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  1. Default Re: Any headache saving tips for a new tyer? (besides don't start the addiction)

    Tie a few non flies. Meaning, sit down with a size 12 or 14 hook some thread and 1 material - say peacock or pheasant tail. start out just starting the thread and whip finishing. then razor blade off the thread and do it again.

    Now do that, and try applying the material to the hook in different ways. tie it in and palmer (wrap) it up the hook shank. Tie it in as a wing or tail or throat... try this after laying a foundation of thread, and without - both can be useful strategies at times.

    Get a sense of just how LITTLE thread you need to wrap to securely hold material. And get a sense of how hard you can pull on the thread without it breaking!

    I know for me, it could have saved years and made much prettier + equally durable flies if I'd learned how little thread is really needed.

    Proportions. Most flies have relationships. For example wing = body length or tail = body length or half body length or 2x etc. Look in your books or on video's or here and you will see that flies are proportional. Observe that, and get a sense by practicing with minimal material how to determine those proportions.

    Also, there are gazillions of great vids on youtube, and vimeo (tightline productions s awesome instruction)... but I could not suggest a class more (as others have as well).

  2. Likes jaybo41 liked this post
  3. #32
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Northern California, USA

    Default Re: Any headache saving tips for a new tyer? (besides don't start the addiction)

    Yeppers, pre-prepping for a tying session is a GREAT idea.

    I used to travel on business a lot and when I traveled in the Winter months, I'd take "pattern bags" with me, along with a minimal set of tools- vise, scissors, bobbin, whip finisher.

    I would remove enough hackles from a cape/saddle to tie a few dozen flies with, strip the fuzz from the base, and bag them by size in zip top sandwich bags. I'd take a section of pheasant tail, or the eye section of a peacock feather or patch of elk hair and/or any other necessary materials in another bag. Then I'd take a one-week pill box with hooks and beads sorted by size into the compartments.

    These, along with an Altoids tin fitted with a magnet strip for a fly box, helped me keep my sanity while in many a hotel room. =)

    ---------- Post added at 11:23 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:16 AM ----------

    This is a good idea Willki.

    Another is to try tying just tails and bodies, then half hitching or whip finishing them off. Keep these in a box sorted by size.

    After you've got a few dozen of these, re-mount them in a vise and practice adding wings, or if you DON'T wing your flies, simply tie in hackles and hackle them.

    By doing this, not only do you pick up speed, but you learn how many wraps of hackle you can tie before you have to stop to finish a head.

    And it WON'T be the same on every fly, unless all the hackle comes from the same cape/saddle and the stems are identical.

    Also as I've said before, if you're fortunate enough to take lessons somewhere, ASK FOR PERMISSION to stand BEHIND the tyer and see from the correct view point how to do a step you're having trouble with! If you're facing them, its' hard to envision how it's supposed to look from YOUR SIDE of the vise =)

  4. Likes jaybo41 liked this post
  5. #33
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    On a trout stream/Suburban Pittsburgh
    Blog Entries

    Thumbs up Re: Any headache saving tips for a new tyer? (besides don't start the addiction)

    Willki brings up another great suggestion. I learned to whip finish with a Martareli style whip finisher by means of youtube and one single hook that i wrapped off and whip finished over and over again until I figured out how to do it. I hadn't thought of other materials and thread but I like it.
    ~*~Leave only your footprints~*~

  6. #34
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Rochester, Vermont

    Default Re: Any headache saving tips for a new tyer? (besides don't start the addiction)

    Great thread.
    Here are my two bits: I started a year ago, and I bought all cheap tools and materials because I didn't know if I was going to stick with it and as a result had to replace them all (not good economy). So buy good in the first place (I have a Peak vice now too). But don't overbuy (I did that too).

    Be prepared to spend some time breaking thread, stabbing yourself in the finger, making awful looking flies, struggling with proportion, not leaving enough room for the head, breaking hackles and so on. That hateful period doesn't last long if you stick with it, but it is a desert you must wander through at first.

    Be aware that the subject of fly tying is vast and fairly old, and once you get past the basic how-to books it is possible to evolve your thinking on the subject, which is a great process.

    For books, I found "Essential Trout Fiies" by Dave Hughes very valuable because he shows you a basic set of flies designs from which almost all the others are derived, so it organizes the vastness of the subject into very containable sets of information (at least for me). I also found "What the Trout Said: About the Design of Trout Flies and Other Mysteries" by Datus Poper very interesting because it reduces the subject to what the trout actually care about (at least in his opinion) as distinct from what looks good to humans.

    Finally, I love the Youtube videos, I never took a class. Davie McPhail is fantastic, but I like the ones in HD better because the detail is clearer.

    Good luck with it. Your first effort is way better than mine, though I started with dry flies too.

  7. #35

    Default Re: Any headache saving tips for a new tyer? (besides don't start the addiction)

    I haven't posted any updates or progress reports due to being in the middle of a move and living out of a 5th wheel with no computer or Internet access. All I have is my phone for about another month. The good news is I have been tying a little (not as much as I'd like due to cramped quarters) and fishing lots. The cutthroats of northern Idaho are keeping me in hot pursuit and I'm loving every minute of it! I'm quite sure I will have no regrets moving here. Happy tying and fishing to all. Pics to come when I get settled and hook up the computer again.

  8. Likes jaybo41 liked this post
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