LIfishingGuy

Beginning Saltwater Fly Tying

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Hey everyone,

 

Like many of you have some extra downtime with what’s going on lately. Any advice for getting started on tying saltwater flies? I don’t have any of the equipment/supplies yet, so starting from scratch, but eager to get going. Thanks.

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Do you have a vise? I like my Peak rotary, best buy around $150 if you have that much to spend. You can use bronze hooks if you use your flies only once, but go with saltwater hooks if you want to use them more than once. Regarding materials: buy only what you need for the flies you plan to tie. 

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I agree the peak vise is a great starter vise. You can tie small trout flies and also larger salt flies with the same jaws. I recommend you learn two or three patterns to start. And only buy materials for those flies or else you'll buy a lot of materials. I suggest surf candies, clousers, and decievers to start.

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I’d suggest buying a couple good books to not only learn about tying but about materials. I have bob closures book and it provides step by step tying instructions but also some great info on using bucktail. Bob Popovich books are great as well.

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You Tube is also a great resource.  You'll find plenty of videos on most any patterns you are interested in tying.  Thing I like most about it is you can reply a specific technique until you feel confident in trying it yourself.  There's also several great threads in "Fly Fishing" that shows pics of great looking flies and, in many cases, material list and instructions are provided.

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Check the Fly tying forum

 

These guys are magicians...

 

Nothing beats catching a fish on your own fly.

 

Good luck !

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I type my saltwater patters on #6, #2 & 2/0 SW hooks. Small, medium and large covered. 
 

Clouser minnows, Brooks Blondes and Gartside gurglers. Bottom, middle and top water covered.  I use the same color patterns for all three 

 

Fluorescent orange thread for all. Just seems to work. Have fun!!

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Others have already given you good advice.

 

I suggest a basic set of tools and a basic vise. That Peak is a nice vise for sure, but you can get into the game for a lot less IMHO. For tools, all you really need is a pair of scissors and a bobbin. I would avoid buying a tying kit. Start with a basic pattern in basic colors, a chartruce over white clouser in example. Buy the materials just to tie that one pattern to start, maybe invest in a few different bucktails, a little flash material wouldn't hurt either. Get the basics down, and then expand to new colors then new patterns. Also, I would not spend a fortune on hooks when you are getting started. Get a box or two of Mustad 34007's in 2 and 2/0. After you get some experience you are going to look back at your first flies and they are going to look crude. :) No sense spending $2.00 per hook at this point. 

 

Oh, and definitely come share your creations in the fly tying forum here on SOL!

Good luck!

Alan

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A lot of very good advice already, I’ll second Peak’s Rotary Vise, it’s a very nice product and I’ve tied hooks size 28-8/0 without fail (I’m sure both of those could be surpassed, I just haven’t needed to). 

 

Anothee great suggestion is to learn on subpar hooks, again, Mustad’s 34007 is perfect for this, they’ll catch fish too, don’t worry. 

 

My other two recommendations are to buy any book by Bob Popovics that you can. He breaks down things wonderfully, and if you read them, you’ll get a lot of very useful info. I’d also reccomend Lou Tabory’s little yellow book on saltwater baits (the name is escaping me right now, so I’ll eventually edit and add a title once I get it figured it), but this is ok acclimate you with bait profiles that you’ll later use to imitate your flies. 

 

Fly tying is a great use of your time and is often very enjoyable. Best of luck. 

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Also if there is a local club near you go to a few meetings. They are very good to make connections and tie with some guys. 

I know the ASWF do winter tying sessions or at least they used to, it’s been a while for me. 

They will also usually have a lending library for books. 

 

 

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Most things related to tying has been covered, so I'll only add a few comments. No single size hook will fit all situations, nor will hook style. Everyone who ties & fly fishes has their preferences. However, as these others have mentioned a basic type such as the Mustad 34007 will handle a lot of different types of fishing. A lot of fish were caught on them before many of the hooks available now were being produced. Even the Mustad 3407, which is the tinned version of that same hook, can be used and is usually priced less. I use some Eagle Claw hooks too, 254 styles work well, but all these hooks need to be sharpened. 

 

Are you already a fly angler who fishes the salt? I ask because not everyone who begins to tie, also fly fishes. If you are, then you should already know that fly selection and sizes have to fit the gear you're using as well as the fishing you'll be doing. So, try to tie flies that fit your fishing and your gear. You may not need a lot of sizes, as 2 or 3 can cover a lot of fishing.

 

If you don't already fly fish, again plan your tying to fit your fishing and the gear you plan on getting. Otherwise, tying flies or tying jigs has the same basis. If you can tie one, you can tie the other. 

 

Although a chartreuse & white Clouser Minnow has been mentioned, you'll generally want to tie flies that mimic the local forage in size, profile and basic colors. They don't need to be real detailed, and for a beginning tyer it's best to stay with basic anyway until you're proficient with the basic stuff. 

 

Most of us likely fish baitfish patterns most often, so good colors are white, gray & white, olive shades and white, and some of the other color shades. Black also can be a good color to have. You can tie a lot of flies with strung saddle hackle and bucktail and a little flash.  However, I also agree very much with what was already said about starting with just a few patterns to limit expenditures. There's a lot of materials available now, a lot of colors that can be used in the salt, and you can easily spend a fortune buying it. 

 

There's a ton of great information here on SOL for tyers, and some world class tyers as well. There's a lot of other sources for tying information too. Make use of them. Ask questions, and pay attention. Start slow and be patient and understand that it's a learning process. I've been tying since the 60's and am still learning. 

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4 hours ago, snapper1 said:

Check the Fly tying forum

 

These guys are magicians...

 

Nothing beats catching a fish on your own fly.

I will never forget the first fish I caught on a fly I tied. Like it was yesterday.

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Tons of stuff on Youtube as others have mentioned.  Orvis is also doing some sort of "live" class online.  I believe they clousers last week.  Not sure of the details but their Instagram feed as information.  Probably their website as well 

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