I decided that since I am hard on flies, I should learn how to tie flies. I pulled out my handy fly-fishing handbook (I love this book) and turned to the fly tying chapter.....and then I got on YouTube and watched a bunch of fly tying videos.
The first line of Chapter 8 says "Tying flies is an utterly fascinating and relaxing pastime..." Awesome! Tying flies will be relaxing? That's great!
The chapter starts out explaining the equipment, hooks and then it explains how to do this:
The above picture does not look relaxing.
We bought this small tool kit with an extra bobbin for me to start with. Most of the advice about fly tying says to buy a good vise and make sure you don't get one that doesn't attach to the table. I ignored that piece of advice and went with this one. I didn't want to buy an expensive vise and then get frustrated and not use it ever again. I really like this little vise. I can bring this visze with me if I want to and it stores away very nicely in my overly full craft room. I will buy a nicer one later, but for now this one works great.
The Woolly Worm was a great fly to start off with. It was a pretty easy pattern and was a great one to learn all of the basics to fly tying. The first step is to put the hook in the jaws of the vise.
Next step is to wrap the thread up to the hook eye and then back down to the hook. This makes a good surface to attach the rest of the materials. It is very important to remember that tiny point of the hook is there. I kept catching my fingers on that little point when I wrapped the materials around the hook shank.
Time for the fly materials! The first material was the tip of the hackle feather. I made this tail too big but for my first fly I was focusing on making sure it didn't unravel and fall apart.
Next, chenille makes the body of the Woolly Worm. It is very important to leave space near the eye of the hook. I did not do this on my first fly and later when I tried to tie this fly on my line, I couldn't get the line in the eye.
Most of you know how frustrated I've gotten with fly fishing this year. In my backyard I can cast really well but as soon as there is water in front of me, nothing goes right and I end up frustrated. Not on this trip! I got tangled in a bush behind me a couple times, lost my strike indicator a couple times (found it once) and cracked the whip a few times, but then I took a deep breath and I was casting really well. I was even casting into the wind and was still doing pretty good. I was very proud of myself. I wish I had caught a fish on my flies but I think this was the first time I actually had fun casting with my fly rod so I was pretty happy.
I'm excited for fly fishing next spring. This winter I will tie more flies and figure out how to add red to my fly rod and then next spring I will hopefully be ready to catch a bunch of fish on my fly gear.