Hi guys this is my first post since joining the board and I have a quick question. While at Cabela's one day I went through their fly shop and thought back to all the fly's I had bought and how expensive they were and decided to buy a fly tying kit. I snagged the Gunnison River kit as it was 50 bucks on sale (its not the least expensive they offer nor is it the most expensive). So here is my question upon inspection the materials they give you (the elk hair and various feathers) look very poor the tools look serviceable so my question is How much would it cost to replace the hair and feathers and two what is cheaper Bass Pro, Cabela's, or some online depot? Did I make the right spur of the moment choice? (if not I do have the receipt). If I do end up taking the kit back what Is a better kit for around 100 dollars (up to 150 if ABSOLUTELY necessary). I know I should have done my research and I know to search the forums but in this instance I am clueless as I just started fly fishing and already I want to tie my own fly's but dangit I want to do it right. I am sorry for the wall of text and I thank you in advance for any advice you could give me.
If you are able to I would take it back. You are bette to start small an get quality tools and materials.
I would get good tools up front that will last then by the materials a little at a time. you can find good deals online.
Dave is right on the money. It's a cute trick to name the kit after highly sought after fishing waters to make it sound as if it's better than it really is =)
Buy a decent vise (you'll end up upgrading it soon enough, but no need to spend +/- $100 on one now), good scissors, hackle pliers, a ceramic bobbin or two, a hair stacker and the materials you need for what you want to start tying. Learn how to half hitch or tie a whip finish by hand (plenty of on line videos), and if you want, get a whip finishing tool later.
Make a list of patterns, see what you need to buy to tie them, make a list of materials and the sizes/styles of hooks you need to tie them on. Black thread 70 denier (or 6/0) will be fine for now, you can always buy other colors/weights later.
Everyone needs peacock herl, a pheasant tail, a GOOD piece of elk hair, brown and grizzly saddle hackles (the 100 packs aren't cheap, but they will tie a lot of flies), some dubbing, a spool of two sided fine mylar tinsel, a pack of CDC, some tailing material and you're off and running.
Dr., I haven't taken the plunge myself yet, but found myself in the same boat when at Bass Pro. I've been researching for a few weeks now, and I have to say I agree that tools first, material second is the way to go. I, too, was going to go with a kit, but now I think I'll forego that.
I returned the kit today and bought a cheap vise and a set of Dr. Slicks tools and enough materials for 10 scuds and some wolly buggers I went cheap on the vise because if I like it I can get a decent one when I comes on sale in a few months
Cabbalas sells the Dr. Slick set for like 60 bucks and it includes a whip finishing tool, a hair stacker, hackle pliers, bobbin, bobbin threader, scissors, and something else I can't remember. They've got the set online for 55 bucks. Bass pro sales the Dr. Slick scissors and that's it. I would say if you are that far away and you want the tool set just order online. See I live north of Dallas and Fort Worth so for me it's 20 minutes to bass pro and 30 minutes (more traffic) toCabela's. I will say that bass pro has a better fly collection but Cabela's has more rods and reels and more fly tying material Cabela's is slightly more wallet friendly on fishing gear (I'm a reformed bait cast user) but as far as fly tying materials I don't know who has better deals on materials. I'll be going to bass pro on Saturday so I can tell you then.
Hey Drlaser welcome to the forum-- sounds like you're off to a great start now.
Dr. Slick tools are well made, so that was a great investment they should last a lifetime.
A lot of the cheaper imported tools look like a great deal bit are often poorly made-- bobbins with burrs that cut thread and soldered joints that fall apart, scissors with tips that don't line up etc and can give you fits.
Buying materials for one or two patterns at a time is another great way to go-- and starting with some easier patterns like scuds and woolly buggers definitely makes sense.
Keep asking questions here if you have them-- materials can be especially confusing, but if you know what you want to tie-- or want some suggestions for some good basic patterns, just shout.
And keep your eyes open for a fly tying class in your area-- many shops start to offer them in the fall and run them through the winter-- you'll learn a ton of tricks and tips and have a chance to get some hands on help with techniques and materials.
I learned a lot of techniques from YouTube videos - search for the patterns + "tying" or something like that. I'd go into a local fly shop - hopefully they'll have materials you can purchase, but you'll surely find someone who ties and can help you get started. Some shops have a place set-up to tie and they might teach you some patterns.
There are tons of sites online to buy supplies. Some that I use are:
Allen fly fishing has great prices on hooks. You'll see some folks have had problems with them, but I never have had a broken hook and like the prices, especially for nymphs and streamers. They also have great prices for bead heads, though I have not ever used them.
There are tons of other sites you'll find. Others might have some good suggestions. I prefer to get stuff from a shop when possible, it's nice to see what you're buying, but a lot of fly shops don't have the selection you need, beyond basics. I did get a great patch of elk hair from a Cabelas. It flared really well for caddis, still working through it.
You are heading the right direction to avoid the kits - buy really good tools, buy whatever vice you can best afford, and fly materials to make up specific flies you know will work in your area (get recommendations from experienced folks or fly shops).