I've only been tying for less than a year and am trying to develop a checklist to help me gauge my own flies and those that I find in the shops. Here is what I've gathered so far from various sources. I'm trying to put them in order from most obvious/blatant to least important/noticeable. I haven't found a list like this anywhere else, so if you know of one, please point me in the right direction. I mostly tie trout flies. Any suggestions from the veteran tiers are appreciated. Thanks.
1. Is the thread head crowding the eye?
2. Are the materials high quality? (primarily the feathers: even, texture, coloration)
3. Is the tail/hackle the correct length for the pattern?
4. Does the fly taper correctly?
5. Is the fly balanced/symmetrical?
6. Is thread visible at the back of the fly?
7. Is the fly too sparse, not enough material?
8. Is the ribbing evenly spaced?
9. Is the dubbing "Buggy" enough/ picked out?
10. Is there a glue base under the fly?
11. Is the head cemented?
To me having a Checklist would be a waste of time as we usually Tie Flies to Proportions,watching for associated problems in the process..
The main problem I & others have is when we Tie an Intricate Fly we haven't tied before,I know sometimes I've had a few trials before getting it right as it's all trial & error at first,then it's not too difficult to tie a number of Flies to look the same
I wouldnt worry about it. sometimes the uglier the better. I've been tying for 15 years or something like that and I dont really care if they are perfect. as long as it catches fish I dont care how it looks.
IMHO: Presentation flies 1 thru 11,,,, Fishing flies 1,2,10,11. After you tie a pattern a few times everything comes sort of automatic, You grab the right amount of materials for wings,dubbing etc. So don't worry about a fishing fly being perfect. The fish make that decision & you'll know what works where your fishing. I find that every stream has flys of a slightly different color ,size. etc. So let the fish decide....
P.S. Keep a log of what works. It really helps unless you have a photographic memory...
I think the other guys nailed it here... you may be over-thinking this just a bit. Come back to this thread with another year of tying under your belt and you'll realize that practice/experience eliminates the need for a list like this, and making one now isn't going to help you much IMO.
For example, item's 6 through 9 are totally dependent on the desired effect and in fact may be just the opposite of a well-tied soft hackle in some instances.
I don't know what #10 means, and #11 (head cement) is always optional... some do, some don't (with good reasons for each).
#10 can be explained this way, since I have a buddy who ties like this. After the inital thread wraps to start the fly are done covered the hook shank, he lays down some super glue and then continues to tie. This way its"held together from the inside". whatever. i dont even really glue the heads up on my personal flies anymore. fish will destroy them after a while and insteadof throwing the fly away, they get tossed into a recycle bin, then some boring, cold winter night I sit in the basement with a trashcan and razor blade cleaning all my toren up or defunct flies. if i glue them up, this is much more of a chore.
While I'm aware the fish don't care (in fact they might actually prefer malformed weaklings), I still want to tie a respectable quality fly. This list was inspired by the threads concerning purchasing "cheap/discount" flies and their sometimes poor construction and workmanship. Plus I actually take some pleasure in improving and someday tying the perfect show quality fly, even though I'll probably snag it in a tree. Thanks for the replies so far, I'm working on revising the list.
I'm with most of the others, but then again I've been at it for a while. Some of my ties end up looking perfect, others do not. As another poster mentioned, as long as the fish like em, I'm happy.
With that said, you look as though you're off to a good start with your list if those are all problems that you find yourself having. One thing that REALLY has helped me though the years is to tie a LOT of one specific pattern. I'm talking a dozen or more of each pattern. When I do this, I'll bead each fly, cut strips of wire and try to take as much of the prep work out of it in the beginning. Then sit down and crank them out, one pattern at a time. This is especially helpful when I am tweaking an existing pattern, working on a new to me pattern, or even when developing one of my own. By about the 3rd or 4th fly, most of my mistakes have been worked out. It can get boring working through the same pattern, but it is worth it. I tied 28 dozen flies this spring and split them between myself and my bud. Its easy to get bored with a pattern, but worth it in the long haul.