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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9 thoughts on “Starting Fly Tying Season Off Right

  1. One of the things I love about fly fishing in the NE IS THE SEASONALITY, since moving south and becoming ill, it has become a little waiting, but I’m keeping optimistic and doing what I can. If it’s not, I had no control… so!
    Carry on.
    Gotta pee.

    • I love the changes in the seasons too! Although after several days in the negatives some warmer weather would be great. Keep on keeping on.

  2. Greeting from Finland!

    A small tip for organizing materials for keeping the work area organized: Plastic photograph sleeves that have individual slots for 4 photos each are excellent for keeping small bags of dubbing, bundles of feathers and smaller fur patches in order. I purchased a pack of these and sorted all the small bags that used to flood my work area into them. Another great thing about the photo sleeves is that you can keep them in folders. I have now dedicated folders for dubbing materials, fur and loose feathers which helps a lot when searching for that particular material.

  3. I couldn’t agree more about having a dedicated tying space. It’s really nice to be able to sit for a spare 10-15 minutes and whip out some flies without having to set up and tear everything down again. Thanks for the post!

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