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Hey ya'll, hope the season finds everyone doing well! My question is this... I would like to start tying my own flies and have been looking at some starter kits. The one that seems to be the front runner as of now is the Metz saltwater kit. It comes with a vise, tools, threads, hackles, etc. Anyone have experience with this or similar kits? Any advice and/or recommendations would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
 

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SDCIII, I have been learning to tie flies for some time now and what I would recommend is instead of buying a whole kit is to buy a cheap beginners vice and tool kit then buy the materials (hooks, feather, etc) that you need to tie the flies that you want to use. You could pry find a good deal on a second hand vice and tool kit from EBay. In the review section of this site I reviewed The Orvis Fly Tying Manual (How to tie six popular patterns) by Tom Rosenbauer, this is an excellent book that I feel illustrates the basic techniques of fly tying in better detail than other beginner books that I have seen. You can pick this up from Amazon or again from EBay for a pretty good price.

As far as the materials, I would recommend either going to a local fly shop and telling them what kind of flies you want to create or find the pattern for the flies you want to tie and acquire the stuff yourself. If you are looking to start tying saltwater flies the clouser minnow would be good to start with. All you really need is the hook, thread, dumbbell eyes, buck tail, and some Krystal Flash.

I have purchased two kits and found for the most part that they are compilation of junk and that I still had to buy addition materials to tie patterns that I wanted. So now I have all these funky items like blue and pink marabou that I will likely never use.

Good Luck, let us know how you make out. :)
 

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For tying instructions I use the good ol' web search method.... google is good... Stripers on line has some top notch fly tying forum contributors...Fojoloy can give you some good tips and he uses an approach that is more fun in my opinion.
 

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I'm glad to hear you recommend buying just a tool kit and the material separately. After looking at a few kits online, I came to the conclusion that most of the material with kits was stuff I probably would not use. I am hoping to get a tool kit for Christmas as I am interested in tying my own flies too. (I will probably buy one if I dont get one for Christmas.) I look forward to exchanging tying information with you guys. I also have a list of good tying websites if anyone is interested. Merry Christmas
 

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SDCIII---If I were in your position, just getting started, I would go to a local fly shop to get advice. Tell them that you need a basic starters kit. Leave out all the bells and whistles until you get a little experience under your belt. I buy hooks and all my tying hardware, everything else is scrounged from flea markets, crafts shops, hunting buddies, feather dusters, colorful costume wigs and ladies blond synthetic wigs are a real find etc., but you are going to need some basic experience to gain knowledge as to what to look for. For instance I will use bead chain where a pattern calls for the barbell eyes. I also use clear nail polish for head cement, lot of fly shops discourage the nail polish, but I haven't had a caught fish to ask what I use yet. One book I will recommend for salt water tying is SALTWATER PATTERNS by Lefty Kreh. I find fly tying and lure making adds a definite punch to your fishing. Buying nail polish, beads,and ladies wigs at flea markets can get very interesting--sometimes. I also find designing your own original patterns and equipment as well as your tying desk adds to the challenge.

Good Luck, Forrest

PS---After Christmas decoration sales offer a big variety of flashy materials--REAL CHEAP:)
 

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I got a fly tying tool kit for Christmas and I am having a lot of fun learning to tie. I bought some basic materials from a fly shop and I am following an online tutorial that progresses from easy to more difficult techniques. I do have one problem however. The whip finish. The tool kit came with the spring-type whip finisher (Thompson- I think). I have read that the other tool (Materelli?) is easier to learn/use. Does anyone have an opinion or information/tips? I figured out how to tie a half-hitch type knot, but I wasn't sure if it was supposed to put in a stronger knot. The pictures on the internet are not very easy to follow and the descriptions are even worse. Any help is appreciated.
 

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Ketchunanee, Glad to hear you received a tying kit for Christmas. I just had a quick look on http://www.flyanglersonline.com/ mainly to see what type of whip finishing tool I use. I am guessing you are getting your instruction for the same web site right?

Turns out I have a Thompson style whip finishing tool according to the web site (I had no idea its just what was included in my tool kit). I put off learning to use it for some time, as it seemed more trouble than it was worth when I first began tying. After awhile though I became frustrated with using the half hitch knots to finish my flies. So one evening I sat down with the instructions and worked on figuring it over several hours. It was kind of like riding a bike. Once I finally nailed it that was it. I can now whip finish a fly in less time than it takes to do two or three half hitches. The whip finish is very neat and the knot is so secure you do not have to use head cement.

As I have never used any other style whip finisher I really do not have any advice as to which one is better or easier to use. All I can say is keep at it and if you cannot figure it out or get it to work for you then try a different style tool.
 

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Ketchunanee, I just finished downloading and watching the short Windows Media video that the Flyanglersonline web-site had showing the Thompson Whip Finishing tool in use. I think it could be really helpful in addition to the pictures and written instructions.

If you have not seen already it yet check it out: http://www.flyanglersonline.com/flytying/beginners/thompson.wmv .

Edit: I just tried clicking on the link and it would not load up properly. I had to right click on it and hit "save as" and save it first.
 

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ketchunanee---If you have ever re-tied guides on a fishing rod it is essentially the same as a blind knot except the whip finisher forms the loop and it wraps. It will take some practice to use the tool, but it will be worth the effort. The media instructions Basil sent are good. I have one store bought finisher and one home made from a piece of stainless steel cable. Both work fine. Practice and practice, use a toothpick or a plain hook in your vise to learn.This will prevent messing up flies until you get the hang of it. It will soon become as easy as rotating your bobbin.

Good Luck, Forrest
 

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Thanks guys,
I watched a few movies and finally found one that clearly showed the proccess. Once I understood the knot I was trying to tie, it was easy to figure out what to do. I am now just having a few problems with puting too much tension on the thread. Tying flies does take some practice, but you improve very quickly. I have surprised myself with a couple flies. This is a lot of fun.
 

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Ketchunanee, Glad to hear your making progress. What patterns have you been working on? Have you had the opportunity to catch any fish on your flies yet? :)
 

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ketchunanee, you will soon find out that it starts with your first couple of flies. then it goes to a couple of new bobbins, a new vice, a couple of new types of material, the next thing you know, you look at your kids guinea pig as an experimental material, and the guys at the fly shop are inviting you to family reunions. at least thats the way it started for me. It is a sickness, but what a wonderful disease it is:D
 

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tom---Thanks for the diagnosis-- I thought mine was mental problem. LOL-- I sure can get carried away with fly tying-- I was on verge of the fly shop family reunion deal years ago-- now I am regarded as a social outcast.;)

Later Forrest
 

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I can see how this could snowball. I have been working on nymphs, elk hair caddis and parachute adams. The other night I tried my first humpy. (I have been trying a lot of patterns from flyanglersonline.com) As far as materials, I have made a few trips to the fly shop, I have raided my wife's art supplies (she is a teacher) and I got some fur from the deer my dad got this season. I haven't caught any fish on mine yet. I went last Sunday but needed a beadhead to get deep enough (I don't have any beads, yet), and only caught one small rainbow.

Redfishtom- I can sympathize with the guinea pig story. Last week I told my buddy that his german shephard had fur that resembled the color of a deer or elk. (Unfortunately, I don't think it would have the same bouyancy properties.) He laughed at me.
 

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when I started tying about 10 years ago, I thought that the fish had phd's and would laugh at my unholy looking elk hair caddis' and my bushy looking nymphs. I found out at that they could care less. I felt 10 feet tall when I caught a brookie on my first wooly booger I had tied. as for the dog hair fly, I've tied a nymph from my wifes freeshond ( miniature spitz) and I think that the shampoo has saturated the fur, nothing has looked at it yet:cool:
 

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When I was pretty young I tied a few flies up with nothing but squirrel tail and thread. No instructions and no tools. Two out of five or six actually caught a few fish. I'm still using scrounged materials but at least I have a few rudimentry tools to work with. I am still in the novice stage though. (I took a long time in between to try my luck again.) I try not to overlook any opportunities for cheap fishing tackle of any type but fly tying materials can be had for very little or no money if you keep your peepers open and don't worry about what others might think. The same goes for jig tying materials.
 

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Thanks ogre, but I've mastered the whip finish now. I don't like the head cement; I can always see it on the knot and I don't like how it looks. It never soaks in completely, no matter what brand i use. I tie mostly small trout flies and I can't have white globs of glue on them.
 

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This is great advice from all. Buy a few basic tools at a good fly shop and then choose a pattern and buy the materials needed for that fly. A good flyshop will even show you how to tie it. Then move on to the next fly and so on. My experinece with flys is learn to tie what you use and buy the rest its cheaper. Unless tieing flies is your hobbie and not fishing then tie them all and have a ball will buy them. What ever you do have fun.
 
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