Driftless Trout Anglers

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hougie  
#1 Posted : Thursday, November 28, 2019 3:47:17 PM(UTC)
hougie
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Hello to pass the time this winter I would like to learn to make my own nymphs and flies.

Ive seen a couple of kits one from Orvis and one from Cabelas. Not sure if this is the route to go or just get the tools and supplies individually.

If I could even just learn to tie a pink squirrel and wooly bugger id be thrilled.

Any advice is appreciated.
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William Schlafer on 11/28/2019(UTC)
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Trouts  
#2 Posted : Thursday, November 28, 2019 4:19:12 PM(UTC)
Trouts
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You are better off getting the vice and tools individually. The kits often aren't that good quality wise and contain tools won't likely use.

The Griffin superior 2a fine point vise is the best one for the money imo. It's been discontinued recently, but you still might be able to find it online or on eBay. They have other superior series models they still make, but the fine point covers the widest range of hooks.

Vise wise imo most people never use and/or don't like tying with the rotary feature. It's nice to see the other side of your fly, but really isn't necessary. The Regal non rotary for example can easily be moved to see the other side of what your tying. There are many different quality vises on the market from all sorts of brands and models. The only brand I would stay away from is Renzetti. I know several people who would go through several sets of jaws in just a year or so.
They all sold them and bought something else. Been happy ever sense. I'm a fan of Regal,but as mentioned above there are a lot of good options out there.

Tool wise I would recommend scissors, bobbin, hair stacker, bodkin, and a whip finisher. All of these aren't necessary, but used often. You can also make almost all of these or just use what you have laying around (scissors for example). Good luck and enjoy tying your own bugs.

Edited by user Thursday, November 28, 2019 4:21:02 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

“If the trout are lost, smash the state. More than any other fish, trout are dependent upon the ambience in which they are caught… At the first signs of deterioration, this otherwise vigorous fish just politely quits, as if to say, ‘If that’s how you want it…’”
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hougie on 11/29/2019(UTC)
3fe  
#3 Posted : Thursday, November 28, 2019 5:54:28 PM(UTC)
3fe
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Joined: 10/4/2013(UTC)
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Before you buy anything, you should check if there is a fly tying class available in your area. TU or FFF generally offer a tying class in the winter months. You will save yourself money and frustration.

You will get a chance to sample different vises and tools. See what works best for you. When I started tying 30 years ago, I bought a fly tying kit. (Gander Mt. or Cabelas?) All of it was junk. Buy the best you can afford, vise, bobbin, & scissors.

Another reason to take a class, you will see if tying is something you'll commit to. I've taught tying classes in the past. Student's show up with really nice new equipment. I will see them 6 months later and ask "how fly tying" and they tell me they haven't tyed since class. Just not for them.

My personal preferences: Vise--Renzetti Traveler $175. I have a Regal, $175, that I use for tying larger flies, bass bugs, etc.
Bobbin--Ceramic for thread $15. Standard steel for wire or lead $5.
Scissors-- General purpose: Dr Slick, Loon, Anvil $15. Wire or lead: fingernail scissors $6.
weiliwen  
#4 Posted : Thursday, November 28, 2019 7:21:31 PM(UTC)
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Good suggestions above, although I use the rotary features of my vise all the time - it’s a Nor-vise, which markets its product as a “fly lathe.”

For materials, forget kits. Find a few flies that you want to tie and just buy the materials for them. Pink Squirrels and Hippie Stompers are dead easy to tie and will catch fish all over the Driftless Area. You can find the recipes for these flies all over the Internet.

Have fun !
Bob Williams, "Weiliwen"
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hougie on 11/29/2019(UTC)
William Schlafer  
#5 Posted : Thursday, November 28, 2019 10:40:21 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
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Fly tying is a bit like jumping off the high dive at the pool. Once you commit, there's no going back. Smile

Start with a basic vise and the basic tools: needle point scissors, bodkin, whip finish tool and a ceramic thread bobbin. Don't spend a lot on tools or materials until you decide how far and how much you want to do with it. Some people end up tying a few flies to satisfy an itch, and others (like me) become hopeless life-long addicts, always chasing perfection and a better fly pattern.

Resist the urge to go out and buy up a bunch of expensive materials (like I did) that you may end up never using. You will never save money tying your own flies. Trust me on that. Buy only the materials you need to tie the fly patterns you're interested in. Quality materials are the best, especially with hackle and other feathers. But don't buy bulk until you're truly sure you will consume them all. It can get expensive in a hurry!

UserPostedImage
(credit: Eddie Rivard Fly Fishing )

As mentioned, Pink Squirrels, Hippie Stompers and Woolly Buggers are excellent patterns to begin tying. Coincidentally they're also some of the most productive patterns you'll use in the Driftless Area. Never tie just one fly at a time, tie up a bunch in succession. Strive for consistency and develop your technique. Your first attempts may not look that great. But with practice, you'll soon be tying higher quality flies than you can buy in the stores.

YouTube is an excellent place to find instructional videos for fly tying. I highly recommend Tim Flaglers Tighlines channel and Kelly Galloups TheSlideInn channel. Flaglers videos in particular are loaded with great tips and techniques. Galloup tends to want to story tell and drone on a bit, but if you watch his videos carefully you can learn a lot. Learning how to place materials on the hook and control your hands are the biggest challenges. It gets easier over time and with practice.

If there isn't a good fly shop in your area that carries fly tying materials, there are a number of good online sources such as Feather-Craft , The Fly Shack , and J Stockard .

Finally, find a quiet, comfortable place to tie your files, with good lighting and ergonomics. It will make your efforts much more fun. I have bad eyes, so I invested in a good Magnifier Lamp - one of the best things I've ever purchased. Really makes detailed work much easier!

Here's my bench setup. A bit over the top and a bit OCD - but that's the way I roll with most things. Having the laptop computer right on the bench is handy for referring to fly tying videos.
UserPostedImage

If you have pets or children around, be sure to secure your tools and materials. Cats in particular really love to rip up feather capes, and you really don't want a trip to the vet to extract a bunch of hooks.

If there's a TrapFest this January for the opener, I might just be there tying some flies for the kiddies again.
UserPostedImage


Catching Trout with flies that you've personally tied is a great thrill. It's also a fine way to wile away the cold winter months.

Good luck!
-Bill

Edited by user Thursday, November 28, 2019 10:48:40 PM(UTC)  | Reason: added photo

“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
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hougie on 11/29/2019(UTC)
AKinMN  
#6 Posted : Thursday, November 28, 2019 11:13:20 PM(UTC)
AKinMN
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Get a Regal vise, scissors, bobbin. Learn to tie pheasant tail, hares ear, elk/deer hair caddis, and a bugger. That’s a good foundation of tying methods that can be widely applied. Online tutorials are great, but keep in mind there are many ways to skin a cat, so to speak. And tying a lot. It’s the only way you’ll get good and proficient.

Welcome to the sickness
hougie  
#7 Posted : Friday, November 29, 2019 12:38:02 AM(UTC)
hougie
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Thank you all so much! You guys are great and its what makes this site so great to be a member of I truly do appreciate your passion and the sharing of your advice on this labor of love! All of you had great ideas for me. I will talk to the fellas at Bob Mitchell's shop in St Paul to get their take on this too and see if they offer classes.

Seasons Greetings!

Trouts  
#8 Posted : Friday, November 29, 2019 10:39:17 PM(UTC)
Trouts
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You should also stop in at Mend Provisions. I know he does beginner classes and has everything you would need to get into tying. Mike is an honest guy and does a nice job with his tying classes. They also have the best selection of tying supplies imo in the twin cities.

Also don't be worried about your first several dozen flies. They likely won't come out like you would hope, but will fish just fine. Less is more. 99% of early tiers use too much materials, crowd the eye, and make too many thread wraps. It just takes a little practice and a tying class makes a world of difference.
“If the trout are lost, smash the state. More than any other fish, trout are dependent upon the ambience in which they are caught… At the first signs of deterioration, this otherwise vigorous fish just politely quits, as if to say, ‘If that’s how you want it…’”
AKinMN  
#9 Posted : Saturday, November 30, 2019 12:30:35 AM(UTC)
AKinMN
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2X on Mend.
tenkara_guy  
#10 Posted : Saturday, November 30, 2019 4:26:01 AM(UTC)
tenkara_guy
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3X on Mend—Mike is honest and nice and nonjudgmental.
"I will explain to him as an acceptable realpolitik: if the trout are lost, smash the state." -- Thomas McGuane
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