Fly tying is not tricky. It has been called an art; indeed, some ties are works of art designed to display or catch fishermen instead of fish. Here are some tips to help the new fly tyer become more proficient. Have fun, and along the way, you will become part inventor, artist-craftsman, and entomologist.

  • Fly tying is easy if taken step by step. Start by selecting simple, uncomplicated patterns until you become familiar with the equipment, and the techniques to tie the fly become almost second nature. Patterns can be found in many fly-tying books or online.
  • If a fly pattern states to tie in sizes 10 to 20, always start using the largest size hook recommended. Once the fly has been mastered in the larger size, then graduate to the smaller hook.
  • Arrange your tools and materials for easy access. Prepare your materials ahead of time. If you plan to tie a dozen hackled flies, select the feather and prepare it before tying your first fly. Have only the materials that you are using on your tying desk.
  • Use the best materials you can afford. You will not save money tying your flies. Material and tools multiply like rabbits. However, using inferior materials will lead to disappointment. For example, the hackle will not wrap properly or break too easily. Hobby Lobby is a good source of yarn, tensile, and foam.   But their feathers are usually too dry and brittle for most fly tying.
  • Pay attention to detail and take your time. Don’t get in a hurry. Jim Quick said, “It’s better to tie one fly in an hour than to tie a dozen that would only be taken by fish with a sense of humor.” Speed comes with practice. Be sure the materials are in proper proportions and placement on the fly. A small ruler can be an essential fly tying tool. Eventually, you will not need a ruler and can just look at a fly to see if it feels right.
  • Don’t worry if the flies are not perfect at first; they will probably still catch fish.
  • Have fun and go fishing. There is no better feeling than catching a fish on a fly you tied.
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