Fly Tying, Less Is More

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Photo by Bob Reece

Photo by Bob Reece

By Bob Reece

Cliché sayings are not always helpful or applicable.  There are exceptions however, when it comes to tying flies.  “Less is more”.

Over the past ten years I’ve been blessed to spend time teaching new fly tiers of all ages.   Regardless of age or gender beginning tiers often work on the “more” end of the spectrum.   Excessive distance between the tip of the bobbin and the hook shank is one of these hurdles.  When constructing flies, more distance between these two object makes for more difficulty.  Keeping the tip of the bobbin in contact with the hook reduces the likelihood of cutting it on a hook point or the edge of the vise jaws.  Additionally, this technique makes it easier to maintain consistent pressure when tying in materials.   Lastly, it reduces the total tying time for each fly.

As a tier it is also extremely important to remember that the vast majority of aquatic insects are petite creatures.  Far too often this fact is over looked during the construction of flies.  Excessive use of materials results in bulky pattern profiles that do not accurately match their intended imitation.  Simultaneously, unneeded thread wraps also add bulk to flies.  With most patterns, minimizing the amount of material and thread wraps results in a more accurate end product.

Take a moment to evaluate what you are doing as a tier. The next time you sit down at the vise, remind yourself that less is more.   This reduction in excess will increase the quality of the flies that you produce.

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Bob Reece
Gink & Gasoline
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4 thoughts on “Fly Tying, Less Is More

  1. “As a tier it is also extremely important to remember that the vast majority of aquatic insects are petite creatures.”

    Take this to the (river) bank!

    Most aquatic insects are amazingly delicate. The abdomens of most mayfly nymphs, duns, and spinners are close to the wire diameter of most hooks. This is a really, really important point for the new or beginning tier. Unfortunately it is much easier to over-dress a fly than it is to make properly proportioned body parts. Using quills for body material instead of dubbing is one way to keep flies slim – just like the real thingg.

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