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Tying Cheap Flies

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I was reading about fly fishing and eventually fly tying. Seems like the logical progression.

You learn to cast a fly line, learn to fly fish and then you want to learn how to tie flies. And that's perfectly natural.

When I started fly fishing more years ago than I'd like to admit, I was determined to be a fly fisher and never a fly tier.

I don't want to be one of those guys, I told myself.

But a funny thing happened at the fly shop. I'd go in to buy two flies and leave with 22. Sixty bucks later I was grumbling as I drove home. When I arrived, I took a look at the flies and realized there might have been 10 cents in the hook and material.

Now, that got me thinking. I'll bet I can tie a 10-cent fly. Imagine all of the savings I'd realize over the next few years.

So, I went to my buddy, Pete Greenan, who is an excellent tier and asked him to teach me. Pete, a great teacher, had me tying simple patterns in no time. He had two vises and we'd tie a pattern side by side, step by step, until I got it right.

What I learned is fly tying is learning how to put different materials on a hook. Once you learn that, you can most any fly.

So, I went out and bought a vise. I bought a three bobbins, a bodkin, scissors, dubbing tool, whip finisher, head cement, saddle hackles, neck hackles, a couple of bucktails, hooks, lead eyes, chenille, dubbing, wax and more of this and lot a that.

I tied flies. I tied whenever I had the time. And when I went to the fly shop, I was like a kid in a candy store.

I loved to visit fly shops in other areas because they inevitably had some different materials. Trout fly shops were particuarly neat. And I'd always walk out with a bag goodies.

My tying room at home is spacious and has room for my bench, desk and computer. The closet is a perfect place to store materials. I have Rubber Maid boxes full of materials. There are boxes for bucktail, boxes for saddle hackles. There's another box for neck hackles. I have a box for synthetics and one for dubbing material. I have another for animal hair.

I have five drawers that are stuffed with epoxy and supplies, crystal chennilles, chenille, freshwater tying supplies and popper stuff.

Needless to say, every nook and cranny is filled.

I got to thinking the other day when I was looking at all of the material I've accumulated over the years that I've put a whole lot of money into tying flies.

Then it dawned on me: To tie a 10-cent fly, you need at least $2,500 in materials and tools.