Fly Tying Effeciency

Fly Tying Effeciency

By Bob Reece: A Wind River Outdoor Company Ambassador from Cheyenne Wyoming. You can find him at

Many beginner and novice tiers that I’ve talked to equate improved efficiency at the vise with rushing through the tying process. While applying the techniques below can speed up pattern creation, that result is not their sole purpose.  The main focus of these tips is to help tiers get the most out of whatever amount of time they do spend behind the vise.

Material Prep Work 

Some patterns require very little in terms of prepping materials.  Others, however, involve shaping foam bodies, knotting rubber legs, cutting wing cases or beading hooks.  For these flies it is highly beneficial to prepare the materials in bulk before you start tying.  When I tie foam terrestrials, I cut all of my foam bodies and the knot rubber legs that I might need. With bead head nymphs, I bead all hooks that I’ll be using as well as cutting any strips of material that I’ll be using for wing cases.  If all of your materials are fully prepped before you start tying, you’ll be able to create a larger number of flies in a shorter amount of time.  Prepping your materials in mass also increases the consistency and subsequent quality of the bugs that you’ll be offering up to your favorite fish.

Hook/Bead Storage

Hooks and beads can be two of the hardest materials to handle and keep track of on the surface of a tying table.  Hooks of all sizes can easily be brushed under other materials or into the abyss of carpet fibers that sit below some of our tying platforms.  Beads are also shifty and hard to handle once they leave the confines of their plastic packaging.   To prevent these happenings, I store all of my beads and hooks in plastic compartmented organizers like the one in the picture above.  The clip down lids of these containers ensure that nothing escapes.  Each compartment also has a curved bottom, which makes it easy to retrieve the desired items.  The containers that I use can be purchased in the sewing section of Walmart for less than two dollars apiece.

Pattern Material Kits

How materials are stored matters in terms of efficiency.  I use plastic organizers, like the one pictured above, to create material kits for all of the patterns that I tie.  Always knowing where specific ingredients are saves a tier the time of searching though bins, drawers and baskets.  This type of setup also keeps things clean.  When you’ve finished the desired number of patterns, the materials can be quickly returned to the plastic organizer.  This eliminates a desktop covered in packets of materials.  Best of all these organizers are cheap.  I purchased the plastic organizers that I use for just under four dollars apiece in my local Walmart sewing section.

Life can be a busy and chaotic process from one day to the next.  Free time for fly creation is often difficult to find.  While these efficient techniques can increase the swiftness of wrapping up a bug, they can also help make the most of your relaxation time at the tying table.

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