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Old 10-06-2010, 12:32 PM
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Default Just getting started, what else do i need?

As the title suggests im new to fly tying. Ive been fishing for a good while now, but would really like to start rolling my own. So far i have a dyna king barracuda junior vice, and the dr. slick kit. I picked up a bunch of materials including head cement and Fly tying made simple by skip morris. Anything else i should pick up in order to get started? I dont know anyone who ties, so im on my own with this. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 10-06-2010, 12:56 PM
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Default Re: Just getting started, what else do i need?

You are starting with a nice vise, and tools it sounds. The book that you have is probably a good one. The book that most on here rave about is Charlie Craven's book. That plus his online store charlie'sflybox has many tutorials for tying most popular patterns. Each has a list of materials needed. If your book lists many fly patterns/recipes then you can go to google and type "how to tie a .......". You will almost always get a video of a tyer showing you how step by step. In fact when you have time type "how to tie a pheasant tail nymph". I still do it often.
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Old 10-06-2010, 01:13 PM
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Default Re: Just getting started, what else do i need?

Welcome to the addiction of fly tying. I also taught myself years ago. I like looking on line for how to tie patterns and copy(alot of times creating my version) the recipes used.
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Old 10-06-2010, 01:37 PM
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Default Re: Just getting started, what else do i need?

I started making real progress when I settled down and picked one pattern to tie, then bought the materials for only that pattern. Tie it until your fly looks presentable and can be finished in a reasonable amount of time, then choose another and repeat the process. After you've gone through this several times, your stock of tying materials will have increased substantially along with your tying skills.

FWIW, I must have $1000+ worth of tying materials on hand and it seems any new pattern I set out to tie requires one or more items not "in stock".
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Old 10-06-2010, 01:42 PM
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Default Re: Just getting started, what else do i need?

the next thing you need is alot of free time. once you get your most poplular fished paterns down you will spend hours tying at a time. I cant sit down to tie unless i have a couple hours of free time. Next i would invest in a nice bright lamp. No need for it to be a fly tying specific lamp. just place that on the other side of the vice so your shadow does not cover the light. or if you can set up in front of a window that would be best. Also plan on having a large closet just for your materials down the road. Good luck and have fun tying keep us posted on your progress.

---------- Post added at 12:42 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:39 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostdncr View Post
I must have $1000+ worth of tying materials on hand and it seems any new pattern I set out to tie requires one or more items not "in stock".
Amen to that, I have been tying for about 10 years now and I still dont have all the materials that I need when I start a new patterns.
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Old 10-06-2010, 02:14 PM
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Default Re: Just getting started, what else do i need?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostdncr View Post
I started making real progress when I settled down and picked one pattern to tie, then bought the materials for only that pattern. Tie it until your fly looks presentable and can be finished in a reasonable amount of time, then choose another and repeat the process.

FWIW, I must have $1000+ worth of tying materials on hand and it seems any new pattern I set out to tie requires one or more items not "in stock".
One way to do the "tie the same pattern over till you get it right" is to get an empty egg carton and put the finished flies into the spaces as you tie them, then when you're done, go back and look at them to see the difference. When I was teaching one of my daughters to tie, I had them do this and also decrease sizes as they went along- 4 in size 12, 4 in size 14, 4 in size 16... it was really cool to see the improvement and the confidence they gained by doing this. Eventually, they went 14, 16, 18 and then they could pick and choose what they tied.

As for the "$1000+ worth of materials", I measure it more by containers than $$ =) In part it's because I've been buying them since 1964, when jungle cock capes were $20 and you could legally buy polar bear and seal. Do you ever have everything? No. Do you ever have every color? No. Do you NEED everything or every color? NO... at some point, you simply draw an imaginary line in the sand and say enough... and if you need an odd color or material, try to find a fellow tyer that will either trade you materials of 'gift' them to you for tying a dozen of a specific pattern.

Unless it's jungle cock, polar bear or seal... lots of us are willing to do this- I know I have!
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Old 10-06-2010, 02:28 PM
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Default Re: Just getting started, what else do i need?

Cool Hand Hodge-

You've got a great vise and quality tools--- other than that, the next thing will be an endless quest for materials--- and time.

One thing that will help is to practice with just some thread and the hook in a vise and tie on, and tie off with a whip finish. Cut the thread off and do it again and again until you're sure you've got it down. (It would stink if you get to the point of finishing your first fly and don't know how to tie it off without everything unravelling.) The type of whip finisher included in the Dr Slick tool kit is a rotary "matarelli style" whip finisher - you can google "using matarelli whip finisher youtube"

Are you tying trout flies?

If so, Skip's book is a classic and many of us learned to tie those classic trout patterns with that. Charlie Craven's site Charlie's FlyBox - Metro Denver, Colorado's Best Fly Fishing Retailer (flyshop) with online Fly Tying Tutorials has excellent step by steps ( click on "flybox" to get to a drop down menu with tons of patterns) His book "Basic Fly Tying" is also excellent.

Skip's book is well thought out and in addition to teaching you excellent patterns, it will also teach you specific skills as you move to new patterns in the book. So although the book may only cover 14 or 15 flies in detail, you'll actually be able to tie 100's of patterns just by varying colors and sizes--- and you'll also be able to just look at a pic of many flies and a recipe listing and be able to figure it out.

The biggest issue will be choosing the right materials for the patterns you want to tie--- this is probably the most confusing aspect of tying for most folks starting out.

Pick a few patterns at a time-- something like a Woolly Bugger, a Pheasant Tail Nymph and a Hare's Ear Nymph and buy the materials for those and tie up a minimum of 6-12 of each before you move on (in different hook sizes and colors of buggers, and with and without beadheads if you want to vary it up a bit). This will help "lock in" the pattern--- and you'll notice each one will be a bit better and neater than the one before it. Pay attention to proportions as you go, and try and consciously compare you efforts to an example of a well tied "model" of that pattern (either a store bought fly or picture). After you've tied a mess of those first few patterns, pick another 2-3 patterns and buy stuff for those--- and try and avoid the temptation of tying one of everything.

This is a good place to ask questions about materials or if you're having problems with techniques as they come up, so just holler. You can also post pics of your flies too if you want some constructive feedback.

Good luck and have fun!
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Old 10-06-2010, 02:42 PM
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Default Re: Just getting started, what else do i need?

Im glad to hear that the equipment i have is of decent quality. I actually took it in on trade as i was trying to help a friend out who owed me some money. I figured that it would help him out, and give me something to do over the winter. At the very least it will save me some money down the road as i tend to loose a lot of flies on some of the smaller brookie streams i fish often. I will be tying mainly trout patterns and some of the more common bass patterns such as buggers, monkey butts, and poppers. I got a huge bag of assorted materials as well, so hopefully i have enough to get started. I enjoy reloading pistol ammo very much so hopefully this will be a similar experience.

Thanks for all the advice too. This is the place that got me into fly fishing to begin with...and now it looks like tieing too!
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Old 10-06-2010, 02:55 PM
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Default Re: Just getting started, what else do i need?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ab fisher View Post
the next thing you need is alot of free time. once you get your most poplular fished paterns down you will spend hours tying at a time. Also plan on having a large closet just for your materials down the road. Good luck and have fun tying keep us posted on your progress.

Amen to that, I have been tying for about 10 years now and I still dont have all the materials that I need when I start a new patterns.

It's always good to set aside sufficient time to tie... but also occasionally to get familiar with the materials you have and spend some time setting up things that may help you effectively use your time when you do tie.

I learned the importance of having CLEAN, well packaged and labeled materials at a pretty young age after having an infestation cost me a few pelts, tails and capes. Don't assume that materials you purchase or receive are always insect free or have been properly treated and cleaned. SMELL them on receipt, check them for excess fat or oil (on the skin side), and NEVER introduce them into your inventory until you have given them an opportunity to prove themselves worthy! This isn't usually a problem with synthetics, but natural materials definitely need to be 'studied'.

Eve with the highest quality on-skin or on-hide materials (Hoffmann, Metz, whatever) you will periodically find problems that can be easily cured by spending a bit of time checking them over and washing them. Look at the skin and see if there are any 'blobs' of fat or greasy/oily areas- you can typically find these by running a piece of medium blue or grey paper across them and see if it darkens. After using a razor blade and sharp scissors to cut away any fat or excess skin, you can use the edge of a spoon (dedicated to this purpose, NOT a kitchen utensil!) to scrape the back of the skin and make sure there's no more surface fat.

Now, smell the patch and see if you pick up any oily scent. Even if you don't, washing the materials is a good idea. Fill a clean sink with warm water and a small amount (a couple of tablespoons) of Dawn dishwashing detergent. Place the neck in the water and allow it to sit for a few minutes, then using your hands, rub the skin surface gently to remove any surface oils. Turn the neck over and 'swish' the feathers through the soapy water while fanning them away from the skin. Drain the sink and rinse both sides of the neck under running warm water until there is no soap remaining. Rinse the neck again under cool water and place it skin side down on a pad of paper towels to drain and dry. If you have a ceiling fan, place it on the table under the ceiling fan and turn it on medium to help dry the feathers out. You can also do this with a hair dryer on low heat by draping the skin side of the neck over your hand and aiming the dryer at the feathers.

Allow the neck to dry completely fro a day or so and then place it in a NEW, CLEAN, ziploc-type bag and label it with the date you purchased it and the source you obtained it from. IF YOU'RE REAL PARANOID... you can pop it in the freezer for a couple of days and pull it out before introducing it into your inventory... this way if there were any insect eggs you may have missed, it will kill them.

One thing you'll notice after doing this is there will be a bit of a difference in the color of the feathers from before and after washing, the other is how much the feathers will shine. You can do this with necks, saddles, full capes, any "feathers on skin" patches and you REALLY should consider it. All it will take is one rancid or buggy patch that ruins the balance of your materials to change your mind.

The same can be done with fur patches, it's not necessary to do this with tanned hides but with dry cured furs it's a good idea. I've routinely done this with bucktails, calf tails and any on-hide fur I get from live kills. You will need a utility knife (to remove excess skin and fat), a comb and/or brush, and a bit more time for drying these materials after washing. It's also a good idea to consider making a 50/50 mixture of baking soda and table salt to use to sprinkle on the skin to help cure and dry it after the majority of the water has dried out.

And furs, capes, pelts from live kills should ALWAYS be frozen, defrosted and frozen a second time after they are completely dry to kill off any eggs.

A little time spent up front will provide a better long term experience when tying, especially with the high cost of materials currently.
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Old 10-06-2010, 04:08 PM
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Default Re: Just getting started, what else do i need?

Hi Cool Hand Hodge,

When I first saw your post title I thought to my self: "Wait a minute, Cool Hand Hodge has been around for quite a while." I never thought about fly tying. Good move Cool Hand, tying will give you hours of fun and relaxation or maybe hours of frustration. Fortunately most people love tying flies but I never really enjoyed it as much as some other hobbies. I think my poor eye sight has something to do with that.

You have good equipment and I also recommend Charley Craven's book. The pictures are outstanding and make it easy to follow along with the procedures.

You live in Michigan and there is no end to great fly fishing clubs. Visit a club and they will be a big help. Find a dealer who ties some of his own flies and if he is like most good dealers he will take time to help you.

If all else fails and you really want to find a fly fishing buddy, or fly tying buddy, put an ad in your local paper under sporting goods. I would be surprised if you don't find other new fly tiers looking for information just like you. Learning with a friend makes it a lot easier and more enjoyable. It also cuts down the cost as you can share materials and split the cost.

Frank

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