Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Building Your Foundation in Fly Tying

Let's hop back to the early 2000's when my uncle bought me a fly tying kit. When I first laid my hands on my that fly tying vise I envisioned tying beautiful dry flies and and nymphs. These flies in my mind had perfect proportions with zero flaws. I remember my uncle had me pick a fly from a Cabela's catalog and I watched him look at the pattern for a few seconds, dig into his materials, and proceed to tie the pattern exactly as it looked in the catalog.  This should be easy, right?

This is a throwback photo from my early years of tying.
I went home and sat down at my parents dinner table.  I opened the Cabela's catalog, and picked out a pheasant tail nymph. After 10 hideous looking creations of one of the most fundamental nymph patterns every created, I did what most beginning fly tyers do; I picked another pattern to try. I picked a hare’s ear nymph. Every article I had read at the time said this was a must have in your fly box. Again, I butchered 10 hare’s ear nymphs and then decided I would "freestyle" some of my own flies.  I soon realized that fly tying was not as easy as my uncle made it look.

Just an example of what a new tyers "Freestyle" fly may look like
Does this sound like you? Have you tried a few patterns that you saw posted on a forum or Facebook group only to fall flat on your face with the end result?  If you were to ask nine out of ten experienced fly tyers about their first few months of tying, I would imagine that their beginnings would be similar to my scenario I mentioned above.

I feel that this is the biggest mistakes that new fly tyers make. They get so excited to tie flies and want to run before they can walk.  They skip the basic fundamental processes in fly tying.  I only wish that I would have focused on these fundamentals first before proceeding to waste hours at the vise, and a lot of materials.

Here is an example of a box of flies I put together after years of practice and what you will be able to tie if you focus on fundamental tying processes.
The biggest issue is that new tyers want to tie flies.  I mean that is the point of fly tying right?  The thing that they fail to realize is that they need to stop looking at a fly not as a finished product, but a series of steps that are put together to create the finished product. I will never denounce that there is an "art" to tying flies, but I do not want to discourage anyone from tying flies that feels that they are not artistic enough to begin this hobby. Every fly ever created is comprised of a series of fundamental steps that are put together to create a finished pattern.  When a new fly tyer realizes this fact and focuses on their tying fundamentals they can truly grow. If the tyer only focuses on the finished product, they will inevitably waste a lot of materials and time that would be better suited learning the fundamentals of fly tying. 

These hare's ear nymphs will be covered later on in the fly tying course. We will have built a solid foundation before proceeding to learn these advanced patterns.
Throughout this blog I will be creating an online fly tying course. I will be posting patterns that will aid in learning these fundamental processes through patterns that will catch them fish. These will be posted on the main blog, but I will also have a separate page named "Online Tying Courses" or something similar.  I will keep these in an easy to reference collection.  I encourage readers to follow the patterns that I will be setting up in order. This will help with making a very solid foundation, and then move up to the more advanced patterns that I will also be posting in future courses. 

I feel confident that if you follow my tutorials in order, you will be tying flies like the ones pictured above in no time. For now the tutorials will be in a step by step photo arrangement as seen in the caddis larva post. I am investing in some camera gear, and will be doing each pattern not only as a step by step photo tutorial, but also I will be doing video tutorials as well.

As you can see in the photo above I have greatly increased my skills since the early 2000's. I even upgraded my drink from chocolate milk to a beer. (although many may question if a Genny Light is any kind of upgrade). My point is I am trying to help you utilize your time, materials, and sanity as a beginning fly tyer. I want help you get started off on the right foot, so that in time you can take these fundamental processes and create your own patterns that are consistent, durable, and will land fish in your net.  I invite you to give my online fly tying courses a try and let me help you with your journey into fly tying.

Here is a link to the Fly Tyer Mike Podcast where I discuss this topic:

Fly Tyer Mike Podcast

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