The worlds of fly tying and fly fishing can be difficult for those new to each. Through this page, I want to offer some general advice and recommendations first, then highlight some of my videos that are perfect for those new to tying.
Initial Purchase - If new to fly tying, I believe that there are some "absolutes" that are needed, including a quality vise, bobbin, scissors, and a whip finish tool. I discuss the vise further below, and recommend talking to your local fly shop when purchasing the other components.
Fly Tying Kits for Beginners - I typically do not recommend purchasing these, mainly because the kits include few quality materials, and a vise that has weak holding power…but after teaching some recent classes, I have changed my mind. These will not break the bank, and will get you interested in tying. If you want some recommended kits, please email me and I can tell you specific thoughts: email@example.com
Vise - This is a difficult decision because of the options that exist. There are a two types that I recommend, rotary and tension-style vises. The cost is really a starting guide, because there are many in the $100 range, with the next tier falling around the $300 price point. For beginners, I suggest starting closer the lower price, and moving up (as needed) once you are committed to tying on a regular basis. As I love to say, if you ask 20 people about their favorite vise, you may get 20 different vise recommendations! Please contact me for more specific recommendations, as I know this can be overwhelming initially.
Tying Materials - Versus going out and buying random materials, instead I suggest selecting five to ten patterns that you will use on a regular basis fly fishing. Next, purchase materials to tie those patterns specifically, thus ensuring that you have the correct materials (which can be later used on new fly patterns as needed). When selecting the patterns, talk to your local fly shop so they can recommend effective flies that a beginner or intermediate tier can handle; from there, start tying!
First Fly - No matter what, keep the first fly you tie! Label the fly with the date, and put it away...it's a lot of fun to look back on that pattern in the future, comparing the progress you've made.
Resources - In today's world, you have lots of ways to learn about fly tying and fly fishing. If you can take a class for either, that is where I would recommend starting, as the direct contact makes an impact when learning. On my resources page, you can find more specific recommendations for books, videos, online resources, etc.
Recommended Videos: The following videos are perfect for beginners, giving practical advice in terms of buying the correct materials, selecting easy-to-tie flies (that are effective to fish), and making that transition to the water with some tips. New content is added to this page regularly, though if there are other videos that you would find helpful, please reach out to me via the "Contact" page. Good luck in this sport; it's a lot of fun once you get past the "overwhelming" stage!
The Internet has instantly placed thousands of fly tying resources in front of us, which is a wonderful thing. Selecting the right resource for you is where the decision becomes a little more difficult. In this video, I discuss differences that I notice between fly tying websites, share some of my favorites, and ask all of you to tell me about the ones you visit regularly.
As mentioned in the video, please share your favorite website(s) in the "Comments" section on the YouTube page.
Links to websites listed during this video:
Fly Tying Forum: http://www.flytyingforum.com/
Reddit Fly Tying: https://www.reddit.com/r/flytying/
Loren Williams: http://loren.teamfreestone.com/welcome
Idylwilde Flies: http://www.idylwilde.com/
Trout and Feather: http://www.troutandfeather.com
Fly fishing with dry flies is one of my favorite aspects of fly fishing, yet selecting the materials to tie those patterns is extremely complicated. This video is intended to help the beginner to intermediate fly tyer select quality materials to build or enhance a fly tying collection. The materials discussed in this video are ones that I find essential to tying dry flies, hence their recommendation to others.
The recommended materials (optional ones listed with an asterisk):
Hackle: Necks of grizzly, cream/ginger, and dun (preference given to barred colors)
CDC: Natural color
Coastal Deer Hair - Natural color
*Snowshoe Rabbit Feet - Dun color
*Coastal Deer Hair - Dyed black
Antron/Zelon Fibers - Dun and Hi-visibility (pink) colors
*Wood Duck Flank Feathers
*Calf Body Hair
Dubbing: Tan, pale yellow, Adams gray, olive, and rusty colors
*Dubbing Pack of multiple colors
*Microfibetts - Light dun, dark dun, Light Cahill, and orange colors
*Coq de Leon
6/0 thread - Light Cahill, tan, and Adams gray colors
Daiichi 1110 Hooks - 50 of sizes 12, 14, & 16 and 25 of sizes 10, 18, & 20
Selecting hackle in fly tying can be a difficult decision, and a question I get asked a lot is, "What's the difference between saddle hackle and capes?" During this video, I go over some main differences between these two dry fly hackles, and then give some recommendations for purchasing them, including colors:
Tier 1: Grizzly, light/dark dun (barred), and ginger (barred)
Tier 2: Brown/furnace, black, cream
During this video, I also mention the previous one I made titled "Selecting Saddle Hackle", which you can view here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmVoPEN4EcE
Thanks for viewing this YouTube fly tying tutorial, and I encourage you to view my additional videos at the following website: http://www.troutandfeather.com
I appreciate you viewing this fly tying video, and feel free to comment regarding your favorite type of hackle for dry flies. Fly tying for beginners can be difficult at first, thus be sure to stick with it and ask others for advice. Feel free to leave any additional questions/comments on this YouTube page, or you can email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
The entire process of selecting and purchasing hackle can be both confusing and stressful, thus I created this video to help. Throughout this fly tying tutorial, the following areas will be discussed:
*Overview of saddle hackle
*Differences between saddle hackle and necks/capes
*Purchasing tips for saddles
*Key areas to focus on when selecting saddle hackle
*Suggested colors to include in your fly tying collection
*Recommended websites to purchase saddle hackle from, including:
One of the most effective ways to consistently catch trout is using nymphs, and catching them on flies tied by yourself is extremely gratifying. Deciding on the correct materials can be an overwhelming and confusing task, thus the purpose of this video is to break that process down into steps, starting with purchasing materials for mayfly nymphs. This video is intended to help the beginner to intermediate fly tyer select quality materials to build or enhance their fly tying collection. The materials discussed in this video are ones that I find essential to tying mayfly nymphs, hence their recommendation to others.
In this video, part 1 of 2, there is a discussion related to the following recommended materials (optional ones listed with an asterisk):
Hooks - 1xl nymph hook with standard or 1x heavy wire
Hook sizes - 50 of sizes 12, 14, & 16 and 25 of sizes 10, 18, & 20
*Same sizes, but a caddis/scud hook with standard or 1x heavy wire
Thread - 6/0 UNI thread in brown, black, tan, and olive
*Same colors, but 8/0 size
Weight (wire) - .010; *.015
Weight (beads) - 2 mm (5/64) & 2.5 mm (3/32) in gold
*2 mm & 2.5 mm in black and silver (disco beads)
*1.5 mm & 3 mm beads for small and large hooks
Ribbing - Copper & silver in size small
*Brown and black in size small
*Black, olive, & brown in size brassie
Head Cement - Sally Hansen "Hard as Nails"
This is the second video in a two part series on essential items needed to tie mayfly nymphs. Continuing where I left off in Part 1, I discuss materials that I believe are the "must haves" belonging on any fly tying bench in order to tie the most common and effective patterns. If you missed Part 1, please click on the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zw38_JeO4kM
In this video, part 2 of 2, there is a discussion related to the following recommended materials (optional ones listed with an asterisk):
Tails - Pheasant tails
Hungarian Partridge skin
*Mallard / wood duck flank feathers
*Coq de Leon (medium or dark pardo)
Body - Thread (6/0 UNI) in brown, black, tan/cream, and olive
SLF Squirrel Spikey dubbing; black, brown, olive, and natural fox
Hare's mask; tan, *olive
Pheasant tail fibers; natural, *olive
*Turkey biots; black, brown, tan/cream, olive
Wing case - Turkey tail
*Thin Skin; mottled bustard or oak in natural
*UNI Mylar; Holographic Silver Size 12 (3/64")
Legs - Hungarian Partridge skin
*Hen neck; natural (brown), olive, and grizzly
Thorax - Peacock herl
*Hemingway's Peacock dubbing; https://frostyfly.com/shop/dubbing-dispenser-peacock/
Link related to peacock dubbing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-UcFSFupP4
*UNI thread; chartreuse or pink
*Glo-Brite floss; chartreuse or pink
*Flashback - UNI Mylar
*Fluorescent beads; chartreuse or pink
In this tutorial, I demonstrate techniques for selecting and tying various materials for dry fly bodies (specifically mayflies). These materials include natural (hare) dubbing, cotton embroidery floss / craft yarn, and quill bodies.
Throughout this tutorial, I demonstrate various ways to finish the fly when tying; these methods include:
2. Whip finish by hand
3. Whip finish with Materelli or Thompson-style whip finisher
4. Half hitch "tool"
Many advanced fly tyers take the process of tying with beads for granted, especially when introducing them to beginning tyers. In this tutorial, I discuss the differing types of beads, their uses, sink rates, and placing beads onto a hook. This is an introductory video intended for the beginning tyer, and I encourage those just starting in fly tying to familiarize themselves to this material, simply due to their effectiveness in catching fish.
In this fly tying tutorial, I explain some techniques for you to use when tying flies with lead wire and other soft materials that provide weight. There are a few tips that I offer, especially when tying both bead and cone head patterns.
Parachute dry flies are very popular to fish for a number of reasons, including their profile on the water and close representation to the natural. During this tutorial, I show two methods for attaching the parachute posts, a number of ways to tie in hackle, and a couple methods to tie off hackle once complete with the parachute.
Over the years, I have been asked by many about the organizational methods used for my fly tying materials. Some I have had success with, while others have changed a number of times, thus I am always looking for a better system. In this fly tying tutorial, time is spent discussing various systems utilized for dubbing, concluding with the system I am currently using.
On a fly tying bench, I believe one of the most important tools is scissors...but not all are created equally! In this video, I discuss my thoughts regarding them, and feature those that I use on a regular basis. For nostalgic tyers, I also show my first pair of fly tying scissors from over 25 years ago.
Links for those scissors featured:
Dr. Slick: http://www.drslick.com/catalog/scissors/razor
Similar Wire Scissors: http://www.drslick.com/catalog/scissors/tension
Retractable Box Cutter: http://www.stanleytools.com/en-US/products/hand-tools/knives-blades/multi-tool/18mm-retractable-pocket-cutter/10-143p
Flexible Razor Blades: I haven't bought these in awhile, thus email me if you have a link for these; thanks!
Super Shears: http://www.amazon.com/SE-Stainless-Steel-Utility-Scissors/dp/B003N2J0JY
Link to Martin Joergensen's article: http://globalflyfisher.com/tiebetter/scissors/
Here is a tutorial for tying a woolly bugger fly, which is a versatile one for many species of fish. I briefly discuss the background of this fly, leading into the peacock body variation that I read about in a Lefty Kreh article. The Woolly Bugger is a "go-to" fly for many fisherman, and there are hundreds of variations out there which can be modified to meet your fishing needs.
For this "Two Minute Tying Tutorial," I demonstrate the techniques involved in tying a highly effective streamer pattern, the Black Ghost. This is a streamer that can be tied in a relatively short amount of time once its techniques are mastered, though feel free to vary the pattern from the original if you feel the need on your local waters. I substituted an embroidery thread for floss when tying the body of this pattern, and I also will commonly use black yarn, too.
During this tutorial, we discuss the notion of "hot spots" on flies, and possible materials to use. Next, the Walt's Worm (also known as the Crane Fly Larva), created by Walt Young, is tied, while referencing other materials used, including tungsten beads from Rip Lips Fishing.
For this fly tying tutorial, I share a pattern that needs little introduction, Bob Clouser's famous fly, the Clouser Deep Minnow. This is a "go-to" for most fly fisherman, and with good reason: It catches fish! I share a few tips to employ when tying this pattern, plus various pieces of information I learned from Mr. Clouser during his demonstrations.
Easy to tie...easy to fish...what more do we need? Have fun with this one and be sure to try it on a variety of species!
In this "Two Minute Fly Tying" tutorial, I share the Eggstasy Egg fly, a simple pattern that fish can't resist under certain conditions. In this video, I share the base pattern, but remember that there are multiple variations out there of this fly.
This fly tying tutorial features George Daniel's Czech Catnip, a fly commonly used as the "anchor" for those familiar with Czech Nymphing. The anchor fly is the heaviest fly placed on the setup, and this one works great for it bc of both its weight and ability to attract fish. This is a no-nonsense fly, plus relatively simple to tie, and I encourage you to add some of these to your fly box.
Being that the main material (Micro Polar Chenille) comes in a variety of colors, this pattern can be varied quite easily. I made a slight variation to the original pattern by substituting UV Chartreuse Polar Chenille in place of the original Olive, and I believe this change helps to make the fly more of an attractor-type in waters especially for trout, steelhead, salmon, and grayling. If there are any additional combinations of materials that have worked for you, feel free to share via the "Contact" page.
Being that the Hare's Ear is such a classic and venerable pattern, it's only fitting that applying new styles to it occur more often than not. The Czech-style of nymphing has overtaken many areas of fly flshing, and it's easy to convert the Hare's Ear to that type of a pattern, as shown in the fly tying tutorial.
There are many options that you have with this pattern, and I explore a few during the video. I do want to stress that this is a larger pattern (sizes 8-12) and I fish it in fast water, thus you'll notice that I tie this pattern in the "guide style" with few of those options added on. Feel free to experiment on your own, and be sure to post any of your own variations in the "Comments" section below.
In this "Two Minute Fly Tying" video, I share the modern version of the Utah Killer Bug that I fish. This pattern is incredibly simple to tie, and I give a few tips that may help you out. Thanks to my friend, Tom Glass, for sharing this one with me. Also, shout-outs to Frank Sawyer and the Tenkara Guides! ;-)
Jig nymphs are nothing new to fly fishing, yet I've noticed that many are hesitant to take that initial plunge. During this video, I go over the tying procedures for a generic jig nymph, and then variations to enhance the pattern. Finally, the last section involves a discussion around fishing with this style of fly. As I mentioned in the video, don't be afraid to experiment and show your creativity when selecting materials to tie these nymphs!
During this fly tying tutorial, a very simple and effective fly is discussed, the Mercury Cased Caddis. This fly, a variation of Pat Dorsey's original, is one that does an excellent job of imitating caddisflies in their cases, and is extremely simple to tie. This is definitely a pattern that falls into the "Guide Fly" category due to these reasons, and one to have in your box if you fish waters with caddis during April through June.
For this "Two Minute Tying" tutorial, I am tying the X-Caddis, a pattern developed by Craig Mathews that represents the emerging or cripple-caddis. This pattern can be adapted to represent your natural caddis, though I have also varied it by adding a cdc underwing. This pattern is one I recommend when fishing in pressured waters, due to its realistic imitation of the natural.
As part of the "From Vise to Water" series, in this episode, I discuss various situations and ways in which I prefer to fish large dry flies. A variety of topics is discussed, including types of water, the dry-dropper setup, and fishing tandem flies.
The "From Vise to Water" series is a set of videos in which I take flies that I previously have tied on YouTube, and then discuss the next steps taken in order to successfully fish them. The flies featured in this episode, and their appropriate links are:
Tan Adams - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=023H45Vt39A
White Wulff - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1WcJZb3VjQ
Stimulator - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHmAJKcGUuY
Irresistible - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SH0nXrCiOwQ
Madame X - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1OW34ok-yA
Shakey Beeley - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vG6OXqXU1YE
Bird of Prey Caddis - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6utRbz70eEk
Pheasant Tail - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNJczJeW9xk
Hare's Ear - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKMu_0XnI48
WD-40 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foctO3ArAJg
Deer Hair Ant - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zj7AkkXYMyk
Griffith's Gnat - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXr8Qn69HT0
Mayfly Spinner - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaQVGh-IcMQ