As a longtime commercial fly tier, I’m used to people marveling about how fast I can tie flies. Truth is, short of an emergency deadline, or a late night followed by an early morning trip, I prefer to tie slowly and methodically, but when the heat is on I am proud to be able to knock some flies out of the vise very quickly. Given that we’d all like to tie faster, whether from a commercial tying standpoint or simply to ease through a batch of flies with less time and effort, I offer these 11 tips compiled after years behind a hot vise.
- Practice. I know everyone is hoping for a magic bullet to speed up their tying immediately, but frankly, I never encourage anyone to try to tie quickly. Speed comes from familiarity, and familiarity comes from practice. Knowing the pattern at hand well enough to tie it from memory, knowing the materials and order of steps, and feeling comfortable and at ease with the process leads to easier, more efficient tying. Practice, practice, practice. The more flies you tie, the better you’ll get, and we all know there is no such thing as too many flies. Branch out and tie a wide variety of patterns, even if you may not think you’ll fish them. Each pattern contains a lesson, and the more patterns you master the more techniques you’ll become familiar with.
Charlie Craven co-owns Charlie’s Fly Box in Arvada, Colorado, and is the author of Charlie’s Fly Box (Stackpole Books, 2011). He is also the featured tier in the iPhone app FlyBench, available in the iTunes store.