spend much time on teaching thread handling and material mounting techniques. One of the only books that I have seen that gives much to these issues is the "Fly Tier's Bench side Reference" by Ted Lesson and Jim Schollmeyer. By the way this is the bible for fly tying, I know it is an expensive book but it is worth every penny. Learning how different threads work and how to use them to your advantage will save you lots of time. Understanding how to use your thread to attach materials will also speed up the process and make you a more efficient tier. Many tiers use a straight forward approach to tying on materials which involves wrapping the material onto the hook half heartily and then readjusting the material once it is on the hook. If you have to readjust your material after you make your securing thread wrap this takes time and time is money. Learning to use other methods such as noose loops, pinch loops and other techniques will save time by placing the material directly on the hook where you want it to be placed. Getting your material placed on the hook right out of the gate will save you time.
Efficiency with your thread wraps along with being organized with your tools are two of the best ways to become a faster tier. I hope this helps and if you don't have the Fly Tier's Benchside Reference I would encourage you to put it on your Holiday Wish list. It is a great book that I still refer to all the time. Good luck with your tying.