fly tying

(leave a comment below noting if you like or hate tying flies)


Let me start by saying that knowing how many flies you have tied in your life isn’t critical.  But, I did it anyway.

I dug deep into the research bank to try and determine how many flies I have tied since I was 5.  Yes, 5.  I started tying in my dads fly shop and although I wasn’t production tying then, it didn’t take long to get there.

Not an easy task by the way.  Determining the number of flies one has tied.

Did I tie 7 dozen or 8 dozen that day?

When I was tying production flies at my dads old shop I was kicking out this many flies per day. Somedays more and some less.

As I add it up and do a little guestimating, I’m in the 4000 dozen range.

Or 48,000 flies. Or about 1142 flies per year every year of my life.

Seems like a lot right? Or does it for my story?

Hanging out with my almost 5 year old daughter this weekend and tying a few flies brought back some fairly old memories.

I’m 42 now and I’m thinking back to when I was 5, so like about the time Mt. St Helense erupted.

Yeah, I live across the river from the once fully intact mountain.

Take a look at the eruption here.

Teaching my daughter how to tie a wooly worm got me thinking back to how I grew up in a fly shop.


My dad, the old time guide on the deschutes, had a local fly shop for many years in Portland. Me and my 3 brothers pretty much lived their when we weren’t in school or playng sports.

I don’t really every remember not tying flies.

We would be at the sportsman show demonstrating how to tie a tied down caddis, teaching people that were my age now.

Where does the 37 years go?

As I think back on it, I can appreciate what tying flies has meant to me and is why I want to try and convince you to give it a shot.

Leave a comment below about why you love tying flies.



6 reasons you should start tying flies

1.  Deeper Connection.  You will connect even deeper with the hobby you love. Catching fish and learning about entomology is great, but until you catch a fish on your own hand tied fly……..

Bottom line – You are just missing out on a major piece of the experience.


2.  Patience.  You will improve your patience. I’ve taught a lot of people to tie flies and by far the best trait that any new tyer can have and is the trait that is built on most, is patience.

You are already a fly fisherman but to tie flies as well, you are just stepping up to the yogi level.  We are talking ghandi walking, yoga bending full on peacefull tranquilty and beauty of inner peace.

Going to far? Maybe, but wanted to make the point.


3.  More Friend Time.  Hang out with some cool friends. When I was in high school my friends and I would grab a few beers (did I say that) and head down to the fly shops back room to tie some flies.

Could you ask for anything more. A fly shop full of materials, a fishing trip the next day and my good buddies to hang with and tie. We would be up late into the night tying and lying as they say.

Even if you don’t have a shop, getting together with the friends in front of the vise compared to in front of the TV is the way it should be.

Kill your TV!

I killed mine 5 years ago.


4.  Catch more fish. The store bought flies are fine and all, but we are talking custom flies yo.

Yes yo!

If you want to bring an offering to your species of choice you better bring something good. Tying your own will allow you to tie different variations and test them out while on the river.


5.  Match the Hatch.  This kind of goes with # 4 but wanted to note it with a story.  In other words, when you have a fly kit with you, you will never not have the right fly.

I love hearing the cool stories of people tying up a crazy fly and proceeding to kill them that evening on the river.


6.  Make Money.  I was chatting with @flytyingdude on instagram who is a super young buck who is passionate about fly tying. I asked him what the biggest reason he loved it was:

“I like having faith in what I use and knowing what is in every fly and is being  thrown every cast. And as a designer i like that there are tonds of materials to combine into better flies”

Couldn’t have said it better myself. Although he isn’t selling yet there is the opportunitiy that he can make money off these flies if he wishes. I did it and made some cash to support me through college.


A Few Resources to Help You Get Started

There are an amazing arrays of videos and content online for just about any fly you can think of.  So I would suggest you just get on you tube and take a look at some of the videos out there.

I did want to plug a few resources that I believe will help you focus more that just scanning random videos.


The Fly Tying Mentor

It wouldn’t be a good online article without a selfless (selfish) plug for our Fly Tying Course.  You will not only getting step by step instruction but will get the materials you need delivered to your doorstep.

You can click here and take a look if interested.


Local Meetups

There’s know question that the best thing you can do is watch people tying flies.  There are a ton of things you can learn and also pick their brain.

Look for local events or meetups where you can meetup and tie with other people.

If you are interested in finding an event in your area?  Click here and put “local meetup?” in the subject line and I’ll followup with you.


Jay Nicholas

You can find Jay’s videos at the Caddis Fly Shop.  Here’s a link to get started.


In the Riffle

In the Riffle has a bunch of great videos to help you find and tie a pattern of your choice.  Click here to check out their channel.


Davie McPhail

Davie has a ton of good videos from across the pond.  Click here to take a look at what he has going on.


SC Fly Tying

If you are just getting started SC Fly Tying has a basic beginner video series here.

Click here to check it out:

fly tying

Interested in getting a new fly material box delivered to your doorstep each month plus a guided online course to walk you step by step through tying your first dozen flies and beyond?