Fly Tying - Tips and tricks for better tying - Part 1
By Gordon van der Spuy
I have been very fortunate to have taught over 300 tyers locally in the last two years. I think I have learnt more from my pupils than they have from me, but don’t go telling them that. It has been interesting to note how most tyers seem to battle with the same elements. These observations were in fact the impetus for me writing this. This article is basically just a summation of the trends I’ve seen, a fly tying state of the nation address if you will. Hopefully it will be of help.
Know your mayflies from your midges
The first thing I have students do at a workshop is draw a selection of aquatic insects that I randomly name. Most guys can’t draw 20% of the bugs I name; they simply don’t know what they are, and ‘therein lies the rub’ as old William would’ve said.
How can you effectively imitate or suggest a creature if you have no insight regarding it in the first place.
How can you effectively imitate or suggest a creature if you have no insight regarding it in the first place. This might seems obvious but statistics don’t lie. Most guys approach their tying like they would baking a cake. They are recipe orientated and tie by numbers as it were. This is very one dimensional, the tyer never really understands what he or she is doing and thus remains in the proverbial dark. Sure, you’ll catch fish being a recipe tyer but you will definitely be more successful once the proverbial light goes on for you. One needs to tie beyond the book or the pattern and you can only do this once you know something about the creatures you wish to imitate.
One needs to tie beyond the book or the pattern and you can only do this once you know something about the creatures you wish to imitate.
To tie an effective imitation you need to incorporate the important features of that natural in your fly. Take a bit of time looking for insects when next you find yourself on the water. Put the little guys in a tank and observe them, see what they do, sure, you might need to chase them around a bit to get them moving, some won’t move that much, they simply don’t have the ability to cover vast distances. These observations will not only stand you in good stead when you’re at the vice but also when you’re actually fishing the fly. That is a guarantee.
Source: Vagabond Fly Mag