Its a totally natural feeling, don't fight the urge. Its part of the natural progression from store bought worms and zebco's as a kid to Scott Sectors and NVG's as a grown ass man or woman. Like any high school senior, you just want to graduate. Tying your own flies is probably the last step in the journey to #LevelUp to the bad ass, double hauling, skiff whipping, fish catching machine you strive to be. But lets get one thing out of the way early, YOU ARE NOT GOING TO SAVE MONEY BY TYING YOUR OWN FLIES. If you are trying to save money, I highly recommend not getting out of bed in the morning. There are ways to tie flies economically, and we'll get in to that shortly. You will however save money on your cable bill, because sitting on the couch every night watching TV will be a thing of the past. Its Spotify and Treaty Oak Bourbon from here out. Lets dive in:
Like everything in fly fishing, the buy-in hurts the pocket a little bit, but the cost goes down significantly over time. The Vise is the largest investment you'll make in this quest, and theres several good options throughout all the price points. Im going to skip the entry level $20 pieces of junk for the sake of argument. The purpose of this post is to inform those that have decided to take up this hobby. If you're on the fence about it, I assure you, a rickety piece of junk and that doesn't hold a hook or stay stable on a table is not going to pursued you to go deeper down the rabbit hole. When you're building something, theres nothing worse than fighting your equipment. The least expensive vise I would recommend purchasing is a Renzetti Traveler. Its a sturdy, high quality piece of equipment that won't won't hinder you in your attempts to learn to tie flies. I prefer Renzetti Vises for a number of reasons, but the biggest reason is the fact you can tie flies on damn near any hook size in their jaws. If you were looking to grab something that was an upgrade over "entry enthusiast level," I would point you to a Renzetti Saltwater Traveler w/ a large pedestal base. This is the best option in my opinion and definitely our best selling vise. I prefer a pedestal base to a C-clamp for several reasons, the biggest being you aren't limited to a table with lip. If you're looking for something pretty boujee and you enjoy the finer things in life, the Renzetti Presentation 4000 is a beautiful kick ass vise that could very well be the last vise you ever buy. Its 99% of the vise the Special Edition Master is, for $300 less. Neither of those are really the first vise you buy, unless you don't plan on buying one again....ever. And if thats you, pinkies up, I like your style.
Next you're going to need some tools. There 2.7 million different options for bobbins, scissors, hackle pliers, etc... When you're trying to get your foot in the door, don't over complicate it. Grab a Loon Complete Fly Tying Tool Kit or Core kit and call it a day. All of the loon tools are not cheaply made and will last you a good while. They're also not tools you'll have to upgrade from if you don't want to. Totally serviceable pieces of equipment. Yes there are other tools from other brand that are scattered about the website and we could do an entire blog post of bobbins alone. Lets learn to whip finish first, lets crawl before we walk.
Lets talk glues and adhesives, briefly. Again, theres five metric shit tons of adhesives on the market. Yes, you should put some adhesives on your flies and bullet proof them. Theres nothing worse than spending 45 minutes on a fly you're excited about throwing, then having the thing practically disintegrate in mid air while casting it. Go with a Loon UV Kit or if you're just looking for a quick band aid, Loon Hard Head. I like Loon products because they are non toxic and environmentally conscious. This is good enough to get you going. The UV kit is great because it lets you do a ton of different things and gives you flexibility with the thin, thick and flow viscosities. I know you don't know how yet, its cool, we're getting to that...
Now that your tying bench has the minimum amount of tools needed to build a mother flipping space ship, you just need the materials and inspiration. This is where fly tying can get pricey if you don't do it right. Theres a fly tying material for every star in the sky, and the last time I checked, NASA was still counting this suckers...and they started in 1958. I recommend buying materials and hooks to tie a specific fly in a specific color you want to throw, and tying a lot of them. Start out with our 239 Flies Fly Tying Kits. You'll get step by step instructions and inspiration with the videos, and you'll get enough material to tie 10+ flies with each kit. You'll have materials left over you'll get to stock pile, then when the stock pile grows you can let your new found skills and creativity take over.
In all sincerity welcome to the club! Creating your own works of art to fool fish on is next level badassery. I challenge you to find one human being that doesn't find that idea cool. Shit I thought it was so cool I practically rolled the dice on my house to share it with you. And with that said if theres any questions you might have or any way we can further help you on your fly tying journey, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or pick up the phone and call the shop at (239) 908-3513.
Thanks for reading and feel free to share!
- Nick Davis