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Getting into fly tying the easy way

In Mel’s April blog he said he had considered the subject of fly tying kits but redirected readers to another writer/blogger by the name of Sara Golden from website Wading Lab. A new site (2016). She examined fly tying kits and why all fly fishers eventually gravitate to tying.

All those fly tying tools are so confusing at first. Without any help, deciphering can be difficult and finding the “right” equipment even more daunting.

Sara takes the confusion out of it and explains why we tie in the first place. It’s an objective look at tying kits and what to consider when entertaining the purchase of one.

Why You Should Start Fly Tying

By Wading Lab / Sara Golden

While beginners in this sport probably always start with flies out of the store, there are many reasons why a lot of fly fisherman start to tie their own flies eventually. The most convincing one could be, that tying yourself can save you quite a lot of money. When you start this sport, the $3 per fly might not seem a lot to you, but over the time you surely realized, how quickly flies get eaten by bushes and trees, with no chance of getting them back. After a while, those $3 you spend surely add up and you might start thinking why you pay $3 for something that only contains a hook surrounded by other cheap materials. If you add up the material costs of a basic fly, you probably end up asking yourself:

What do you pay the other $2.80 for?

And that is a good question! The answer is, besides marketing, packaging and other stuff you do not really need, you pay someone a big amount of money for tying those flys! Well, if he does a good job and has mastered this profession, by all means, that is justified, but spending that much money on Walmart flies is not.

And now let me tell you something even better: Fly tying is fun! There are actually people out there, enjoying tying more than fishing! Next to easily copy classics, like wooly buggers, you can start to create your own designs, test and improve them. There is nothing comparable to catching your first fish on a self-tied fly, or discover a new pattern that works better than everything you bought before.

So why not start a new hobby and at the same time, save money?

One of many such tying kits without the vise. Vises included in  “kits” are usually poor quality. Image Scientific Anglers.

Should You Buy A Fly Tying Kit

Well, this question is really up to you, but I will try to outline the pros and cons, so your decision is easier. Starting with the money aspect again:

Buying a fly tying kit is usually cheaper than getting everything separately.

However, companies obviously do not lose money on those kits and that is only possible because they use fairly cheap fly tying tools and fly tying materials. As a beginner, you might not really care and maybe not even notice, that the vise that comes with your cheap kit looks like trash next to a proper one.

Why should you bother buying a kit then?

Starting out with this hobby, there is a good chance you never tied a fly before. So how do you know you like it? Wouldn’t it be annoying to spend that much money on high-quality tools and releasing two weeks in that this is just not for you? Well, although it is unlikely that you do not enjoy fly tying, there is a chance, therefore a risk you waste money. If you get the best fly tying kit (yes, not all are that horrible), it can easily last you the first few month and once you know you gonna stick to self-tying, you can slowly replace the tools with better ones. Sounds not too bad right?

That being said, you do not have to choose between the best fly tying kit and the most expensive tools money can buy. There are options in between that are definitely worth considering.

Once you know what exactly you need, to be well-set up for your first fly patterns it is easy to find fair priced tools, that are made from decent quality. All in all, they will be more expensive than a fly tying starter kit, but will last you longer and beat most of the products included in such kits. And anyway, if you do the math and consider how affordable the fly tying supplies are, you will produce new flies at almost no cost which will save you tons of money long term.

To sum it up quickly, I recommend one of the following options for fly tying beginners:

  • Buy a good fly tying starter set
  • Buy a good tool set and choose the materials yourself
  • Buy every tool and material separately, for a slightly higher price

How you decide here is totally up to you, but in the following text, I will first present you the best fly tying kits for beginners, followed by a list of tools that you would need if you buy everything separately. I will also include a brief description of what you will use them for and a recommendation, of what is worth buying.

So however you decide, it will be worth reading the whole post – click here for more  about the best Fly Tying Starter Kits

NOTE: Featured Image is of Don Reed, Saltwater Fly Tyers  (St. Augustine, Florida) while tying at a Bonefish & Tarpon Symposium.

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