The pleasures and challenges of fly tying.
When I started fly fishing about seven years ago, I bought all my flies, large, clunky things. Back then I really thought bigger was better, bigger flies, bigger fish. As I was mainly fly fishing for large mouth black bass, it seemed to work. (If a bass ever went to a MacDonald’s, fast food restaurant, he would order a double Big Mac with everything).
Then I started reading about fly tying, to me it seemed that only the most gifted and artistically talented people could tie flies. Mere mortals like me could not even dream of tying anything like you saw illustrated in magazines and books on fly tying.
The “experts” were tying tiny flies, size 16, 18 and just imagine even size 20’s. Size 16 seemed unimaginably small never mind size 20. Today on the web I come across tier’s tying size 32.
Then I found, in a second hand book shop, John Veniard’s “Fly Dressers Guide.” 4th edition printed 1977. This book cost me a small fortune, but it was worth every penny. This book slowly started to reveal the secrets of fly tying to me, mastery of technique, and mastery of materials and very important, proportion.My first flies were big, size 8, 10 and 12 being the smallest, they looked like nothing on earth unravelled, sank like a stone when they were supposed to float, floated when they were supposed to sink. I never realized that there were hooks for dry flies, a different hook for nymphs, merger’s, you name it there was a special hook for it. To me a hook was a hook. I have a very large plastic container full of my first attempts at fly tying, no self respecting fish would give them a second glance. One day I need to unravel them all as there is a small fortune in hooks involved.
Slowly I’m starting to get the hang of it, right hook for the right fly; I have even become reasonably proficient at dubbing, a skill I thought I would never master.
Above is a small selection of flies I tied recently, all size 14. One or two of them look as if they might just fool a fish.