Fly Tying was started by a Fisherman who wanted to catch Trout. He had noticed that the Trout were coming to the surface and feeding on insects that were floating on the water.
This made him think, he decided to go find a couple of small feathers and tie them onto a hook (or whatever they used for a hook way back then)! He was ingenious, this copied the insects good enough to catch fish!!
This form of Fly Fishing dates all the way back to either the 1st or 2nd century BC.
Fly Tying has become a very popular and profitable hobby.
Today it is estimated that around 250,000 (give or take) people tie flies.
Not all Fisherman tie their own flies, and not all Fly Tiers engage in the sport of Fly Tying. Some Fly Tiers just do it as a source of income. I know of a couple of kids (brother and sister) who are under the age of 16 that do a wonderful job tying flies. These kids are so good at it that they supply many of the Sport Shops with their hand tied flies. They make thousands of Flies a year, mostly for Salmon and Steelhead up in the Northern part of New York State. I believe they do this to help support the family because of the father passing away some years back.
Basic Tools for Fly Tying:
Vise: This is needed to hold your hook so that you can
use both hands when adding the materials needed for
Bobbins: This is to hold the thread used to tie the materials
onto the hook.
Scissors: Needed to cut materials and thread before and
after the fly is tied.
Bobbin needle: Needed to separate materials used in the fly
Fur Stacker: This is used to make the fur all one length
before you tie it on the hook.
Hackle Gauge: Use this to size your Hackle, you don’t want it
to be to big in comparison to the hook.
Light: You need good light when tying flies.
Magnifier: Some of the hooks are extremely small, you may
need this to see what you are doing.
Hook size and length are very important when tying flies. This isn’t only important in the pattern you are tying but also for the shape of the fly.
There are several different materials on the market today for Fly Tying. There are man made materials as well as natural materials.
Feathers: Turkey, Pheasant, Peacock, Ostrich, Partridge,
Duck, Goose, and of course Chicken feathers are all
used but there can be substitutions such as Sparrow,
Crow, Blue Jay, just to name a few.
Fur or Hair: Deer, Elk, Bear, Moose, Squirrel, Muskrat, Mink,
Rabbit, Fox, etc.
Foam: To make Hoppers, Ants, Dragon Flies, etc. Also helps
make some of the flies float.
Wire and Lead: Used as weight and also for ribbing on some
Tinsel and Flashing: This is used for ribbing and it also
makes some of the patterns “Flashy or Sparkly”
This is just some of the materials used. The list can go on and on.
If this is a hobby that you may want to try; then go on out to your local Fly Fishing Shop and pick up a book or two (there are even magazines out there) on Fly Tying Patterns. The sky is the limit on the different fly patterns out there. You can even find them on the internet. This is a hobby that once you start you may never want to stop, I know I don’t!!
It is also so much more fun catching a fish on a fly that you tied yourself rather than some manufactured one from the store.