November 03, 2011
Winter Is Fly Tying Season
By Kirk Deeter
Let it snow. I don't care. I'm not exactly fished out, but my fly boxes are just about empty, and I need to restock. Cold weather makes me tie flies.
I think fly tying is half of fly fishing. I'm surprised by how many anglers don't bother to tie their own flies. Isn't that half of the thrill--fooling a fish on something you whipped up yourself?
Granted, I am on the record as having said that there are some fly patterns that are best left for the good people in Sri Lanka to tie. Anything smaller than a size 18, if it has more than two ingredients, is a purchase fly for me. Those multi-legged, detailed-thorax, slippery synthetic flies that I can't even remember their names--let alone tie--are well worth the two bucks or so I must pay.
But I think every fly fisher should at least dabble as a fly tier. Some flies should be mandatory home ties because they are so simple. If you actually buy a San Juan Worm, or a Glo-Bug (egg), or a Zebra Midge, you should have your fishing license revoked. Or at least suspended until you take the 15 minutes to tie up a dozen San Juan Worms on your own.
If you aren't already tying flies, make that a winter resolution. FlyRecipes.com is a great resource to get you started. You can find instructions and material lists for over 2,300 flies here. And if you do tie, and are so inclined, you can even upload your own recipes to share. If you're more into the classic book by the tying bench, it's hard to beat Charlie Craven's Basic Fly Tying as a primer.
I'm curious to see what some of you spin up over the winter.