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-   -   How do I tie Faster? (http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/forums/general-fly-tying-discussions/69753-how-do-i-tie-faster.html)

ausablebrown 11-09-2010 10:17 AM

How do I tie Faster?
 
I have been tying for about 5 years now and I have never met a pattern that I couldn't tie, I can usually figure out the methods and make them look pretty near perfect. However, I have been perpetually frustrated by my lack of speed when tying even simple patterns. I spoke to a professional tyer in Grayling MI, who was going to tye 55 dozen hex in 8 different patterns 2 weeks. Honestly this blows my mind. He calls wolly buggers, skunks, bucktail streamers, etc. "one minute flies"! I asked him if he really meant "one minute" and he confirmed that he completes theses flies in less than 2 minutes.
I don't expect to be a professional tyer or to attain that level of speed, but I would like get quite a bit faster. It seems that everytime I sit down at the bench I spend 2 hours and come out with a dozen flies. A "quality" wooly bugger to me is about a 6-7 minute fly and that is after I get all of the materials out on the bench ready to utilize.
I would like to at least double my speed. My Renzetti 4000 cam vise has helped, I really utilize the rotating head as often as I can and have become quite good at it.
Any professional tyers in the forum that can help???
Thanks, Jason

kglissmeyer1 11-09-2010 10:36 AM

Re: How do I tie Faster?
 
How often do you tie? Tying for five years says little about how much time you spent there during those five years, therefore, time at the vise is the real key. I tie every night for about two hours, if for no other reason than to stay well-practiced. Other hints are making sure you have all of the tools close at hand and many of us tie with scissors in our hand the entire time we are tying any given pattern.

Time at the vise speeds it up a lot over time with practice. I also hand whip my flies which seems to save a little time on each creation. There are a lot of tips and shortcuts out there, but, in the end, it comes down to whether or not you are happy with what you created.

One thing that helped me early on was to attend fly-tying shows and expos and sit in front of skilled tyers and pay attention to how they accomplished certain steps to each fly. The range of differences was tremendous, but I gleaned what I thought would work best for me and put it into practice. Some of those observed and practiced skills became my own, and some went by the wayside as not being very helpful. Find out what fits and works for you. But, ultimately you've got to be happy with the end results no matter how long it takes. If you're trying to get up to the speed of a commercial, production tyer, you need to ask if that is really what you want. Much of what I enjoy from tying has to do with the experience of sitting at the vise and creating something that I'm confident will fool fish, as well as the entire experience of all the tying steps and just the whole package of being there and doing that. It's plain fun, no matter how long it takes me for a particular pattern.

I've also learned there are some patterns that I won't attempt after first trying them. I still can't tie a decent No-hackle dun mayfly - too many thumbs and errant thread wraps and they never turn out like in the pictures...

Have fun and ask yourself why you need to speed up, or even if, after five satisfying years of tying, you really need to speed up. Just don't think you need to measure yourself against any other tyer. This skill is as individual as the many tyers who participate in it.

Have fun and enjoy the ride.

Kelly.

Jimmie 11-09-2010 10:53 AM

Re: How do I tie Faster?
 
I'm just jumping on your thread to stay updated and learn something. What a great thread, and great response by Kelly.

Biggie 11-09-2010 11:17 AM

Re: How do I tie Faster?
 
Jason,
I have tied flies commercially and for myself for over 20 years. I don't do as much commercial tying as I once did due to the fact that I have two young kids. I still tie all my flies for my clients that I guide but don't do much for shops anymore. As far as speed at the vise it all comes down to proper organization and efficiency with your thread.

Under proper organization there are several things that help. Just setting up your materials and tying several dozen of the same fly will help your speed, it sounds like you have already done the prep of your materials, which is huge. I like to keep the tools that I use on patterns to a minimum, each time you have to pick up a tool, ie.. whip finisher, hackle pliers or your scissors it takes up time. Learning to tie flies with your scissors in your hand all the time will increase your speed ten fold. I like a pair of scissors that have an open loop on them so that you can quickly insert your thumb into the loop to make a cut. I am a right handed tier and carry my scissors in my right hand. I place the closed loop on my scissors on my ring finger and simply cusp my hand around the shaft of the scissors while I am tying on materials. Once I need to make a cut I can slide my thumb down the shaft of the scissors and capture the other loop hole on my scissors with my thumb and make the cut. Once I have made the cut I can slide my thumb back out of the scissors and carry them in my hand while I attach additional materials. I prefer the Anvil curved scissors, the ones that are dipped in the blue liquid plastic. They have open loops and you can adjust the loops to fit your fingers. I also whip finish my flies by hand and don't use a tool. The more tools you use the longer it is going to take to tie the fly because you have to find, pick up and put the tool back down once you are finished using the tool. I used to tie on a Renzetti true rotary vise but I gave it up after I got over the coolness of the rotary feature. The use of a bobbin cradle slowed my tying down a ton and I abandoned it except if I am tying shadow box quality flies that are going to used for display rather than to fish with. The only real advantage to true rotary for me is for placing materials in specific locations on the hook.

In regards to efficiency it basically comes down to your thread wraps. Most tiers I see tying flies use far to much thread. It only takes a wrap or two of thread in most cases to very securely attach a material to a hook. Proper use of your thread is probably the one thing that doesn't get taught enough in tying. Most books and instructors I have seen teach tying don't spend much time on teaching thread handling and material mounting techniques. One of the only books that I have seen that gives much to these issues is the "Fly Tier's Bench side Reference" by Ted Lesson and Jim Schollmeyer. By the way this is the bible for fly tying, I know it is an expensive book but it is worth every penny. Learning how different threads work and how to use them to your advantage will save you lots of time. Understanding how to use your thread to attach materials will also speed up the process and make you a more efficient tier. Many tiers use a straight forward approach to tying on materials which involves wrapping the material onto the hook half heartily and then readjusting the material once it is on the hook. If you have to readjust your material after you make your securing thread wrap this takes time and time is money. Learning to use other methods such as noose loops, pinch loops and other techniques will save time by placing the material directly on the hook where you want it to be placed. Getting your material placed on the hook right out of the gate will save you time.

Efficiency with your thread wraps along with being organized with your tools are two of the best ways to become a faster tier. I hope this helps and if you don't have the Fly Tier's Benchside Reference I would encourage you to put it on your Holiday Wish list. It is a great book that I still refer to all the time. Good luck with your tying.

Biggie

Hardyreels 11-09-2010 11:23 AM

Re: How do I tie Faster?
 
I see that while I typed this Biggie was posting also, there may be some redundant content and if I find that my entire post is redundant I will delete it.


I used to tie flies one dozen at a time of the same pattern. The way to get it done was to break the work into steps. For instance, if I were going to tie 12 ginger quill dry flies on #16 hooks I would target the most time consuming part of the work (Slate gray mallard quill wings) and make 12 pairs of wings then set them aside.

Next came the stripped quill for the body, I would select 12 nice dark brown / red hackles from the base of a cape and strip them of all the fibers to provide 12 body wrappings.

Next select 12 neck hackle that are proper size and remove them from the cape and set them aside.

Select at least 2 saddle hackle to pull fibers from for the tails and you are ready to tie the twelve Ginger Quills.

You will notice the time saved by not having to select or prepare each individual piece of material for each fly that you intend to tie. Once you have all the materials at the ready you are free to work on improving your actual tying time as you work through a pattern.

madjoni 11-09-2010 12:21 PM

Re: How do I tie Faster?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ausablebrown (Post 163477)
I have been tying for about 5 years now and I have never met a pattern that I couldn't tie, I can usually figure out the methods and make them look pretty near perfect. However, I have been perpetually frustrated by my lack of speed when tying even simple patterns. I spoke to a professional tyer in Grayling MI, who was going to tye 55 dozen hex in 8 different patterns 2 weeks. Honestly this blows my mind. He calls wolly buggers, skunks, bucktail streamers, etc. "one minute flies"! I asked him if he really meant "one minute" and he confirmed that he completes theses flies in less than 2 minutes.
I don't expect to be a professional tyer or to attain that level of speed, but I would like get quite a bit faster. It seems that everytime I sit down at the bench I spend 2 hours and come out with a dozen flies. A "quality" wooly bugger to me is about a 6-7 minute fly and that is after I get all of the materials out on the bench ready to utilize.
I would like to at least double my speed. My Renzetti 4000 cam vise has helped, I really utilize the rotating head as often as I can and have become quite good at it.
Any professional tyers in the forum that can help???
Thanks, Jason

I am pro fly tier and if that is any help for you just keep tying more...and then some more:)
Practice is everything ;)
And dont worry...you tie flies for your own pleasure ....6-7 minutes for fly that makes you feel good is not much..is it?:)

ausablebrown 11-09-2010 12:45 PM

Re: How do I tie Faster?
 
I only tie about 2-3 hours a week, a little more when I'm coming up on a long fishing trip where I dont' have stocks of what will be hatching. So experience/rustiness could be most of my problem. However some of the tecniques you guys have listed I have never thought of or seen.

I have only watched one professional tyer and I don't think that he tied with scissors in his hand, but he sure was fast. He makes deer hair bugs for Gates AuSable lodge, Blue Ribbon Flies in Yellowstone, and our local fly shop among others. It was quite a long time ago that I watched him and I did not tie at the time, so I wasnt really paying attention to all of the details.

I long ago discarded my whip finish tool, I actually never learned how to use it because the beginners book that I started with showed it without the tool so I learned it that way and the tool proved to be more difficult for me after having learned without it. I can do that with fingers very quickly most times and get the loop to stay over the eye of the hook.

I don't wish to acquire a "one minute fly" pace, that would seem like work, but I would like to feel like I was accomplishing my task at a steady pace without having too many mid-tye redo's. My latest experience was with rubber leg streamers. I could not for the life of me get them to stay straight on the hook with the first try, so unwrapping chenille, and rewrapping until the legs sat in nice lateral positions took me quite a bid of time. Probably 8-10 min per fly.

As far as reaching for my scissors, I think that is the least of my problems. Trimming 4 or 5 materials during a fly would only amount to about 15 seconds of picking up and putting down scissors and I dont think I could get used to that.

I usually tye at least 5-10 of a pattern at once, though I get all of my materials out at once, I usually don't size up hackles, clip maribou bunches, flashabou, or cut wings ahead of time. This usually take a minute or two in between the actual tying. I will try getting more materials completely sorted and ready before I tie my next batch.

I am enjoying the fact that I tie nearly everything that I fish with, so I am not discontent. I just feel that I should be faster by this point. Am I being unrealistic in expecting to be efficient while I only tie 2-3 hours a week?

Also, I have looked for some youtube videos on faster tying and I couldnt find any. Anyone got a link to a tutorial, or youtube?

---------- Post added at 11:45 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:36 AM ----------

I am pretty good at thread control, I do not use nearly as much as I used to. I have found that 3 good tight strategically placed wraps are sufficient.

Concerning the use of the rotary feature; I find it very useful on longer streamers like wooly buggers, probably because I have never found the use of hackle pliers to be anything less than clumsy while trying to circumnavigate the shaft of the hook 12 times. The half hitch and placing the thread on the bobbin hanger takes me 2 seconds whereas I would be fighting with and dropping my hackle pliers 2 or 3 times while trying to wrap the chenille, and then the hackle.

This could be the wrong way to think about it, but I find it much more efficient for me to half hitch, hang the bobbin and spin the rotary while holding the material in my fingers rather than with a tool.

okuma 11-09-2010 02:13 PM

Re: How do I tie Faster?
 
Hmmmmm.....maybe this is just me. Fly tying is an art for me. I get an idea in my head then begin to "create" it. i.e. the clouser curly tail that was posted on this site for me. Dunno, but to me fly tying is an expression of what i see in my mind(sometimes a strange place to be:p)

BigCliff 11-09-2010 02:54 PM

Re: How do I tie Faster?
 
There's already some really great advice in here, thanks guys!

I'll add that it takes alot of practice to get to the point where there's not a trade off between choosing "fast" or "perfect".

I'm not there yet.

Hardyreels 11-09-2010 02:56 PM

Re: How do I tie Faster?
 
I guess this all comes down to what you are tying and why. Now days I have so many flies of every type that tying is like okuma has described............an expression. Sooner or later I'll decide that I need to tie half a dozen Female Beaverkill dries and I may or may not worry about how long it takes :)


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