Originally Posted by boser
Hello Everyone, I've met a few of you fine Gents and I am very happy to find this site. I need a few pointers as I just started Tying Fly's around Christmas time. I've been snow bound for a few weeks so I thought it would be a good time to learn Tying Fly's. I have a few basic questions and I would greatly appreciate any help. I have tied a few basic fly's but I need help in dubbing the body. I have noticed several You Tube videos, which do help.
1) Can you find good tying material at Craft Stores or should I stick to Bass Pro, Cabelas, Orvis etc.?
2) How many Whip stitches is standard to finish a fly?
3) When wrapping a shank with material like chanelle, do I wind it in the same direction as I wind the thread?
Thanks in advance for any help and I apologize if these are repeat questions.
Best Regards, Boser
Here's some more feedback on your questions:
I think that MP and the others have pretty well answered your questions, but for starting out tying some of the basic patterns, I'd stick to materials that you get from a Fly Shop; either online as you mention; Cabelas, etc., or local. The materials that they sell are made specifically for fly tying. If you purchase locally, you'll also reap the advantage of a lot of discussion about how to tie flies; you may even get an invitation on the spot from someone in the shop to show you how to tie up one or more patterns. Most people who own fly shops like to see someone getting started with fly tying; it means potential future business for them, so they're usually very helpful to beginners.
Another point that you might want to consider is that most Fly Shops are now offering fly tying lessons. January/February is the time when most fly shops are offering lessons and, in many cases, they're free of charge. I went to an introductory fly tying lesson yesterday, sponsored by my local Trout Unlimited chapter, and I picked up some nice tips while tying up a Woolly Bugger, a Black Nosed Dace and a Micky Finn; 3 streamers. Check out your local shops for lessons; I don't think that you'll be disappointed.
2. Whip finishes
Again, you've got the answer to this question from the others. But, I don't like to use lacquer of any kind on certain flies. So, for finishing off the head with a whip finish, I use a double whip finish; with 4 wraps on the first finish and 3 wraps on the second. I also lightly wax the thread, so that the whip finish seats well and tightly on the fly.
3. Material wrapping - which direction to wrap
I think that this is your choice; particularly for wrapping chenille on Woolly Buggers and such. Once the material is firmly attached to the hook, by binding it down with the tying thread, then you can wrap in either direction. For example, if you're tying up a Woolly Bugger (yes, I do like this fly! - and it's one of the most basic patterns that you'll ever tie up, as well as being, perhaps arguably, one of the most productive flies for trout and other species), you'll have a hackle feather tied in before the chenille. Since you usually wrap the hackle in the same direction as the chenille, so that the stem is buried between the chenille wraps, you can either wind the chenille toward you (in which case you'll also subsequently wrap the hackle toward you), or you can wrap both the chenille and the hackle away from you; either way will work, it depends on the look that you want. Same thinking goes for wrapping floss and tinsel bodies on classic Wet, Salmon or Steelhead flies. Having said that, at yesterday's tying lesson, I wrapped the chenille toward me and the hackle away from me on an all yellow Woolly Bugger, to that I could give the body more definition from the look of the grizzly olive hackle stem against the yellow chenille body; then I counter wrapped the hackle stem with a gold wire. The Take Home Message for this type of pattern is, I think, that it's up to you which way you wrap your body and hackle materials.
Have fun with your fly tying.