Fly fishing is an increasingly popular sport, and for those who regularly partake in a day of fly fishing, fly tying is also following a similar trend. Tying flies is an art that takes time to master; however having the correct equipment and supplies at your disposal is a great start for those looking to develop and hone a new skill.
You can use just about any materials or utensils imaginable when tying flies and certainly some people put their creativity to the test. However as a base you should have the following at your disposal:
- Patience – Ok, it’s not a physical tool; however you will need this if you are to learn the craft
- Vice – Allowing you to hold the fly by the hook, giving you creative freedom round the body of the fly
- Bobbin – get the perfect material tension when creating your design
- Scissors – Nipping treads and materials with your teeth won’t work here
- Materials – Traditional materials include thread, hair, fur, yarn, feathers…there list goes on, however be sure to keep your game feathers from your shooting trip as these will come in handy for when you come to making flies for fishing.
- Hooks – Basic reminder, but it’s easy to overlook this critical component
Soon you will be able to purchase all you need to get started making flies for fishing, right here on ArdMoor – in the meantime we have a fine selection of fly tying vices on offer from Snowbee.
Flies are designed in various patterns to attract and hook specific types of fish. Remember, what works one month may not work the following month – consider seasonality and the fish you are fishing for when designing flies.
Flies are quite often categorised in by type, for example a ‘wet fly’ is designed to be fished just below the water surface and a ‘dry fly’ is designed to float on the surface of the water. There more fly fishing fly designs than you can shake a stick at, so you can imagine that categorising them can become a craft in itself – a good tip to remember is that it is not always the flies’ resemblance to an actual insect that catches the fish, consider what colours are working for you and others when fishing and take things from there.
Got a fly you want to show the world? Send us pictures and a description of how you created the fly and we will post a selection of our favourites here on ArdMoor. Here is one to get you started:
The Black Ant
- Size 12 hook
- Black hackle (hair)
- Black dubbing (hair or fur spun on wax silk)
- Black thread
Follow these easy steps to create the Black Ant Fly:
- Step One: Carefully take the thread, tie it and run it down to the end of the hook.
- Step Two: Apply some of your black dubbing to the thread using a twisting movement between your fingers. Begin to wind the thread towards the mid of the hook creating a narrow as you progress. This will create the rear of the insect; to get the right effect more dubbing can be applied.
- Step Three: Cut the black hackle you have to an appropriate size for you hook, and fish, and tie in tidily. Once you wind the heckle round you hook 3-4 times you should have an appropriate design and size, if not trim off any excess heckle.
- Step Four: Grab that dubbing again and apply to your thread as you wind towards the eye of the hook. Using the same method as previous, create the upper body of the insect and however leave this one slightly smaller than previously. Apply the necessary cement to the head of the fly – voila you have yourself a black ant dry fly!
We are currently building a collection of a fly tying guides including step by step guides on tying popular fly designs, how to prepare for a day of fly fishing and picking the right line and fly. We will post our guides in the fishing guide category of ArdMoor and keep you updated on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.