Fly Number Five

Photo of an Elk Hair Caddis.I’m slow at tying flies. I always have been. At one point I started wondering if I was even fast enough to claim fly tying as a hobby.

You’ve got to have some basic level of proficiency at your hobbies. You can’t be into building HAM radios if you don’t know which end of the soldering iron gets hot, for example. When you showed up at the HAM radio club meeting, everyone would have these nifty new radios and you’d just have a bunch of bandaids all over your hands. You wouldn’t last.

Am I allowed to say fly tying is a hobby of mine if it takes me twenty-five minutes to tie one Hare’s Ear Nymph?

A while back I took a class entitled “How to Tie Like A Pro” because the description said it would make me a faster tier. It was mostly just a series of tips and advice on shaving a few seconds off each step in the fly-tying process, so that eventually you can tie fifteen, twenty, or even fifty flies an hour. Tips like always keep your scissors in your hand, organize your materials by fly type, use your fingers to tie whip finishes instead of a tool.

I didn’t take very much of the advice. I tried keeping scissors in my hand all the time, but I kept jabbing myself. I learned a few things, though, and now I tie a Hare’s Ear Nymph in 10 minutes flat.

Unfortunately, I can’t tie for very long. My neck gets stiff, or my eyes get bleary, and I have to quit. So, if I can tie five flies at one sitting, I consider myself productive.

Invariably, however, the first four flies are, well, unsightly. Even my wife can tell. She’ll say, “Is that what you wanted it to look like?”

They’re all fishable, more or less, but you can bet I didn’t take any photos of fly number one, two, or three. And if you’ve ever borrowed a fly from me, now you know why it takes me so long to sort through my flybox.Photo of a Glass Bead Caddis Nymph.

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3 thoughts on “Fly Number Five

  1. paracaddis says:

    The words of an honest man, please drop me a line on rolston@iafrica.com, I would like to send you something. It may help you enjoy your tying you never know, but I enjoy reading your blog. As to holding the scissors in your hand, I find that I also jab myself and it prevents me from controlling the bobbin tension so I am on your side on that front. Plus I have the scars to prove it… 🙂

  2. Lilah says:

    I wouldn’t worry about being slow. All that matter is that you have made a quality fly and that you can catch something with it!

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