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Fly Tying Supplies

 

Fly Tying Beginners Kit For The Frugal

Fly Tying Supplies This starter group of supplies can get you tying for at least a whole season of fly fishing for trout and bass and be useful years later.

Dave's Flexament is pretty good head cement, yet I will use fingernail polish for larger flies and thinned fingernail polish for small flies quite often. Estimated cost: $3

Dry fly hackles are your bread and butter feathers for dry patterns like Mayflies. They have to be dry fly quality and can cost a bit. One of my friends was surprised when he discovered that he has over $2000 in dry fly hackle necks and still would like to have a few more colors. You could raise some Barred Plymouth Rock chickens like I did and get your grizzly hackle rooster neck skins that way. You won't sleep nights for awhile, but you will save some money and eat well. Plan to start with one or two colors either grizzly or a light cream maybe. Estimated cost: $40

Hen cape or saddle hackle (much cheaper than dry fly hackle) is needed for woolly buggers and other wet fly patterns. I like any color grizzly because of the stripes. Estimated cost: $22

Get a patch of elk hair on skin. You can make some very effective dry flies like elk hair caddis. I like a medium to light brown if I only had one color. I have maybe 8 colors from white through olive to black. Estimated cost: $3

You need some dry fly dubbing like gray or tan maybe if not a whole assortment. Estimated cost: $10

Your nymphs will need dubbing too. One of our top fly tiers in one of my fly fishing clubs only uses a wad of hair from his cat for nymph dubbing. You might buy a rabbit mask (rabbit hide from the head with the ears), or get nymph and wet fly dubbing. There is a lot of room for experimentation with dubbing. estimate $5

A wacky noodle for foam poppers can supply you with foam for poppers. You can get one at a Dollar Store for a dollar. Orange first, red second. Should last a lifetime. Poppers are pretty tough made with Flexament or Shoe Goo, which is what I've been using for wader repair. Estimated cost: $2

Glass beads of assorted colors from Michael's craft store or any craft store are what I use for bead head nymphs. Estimated cost: $4

You need good scissors. They could be fingernail scissors. Mine have extra big finger holes and I love them. Estimated cost: $12

Tweezers or thumb forceps will be used all the time. Estimated cost: $7

Hackle pliers are real nice to have. Estimated cost: $3

Good vises can cost from $20 to $650. I have 4 vises and the most expensive was $80. Estimated cost: $20

Get a thread bobbin to control the thread as you tie. Estimated cost: $3

You have to get some thread perhaps nylon in two thicknesses and black and tan. Estimated cost: $8

A whip finisher is kind of fun and can impress loved ones if they look over your shoulder or use just your hands to whip finish your flies like I do. Estimated cost: $5

A hair stacker is used for elk hair caddis which is a dynamite fly. Estimated cost: $5

Lead wire to weight nymphs or equivalent. My friend uses old champagne lead, but I think that is going extinct in fishing and the wine industry. Yellowstone doesn't allow any lead on the fly to show you the way things are going. Consider tungsten beads or lead-free wire to weight your nymphs. Estimated cost: $3

A bobbin threader is nice. You can get by without it. I didn't know what it was for 2 years even though it was in my original kit. Estimated cost: $2

Marabou feathers for leaches. Black is the most popular. I currently am in my brown period. Estimated cost: $5

Get some hooks and you are all set. Estimated cost: $20

Kits can have a lot of stuff you never will use, but the price still might be better than buying everything separately. Adding all the estimates we end up with a total of $182. Eventually you will probably add more feathers, hooks and tools and the "investment" will end up considerably heftier than your spouse thought, but if you are like me, it feels better to spend gradually rather than all at once. Your tying experience will also guide you to buy certain things that suit your future needs. If you bought absolutely everything at once, you'd end up with a lot of stuff that you would never use since it wouldn't be what you prefer or need, but some fly shop owner would be happy.

Ninety-nine percent of the fish I catch are with my own flies. Every time I go out, I carry some new experimental flies. It is a big part of my enjoyment. You should try fishing with your own flies too.

By Henry Tattler - I started fishing in 1951 at Lake Tahoe. I made my first fly rod in '73. Fly fish in California, Nevada and Alaska and fished salmon commercially in Trinidad, CA. CA and AK dental license