Ken Morrish, a friend and one of our favorite fly tyers, once said that “tying flies is a great way to round out the sport”. We couldn’t agree more. Of course, to the beginning tyer, there may be better spatial metaphors than “rounding out”… perhaps “bottomless” would be fitting to the tyer who is just coming to terms with the lengthy list of tools and materials and terminology and techniques required. Or perhaps “plateau” would be most accurate for the tyer who seems to be unable to take it to the next level. Regardless of where you are in your tying journey, take heart. This list is for you!

1. Don’t let imperfection stop you.

Spoiler alert: despite your best efforts “perfection” might be a distant point on the horizon. Sometimes, however, fish care far less than tyers do about how well a pattern is tied. Don’t be afraid to fish flies that don’t look like they didn’t come out of the bin at your local shop. You’ll learn a ton about what fish do and don’t seem to care about, and this will make you a better (and more relaxed) tyer.

2. Watch YouTube videos to learn new techniques.

If you ever go to a fly tying expo or a demonstration at a local shop you’ll notice that most of those in attendance are seasoned tyers. You know why? Because a) they love the craft and b) they have found that there is always something new they can learn by watching other tyers. The best tyers we know are always tuning in to watch each other and learn (granted, heckling may be more of the driving force than education….). Fly tying tutorials are all over YouTube and can be a quick an easy way to learn a new trick. Watch and subscribe to these popular channels.

239 Flies

Loon Outdoors

Fly Fish Food

Fly Fishing The Ozarks

3. Take creative license

It is worthwhile to tie a fly just like _____ (insert your most admired tyer here), or buy a few bugs from the shop and try to replicate them perfectly. But there is always room to tinker with a pattern. Even the most hallowed patterns should be viewed as a guideline or a starting point. From there, add a soft hackle collar, a hot spot, different colors of legs, a different shape of hook, more weight, less weight, a bead head, a longer wing, a shorter wing….

4. Tye with friends.

Every tyer has strengths and weaknesses. Put together a group of friends or join a tying club through your local shop. You will learn a ton from watching someone else and mimicking what they are doing. You will also be able to show off your strengths and teach others. Worst case scenario, you get to hang out with some friends, have a beer and tell fishing stories.

5. Commit.

Runners will tell you that signing up for a race is essential to committing to the training for your first race. Anything you can do to commit yourself to tying will help. Commit to tying a fly a day for a year or decide to only fish flies that you’ve tied. Anything that you can do to spend more time at the bench will ultimately pay off.


12 Responses

Gary Soper
Gary Soper

October 10, 2018

One of the most satisfying things is to actually catch a fish on a fly that I’ve tied and then to share that fly with friends who are successful as well.

george h dowd
george h dowd

August 15, 2018

Been tying for about five years and the one thing I have learned is that I can always learn more

Shark
Shark

July 07, 2018

its easier to share flies I’ve made and I enjoy sharing
Thanks to you guys, I enjoy the program and the products

Mike Ryan
Mike Ryan

July 04, 2018

you are only half the angler if you dont tie your own flies. i only fish flies that i tie.

Brad
Brad

July 03, 2018

Good tying tools from Loon and online video instruction from Tightline Production have helped me get up the learning curve more than anything else.

Bob Miller
Bob Miller

July 01, 2018

I have been tying for 73 years and am still learning and enjoying as much as ever. I spend my summers in Maine and skip tying while there as I leave my material at my home in N. Carolina. When I return I tye several days a week to keep my fingers supple. So far it works. Fish using the flies you tie. Very rewarding and may force you to learn new methods as new opportunities arise. Think young!

Wynne Davis
Wynne Davis

July 01, 2018

Am a senior citizen starting to tie flies and enjoying the peace and satisfaction

Bruce Beck
Bruce Beck

July 01, 2018

Tying is therapy, it mentally places me on the stream or still water depending on the flies I am tying on any given day. In the winter we have, in Denver area, many of the top tiers in the US and they have their weekly clinics which are always well attended, tiers come to check out any new patterns, materials or technic’s to help improve tying. I have tied many flies that I will never use, but donate to fund raisers, charities or give away to friends. The main thing is to keep on tying. Support your local fly shop.

Jerry Wallace
Jerry Wallace

July 01, 2018

I’ve been tying for 50 years and really don’t need anymore flies but I tie about 3 times a week. Its fun and it takes
my mind off of other issues around me. Its great therapy and I love giving flies to my friends.

Jeff Quinn
Jeff Quinn

July 01, 2018

Practice
Practice
Practice

Bob L Fowler
Bob L Fowler

July 01, 2018

I’ve saved some of my early ties and regularly pull them out to see how much I’ve progressed

Tony Honour
Tony Honour

July 01, 2018

Have been tying for a a short time but I’m seeing improvements . It’s addictive, looking forward to trying them out on the beaches of Sanibel in August

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