Starting Fly Tying Season Off Right

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Louis Cahill Photography

Louis Cahill Photography

By Bob Reece

While some people tie flies year round, the majority of fly tying in the Northern hemisphere takes place during the winter months.

As the chill builds in the air, we move into this time of year filled with hours spent behind the vise and a building anticipation of next season’s adventures. The following are four tips to consider as you move forward into another spell of spinning up bugs.

Dedicated Work Area

If at all possible, set aside a dedicated work area for your tying. Having a platform where your supplies can be stored, organized and left out saves immense amounts of time. Without this, tying time is lost to transporting, setting up and putting away tying tools and materials.  With a dedicated work space, creation can begin as soon as you sit down. If needed, patterns can be left partially completed in the vise until your return.

Deep Clean and Donate

As years pass, the drawers, cabinets and other storage compartments for your fly tying materials can turn into matted dungeons of unused creative goods. Prior to getting behind the vise this year, pull all of your materials out of their storage areas. Inventory, sort and organize the supplies that you’ll be using this year. The inventory will help with the next tip below.  Sorting and organizing will help you increase your efficiency, resulting in more bugs tied. Set aside those materials that you know you’ll never use and donate them to a good cause!Organizations like Project Healing Waters, community fly tying classes and fly fishing clubs at your local schools will be happy to put those supplies to use.

Material Orders

A new year of tying often brings with it the need or “need” for new tying materials and the replenishment of those that have been used. With the constant appearance of new materials on the market, the options of what to order have become increasingly limitless. Before jumping online or into the pages of your favorite catalogue, pause for a moment. Make a list of all possible patterns that you are planning on tying and take into account your material inventory from above. Use this as a starting point to create a material master list. Taking this approach keeps you from having to make multiple supply orders throughout the winter and saves money by eliminating multiple shipping charges. Plus, who doesn’t love getting a massive box of tying goodies in the mail?

Set Goals and Stick to Them

Time does fly. While we are just now creeping into winter, the spring thaw will come. Set fly tying goals for yourself this winter. Make sure they’re doable and hold yourself to them. For example, six flies a week might not seem like much, but that’ll add one hundred twenty bugs to your box between now and May first. In addition to filling your boxes, tying is free therapy.  Regularly visiting your vise helps to rejuvenate you as a person. This is factually true, but can also be used to justify tying time to your special someone.

Step up your tying game this winter. Carry out these tips prior to jumping into that seat behind your vise. You’ll reap the rewards of a more relaxing and productive fly tying season.

For how-to tying videos, rigging tips and more check out the link below.

To purchase custom made tying material kits click on the link below.

To follow Bob Reece on Instagram click on the link below.

Bob Reece
Gink & Gasoline
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7 thoughts on “Starting Fly Tying Season Off Right

  1. the base assumption here is there are times in the year when one simply DOESN’T tie flies…. and only a particular time when you should consider it.

    Naturally the “tying season” coincides with Winter, and hinges on the notion that…

    A. You know everything you will need for the coming season
    B. You only fish the singular patterns you’ve pre-determined.

    I find pretty much all of these assumptions to be out of touch with how actual fly tyers operate, today, but I’m calling it, “fly tying life coaching….” and because it’s Bob Reese, we’ll roll widdit.

    • David,
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. As a teacher, small business owner and actual fly tier; I am a huge believer in planning and efficiency. All of the items in the post above are practices that have helped me to make the most of my tying time. I understand that everyones schedule is different, as are their annual tying practices. Regardless of when they tie during the year, these steps can help increase the return on the time invested in tying. For my guiding and personal days of fishing in the coming year I do know what flies I will need and tie them according. Thank you for taking the time to read the blog today. Have a great day.

  2. Bob…. Great post on the basics from the man himself. This time a year I try to find a star-studded tying lesson with patterns in mind for the coming year. I find this help full getting me pumped on tying for my upcoming trips. It also helps add a different perspective to my fly tying.

    Thank for adding your spin and perspective. Looking forward to you next tying post!!!!

  3. I might suggest that instead of encouraging them to order their items online that you recommend to everyone that they visit their local fly shop and see, touch,feel and inspect their tying items to get the best quality to meet their needs.Local fly shops are your best resource.Let’s put an end to ordering online tying materials as it is a recipe for failure and disaster when it comes to receiving the “right stuff”.If your local shops don’t carry enough materials to satisfy your needs encourage that shop to expand its offerings in the tying arena.It will be a win/win for all.Local fly shops are needed and can only exist with your help and suggestions.In the long run,you will get better stuff,tie better flies and forge a bond with the shop and other tiers.

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