I was hesitant at first, but I'm currently taking a class over in Arvada, CO at Charlies Fly Box (Charlie Craven's), and I just wanted to share how valuable something like this is. While Charlie isn't teaching this course, our instructor has so much experience, the value is in the little things - time-saving tips and tricks, the explanation of a complex technique, just makes tying that much less intimidating and a hell of a lot more fun.
If you're a beginner tyer, I highly recommend finding a local class. You can stare at books all day and rewind YouTube videos for hours and you'll wonder why your flies aren't proportioned right, or just plain look terrible.
Great that you found a course.
Where I am, there is a fly tying club that meets weekly.
The room is at a Community College, no charge.
Lots of great tiers, lots of free advice. Great way to pass the winter months.
i have 30+ years of tying and i still take an occasional tying class (winged wet flies or new england/rangely streamers for example). its well worth the money and like you say flytying doesnt get taught on you tube videos. i wish i still lived in the denver area. there are so many fly shops that you could visit one and catch a demo tying session almost every week. no fly shops in southeastern connecticut.
dont get me wrong, you tube videos are an excellent source for tying fly patterns but very few of them actually identify or teach you techniques. they are simply fly tying videos that assumes you know how to tie flies.
another thing that burns my a$$ about you tube videos is they seem to be more of an obnoxious music video with a little fly tying in the background rather than an actual fly tying video.
Agree, If you want to learn how to tie, take a class. Back in the 80s I took a four week course. One ot most valuable techniques I learned was whip finishing with your hands. I still have my notes from the class.
Those who know me know that I tie a lot of flies. I started in a local night class offered through the adult education program in my community. My instructor was Mim's Barker, a local fly shop owner and creator of the original Box Canyon Stone stonefly nymph. I too learned how to finish a fly by hand, while not a true whip finish, it is a series of double half-hitches and much the same as a hand whip. I still finish all of my flies the same way today.
The 6-week evening course really got me started on solid ground. Also, my wife gave me my first fly-tying "kit" just prior to taking the class. This was not a traditional kit as those advertized by many. We lived in West Yellowstone, MT at the time and were friends with Craig and Jackie Matthews of Blue Ribbon Flies. Jackie put together a "kit" that was functional from the get-go with none of those items included that you would never use.
I then secured a copy of Jack a Dennis fly tying book and practiced tying all of the flies he showed in order to better understand the process outside of the classroom setting.
A solid foundation makes for a lifetime of enjoyment.
I guess fly tying classes could be fun but I have never taken any. I learned to tie close to 40 years ago so learning from the internet was not an option. I learned from a few books that I managed to find.
I did give a few tying classes but only to 1 or 2 beginners at a time. It takes only one evening to get the main techniques of fly tying....meaning applying materials, proportions and whip finishing. If any of the students needed extra help a little later on, I would then schedule another evening to correct any errors or improve techniques.
We all learn differently some ways are better than others. Books for me were how I cut my teeth, I taught myself how to tie. The boom of the internet has helped due to some really good videos. Some of the videos are just plain awful as flytire said. I've taken a couple of hands on courses and those experiences are the ones I've learned the most from.
Beginning tier or not, I'm of the opinion that lessons are money well spent if there are things you want to work on, new types of patterns or are just looking to confirm what you're doing is right. When you have a chance to take a class from someone who's really good at tying like Charlie, I wouldn't think twice about it. You're lucky you've got him in your backyard.
I'm also self taught & have been tying for about 47 years. I can very much agree that a good tying class is well worth the time & money if it's something you have to pay for.
I consider myself a fairly good tier, but it's taken me a lot of trial & error & a lifetime of learning, not that I'm not still learning, but a class would have certainly shortened the learning curve! I've not taken any classes, but have been fortunate enough to have had the acquaintance of many superb tiers over the years, from which I've gotten advise & tips.
cgrphoto, great post & great advise for anyone who wishes to improve their tying or are just beginning!
I highly recommend beginners take a tying class. I can't imagine learning to tie without one. There are so many little things that can go wrong and by the end of the fly, it looks terrible or falls apart.
With tying classes in mind, anyone in the general area of MD, there is an event that has been here for several years called Tiefest. This year it's called Lefty Kreh's Tiefest in honor of Lefty who has been a part of it from the beginning. The event date is Saturday, March 9, 2013.
I've attended a few years & have never been disappointed. I have no vested interest, other than to pass along that it's an awesome opportunity for anyone interested in tying! The times I've attended, Lefty & a few others have also given casting demonstrations & instruction.
If anyone on this forum would like to be able to sit down with some extremely talented and well known tiers, then it's a must see event. In years past the event was free, but has out grown the various locations, so an admission fee is being charged. It's $10 for anyone who is not under 16, or a CCA member. If you become a CCA member, the $10 is put towards that membership. It's a great deal either way.
This is an event that is not for profit, but is as event the organizers started to get fly tiers together to learn & share their knowledge, and of course that includes getting more folks interested in this sport & sharing with them. Other than perhaps some of the Federation Of Fly Fishers conclaves, you would be hard pressed to find another group of such talented tiers in one place, where you can actually spend time sitting & talking with them.
There are some vendors who attend and support this event too.
Here's the information which is also posted on the CCA MD website:
Lefty Kreh’s Tiefest 2013
When: March 9, 2013 @ 9:00 am - 2:30 pm
Where: Prospect Bay Country Club
313 Prospect Bay Drive West
Cost: Free for CCA Members and kids under 16 $10 for non members
Contact: Tony firstname.lastname@example.org