So maybe you’re like me. You’ve been fly fishing for a little while now. “Match the hatch” is not just a catchy phrase --you’ve gotten better at picking the right bug out of your fly box when you're fishing the South Platte or the Ark. You’ve even been known to say “oh, there’s a little hatch goin’ on” when you spot some bugs in the air at the family BBQ in your brother-in-law's backyard on the west side of town. And here you are, at the precipice, ready to tackle tying your own flies. So, what’s the motivation to take that step?
not just “the how”
Fly tying has been the subject of 1000’s of articles, books, and blogs (a quick search on Amazon for “fly tying books” reveals something like 1,259 titles). You can, of course, do a Google search and learn about the materials needed and the steps to take to tie flies. Some of the sites will offer plenty of advice for the beginner: start simple with a pattern that only uses two or three materials. Start with a larger hook -- size #14 or so. Keep it simple at first and work your way up to smaller hooks and more complex patterns. Makes sense to me. I think most of fly fishing works that way, doesn’t it? We don’t rush right out to the more technical locations and expect success. Most of us like to experience successes early and then work our way to bigger challenges.
In that Google search, you’ll find links to youtube videos, a plethora of blog sites, and e-zines a-plenty -- all with the good intentions of helping a newcomer get started on the path to tying his or her own flies.
In other words, plenty of advice is out there about “how” to tie flies. No shortage of instructional videos and materials. And they seem to be pretty good. But there's more to tying flies, isn’t there, then just “how-to”? And how quickly can you flatten your learning curve watching "how-to" videos at the dining room table with Sunday Night Football on in the background?
Even though I have learned some things from youtube videos about a whole range of casting techniques and fly-first presentations, I have learned more -- and more quickly -- with a mentor, a guide at my side. Similarly, I think I could learn some things about fly tying from online sources. But for more efficient, effective, and economically feasible reasons, a class or two with seasoned veteran tiers may be the best bet.
the “why” ...
"It'll save me money.” I’ve heard people say they’ll save money by tying their own flies. Like any adventure, though, it will take a bit of time for any return on the investment to happen. So taking up fly tying cannot solely be an economic motivation, right? The initial (and on-going) cost of materials and equipment can be offset by taking a class and receiving instruction (as well as some initial materials provided as part of the class) so that you’re not in it alone.
“I need a winter hobby.” That may be a great motivation. What can we do on long winter nights when we may not get out to the river all that much and, when we do, it’s for shorter stretches of time? (OK, what else can we do?) Tying flies offers some folks a form of artistic expression, relaxation, and, mostly, a way to fill fly boxes for the months ahead. With all the things competing for our time, fly tying might be one activity to move to the top of the priorities!
“I want to net a fish with a fly that I tied.” Exactly. The biggest motivator for me to take that step into fly tying will be the idea of “from vise to net.” Whether I tie the fly at my kitchen table or in a class with others, I want to pull that fly from my fly box, tie it on the tippet, and watch a fish rise to take it. I want to take that fly from the Rainbow’s lip, dust it with some Frog’s Fanny, and present it again for the next rise.
To see a calendar of our upcoming classes in November, please click here.
Orvis 101 Introduction to Fly Fishing
Orvis 201 Streamside