Wednesday, April 20

Tying. You can't afford endangered shit unless you want to buy endangered shit.

Single step, thousand miles, all zen and shit.
Tie flies. Save money. Loose alot,  all that.

You ask around, and everyone tells you to buy the tools, exert financial discipline, and only what you need. A select few tell tales of woe, and others go cheap.

They're all right.

You can get going as cheap as you want tying flies, or you can go crazy. I went the latter, and it was all pointless, but fun. Really you only need a few basic tools, then the materials for the flies you want. Or, go crazy. Or, jump start, buy a crappy kit and then go back and spend too much the next month or two, anyways.

I bet more people went that way, anyways, and we just try to act all sage to cover the orgy of money we spent so we could all sit around and tie the same few patterns over and over, anyways, but whatever its fun to sit around and wrap shit on a hook.

Seriously, streamers, just lash shit to a  hook. Zen, or shit.

But, to be useful, and because I'll just repost this shit on a forum endlessly when people repeatedly ask how to start.


So, here's the deal. You need like a handful of basic tools from an actual fly shop. Two of these are optional, but just save yourself the effort and buy them. 

  • Bobbin: The thing that you run the thread through. Buy a ceramic one. Yes it costs more, yes its worth it. You're new, right? Give yourself every advantage.
  • Scissors: Buy a nice set, if you can. Dr. Slick tends to be very well regarded and can be found cheap enough.
  • Hackle pliers: There's about a billion different styles. You'll have one of each eventually. I think the English style are probably most versatile. You can buy those electric clips at Radio Shack, but you won't. Or, you will, and hate it. Buy an English style to start, I like the smaller ones. That's just me.
  • Dubbing needle: You could make your own, but spend the $4. Its nicer. Trust me. Solid heft, pokey, doesn't roll. Its a simple pleasure.
  • Whip finisher: There's two kinds, the Materelli and the who-cares-because-it-sucks-unless-you're-an-old-dude. You could learn to whip tie with your fingers, but again, why make the learning curve steeper?
  • Hair stacker: Depending on your flies of choice, maybe not neccessary.
OK, so that's the low end stuff, the other thing is the big one time investment, a vise. Spend as much as you want, but you can go cheap. The real cheap jobs, the $20 kind,
Vice (sic)
are devoid of all real frills but totally work. Some guys use the piss out of these, and its all you really need to tie really, really nice flies. Also, they're cheap. It might wear out before a fancy vise, but who cares? Its like $20!

One feature you might want is "rotary." You spin it on an axis. Some people get into this, some people just use it to look at the other side of flies, some people don't care. Whatever. You can find decent rotary vises for like $75-80 now. Mine is a Griffith Odyessy and looks like it was constructed from the crap metal bowls come in. 

I like my Regal, it pivots from side to side so I can see the bottom, side, etc, but it gives me lots of room to work, and you just squeeze the handle and drop the hook in, so its awesome for lazy people. I am lazy. You can't put way big hooks in it, though, I'd have to keep one of the other vises anyways. Also, it cost me too much. I could've bought the India-made one from the Intertubes or even BPS for like $30. I wish I'd bought that instead of the Odyessy, actually.
Does that look like $80?

Finally, pick the way you connect your vise to the table. Clamp or base. Clamp is cheaper, base seems more convienent, I think clamp is better? Whatever. I bought a clamp vise because it was part of a shitty kit, and bought a generic base. That base worked for my second vise, and then I went back to the clamp with the Regal. Its more solid, but I did like being up on the table. Whatever. You'll figure it out, its not like you can't buy the parts to make what you want in the end, generic or from the vendor, whatever.

Finally, materials? Seriously pick some patterns you'll fish alot, and go to town buying just those materials. Spend some time researching before you goto the store and get some just generic stuff. This is where the kit is nice, you get a pile of stuff, but it really is cheap. Over sized, poor quality, whatever. I used about 60% of the materials in the kit, some I could justify, and some was just crap I'll never use.

I didn't need most of the crap I've bought, but its been fun. I could've done it for nothing. I dunno. Your wallet, spend as much as you don't want. 

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