Don’t let fly tying get you up in knots

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My unofficial estimate shows that, over the years, I’ve taught fly-tying to nearly a thousand Flathead Valley residents.

I love it when someone who sat in one of my tying classes 40 years ago tells me they taught their grandkids how to “make bugs.”

And I’ve been privileged to sit among some of the world’s best tiers at FFF International Fly Shows.

I still love to tie flies. Here, in no special order, are “Fishful’s Fly Tying Truths”:

• If you think you’ll save money by tying your own flies, you are mistaken! Big time! I could buy a nice boat with the amount of moola I’ve spent on fly tying stuff.

• There is no “right way” to tie flies. Some ways are obviously better than others regarding proportions, strength, and time.

• You always need another bobbin. Rethreading a bobbin every time you change one of your 100 spools of thread gets harder as you get older.

• Ninety percent — ah, heck, make that 95 percent — of your flies never leave the fly box. I still carry flies I tied 50 years ago, BUT 99 percent of my fishing is with the Elk Hair Caddis, Stimulator, Beadhead Prince, Adams, and Ray Charles.

• Unless you’re an expert, buy hooks based on price. Yes, you may pay more but I’ve got a collection of hooks without eyes, straight shanks, or sharp points. Go big or go home!

• Strongly consider a vise with rotating jaws. Advantage is you can turn the hook over to see the backside.

• Don’t get hung up on “reality” fly stuff. Years ago hardware stores sold soft rubber fly imitations that were made by pouring into a mold. They looked so hokky!

Now, even the major tying suppliers, are selling separate detailed legs, heads, wing cases, etc.

• Don’t scrimp on scissors. Buy high quality tying scissors and put those flat, curved-blade losers with small finger holes back into the medicine cabinet.

• Don’t kid yourself, unless you are an expert tier, every fly you tie is a new creation. The hardest task in fly-tying is to tie two absolutely identical flies.

• Every fly you tie will catch fish. Somewhere. Somehow. Sometime.

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