Sounds like I should try to find a basic set and try a few. Does any one have a suggestion as to where to start?
In my opinion anyone who thinks they have an itch to tie their own should go to a local shop and sign up for a class, use their equipment and materials, as this is usually supplied with the class fee.
Some people have went crazy buying stuff to tie and then found out they didn't enjoy it or didn't have time, and then they were stuck with the stuff.
Just saying to get a taste of it before you commit...... More than likely you will enjoy it though.
I tie most, buy some. There's only a few flies I've got confidence in that are too much of a pain to tie and therefore I will buy. Examples- size 18 stimulators, ext body drakes, humpies, wulffs, princes, and some hoppers and parachutes.
Do you get your materials on pro/deal? Because I have to tell you, I get my fly tieing materials pro/dea (ie half off) and it is still cheaper to just buy flies from say Premium Discount Fishing Flies, Trout Flies, Fly Fishing Shop. A hares ear is about $.48 with free shipping on a $30 order. TALK ABOUT A DEAL, i bought epoxied jansen brown and rainbow trout for $.70. I was at the denver fly retailer show and Rainy's wanted $2 a fly for these.
If you think I am advertising for the big y I am not, their are several other good company's I can give you, big (forget the name) cafe, plus others. Tie your own flies. 25 pack of hooks is $5.50. Add in tax and that is about $.25 a hook. Then add in thread, tools, hackle, soft hackle, PLUS YOUR TIME! Take a ewing pack. Has about 75 hackles. Costs about $5. That is about 7 cents. For dry flies, you are probably okay, for nymphs which have brass beads, several different types of materials, just buy the flies.
I'm with Cliff on the quality thing. I'll buy "pain in the butt" patterns, but tie all the ones I normally use. I'm definately years away from saving money with all the materials I've collected, but it doesn't take long when you're paying 2 bucks plus for size 20 and smaller flies. It's even rarer to find 26s in a shop, and I've seen them for close to 3 dollars. I'll be trying to tackle some 28s today, mainly just to see if I can do it LOL. You also have to factor in the satisfaction of catching a fish on your work - can't put a price on that!
I tie most of my flies. I think about spending 20 bucks and getting 10 or 11 flies, whereas, I can spend 20 bucks and get 100 to 150 hooks depending on what brand. Materials are cheap if you buy at a craft store or look other places than a fly shop. Of course you don't want to skimp on hackle and maybe some synthetic dubbings. Threads cheap. Other than that I don't know what would cost money continually. Once you have a vice and materials flies can be made for under 20 cents. In the long run that saves money. I know I would be spending 50 to a hundred bucks a year buying flies if I didn't tie my own. In two or three years I would have everything I need to tie almost anything I want. Besides, if you hunt you can get more materials for free. I never have to buy pheasant, grouse, woodcock, CDC, duck quills, goose quills, biots, turkey, they are all taken by my shotgun.
In the past we bought all our flies, this winter we have taken a couple of classes and started tying and plan to use all our own on the local areas we go to frequently, I may still buy some when we go to some place new out of state and buy from a Flyshop in those areas cause they should know whats working there.
You do know that Umpqua flies are tied in Thailand right?
If you want REAL quality go for Harry Mason or Rene Harrop. But a far east company that is tied by woman and children?
At factories that have been visited by the flies' designers and that turn out much higher quality flies using Metz hackles that will float a dry? yes. I'm not pro-sweatshop by any stretch, but only buying products made in OSHA approved factories is totally unrealistic.
Hell, if I had the hands of a small asian woman I'd tie my own size 20 princes instead of buying them.