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
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
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