Sunday, June 21, 2015

Striving for Consistency in Fly Tying

Some Friend of the Fly Rainbow Warriors
The old adage that "two flies will never look alike" holds some truth.  Nevertheless, whether you're the occasional tier or the seasoned fly tying veteran, we all seem to seek some consistency in are fly patterns. Consistency is especially vital with commercial fly tiers, in that customers expect to find nearly perfect renditions of their favorite flies at their store of choice. Here are some tips that may help you tie mere perfect clones of your favorite flies.

Pick a Model Fly

An artist who seeks an aesthetic canvas, selects the ideal object in which can be observed and expressed at best. In other terms, pick the ideal fly or the fly that represents what you want to appear on a hook in your vice. If you don't have the "ideal" fly, find one at your favorite fly fishing fly supplier. Pictures are nice, but not a true representation of the flies characteristics. You will get a better feel of what makes a certain fly by physically having it in your hands and near your vice.

Get to know your Fly

Let's admit it, most initial attempts at a new or existing fly pattern do not always bring ideal results. For instance, I remember tying my first Hares Ear nymph, and coming to a conclusion that the finished fly looks nothing like a Hares Ear, but more like an unattractive blob not worthy of any trout. Many fly tying experts will tell you that it sometimes can take a minimum of a dozen or more tied flies before complete comprehension and a respectable consistency is established.

Compare your fly tying with Baking the Perfect Pie: Counting = Consistency


For some, the idea of counting repetitions or hair fibers might seem foolish. However, paying special attention to such components will not only help consistency but foster a rhythm in your fly tying. For example, counting thread or material wraps can help you attain consistency when it comes to a fine tapered fly body (Tail to Head, 1, 3, 5, 7 wraps).  When using such material as peacock herl or pheasant tail, try to use the same amount the strands for each fly when forming a tail, constructing a thorax, shaping a body or thorax. Dubbing, hares ear and elk or deer hair can be measured in pinches. I've actually heard of tiers counting deer hair strands for the wings on dry flies, but to me, such an act is time consuming. Not to mention, any noticeable indifference caused by the inequality is subtle.

Keep a Journal

After you have narrowed down how much ingredients and work goes into the "ideal" fly, record your findings in a journal. I often make useful notes on each fly, including problems I experienced, or unique techniques that were implemented to bring the best results. Ultimately, these notes comes in handy when you suddenly have the urge to tie an old favorite that has not had its place in the vise for some time.

Have Fun!

All in all, just remember it's just fly tying, not rocket science! Hope these tips will help you and make you appreciate your finished patterns more! Regards ~ D2