2. Learn to whip-finish by hand! Once again, you'll save a second or two if you don't have to look for yet another tool, pick it up, and put it back when finished. And you'll be able to tie off a much cleaner, tighter head with more thread placement control.
3. Lay out all the materials you'll need to tie two flies or two dozen flies of the same pattern and size, including counting out the hooks. This means pulling and sizing the hackle, tailing, and wings as well as laying out the body materials. Place these materials in close proximity to the vise, because that's where your hands spend most of their time. I place hooks, hackles, and tailing to the right side of my vise and body and winging materials to the left. You can save an enormous amount of time if you purchase a couple of small-parts cabinets. My favorite has thirty drawers: six drawers in each column, five columns across. I put different-colored spade hackles for tailing in the bottom drawer of each column, then work my way up in hackle size: #20, 18, 16, 14, and, at the top, #12. Label each column of drawers with the color of the hackle and each drawer with the size. You can pluck and size the hackle from half a dozen necks in just a couple of hours. Then, the next time you want to tie some flies, all you have to do is pull out the drawer with the size hackle you want, count out the hackles needed, and set out the tailing drawer; now all you need is winging and body material. It sure beats having to pick up the dry-fly neck and find the right-sized hackle for each fly! Another advantage to pulling hackle ahead of time is that you will be able to select hackles for length as well. This will allow you to get the same number of hackle turns on each fly. Lay out sized winging material as well. ~ A. K. Best
To be continued!
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