Thread: Learning to Tie
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Old 12-30-2012, 12:41 AM
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Default Re: Learning to Tie

I echo bigjim; buy decent tools to start and avoid the kit. I tied for many many years with one bobbin, it's all you need to start. You just have to change spools more often, but it didn't bother me for a long time. So get a decent one, but I also don't think it has to have a ceramic insert, my original SS bobin is still in use. Good scissors are important, period. But be sure to pick a pair that feel good in your hand. You'll only get this by going to a store and "trying on" different styles, there are many styles! Long, short, one loop, open loop, curved...I like a short pair that I can wear over my middle finger and hold in my palm while I'm tying and just stick my thumb into when I need it. If you get into the habit, it saves time from constantly setting them down, picking them up, setting them down...where are they!

Materials: It is wise to choose a few beginner patterns and buy the materials for those. If you walk into a fly shop and tell the dude there that you are just starting and need materials they will light up and you'll end up at the register with $100 worth of stuff!

A basic dubbing box with a dozen colors is and beginner hackle pack which usually has two half capes in grizzle and brown or some other two basic colors is a good start for trout flies.

Books v Internet: now the real war begins! I think it is good to have a book or two that explains techniques, materials, tools, and basics of tying. There are so many great videos of guys tying great flies but very few that explain some of the basics of tying, of how materials works, etc. You may end up learning bad habits because when watching a pro tie flies it looks easy, but if they say "use a soft loop to hold this in place..." and two seconds later they are onto the next step you don't even know what just happened. And a basic tying manual will help you decide on the patterns you should start tying to learn the basic step - which goes back to helping you choose which materials to buy first - instead of jumping into patterns that are over your head because they look great on the video.

I like Dave Hughes a lot when it comes to tying instruction and theory. I whole-heartedly recommend looking for a basic manual by him. Al Engle is great as well, and Al Beatty is good too. I still buy tying books, I love them. And if you continue to tie you'll want a library of your own anyway.

I do also watch tying videos and I think these guys: Practical Patterns on Vimeo make some of the very best, Davie McPhail aside.

Good luck!
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