With the cost of flies going up what would be a good way to get started tying. I am in my early sixties and returned to fly fishing about four years ago after a thirty year hiatus. My fishing is in the driftless area of northeast Iowa. Any recommendations on instruction manuals and tools. Thanks and have a Happy New Year.
By far, the best way to learn is to get someone to teach you
The club I belong to starts it's beginner's classes with the next week or two
Maybe there's a similar club or even a fly shop near you that has classes
Failing that, recruit an experienced friend to show you the ropes
Most fly tiers would be more than happy to help out..really
All you'd have to do is ask
Don't buy a prepackaged Kit with tool and materials all packaged as one. They tend to be cheap all around and your introduction to fly tying will probably bring you right back to purchasing flies from a shop, internet or friend. Most of the kits give you cheap tools and even cheaper materials. Your flies will only look as good as the materials you lash to the hook. Quality materials will help produce both good looking flies as well as make them more durable in the long run. Purchase your tools seperately. Invest in a decent quality vise, a good bobbin and a very good pair of scissors. These will be the three most important items you will need for tying. Sharp scissors are a must and be sure a treat them with lots of care. I keep an old pair of scissors and a pair of nail clippers on my bench for cutting things like wire and other items not ment to be cut with scissors. You will also probably want to buy a pair of hackle pliers, a whip finishing tool or half hitch tool to make a finishing knot and possibly a hair stacker. With these basic tools you should be ready to get started. The whip finishing tools can take some pratice and if you know someone who can show you how to do it you will be best off.
After you have the tool kit I would recommend picking a couple of patterns that you want to stock your box with and find a material list for those patterns. Don't get caught up in trying to fiqure out how to tie a lot of different flies all at once. Purchase the materials to tie one or two complete flies. If you don't have a club or a flyshop nearby you can get on You Tube and find lots of tutorials about techniques and specific patterns. Take your two patterns and stick with them, tying several dozen of them before you move onto another fly pattern. Tying a few dozen of one particular fly will help you develope methods and fiqure out how different materials lash to the hook. Once you feel comfortable with the fly you are producing tie another two dozen of them. I can't stress enough how beneficial it is to keep tying the same pattern over and over again. You will start to fiqure out tricks that make the pattern easier to tie, proportions on the fly will get more finely tuned and your tying will progress much faster if you repeatedly tie the same fly over and over again. Once you have mastered that fly you can move onto the next pattern and start the process all over again. Before you know it you will have several dozen patterns in your arsenal and you will become completely addicted to the art of fly tying.
One word of caution about fly tying, many get into it because they think that it will save them money. I think if you ask most serious fly tiers they will all tell you that fly tying has become more passionate for them than fishing and if they would have just kept buying flies it would have saved them a lot more money than if they had gotten into tying flies.
You might want to contact one of the folks listed to see if the club might be offering beginning tying classes- lots of chapters do over the winter, and they're usually inexpensive. You'll learn a ton and it will really help the learning curve. If for some reason they don't offer classes, they can probably point you to somewhere that does. Maybe Hawkeye Fly Fishers, or the local DNR might have some special events with fly tying? If you can, try and see if you can borrow a vise to tie on at first to get the feel of it, and to help inform you when you go shopping for one of your own. (It makes shopping a lot easier if you have a frame of reference and a little tying experience.)
As far as saving money.... a lot will depend on how many you tie vs how many you'd normally buy, and the number of different patterns (using different materials) you tie, and of course you have to cover the initial start up cost of vice tools, so it might be better to realistically look at it as a hobby--- unless you have to justify it to a significant other, in which case go with the "savings". If you fish a lot of nymphs and stuff like clousers for bass you can recoup the cost quicker (less expensive materials). Stuff like dry flies using expensive materials will take longer. As others have said, go slow on materials buying just what you need for a couple patterns at a time, knock off a bunch, and then move on. Much better (less confusing, more cost effective and you'll improve your tying skills quicker) than buying all kinds of stuff and tying one of everything.
As far as books go, there are several. Here's a few good ones, any one of which would be a great resource for trout flies:
Fly Tying Made Clear and Simple by Skip Morris
Benchside Introduction to Fly Tying by Leeson
Basic Fly Tying by Charlie Craven
fly tying would save you money if you sat there and tied up hundreds of that same fly out of the materials you bought but I found that some materials I get are still unopened! so many materials!! so lil time!! lol. I say don't get into it to try to save money. I thought it would save me at 1st but you have to drop a decent chunk of change to get everything needed. maybe you will save money somewhere down the road but it won't be right away.
Welcome to the second part of fly fishing, fly tying,,,,
I second Biggie's "Don't buy a prepackaged Kit with tool and materials all packaged as one." See if there is a Trout Unlimited Chapter near you. They usually have a fly tying class around this time of year, It's tying time....If you deal with a sports shop ask them for advice.... Before you make any major purchases, Vise etc. ask around. There are so many different types of vises around it can get confusing so give the purchase some thought , you can pay $20.00 to $600.00 on a vice & there is a market for each one,, I started on a Thompson "A" vise which is a basic vice & I still have it for classes when someone forgets theirs. It's 30 yrs old & has tied 100's of flys. As for the other tools Biggie said it all.
For Materials, decide what you want to tie & buy material for that fly & practice tying it. Keep tying it until you get it right & then move on to another. I start people on a Woolly bugger which has most of the steps & is big enough for a beginner to move their hands around & get used to manipulating materials. If your stuck & can't find any classes around, there are some awesome beginner DVD's available so there's another way to go, But the best way to learn is with someone tying along side of you. There are material handling techniques that come with experience or have to be taught,,,, Good Luck
I echo everyone else on this. I wouldn't say all KITS are bad, there are some out there that are actually pretty darn good, but you will be looking at $100.+.
BUT, usually want to replace the vise.
I would say, get as good of vise as you can afford and a rotary will put you ahead of the game, even if you don't use the rotary at first, there will be times that you WILL need it.
Then buy the tools. By tools I would say, good scissors, teflon or ceramic bobbin, a whip tool unless you do it by hand, then later, hackle pliers, Hair stacker, picker, dubbing tool and brush.
THEN only buy the supplies for the flies you want to tie.
That way you can build up slowly.
BUT CLASSES ARE VERY WELCOMED. I started tying many years ago. I took a class well into my fly tying career, but I was by then way ahead of the game...BUT, I did learn the difference in material and why to use a particular material in different cases....such as feathers...they are not all created equal.
Or you could just get really creative, and lash a bunch of stuff to a hook, and see what happens!
I did that way back in the day....Cool looking fly to.
Several years passed and one day decided to try it. The FISH LOVED IT, but for the like of me, I have no idea what I used to make it and by the end of the day, it was totaled, so I will never know.