Shooting Pool
By Marty Bartholomew

Tying flies is very much like shooting pool; you need to plan your next shot before you chalk your cue.

Laying out the hooks, materials, and tools needed for the fly pattern is of utmost importance. The location of these materials on the tying desk is totally up to the tier. You must develop your own system. When the material or tool stays in a certain location, you subconsciously reach for it and it's always there.

This trick is the key to rhythm. When you watch a pro tier at work, everything looks so smooth. Seldom does it look like they are tying fast, however, they are every efficient with their movements. Their hands are reaching for the correct material and the bobbin is always in the right position to tie in the next material. You can always tell if the tier is accomplished because they are instructing, talking, shaking hand and they still get the fly tied in two and a half minutes.

Brad Befus adds, "Not only do you have to plan your next shot, you need to plan out the strategy for the whole game. Know what you are going to tie before picking and buying the material. Choosing the correct material for the fly pattern is very important. Some materials are interchangeable, while others are not. Deer hair, winging materials, hackle and tailing should be chosen with a particular fly in mind."
The best materials make the best flies! ~ Marty Bartholomew

Cover, Tying Flies Like A Pro Credits: This Tying Tip is an excerpt from Tying Flies Like A Pro by Marty Bartholomew, published by Frank Amato Publications. Just out, the book has many step-by-step tutorials on all types of flies. It also has good sections on material preparation and 'tricks' of the trade. Many professional tiers contributed their 'name' flies. Softbound, full color, (lots of photos) the book is 184 pages, and priced at $29.95 US. ~ DLB

Please check out the Fly Tying Section, on the Bulletin Board here at FAOL too.

If you have any questions, tips, or techniques; send them to

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