On the Bulletin Board there have been a lot of anglers
asking what is the best item for this or that, and most
of the replies have tended to end up on the high end (as
to money spent). There is nothing wrong with this if you
have deep pockets, or a very rich father. But for most
of us, it is either a choice of putting food on the table
for the family, or indulging head long into our obsessions.
Fly tying can end up being very expensive: it can cost thousands
of dollars. It needn't be an elitist sports past time. Fly tying
can be done on a modest budget.
The vise is for holding the hook as you are tie the fly. I
started off using a Griffin A1 model vise. It was inexpensive,
basic with no bells or whistles. The vise with the assorted
extra items needed (scissors, hair stacker, hackle pliers,
dubbing spinner, bobbin, and bodkin), cost about $50-to $60.
The vise gave me many years of good service and is now being
used by someone else who wanted to learn fly tying.
Hooks are a big ticket item but to start tying you don't need
to spend an arm and a leg, simply limit the hook types and sizes.
They normally come 25 to a package and cost between $3 and $5.
So each hook cost between 12¢ and 20¢. Standard dry fly hook
in sizes 14 and 16 are most commonly used.
Wet fly hooks are a different story, they come in all lengths
of shanks (Standard, 1X long, 2X long, should suffice at the
beginning). Limit yourself to the hooks you need, and in
the sizes you will use (size 14 and 16 for a start).
Feathers are lumped into 3 categories (rooster feathers, hen
feathers, and herl). Each has their place in Fly Tying, and
can be as expensive or as inexpensive as you choose.
Full capes of Rooster Feathers (necks) can cost over $100 and
I have yet to purchase a full cape. Three things stop me,
lack of money, needing other things and my wife. Instead I buy
part of a back or saddle portion, and use them sparingly as they
still are quite pricey. You also can buy bagged saddles feathers
that will tie about 100 flies.
Hen Feathers are not as expensive, and you can get a portion
of a cape for about $10 or some strung feathers for about $3.
Grouse, Partridges, Duck, ect; can be bought by the bag for
about $3 and are just fine for tying flies.
Deer and Elk Hair can be purchased in square pieces of hide.
They cost about $3 and last a long time, great for tails of
dry flies, and wings.
Thread costs about $2 per spool and be sure to get the spools
with the larger yardage, they are worth the difference in cost.
If you limit your hook sizes to size 14 and 16 you will only
need size 6/0 thread. Common thread colors are Black, Brown,
Olive, and Primrose (pale yellow).
So don't let the price of the equipment and material keep you
from tying your own flies (getting started can cost less then
$150). You can get by with what you need and get the wants
later. You will enjoy catching fish on flies you tied and
enjoy the sport even more, than if you just buy your
flies at the fly shop.
Please check out the Fly Tying Section, on the
Bulletin Board, on FAOL too.
If you have any questions, tips, or techniques; send them along.
Someone else thought up most of this material before we did,
they just forgot to tell anyone about it. Or else we just
forgot about it, while learning something else. Let us
share with each other, all the things we know!
~ Steven H.
McGarthwaite ParnelliMN@aol.com (Chat Room AKA Parnelli)