Lucky Dip Review: Learning to tie flies –

Recently, I’ve embarked on a brand new journey, tying my own flies.  Who’d have thought, those little pieces of fluff tied to a hook could be so addictive to tie, yet sometimes so complicated as they are.

Speaking to a number of long time fly tying veterans, us young wipper snappers have it so easy these days.  Youtube is a brilliant resource, with some fantastic instructional content for any fly that takes your fancy.  Detailed “how to” videos for the beginner explaining the basic techniques, through to even more detailed content showing you exactly how to tie that fly.

Greg's Shrimp fly

My version of a small shrimp fly. Should be deadly on those summertime structure dwelling bream in the Harbour

As with any research you do on the internet, there is almost as much information out there that is SOOOOOO not worth wasting your time to look at, and sifting through the hours of instructional fly tying video is no different.

Fortunately for you beginners out there that might be starting the journey with me, I’ve managed to find a great site worthy of a bookmark… is an online Fly Fishing resource and store.  I can’t say I’ve used the store, but I’ve certainly scoured the videos, watching several of them over and over again, as I learn tie.

In addition to the visual instruction of the video, the site also provides a detailed recipe for each fly with links to their online store to purchase the ingredients.  You may decide not to purchase from the store, but notably, the benefit for myself, and the other newbies out there, is it provides a visual reference when you may not be 100% sure what the ingredients are.

The video quality is excellent and clear, unlike many of the other available resources in Youtube land, and the instruction and explanations are clear and precise. The vast majority of the videos on the site are for freshwater flies, and although I’ve found that some other video sources have a tendency to drag on, the ones from aren’t gratuitously long for the sake of it.

Hooked on a Woolley Bugger

Justin hooked up to his first ever fish on fly… Just happened to be one of my little black Woolley Buggers!

So which ones have I tied successfully? Or at least which ones have I watched and modified successfully?

My first successful tie, the Adams

My second, the Woolley Bugger

The latest, a variant of the Epoxy Shrimp  (without the epoxy…)

Not to say that there aren’t other great options out there, but this is certainly a useful website with an extensive catalogue of tying videos in one place.

4 responses to “Lucky Dip Review: Learning to tie flies –

  1. To tie or not to tie, that was the question. In my case I had flyfished for 35 years and had always bought my flies.

    Then in 2009 I made the decision to go to Kiritimati (Christmas Island, one of five in the world) and fly fish for Bonefish. I also decided I would tie my own flies.

    I had been working in the IT industry for 45 years so had a good knowledge of the use of search engines and how to get specific results and miss all of the dross.

    I am a Planner/Trainer by temperament and my modus operandi has always been to follow the 3Es, the 3Ps and the 7Ps. That is develop the most Efficient, Effective, Economic method to do everything. Remember, Prior, Proper, Planning, Prevents, Pathetically, Poor, Performance and lastly Practice, Practice, Practice.

    As I lived in the Northern Rivers area of NSW I was a cut lunch and water bottle away from any half decent Fly shop I decided to rely on my own research supported by a couple of mates in the industry who had been to Kiritimati a couple of times.

    My other problem was the connectivity speed I had on the internet. I found if I wanted to watch Youtube I had to be prepared to take 10 minutes to watch a 4+ minute clip which in most cases didn’t give me enough detail.

    So I went the other way and found step by step tying instructionals.

    Now I have a data base with 950 fly tying instructionals, 350 docs on tying tools and materials and 1,100 docs on flyfishing, mainly saltwater. This info will continue to expand as I see new and better ideas.

    The line speed has also improved dramatically so I now watch a few vids and if they can expand my knowledge I have added their links to my fishing database.

    Now five years later I have caught a few Bonefish as well as 30 plus other saltwater species and a few freshwater species.

    I don’t know how many flies I have tied and I tie fifty odd patterns and variations of those patterns. I use hooks, mainly 2X or heavier, in sizes from #8 to 6/0.

    There are a couple of sites with good info. “Try on Fly” and “The Feather Bender” come to mind.

    I also get newsletters from any site I have found in the past five years which at the time I thought could help me.

    Bruce M

    • Thanks for the background Bruce. I can see just how quickly a database like yours would grow. I’ve absolutely no doubt it would be a gold mine!

      Cheers, Greg

      • Hi Greg, yes I found another good source of info last night so have over 100 docs to read, absorb and store.

        Cheers Bruce M

  2. Hey Greg .. and others .. if you haven’t bumped into it’s a great tying site … there is a flybench app for iPhone with video instruction .. not sure if there is an android version
    Great to see you progress into the flyfishing scene Greg ..
    Cheers Steve

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