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Production Tying - Part One

Bob Newman - 01/28/18

Production Tying Thread

A little prep work goes a long ways

I tie a lot of flies each year. Most likely more than most folks will tie during their lifetime. Usually at the rate of 18 to 24 flies per hour. As a result, I have come up with ways to tie flies faster. You may want to think about doing this. Say you are going fishing the next day and realize you are out of the “hot” fly and the shop won’t be open or you are camping and the hot fly is not any of the ones that you have. Noted fly tyer and author A. K. Best wrote that if you tie more than one fly of a size and pattern at a time you are a production tyer.

Rapidly putting the materials on the hook is more of a matter of repetition and muscle memory thus increasing hand speed. One easy thing you can do though is to keep the amount of thread between your bobbin and hook to a minimum. I usually keep no more than an inch or an inch and a half unless I’m putting dubbing on. The purpose of this is that you have much more control over where your thread goes with a shorter distance than long which can speed up your tying and give you much more thread control. Give this a try, put a hook in the vice and start your thread. Now keep your thread short and wind down the hook shank. Now stretch the thread out to three inches or more beyond the bobbin tip and do the same thing. Notice a difference?

I also minimize the number of tools that I need to pick up to tie with. I tie with the scissors already on my hand, and keep a combination dubbing needle/ dubbing twister next to the vise when I may need it. Hackle pliers and a whip finisher complete the collection. I also put them back in the same place after using them for whatever step of the fly so I don’t have to look all over the bench. I know there are many different tying tools offered for sale and many are very useful. If they help you please use them.

Part Two - Material Prep - Up Next!


- Bob Newman

  • Bob Newman - Fly Tier 50 plus year award winning fly tyer and commercial tyer