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Tying Stupidity

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

I was part of a two hackle swaps lately. Several of us got together and ordered necks of different colors. We then plucked the feathers off, then divided the feathers up equally. This way we got a variety of colors to be able to use to tie.

Since most of these feathers would tie down to size 22 hooks and I had not used many of these I decided that I needed to stock up on some smaller hooks. I ordered in some 18's, 20's and 22's. I had not tied many flies on anything smaller than a 14 and a few 16's. This would be a new experience for me. Most of my tying had been on size 6 to 12.

My habit is to tie most of the flies I use in three sizes so I can match the hatch size wise better. I have always kept the boxes open at the same time so I could just take a hook out and tie the fly. I could change size as I wanted also colors at the same time.

Another thing I do is to use hooks from different manufactures. Mustad and Eagle Claw hooks are heavier than some of the other brands but as I tie flies with them I do not have to add weight and it lets the fly drop a little faster. I could have from five to eight boxes of hooks open at the same time at my fly tying table.

I use an old desk for my tying table and have a piece of 1 X 12" material that the vise is clamped to. There is not really a spot on the desk to clamp the vise where I could tie with it but I have the 1 X 12 lamped down so it will not move.

I got the hooks out and decided that I was going to tie some flies with some horse hair, and woolly nylon I had acquired. I was doing some midge patterns that I had found on line. I had watched a fellow fisherman be very successful with midges in Rocky Mountain National Park last year and I did not want to be short when we go on vacation again.

Started tying and decided to do three of each pattern in each size. This would give me a nice number to use and give a little variety in size. There is not as much difference in size from and 18 to a 22 as there is from a 6 to a 10. But I would trust the folks I had read who said you would need a variety of sizes.

I had tied three flies when I was called to the phone. With "Grace" not being my middle name I stood up and jarred the vise as I did. This made the boxes of hooks flip and I had 147 hooks spread out on my board and tying desk. I went to the phone and found it was not worth the time as it was a solicitation for something I did not want.

I took a deep breath and went back into the room to pick up the hooks. Put them all in one box and went out to another table where I could spread the hooks out and move them easier, as it has a glass top. It took sorting about 10 hooks before I had the three sizes split apart. I spent about 1.5 hours getting this done. I lined them up by tens and found that I was missing one hook. Looked but did not see it and I was to the point where I was not sure that it was worth looking for.

I took the hooks back into the tying room securely closed and put them on the desk. I opened one box and took out one hook, closed the box and tied the fly. I have learned my lesson.

The boxes with size 6 to 10 hooks weigh a lot more than those little hooks do and just don't jump around as much. I had gotten lazy and paid for it. I am very careful now and I even do this with the larger hooks so it will stay as a habit. I do take two or three hooks out at the same time and lay the extras on the desk but no more than that.

I hope that you don't pull any stupid stunts like I have been lately. I hope your tying goes well and that you can get out on the water. ~ Richard Zieger

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