It's been said that location is the key to success
in many of our endeavors. When it comes to tying
flies, hand position is the key. I'm talking about
the position of your materials hand and how the
materials are held in it. If you're a right-hander,
it would be your left hand. Your right hand is the
bobbin hand. But before I get into hand position
in the following hints, I believe it's most important
to get the angle of the vise collet set in the proper
position. I've taught a lot of fly-tying classes in
the past twenty years and often see tyers having
trouble getting material tied onto the hook simply
because they have the vise collet set at a horizontal
position. This makes it nearly impossible for the
materials hand to be placed in a position that will
allow the tyer to wrap thread around almost anything.
Set the angle of the collet to a 45 - to 50 degree angle.
This angle will allow you to place your materials hand
on the vise in a more normal position when you hold
material against the hook...
...If you're tying with your materials hand in a thumbs-down
position, your elbow will be raised and extended away from
your body, which may cause aching neck muscles, a tired
arm, and a sore elbow. Any hand position from palms
vertical to palms horizontal can be considered normal hand
position, with a 45-degree palm position being the most
Vise at horizontal with materials hand. Notice unnatural
Vise at 45-degree angle with materials hand. Notice the natural
~ AK Best
Credits: This article is an excerpt from
Advanced Fly Tying, by A.K. Best, published by
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