I have been wanting to get into fly tying for some time now, especially after slaying the trout the last couple of weekends. I have a quality vise and the tools, but I don't have the materials. The closest thing to a fly shop is in the local Cabela's, but it doesn't have much of a selection and the employees aren't very helpful. I have been looking into the patterns and bundles at Charliesflybox, but I just don't know how much material I am going to need. I would like to tie a good variety of Pheasant tail nymphs, gold ribbed hares ears, wooly buggers, bead head prince nymphs, and possibly some dry flies (feel free to recommend any flies). I would like to keep my budget around 200$, and I want to tie as many flies as possible in different sizes and colors. Any information provided on how many flies I should be able to tie per bag of pecock herl, whiting hen cape, whiting 100 pack, hares mask, and other information like that or about the must have colors/sizes of said flies would be greatly appreciated.
Well Whiting's 100's should tie about 100 flies, hence the name. In my experience, most of the stuff you buy for tying will tie a lot of flies. So a pack of peacock hurl, hair's mask, or a couple pheasant tail feathers will cover many flies, but I don't know how many exactly. Same for wooly bugger materials, which is a great place to start. Might not be bad to wait for the hackled dry flies until you get the wooly bugger and some nymph patterns down.
As it turns out, a nymph tie along just started with the pheasant tail nymph. It might be tough to start with smaller nymphs, but if you tie them on size 12 hooks it could be a chance to see step-by-steps and get feedback on your tying. I linked it to the page containing the first pattern, earlier pages might have some good info too.
As for materials, local shops are great, but online has tons of resources. JS Stockard, Casters Fly Shop (free shipping), Fly Tyers Dungeon are three places I get materials from.
For starting out, hooks and beadheads are going to be one of your most expensive items. However, if you shop around online, you can save some serious money. Besides when I impulse-buy hooks at the local Orvis, I try to order mine from Allen. Their hooks are good, and the price is great. I haven't tried their beadheads yet, but the price is equally competitive. Having the quality vise is a very important start though. I bought a Danvise and while it works, I am already looking to upgrade to something a little more stable. However, the Danvise will definitely travel with me. But like William said, online is where it's at for sourcing materials for good prices.
If you know any hunters, two pheasant tail clumps will keep you ion PT materials for a LONG time! If not, 4-6 center tail feathers will allow you to tie an easy 50 of a selection of most sizes of PTNs. If you need ribbing wire, strip an old section of wire from Xmas lights and you're set.
A Hare's mask will allow you to tie 50-100 GRHEs because you use hair from different parts of the mask for the fly. And if you blend a synthetic with the fluff hair, it'll go even farther. It will also allow you to achieve many color combos, like olive, tan and rust by using just a natural colored mask.
You can buy a bag of strung herl, but the best quality 'stuff' comes form buying individual feathers and then picking the herl off the stem. Most bagged stuff isn't as robust, so it won't look as nice when tied. A stem will yield 30-40 flies usually.
If you can find a mottled Whiting hen neck, it will serve for many different flies and last quite awhile. If not, buy a grizzly and a brown speckled.
Buy a package of assorted goose biots, that will serve for your Prince wings and other flies later. As a second option, you can get a Tyvek envelope (from the post office) and trim the white section into "biots" for prince wings (the fish don't seem to mind =) )
And yes, Whiting 100 packs are a good way to go for dries, but they are a bit tougher to find right now and they aren't cheap. You might want to contact Denny at Conranch and see what he has available wwwDOTconranchDOTcom he has great product at very reasonable prices.
What Larry said. The Craven's book has all of the flies that you mentioned plus some. Each fly has a list of materials (recipe) that you will need. When you get through with that book you should have an excellent start on your materials, and they will last awhile.
Good advice from stimmy7. I would recommend buying an assortment of "Haretron" dubbing rather than a mask. These little boxes have a dozen compartments packed with a different color of dyed hare's ear and Antron (sparkle yarn) blend, use it everywhere hare's ear is called for...it will last a loong time. If you just buy a hare's mask and you will soon want more colors, then more and more. A good thing to buy through Cabela's. Do the same for dry fly dubbing, look for a "super fine" or such. These will get you going and keep you going for a long time.
And you should definitely join in the tie-along that william posted the link to. Pocono is going to explain the Pheasant tail, Gold-ribbed hare's ear, Prince nymph, Copper John, and others.
I second the dubbing box Dean mentioned. Like everyone else said, when you buy any of the materials they will typically last you quite a while so you don't need to be worried about it. but gator was right, hooks and beads are going to be your biggest expense for quite a while, hell, that's still what I spend the most on.
Don't disagree about the box 'o Haretron, but if you tie GRHE's according to standard instructions you clip hair from various areas of the mask for various components of the fly which is why I still suggest to tyers having a mask.
You're dead on about the desire/need for multiple colors, but I've found you can blend the face/fluff hair with colored synthetics (which is essentially what Haretron is) to get the same effect... so if you have access to yarn that you can snip in bits and blend with hair, you can get by for awhile.
You can buy a package of hair ties at the store and use those to save some bucks early on, or if you know anyone who knits.... get a foot of this and a foot of that =)
As mentioned, hooks and beads are the most expensive part of the fly. Since you listed Prince Nymph, Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear, and Pheasant Tail, use the same hook. I like using a Tiemco 3761 or equivalent for these patterns. Actually this hook is the most commonly used hook for most nymphs.