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Old 12-03-2012, 03:04 PM
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Default Re: To tie or not to tie?

Hi JH. and welcome to the forum,

It would seem the overwhelming consensus is tilted toward tying flies here huh. I agree with the group and coincidently just left some thoughts about this on a thread yesterday, so I will copy it here. It kinda applies.

[All of this hearkens my thoughts to the many posts we have asking whether or not to tie your own flies. Once a fellow gets past all the hustle & bustle of fly fishing it often comes down to 'What can I figure out for myself'. Having the ability to create your own 'dead mayfly' or your own baby brown trout streamer like The Answer is priceless. You can slip away into your own little world and answer the challenges that you may encounter there with the tools and solutions that you developed for your own uses. Once you get there; gone are worries about who will catch more fish or will I get the biggest. There are just you, the stream and a faint almost obscure dimension known as time. Iíve been tying feathers to hooks since before I had any idea of what I was doing. I bought some flies but mainly so I would have actual models to copy and not just pictures or drawings in books. I was a multi tasker, I tried to learn to cast and tie at the same time. As my ability to cast improved, so did my efforts at the tying vise, together those two practices have continued to advance through the years and are I would say inseparable at this time. Because of all of that I always tell people too tie flies if they intend to be a real fisherman. Some believe it is too difficult, too much to learn all at once. To those persons I would say, Seldom is anything worthwhile easy to obtain.]

That's what I thought yesterday and it's pretty much the same today

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Old 12-03-2012, 03:21 PM
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Default Re: To tie or not to tie?

Like Eunan said, it isn't a cheap hobby; the initial outlay is big - vise plus quite a bit of material just to get the basics to get you going. But after that, it feels like you're saving money because you leave the fly shop with $7.85 worth of stuff that will make 190 flies rather than 3 flies for $7.85 (I don't even know how much flies cost anymore!).

But you will constantly be buying more materials for the rest of you life. Just yesterday I picked up another spool of thread (didn't have any blue!), some various chenille because they were on sale not because I needed them, the wing of a bird I don't have (even though I have like 27 other bird wings)...and that's how it goes. I now have two tables next to each other littered with feathers and hooks, flies, books, and how knows what else!

It keeps me sane during the winter. I absolutely love tying flies and recommend anyone that thinks they are interested to give it a try. Starting with a winter class is an excellent idea as you could get a taste for it before you dump a bunch of money into it, if in case you find you don't like it.
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:42 PM
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Default Re: To tie or not to tie?

i should also add this in addition to my warning.

Tying is one of the greatest things i ever started to do -- EVER --!

Its a stress reliever, helps me focus, let out my limited creativity and generally makes me a few bucks too. Not profit, but it some what covers my latest material expenses.
I've in no way broken even, but if you get into it, you dont worry about where the materials are coming from, some how you find the money.

I'll quote a post from my blog, which I also put in a similar thread to this about a week ago.

You start fly tying, buy materials for a fly , get home, tie said flies and like them. then you post them on forum, "hey, i tied some nice flies, my first" and ask for critique.
You get great positive comments, but also some stuff to improve which entails buying more materials to better fit the same flies you just tied, ex, hackles.
So you go to the store again and buy the hackles recommended.
Now, you've been to the store twice, lets say the second time you pick up some extra stuff for the next fly you want to tie, 'since you're already at the store'.
Two trips, and maybe you're out $50 including gas etc.

Now, would you have spent $50 on flies for the fishing trip. Maybe, but here's the thing, the materials will tie you more flies than 10 or 20, they crossover to other patterns. But thats materials for just two patterns, and simple patterns at that.

6 Months down the line, you're well into fly tying, its relaxing, you enjoy it. Lets say two trips to the tackle store for fly tying materials per month, for 6 months, = 12 trips, $30 a trip = $360. (more if you shop online, but we'll not count that yet)
Now ask yourself this - if you were to buy flies, would you spend $360 in 6 months. or $720 in year? I think not, unless you're buying display flies.

5 years down the line, you like the look of display flies, want to start tying them.
Materials are in some instances rare and expensive, even the hooks ($12 each), you start to buy those materials, lets say the budget entry level subs in case you dont stick with it. You end up sticking with it and get pretty decent at tying display flies. You start to search out rare and expensive materials. The purchases in one week from three different sources >$120. Always searching ebay and other sites, picking up what you can find when you find it, in case you never see it again, lets say an Argus pheasant feather from Netherlands for $35 shipped - ONE FEATHER.

Now ask yourself, are you doing it to save money, or are you doing it because you love it. If the answer is the first, its time to get help. If the answer is the second, you tie because you love it, its relaxing, its creative, your addicted to it, its still time to get help, but you can put it off for a while

This is drawn from two real life experiences. My own, and that of a forum member.
From my own standpoint, this year alone i've spent way more on fly tying materials than I have on flies ($0) - guess how many times i've been fishing - - - lets say i can count it on one hand.
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Old 12-03-2012, 04:42 PM
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Default Re: To tie or not to tie?

Thank you ALL for your vast knowledge in this area. It seems to me like it would be a fun hobby but for the time being I better ease my wife into the costs of just fly fishing for now and take this task on later. I know I would enjoy it but space is limited right now and a baby on the way won't help my defense. I will definitely keep this posting to come back to.
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:26 PM
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Default Re: To tie or not to tie?

It can get expensive, but you can also start without dropping tons of cash. I've only been tying 2.5 years and am now upgrading from my $30 vise which has served me well for hundreds of flies from large pike flies down to size 24 trout flies. Don't feel like you need to spend a ton to get started. Waiting might be the right choice right now, but if you do get started, feel free to post questions about which tools/vise to buy.

There are a lot of us on here that tie, and, you may have observed, some of the folks on here are real professionals, even artists. I've found them gracious with their knowledge and have learned a lot. I'm sure you'll find other members very helpful.
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:52 PM
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Default Re: To tie or not to tie?

If you have a list of the flies you regularly purchase/use now, that may be a good starting point to see what it will cost you to "buy in" instead of thinking about the eventuality of going "all in" =)

Make a list of flies and the sizes you use, post that here and I'm sure nearly anyone could provide you a list of what you'd need to buy to tie them all, and a ballpark price for the materials.

Everyone is right about the cost of tools, and the choice is yours.. buy inexpensive tools and be frustrated and either quit or have to replace them, or buy the good stuff up front... and there really is GOOD middle of the road stuff that you can tie on for a year or two before you'll be tasting for more... but DON'T cut corners on your vise or scissors.
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:41 PM
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Default Re: To tie or not to tie?

All good info here. Not that I expected anyting less from this group

A few random thoughts, some of which may have been mentioned.

One of the best gifts I've ever received was that cheapie Cabelas tying kit from my father some 12 or so years ago. I have long outgrown it, but it got me into the game and got me very interested in tying. Outside of switching to a fly rod coming from a spinning setup, tying is one of the best hobbies I've picked up.

Do take classes, and supplement learning from youtube and other options on this forum. Not to take away from videos or instruction here (there are a plethora of AMAZING tiers on this forum), but I've learned more by attending a couple of tying classes than I have on videos. You'll get one on one attention if the classes are anything like I've experienced. That attention cannot be duplicated by videos. Though videos are certainly a wonderful way to learn new patterns or techniques. I watch them frequently. Davie McPhail is a guy you should look for on youtube.

You don't need to go out and load yourself up with materials at the onset. Pick a fly or two that you want to tie and buy the materials for those patterns. Tie a dozen or so of each pattern. You will be amazed at the progress you make from fly 1 to fly 12. I am still doing this and usually my 3rd fly is where I've got it dialed in.

In the winter months, when I can't fish because the streams are locked with ice, tying becomes my vice. I can sit at the bench and get lost in thought: when I'll fish this certain pattern, the streams I'll be fishing, and the trout I'm hopeful will take them. Also, I love hearing my bud tell me all about how I've just jammed his fly box, that he's got no room for the flies I've tied and has to put them in an overflow box, blah blah blah

Fly fishing is progression of sorts and I can't imagine doing this without tying my own flies. There is stuff I'm tying for streams that I fish that simply cannot be found in fly shops or pickadiscountflyshoponline.com
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:46 PM
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Default Re: To tie or not to tie?

There is no choice. You will learn as you grow in fishing that tying flies is part of the addiction. Next thing you know, Christmas bows will have fly pattern ideas dancing in your head. Old fur coats, pet hairs, strands of yarn or wool.... Ah yes, the addiction lies deep in the mind of old okuma here. Hmmm. found an old feather duster in the cellar today. Pink, blue, yellow fibers. OOOH...steelie streamers?
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:57 PM
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Default Re: To tie or not to tie?

A lot of great answers. Welcome to the world of flyfishing. It includes a lot besides whipping a rod, line and flies back and forth.

I started by learning to cast then it progressed:

Learning to read water
Learning to understand (yeah, right!) how a trout thinks
Entomology\
Biology
Tying flies - I too took a class and learned from one of the best
Tying functional flies
Building fly rods
Breaking fly rods
Trying to catch the most, the biggest, the most biggest...
Trying to afford to go to exotic locations
Taking legible and enjoyable photos of flyfishing
and, now I write about all that stuff in the magazines

Fly Tying is not cheap - it is a way to add to the enjoyment of your sport and, as Ard related, it is worth everything in terms of being able to fool, hook and land a fish on a fly of your own creation - PRICELESS.

We don't tie flies to save money, we tie flies to justify spending more and more

I wouldn't trade a thing. I love this sport and all that it means and is in my life.

Good luck.

Best Fishes,

Kelly.
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Old 12-10-2012, 01:38 PM
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Default Re: To tie or not to tie?

Welcome and as a beginner in respect to others that have been fishing a long time, I say start tying. I recently started reading Bates book on streamers and buck tails and the wealth of knowledge I n those old books is helping tremendously. Sure watch videos but nothing compares to an experience tier explaining the whys and what of materials and proportions. And, as a bonus, the more you tie and research the better you'll be at buying the flies that catch fish versus those flies that catch fishermen.

As for saving money..that depends. If you are going to tie to fill your fly box with a few tried and true patterns you will save money. If your of the exploratory nature and have a creative flare I doubt you'll save money.

But before you go off and spends tons of money on lots of material in different colors, etc...get some schooling on WHY the classic patterns use a certain material and proportions. I read several modern books on fly tying and none has compared to the explanations and presentations I found in the first chapter of Bates book from 1979.

Beware. It can get expensive. Once I started fly fishing I knew I'd be doing it so long as God allowed me to, so the investment of money seemed fair given how long I hope to live. Fly tying seemed like the natural next step so I went for better than beginner vise and tools. Some of those tools I don't use anymore (threaders and whip finishers and a couple of higher end bobbins. Turns out simpler is better. I did just spring for a custom hand made red oak fly tying desk for a room that will now be dedicated to the hobby. The home made bench I made has been used a lot and my materials are starting to overflow...see I told ya!

---------- Post added at 01:37 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:30 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by okuma View Post
There is no choice. You will learn as you grow in fishing that tying flies is part of the addiction. Next thing you know, Christmas bows will have fly pattern ideas dancing in your head. Old fur coats, pet hairs, strands of yarn or wool.... Ah yes, the addiction lies deep in the mind of old okuma here. Hmmm. found an old feather duster in the cellar today. Pink, blue, yellow fibers. OOOH...steelie streamers?
So true! We bought some Xmas ornaments and the tinsel ties that came with them to use for hanging, we're quickly snatched up to use as ribbing for some presentation flies for friends!

---------- Post added at 01:38 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:37 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by okuma View Post
There is no choice. You will learn as you grow in fishing that tying flies is part of the addiction. Next thing you know, Christmas bows will have fly pattern ideas dancing in your head. Old fur coats, pet hairs, strands of yarn or wool.... Ah yes, the addiction lies deep in the mind of old okuma here. Hmmm. found an old feather duster in the cellar today. Pink, blue, yellow fibers. OOOH...steelie streamers?
So true! We bought some Xmas ornaments and the tinsel ties that came with them to use for hanging, we're quickly snatched up to use as ribbing for some presentation flies for friends!
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