Improving Fly Tying Efficiency  

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By Bob Reece

Many beginner and novice tiers that I’ve talked to equate improved efficiency at the vise with rushing through the tying process. While applying the techniques below can speed up pattern creation, that result is not their sole purpose. The main focus of these tips is to help tiers get the most out of whatever amount of time they do spend behind the vise.

Material Prep Work

Some patterns require very little in terms of prepping materials. Others, however, involve shaping foam bodies, knotting rubber legs, cutting wing cases or beading hooks. For these flies it is highly beneficial to prepare the materials in bulk before you start tying. When I tie foam terrestrials, I cut all of my foam bodies and the knot rubber legs that I might need. With bead head nymphs, I bead all hooks that I’ll be using as well as cutting any strips of material that I’ll be using for wing cases. If all of your materials are fully prepped before you start tying, you’ll be able to create a larger number of flies in a shorter amount of time. Prepping your materials in mass also increases the consistency and subsequent quality of the bugs that you’ll be offering up to your favorite fish.

Hook/Bead Storage

Hooks and beads can be two of the hardest materials to handle and keep track of on the surface of a tying table. Hooks of all sizes can easily be brushed under other materials or into the abyss of carpet fibers that sit below some of our tying platforms. Beads are also shifty and hard to handle once they leave the confines of their plastic packaging. To prevent these happenings, I store all of my beads and hooks in plastic compartmented organizers like the one in the picture above. The clip down lids of these containers ensure that nothing escapes. Each compartment also has a curved bottom which makes it easy to retrieve the desired items. The containers that I use can be purchased in the sewing section of Walmart for less than two dollars apiece.

Pattern Material Kits

How materials are stored matters in terms of efficiency. I use plastic organizers, like the one pictured above, to create material kits for all of the patterns that I tie. Always knowing where specific ingredients are saves a tier the time of searching though bins, drawers and baskets. This type of setup also

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“I’m Down To Seven Patterns Fuckit”

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By John Byron


I’m kinda there too.

So when I started chasing bonefish a few years ago, I sopped up patterns like a sponge and tied a gazillion flies. Lots from Lefty’s book on saltwater flies. Many/most of Dick Brown’s bonefish patterns. ‘Five essential flies for the Bahamas.’ Drew Chicone. Aaron Adams. Tied them all. Took them on trips. 

And came home each time realizing that about 98-percent of what I’d tied stayed in the fly box. So, as a matter of self-discipline (weak) and determination (getting stronger), I’ve started to cut back on what I tie and what I carry. 


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Cuda VS Shark: Video

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By Louis Cahill

Barracuda Vs shark, who will win?

What happens when you hook a big barracuda on the fly, and you’re in the fight of your life, and a hungry shark shows up right at the boat? Glenn Ancelet found out at the January Bonefish School in South Andros. Fortunately, I got the whole thing on video!

Who’s your money on, the cud or the shark?

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Fingers Crossed

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By Steven Brutger


Eying snow reports and talking to the few who had been in the mountains, we were cautiously optimistic. Despite a big snow year we had a shot at hitting it right.

A few days too early and ice would cover the high alpine lakes we hoped to fish. Or worse snow levels might make travel too arduous to reach them in the first place. Just right and we might be lucky enough to fish as the ice moved out, being the first to show our flies to hungry golden trout.

Now, miles into the Wilderness, we would soon have our answer.

Huddled under a tarp, a few hundred feet below tree line, we put our backs toward horizontally falling rain and snow. Spindrift was visibly blowing over the ridge tops. Conditions were deteriorating. After a restless night in our bags the only option was to continue up and test our luck.

The lake was half covered in ice. Peering through graupel a hundred feet above the water we spotted a

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Light Where You Need It

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The sun has dipped below the horizon and the evening chill is in the air.

You’ve got maybe thirty more minutes to fish if you push it. The hatch is on and you can hear fish rising all around you as you struggle in the waning light to change your fly. The fish keep rising and so does your blood pressure but the eye of the hook continues to evade you.

That sounds familiar doesn’t it? I know my eyes aren’t what they used to be. I’ve used a clip on head lamp for years but it frustrates me. When I lift my head to look through my bifocals the light is shining over my hands and I always feel like I’m spooking fish with that lighthouse on my hat. Then I saw my niece and nephew playing with their Christmas stockings. They had the answer to my problem. Finger lights! They slip right on to your finger with an adjustable elastic band and put ample light right where you need it to tie on flies. Best of all

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Trust The Boo

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I’ve fished bamboo rods my whole life and I’ve made my own for the last twelve years or so.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked if I was afraid to fight big fish on a bamboo rod. The answer is no. I’ve broken my share of rods but only once did I break one fighting a fish and that was totally my fault. I’ve landed more fish over twenty inches on bamboo than I can count, a few pushing thirty. The two fish pictured were both landed on a seven foot four weight. The tip on that rod measures only thirty thousandths of an inch in diameter but it handled those monsters just fine.

A 27″ Hen and a 28″ Male Both Landed on the 4 Weight

Bamboo is a remarkable material. When properly heat treated it has amazing strength. Traditional Japanese carpenters use bamboo nails cooked in a wok and high rise construction all over Asia is done on bamboo scaffolding. Do bamboo rods break? Of course they do but a well made rod is much stronger than you would guess and if properly handled and cared for it will take whatever a fish can dish out. I’ve heard it said that fisherman break rods, not fish, and I think that’s true. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to keep that cane rod fishing for many years.

• Treat it right. Bamboo doesn’t take a lot of maintenance but there are some things you should think about. Rot is a death sentence for a cane rod. Rod makers spend a lot of time on their finish and it can last a lifetime but it’s not bulletproof. Never put a rod away wet. This is the most common mistake guys make with their rods. When you put a rod in a tube with an o ring seal any moisture on that rod or it’s sock is in there until you open the tube again. That gives moisture plenty of time to work through the finish and into the wood. I set mine out on the mantle in the sock overnight before storing them. The second big finish mistake is leaving the rod in a hot car. If you leave that rod tube in the sun in a hot car the finish will bubble and no longer protect the cane. If you have to leave a rod in the car keep it in the shade and take the cap off for ventilation.

• Ovoid physical traumas. A bamboo rod will bend like grass in the wind. What will break it is sudden physical trauma. For example, trying to rip a fly out of tree leaves with a brisk casting stroke, as I watched a good friend do with my rod once, works every time. Running the tip headlong into a tree while hiking in doesn’t help. Hitting the rod with

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DIY Fly Line Loop with Step-by-Step Instructions

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Most fly lines these days already come with welded loops at the ends for the easy attachment of backing and leaders. If you fish as much as I do though, eventually they get worn out and need to be replaced. Most anglers just use a standard albright knot or nail knot to fix this. It works perfectly fine, but I prefer instead to tie my own fly line loops with a fly tying bobbin and thread. Done correctly, it will provide a stronger connection to your leader than the manufacturers welded loops or knots you tie (this is important when fly fishing for big game species). The bright thread that you tie the loop with also works really well as a spotter. It comes in real handy when you’re fly fishing and you have conditions where it’s hard to keep track of your fly in the water. That bright spot on the end of your fly line provides a quick reference that your fly is a leaders length away. Below are step-by-step instructions for tying your own fly line loops.

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Dos and Don’ts For Guided Fishing

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“I have done enough guiding with enough people of all types that I sometimes cheer for the fish.”

My friend Kirk Deeter, writing on the Trout Unlimited blog April 25th, threw out the bold headline: “Guides: Gatekeepers or Profiteers”. There’s no mystery where Kirk stands on the subject. He goes on to write, “I think the sun rises and sets on the fly fishing world where guides collectively say it does. They are stewards of their rivers. They are the innovators, and the teachers. And a good guide is, for fly fishing and trout conservation, worth his or her weight in gold.”

I agree with Kirk completely but it’s apparently a controversial topic. Not everyone loves fishing guides and it got me wondering why. Most of my friends are, or have been, fishing guides. I am not, but I hear the stories and I remember having a few rough days with guides back in the day. I mentioned it to Kirk and this was his response.

“You ask a great question here. Let me put it to you this way. I have done enough guiding with enough people of all types that I sometimes cheer for the fish. Seriously. You can say I said that. On the other hand, nothing lights me up more than sharing a passion with someone who gets it, appreciates it, and really shows some genuine class and enthusiasm. A great guide and client team should be like a Bwana and his tracker… two people on one mission… bound by respect.”

I reached out to a few more friends in the guiding business and asked them, from their perspective, where things go wrong. I decided to make a list. I figured, like Rodney King said, “why can’t we all just get along?”

People hire guides for a host of different reasons but they all want the same thing, a great day on the water. Unfortunately, some days end with neither the guide or the client feeling all that good about it. Malfunctions in the client-guide relationship can spoil what should be a positive experience for everyone. Fortunately these malfunctions can be easily avoided. With that in mind, here is a list of dos and don’ts for your day of guided fishing. Follow these simple guidelines and, even if the fishing is slow, you’ll walk away feeling like you got your money’s worth.

A quick note: I use a great deal of male pronouns. In no way do I mean any disrespect the the many talented and hard working female guides out there. I’m just trying to keep this under 2000 words.


•Do be enthusiastic

Bring a positive attitude. Have fun, relax. No one fishes well when they’re tense.

•Do be clear about your expectations

Tell your guide right up front what you want out of your day. If you just want to chill and take photos, say so. Want to be a better caster at the end of the day, no problem. Want to catch

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The V Grip

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Watch The Video!


Your going to see him use the “V Grip”. This is going to feel seriously odd at first. In fact I think this is harder to get the hang of if you have been casting for a long time. Don’t get discouraged, the results are amazing. Don’t expect to get it over night but with a lot of practice you can do this smoothly and effectively and you’ll be glad you spent all that time out casting on the lawn. Bruce will be back on Friday with the final video in the series.

Check out the video!

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Carp Czar

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I recently had the great pleasure of spending a day carp fishing with my friend Bruce Smithhamer. It was every bit as challenging as promised. The fish were gearing up for the spawn and were lock jawed. We would have gone fish-less if not for Bruce’s encyclopedic knowledge of the species. We changed locations and tactics several times and eventually got into fish.

Carp, especially Mirror Carp, are a remarkable fish. Their color and scale patterns are reminiscent of classical Japanese painting. Their eye sight is excellent and there hearing quite acute. They are even able to communicate danger to other carp by releasing a pheromone in to the water. Their behavior is unpredictable except that they will refuse more often than eat.

Perhaps their most remarkable quality is their ability to completely ruin a good trout fisherman. I’ve seen several guys go down this road and few come back. They started out

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