April 2, 2021

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A Rookie’s Guide to Fly Tying

A Rookie’s Guide to Fly Tying

What is Fly-Tying?

In a nutshell, fly-tying is the procedure of attaching materials to a hook to mimic a fly. This artificial fly is used as a lure meant to look like the prey of a target species, and usually consists of feathers, hairs, or synthetic materials. Fastening and arranging the different materials in a pattern is what makes a fly effective in coaxing fish to bite.  

Flies are usually purchased off the shelf, but some anglers prefer customizing their flies - hence fly-tying. For some, it is more than just an off-season activity. Others see fly-tying as an integral part of their angling lifestyle. As a hobby, it can be an expensive one. Flytiers have a vast collection and usually have a dedicated art and craft station at home. With various materials and colors available for fly tying, the different patterns are virtually limitless. 

Anglers get drawn to it because it is a creative outlet that allows them to produce ties specific to their liking and needs. There are different steps in assembling flies, and these will differ for each flytier. If you're a fly tying rookie, below is a definitive guide that will hook you on fly tying. 

Getting Started

Fly Bait

If you’re just stepping into the waters of the fly-tying world, it can seem complicated with all the different tools and materials. Here are the basic tools and materials you need, and where to start with your fly-tying adventure. 


Fly-Tying Equipment

Get a Vise

The most essential tool in your arsenal will be the vise. This is what keeps the hook in place so that you can fasten the different materials onto it. There are two main types of vises, a pedestal, and a c-clamp. 

The pedestal or standalone vise is versatile because you can set it up anywhere. The c-clamp on the other hand needs to attach to a base, such as the edge of a table, but is more stable and will rest at a more natural height. 

Another variation to consider is fixed jaw or rotary. As the name implies, a fixed jaw will remain stationary in one position. A rotary vise is more expensive but since it can rotate, it helps when adding materials at different angles so you can turn the vise instead of taking out the hook and repositioning it. 

Tools of the Trade