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Looking to start tying flies. #14087229 08/07/21 06:38 PM
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new2BC4bass Offline OP
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I want to start tying a few bass and panfish flies. Don't currently trout fish. Posted first paragraph in the Fly Fishing forum, but figured I'll get more responses here.

I've been researching fly tying vises. I have no place to use a C-clamp so I need a pedestal mount vise. Right now I am looking at the Peak Rotary. Seems to be highly rated in several reviews. I want to eventually be tying flies for bass and panfish. I am open to any other vise suggestions. Would prefer not to spend more than $250 max. Less than $200 is better...thus the Peak. For you guys that have been tying for 30-40 years please do not tell me about $20-$30 vises you are still using. grin

I'd like advice on two scissors. One for heavier stuff like quills and one for hackle. No need for me to reinvent the wheel when I am sure you guys and/or gals already know of good ones. I've read a ceramic bobbin is easier on the thread for us beginners. I would rather learn to properly use a whip finish tool from the get-go than starting with a half hitch tool.

Hooks. Where to start. I don't know. Just so many available and being a beginner it is absolutely confusing. One of the flies I want to tie for bass is the Cat's Whisker. A fellow member on another forum that is a long time fly fisherman/tier said he uses a "2x-long or 3x-long streamer hook, size 8 or 10 (I use Tiemco 5263)". That makes my life easier....provided that hook is still in production. Feel free to give me hook data for the following flies.

Bass flies I want to start with: Cat's Whisker, Clouser Minnow, Wooly Bugger and some kind of popper. 5th fly?
Panfish flies: Small popper, Ant, McGinty Wet Fly, Black Spider, Clouser Minnow, Zonkers and maybe a nymph of some kind. Okay, maybe more than 5.

At first I want to limit my materials to approximately 10-12 patterns...5 bass...5-7 panfish. KISS (keep it simple stupid).

I see there is a sticky with a list of about 36 Online fly tying suppliers. I prefer not to go thru all 36. Any top 2 or 3 preferences?

Also feel free to hand out tons of advice. Doesn't have to be in this thread. Can send me a PM or email. Thanks a lot in advance.


I have a photographic memory...........it never got developed
Re: Looking to start tying flies. [Re: new2BC4bass] #14087442 08/08/21 12:08 AM
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Glad to see that you didn't ask any controversial questions.... roflmao

Most of these topics will generate multiple differing answers/opinions.

Here's the real key - Pick whatever you personally like and use it with pride. You're the one using it and your opinion is the only one that actually matters. smile

Here are some of my thoughts on the topic:

Vises - 90% of the responses that you will receive online will be along the line of "the vise that I own is the best vise in existence and rest are trash". This is not true and many of those folks have never tied on a different type of vise. There a lot of good vises available in your price range. The Peak is a good vise and it is popular. It is a "work horse" type of vise. Nobody is going to tell you that you are using a poor vise, but nobody is going to drool over it either. In this price range, the Peak and the Renzetti Traveler tend to be the most popular although there are other good brands. Pro's and Con's - Renzetti does beautiful work, their "fit and finish" is some of the best in the price range. Peak is stoat and well built, but it won't win any beauty contests. The Peak base is heavy and very stable. The Renzetti is a travel vise and its base is much lighter. Personally, I like a heavy and more stable base. So, my personal choice between the two is the Peak based on the the weight of the base. As you can see below, I tie on a Regal. I found it in the Cabela's bargain cave for $200. I like this vise, but it is higher than your price range. Try to put your hands on the vises that you are considering, either at a shop or another fly tier in the area. Then pick the vise that feels best to you. Good luck!

Scissors - This one can go all over the place on price and there are a lot of good brands out there. Get a good set and only use them for feathers and other fine work. Get a second less expensive set for cutting foam, wire, etc. materials that will dull scissors quickly.
Small sewing scissors can work great as this pair. For the good scissors, I like ones with a serrated blade. They don't slip as much when cutting. The blue handled Anvil are good, MFC has some good scissors, Dr Slick has a wide variety of options. For general tying, the 4 inch straight tip version is a good choice. Start with a good pair of 4" and a cheaper pair for rough work, then later add a set of heavier duty hair scissors and a set of fine tip "arrow point" scissors as your tying skills progress. Personally, I tend to watch Sierra Trading Post and stock up on scissors when they're on sale. I don't have "favorite brand".

Hooks - Everyone has the favorite brands and style. For most of the warm water patterns that you've mentioned, the Mustad 3366 is a good general purpose hook. It's best feature is the price, it's cheap. Hooks in general are one of the most expensive items in your fly tying box. The 3366 gives you the option to have multiple sizes of hooks available while you are learning to tie. It is a general purpose hook that can be used for a variety of patterns. As your skills progress, you'll start understanding what 3X long or 2X heavy means and when to use them. One important item to know is that hook sizes are NOT consistent across different brands. One brand's size 8 2X long may be identical to another brand's size 6 standard length hook. That is one reason some people only use one brand of hook, they know the sizes for that brand. Personally, I tend to use what ever hook size, shape, and brand best matches what I want my finished fly to look like. For reference the foam flies and the loose hooks in the photo are Mustand 3366 size 10's. Note, if you decide to use 3366's don't tell your friends that tie trout patterns, they'll make fun of you, but warm water fly tiers don't care. J Stockard and Jann's Netcraft have the 3366 hook. It is not usually considered a fly tying hook, but at about $5 for 100, it can be a good hook to learn on.

Good luck! The more specific you make your questions, the better you'll find the responses.



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Re: Looking to start tying flies. [Re: new2BC4bass] #14087519 08/08/21 02:10 AM
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Wow! Thanks for your reply Rex. I'd ask more specific questions if I knew what to ask. roflmao That will have to wait until I get some experience.

$5 for 100 hooks versus $5 for 2 hooks is a much better value for learning. One I can get behind. Thanks. I'm sure my first 100 flies will look like manure.

I've used Jann's Netcraft and Sierra Trading Post before. Never heard of J Stockard. Will give them a look. thumb up :-)

I really appreciate the time it took you to type such a nice reply.

Last edited by new2BC4bass; 08/08/21 02:13 AM.

I have a photographic memory...........it never got developed
Re: Looking to start tying flies. [Re: new2BC4bass] #14087565 08/08/21 02:55 AM
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Sorry, the comment about specific questions was intended for the future as you get started tying and start having questions. I realize that at this point, it is a challenge to know what to ask. smile

J Stockard has a good selection of materials and I have used them several times. They also have monthly sales that are worth watching.

The unfortunately truth about buying fly tying materials is that nobody ever has everything you want and you'll often need to order from multiple locations to get everything you are looking for. The best advice I can offer for materials is when you see a material or a color that you like buy it when you see it, because it may be a long time before you see it again.


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Re: Looking to start tying flies. [Re: new2BC4bass] #14088133 08/08/21 10:30 PM
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Tons of patterns can be tied with just some 2 or 3mm foam, marabou, cactus chenille, and crystal flash. Cant go wrong with a few colors in each of those. You can tie a ton of clousers with just a few colors of bucktail.

I really like gamakatsu hooks. My favorite is the B10s in various sizes. For wooly buggers look for 3 or 4 xl streamer hooks.

As said above, one good pair of scissors for thread and other materials and some pliers with wire cutters or an old pair of scissors for wire and brushes.

Re: Looking to start tying flies. [Re: new2BC4bass] #14088483 08/09/21 11:59 AM
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I receive monthly kits from a company that provides kits that give you all of the material that's required to tie 12 matching flies. They provide one completed fly in the kit to show you what the finished product should look like. And most of all they have good free online videos with skilled instructors to show you how to tie each specific kit they sell. I have tied around 20 of their kits and still have 10 un opened kits from the warm water series with a lot of the flies you mentioned. Out of all of the kits I have had so far, I have never received a duplicate fly kit. Each kit is around $25 but that's cheap for 13 flies tied with professional materials. My very first fly was from one of these kits and was an orange zonker. By the time you tie 12 flies in a certain pattern, you'll be a pro in that pattern

I suggest you look at their web site and do a search for online training videos for a company called Postfly. Just type postfly and zonker in your favorite search engine. and you will get an idea of their subscription service. You can find info about their program and products by going to their website.

These baitfish were tied using a fly kit from postfly. Although I used different colors from my personnel collection to give me more choices.

For individual packages of specific materials. The fastest and least expensive place to get them is Amazon. Just watch to make sure it doesn't come from China or it may take a month or more to get to you.

[Linked Image]

If you cannot use a c clamp type of vice. Get one of the ones that comes in it's own cigar box type of travel container that when open gives you a nice vice a stand to use it, and it comes with a hand full of tools that you are going to need to tie flies like the ones you want anyway.

[Linked Image]

I also recommend Sharpies in as many colors you can find but start with primary colors like red, green, black, and yellow. I also really like silver, gold, and copper.

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Last edited by SteveBob; 08/09/21 12:56 PM.
Re: Looking to start tying flies. [Re: new2BC4bass] #14088507 08/09/21 12:36 PM
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Excellent! Some more good advice. Thanks Doug and Steve.

Definitely will check out Postfly. Been using Amazon a lot the past week getting a few things for fly fishing....line, leaders, couple rods and reels, a few flies, etc.

EDIT: Postfly is now $27.95 per month. Mysterytacklebox is $16.99 per year - $17.99 for 6 months - $18.99 for 3 months or $19.99 for one order. Is anyone familiar with the quality of the materials from mysterytacklebox? I would prefer to pay extra for postfly if necessary to get better materials.

Last edited by new2BC4bass; 08/09/21 12:55 PM.

I have a photographic memory...........it never got developed
Re: Looking to start tying flies. [Re: new2BC4bass] #14088755 08/09/21 04:03 PM
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Good advise all around.

Originally Posted by new2BC4bass
Would prefer not to spend more than $250 max... For you guys that have been tying for 30-40 years please do not tell me about $20-$30 vises you are still using.


While you may not want to hear it, there's nothing wrong with starting out using a cheaper vise especially for the warmwater patterns you'll be tying. I admittedly do use a regal these days (and love it!), but I don't think it adds significant value to the novice tyer. As long as the the vise can securely grip the range of hook sizes you'll be tying on, that is all you need to begin. Consider saving a bit on your vise for now and re-investing those savings into other tools and materials.


Originally Posted by new2BC4bass
I'd like advice on two scissors. One for heavier stuff like quills and one for hackle. No need for me to reinvent the wheel when I am sure you guys and/or gals already know of good ones. I've read a ceramic bobbin is easier on the thread for us beginners. I would rather learn to properly use a whip finish tool from the get-go than starting with a half hitch tool.


For scissors, I'd look into a pair of Dr. Slick "All Purpose" style and a pair of Dr. Slick "Arrow Point." Those two will cover 90% of your needs. As others have mentioned, a cheaper pair of craft scissors isn't a bad idea when dealing with foam, etc. And credit to you for wanting to learn to whip finish properly. I did many years ago, but have largely reverted to using a half-hitch tool when the pattern allows.




Originally Posted by new2BC4bass
Hooks. Where to start. I don't know. Just so many available and being a beginner it is absolutely confusing.


Good advise so far with regards to hooks. One thing I will add is pay attention to sales. J Stockard usually knocks 10-15% off all of their hooks each January. Make note of what styles you're using most as you learn the next few months and consider purchasing a bunch when the sale rolls around. I usually stock up each January for the coming year.

Originally Posted by new2BC4bass
Bass flies I want to start with: Cat's Whisker, Clouser Minnow, Wooly Bugger and some kind of popper. 5th fly?
Panfish flies: Small popper, Ant, McGinty Wet Fly, Black Spider, Clouser Minnow, Zonkers and maybe a nymph of some kind. Okay, maybe more than 5.

At first I want to limit my materials to approximately 10-12 patterns...5 bass...5-7 panfish. KISS (keep it simple stupid).


That appears to be a good mix of flies to start with. I'd suggest adding some beadhead hare's ear nymphs to that mix as they're as effective on panfish as they are on trout.

Other than that, I'd try to add a nymph/buggy pattern or two that get down to the bottom and ride hook up. Two of my favorites are the Rubber Legged Dragon and Cap Spider. These type of patterns are especially productive when the fish are down deep during the warmer summer months in this part of the country.

Originally Posted by new2BC4bass
I see there is a sticky with a list of about 36 Online fly tying suppliers. I prefer not to go thru all 36. Any top 2 or 3 preferences?


J Stockard is my go to for fly tying supplies.

Good luck and feel to PM me here or through the about page on my blog if you have any other questions.

Chris


Chris W.
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Re: Looking to start tying flies. [Re: new2BC4bass] #14088998 08/09/21 07:17 PM
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Thanks Chris for adding more excellent advice. I will see what pedestal vises I can find for less than $100. I will add the flies/types you mentioned to my list. My ever growing list. roflmao


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Re: Looking to start tying flies. [Re: new2BC4bass] #14089714 08/10/21 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by new2BC4bass
I will add the flies/types you mentioned to my list. My ever growing list.


One thing to consider with your list of patterns is that many of the materials you'll purchase can be used on multiple patterns. For example, the McGinty requires black chenille & black hackle feathers. Both of those are also required for the Rubber Legged Dragon I mentioned. All you would need is bead chain eyes, rubber legs and a clump of rabbit fur trimmed from the Zonked Rabbit Strips you'll be using for the zonkers you already plan on tying.


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Re: Looking to start tying flies. [Re: new2BC4bass] #14089779 08/10/21 12:47 PM
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A good hook to learn to tie with for fresh water are long shank Aberdeen hooks. They are light and inexpensive but strong enough for most fishing types. Tiny Aberdeen hooks were my go to hook for 5+ lb carp when I was a kid so they are more than strong enough for most of what you'll catch in fresh water in Texas. The longer shank is easier to work with for someone learning the ropes as it were with fly tying tools and such. I recently purchased a package of 160 with 8 hook sizes for less than $12 on Amazon. I also like small circle hooks for flies. The popularity of circle hooks is they are easier to fish with since their design pretty much sets the hook for you and almost always in the side of the mouth. That makes them easier to remove from the fish's mouth with less chance of their being swallowed. The down side is that their shape limits the types of flies you can tie with them. As you go, you will find certain hooks work better for certain fly patterns. But in general Aberdeen hooks are what I use on 75% of my flies and are a great hook to learn on.

Last edited by SteveBob; 08/10/21 12:50 PM.
Re: Looking to start tying flies. [Re: new2BC4bass] #14090046 08/10/21 04:28 PM
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Thanks Chris and Steve for adding more information. I tried searching "best pedestal fly tying vises under $100". Doesn't seem to be many. It would be much better if I could use a C-clamp vise. I did find a rotary from Colorado Angler for $72.99. Their EZ Traveling vise is $49.99. Cabela's has an EZ Traveling vise for $69.99. Peak has a non-rotary vise for $99.95. Think I'd kind of like a rotary vise.

Finding a review on less than $100 vises was impossible with the exception of Amazon reviews. I believe Amazon reviews about as much as I believe every word that comes out of a politician's mouth.

I will most likely bite the bullet and get the Peak Rotary Vise when it comes time to buy one.

I am going to peruse J Stockard for materials. Hopefully they will carry all I need for my first venture into fly tying. It's been said that no one place carries everything a fly tier wants. However, I don't want a lot of different materials to start out with.

Thanks for the Aberdeen hooks option. I now have 2-3 different hook makers to choose from. Probably buy some of each given their reasonable prices.


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Re: Looking to start tying flies. [Re: new2BC4bass] #14090722 08/11/21 02:01 AM
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FWIW - if I hadn’t gotten the Renzetti traveler I would have gone with either the peak or a griffin cam vise with the clamp and added a pedestal separately. For some reason the basic Griffin models can’t be purchased with a base but you can probably get one for like $30. That would make the Griffin comparable to a Renzetti traveler or peak but probably in the $110-$140 range.

Re: Looking to start tying flies. [Re: new2BC4bass] #14094266 08/13/21 08:35 PM
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Try this link for a $25 portable vice with tools. I have one of this model and although not rotary... It's a good general duty vice. It comes with a storage box that converts to a base and comes with basic needed tools as well.

https://austin.craigslist.org/spo/d/leander-new-fly-tying-kits-with-wooden/7356574576.html

Re: Looking to start tying flies. [Re: new2BC4bass] #14149140 10/03/21 04:07 PM
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Supplier; Flytiersdungeon.com Great prices, very buggy material. Patterns; you have good choices; Clouser and Wooly Buggers in both small and larger sizes, dark and light patterns and some with flash, others no flash. Wilson's Bully Bluegill Spider, and very generic wet flies using FTD buggy material. Both bass and BG will eat almost anything, so flies with movement/liveliness that are generic can imitate most anything based on size, sink rate, and color. I find that flash and bright colors (red, yellow, chartreuse) on bright sunshiny days are a good change up from my first choice natural color flies that I start with in low light or cloudy conditions. PS; some electric desk lamps have C-clamp fasteners that are available as a separate part. Hooks; The Fly Shop in Redding, CA has packaged a number of good hooks at very attractive prices.

Last edited by McFish51; 10/03/21 04:22 PM. Reason: added material
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