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Old 01-10-2010, 12:27 AM
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Default Beginner Fly Tying Assistance, Please

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
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Old 01-10-2010, 01:07 AM
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Default Re: Beginner Fly Tying Assistance, Please

Quote:
Originally Posted by boser View Post
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.?
If you know what you are looking for, craft stores are good sources of materials. If you have a local shop that stocks quality materials, go there. That way you can inspect the materials to see if they are what you really want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boser View Post
2) How many Whip stitches is standard to finish a fly?
If you mean whip finishes, three is good enough. Go no more than five.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boser View Post
3) When wrapping a shank with material like chanelle, do I wind it in the same direction as I wind the thread?
Wrap the counter direction of your thread. This will make a good cross wrap to secure the chenille.

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Originally Posted by boser View Post
Thanks in advance for any help and I apologize if these are repeat questions.

Best Regards, Boser
They were all good questions.

MP
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Old 01-10-2010, 01:13 AM
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Default Re: Beginner Fly Tying Assistance, Please

One comment on the whip finishing, I know it is overkill and MP most likely has the "standard" down pat, but I typically whip finish it once with 4 turns, add a drop of head cement, and whip it with 4 turns again. I hate it when my flies come unwrapped....

d
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Old 01-10-2010, 03:13 AM
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Default Re: Beginner Fly Tying Assistance, Please

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Originally Posted by webrx View Post
One comment on the whip finishing, I know it is overkill and MP most likely has the "standard" down pat, but I typically whip finish it once with 4 turns, add a drop of head cement, and whip it with 4 turns again. I hate it when my flies come unwrapped....

d
That is actually good practice.

MP
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Old 01-10-2010, 03:55 AM
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Default Re: Beginner Fly Tying Assistance, Please

Boser

This is a Dubbing Guide step by step with some good pics another member posted its got some good pointers in it

UKFlyDressing - Dubbing Techniques

Chris
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Old 01-10-2010, 04:01 AM
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Default Re: Beginner Fly Tying Assistance, Please

Craft stores can be a great source of material-- 2 mm foam for example, but the catch for a new tyer is that until you have some experience tying and get a sense of some of the properties of different materials it could be frustrating to try and tie stuff with material that might look similar, but behave differently when you try and work with it. One big potential source of difficulty and frustration is struggling with materials that are not suitable for the pattern you're tying---- though they may be fine for something else.

For someone just starting out, i think it would be best to buy stuff you need for a couple patterns at a time

1. in person at a local fly shop if possible, so you can see and touch stuff and ask questions. Or barring that
2. from an online fly shop (as opposed to a big box store) with an 800 number and experienced folks that tie so you can ask questions about material

As far as wrapping stuff like chenille or peacock herl, I usually wrap the same direction as i wrap the thread--- away from me up and over. If I'm using a rib ( Woolly bugger, Pheasant tail Nymph, Hare's Ear Nymph, Elk Hair Caddis) I counterwrap it-- going away from me under the shank, and back to me over the shank. This helps to lock stuff in place as opposed to slipping in between wraps of body material.

Whip Finishing, I also use 2 whips, four turns each. On small flies you can just brush a little head cement onto the thread before you whip it instead of tying the knots and then applying the head cement. It helps to keep things neat instead of getting clogged heads or ending up with glued dubbing.

As far as dubbing goes, there are a bunch of different ways to do it. But the simplest is to just apply it to the tying thread. A couple of things that might help:
1. Use way, way less than you think you'll need--- just try and color the thread with wisps of dubbing, not clumps-- you don't want to end up with a thick rope of dubbing. (There are other techniques for that you can use down the road if you need them.)
2. Twist it on in one direction, counterclockwise between your thumb and index finger
3. As you wind the thread with dubbing to make the body, if you need to make a tapered body or build up some bulk, make several passes with the thread and dubbing instead of using thicker clumps of dubbing at least for now.
4. If you're dubbing dry flies, particularly small ones, a fine fibered synthetic like Superfine or Fly Rite is easier to work with than coarser dubbings like rabbit etc.
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Old 01-10-2010, 07:26 AM
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Default Re: Beginner Fly Tying Assistance, Please

Quote:
Originally Posted by boser View Post
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
Hi Boser,

Here's some more feedback on your questions:

1. Materials

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.

Pocono
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Old 01-10-2010, 02:24 PM
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Default Re: Beginner Fly Tying Assistance, Please

Quote:
Originally Posted by webrx View Post
One comment on the whip finishing, I know it is overkill and MP most likely has the "standard" down pat, but I typically whip finish it once with 4 turns, add a drop of head cement, and whip it with 4 turns again. I hate it when my flies come unwrapped....

d
I do kinda the same. If it is a big fly like a clouser I put head cement on before I finish wrapping the head, then whip finish and re-cement. If it is a small head fly, I put head cement directly on the thread prior to the final wraps, then whip finish and re-cement.
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Old 01-10-2010, 03:33 PM
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Default Re: Beginner Fly Tying Assistance, Please

WOW, I really recieved some great info. You guys know some stuff! I did mean to say whip finish and not whip stitch, I apologize for that slip. It makes good sense to add a drop of cement on the first whip finish. Thanks for that tip. I tied some Peacock Black Spyders (sp) a few days ago and they came out surprisingly well in spite of the 3 little Grandkids I had for assistants. Ha! We have a Hobby Lobby that has many supplies but I think I'll do as suggested and only procure enough (quality) material to tie my chosen pattern until I gain more experience. I really appreciate your advice and patience as I know you guys have probably answered these same questions many times. I am really enjoying the tying and chatting with you fine people.

Regards, Boser
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Old 01-10-2010, 05:13 PM
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Default Re: Beginner Fly Tying Assistance, Please

Hi Boser,

There is a bunch of fly tying materials in craft and sewing stores but as a beginner you won't know what is good or what would work for the flies you are tying. Subsurface flies should have body materials the adsorb water so they sink better. Dry flies need materials that don't absorb water so they will float better. You will be much better off getting the right material for the flies you are tying and after you get some experience you can branch out and experiment with new materials at the craft shop.

Frank
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