On the Fly: Learning to tie your own flies will elevate your game on the water | PostIndependent.com

On the Fly: Learning to tie your own flies will elevate your game on the water

Scott Spooner
Fly tyers in last year’s Iron Fly Competition.
Scott Spooner/Courtesy photo

To the uninitiated, tying flies may seem daunting, but it’s never too early (or late) to start. When your creative juices start to flow, the sky is the limit whether you are tying for freshwater or salt. If you are blessed with attention to detail, tying your own will pay big dividends — especially with the picky fish we encounter here locally.

The benefits are paying closer attention to the size, shape and color of your offerings, plus building an understanding of why the fish key in on a certain insect, or more specifically, the life cycle stage of that insect. One caution — many people who are starting to tie try to bite off more than they can chew, attempting the most difficult flies before learning the basics, which ultimately leads to frustration on the vise.

We recommend starting with simple-yet-effective flies like San Juan Worms, midge larva, brassies and simple streamers. Learning how to throw consistent thread wraps on a hook and how to whip finish without giving it a lot of thought is half the battle. We also steer folks away from buying a “kit,” and suggest that they simply build up their selection with materials they’ll actually use, versus a bunch of stuff that they won’t.

It doesn’t take much to get started — all you need is a quality pair of scissors, a comfortable chair and table, cool and bright light, a rotary vise, and a few other oddball tools and materials to get going. No one ever forgets the first fish that they caught on a fly they tied themselves, I know I never will. It may have just been a simple San Juan Worm, but my heart leapt out of my chest when that fish was in the net.

Don’t forget about the 7th annual Iron Fly Competition at the Tipsy Trout in Basalt on Feb. 11; you’ll see some of the best tyers in the valley spin up some of their creations in a fun-filled evening and perhaps get some inspiration to pick up a new hobby!

This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or TaylorCreek.com.

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