By Bob Reece
Good fly tying is all about accuracy.
One aspect of fly tying that often creates frustration is tying in materials in the desired location. As hook size decreases, this task can becomes even more difficult. While time spent tying helps to conquer this issue, there is a technique that expedites the process.
From a young age, I’ve had larger than average hands. While this is great in many aspects of life, it’s not always beneficial in fly tying. As a young tier I often struggled to secure many materials to the hook in the location where I knew they should be. My hands either blocked my field of vision or were simply too large to work with the smaller sizes of the hook range.
One day I wandered into a fly shop on a cold snowy spring day. There was a man at a tall table tying streamers. As I watched him tie, he did something that I had never seen before. He folded several of the materials over or under the thread, to some degree. Then he simply slid the materials down the thread, using it as a guideline to the exact location of the tie in point.
While I’m sure that this man did not invent this technique and that it’s undoubtedly been used by tiers the world over, it had a huge impact on my development as a tier. By using the thread as a guideline to the hook shank, the tier eliminates the possibility of lateral movement by the materials. This system ensures that the material lands exactly at the base of thread strand. The location of the bobbin in the three hundred and sixty degrees of one wrap determines which side, top or bottom of the shank the material ends up on.
Whether large or small handed, less frustration at the vise leads to a more enjoyable tying experience. It also contributes to the creation of higher quality flies and greater odds of fish-to-net success. The next time you sit down behind the vise, use your thread as a guideline to accuracy as you continue to improve your fly tying.
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