Final thoughts on prep work
If you are tying foam flies having the foam cut to size either by using cutters or strips can really help. Same with rubber legs, cutting them to length for the fly before tying in can save you quite a bit of time. Beading hooks ahead helps while tying. Just decide how many flies of one pattern and size you will be tying and put the beads on. Then all you have to do is grab the hook and put it in the vice.
Even getting deer or elk hair ready can be done ahead if you have multiple stackers. I knew a commercial tyer that tied 5 dozen elk hair caddis every night after his regular job. He made his own multiple stacker by taking a piece of plywood and drilling 60 holes to hold a 22 caliber shell. When he got done tying each night he would reload all of his “hair stackers” to get ready for the next night’s production.
Dubbings and other body materials are another story. I still haven’t found a way to prep them but since I am a right handed tyer I do keep the clump of dubbing to my left since I always twist the dubbing on with my right hand. I have a lot of different dubbings on hand and have accumulated some colors and types for custom orders that I may never use again. I use metal shower curtain hooks to keep each dubbing type all together rather than digging through a drawer or box looking for the color or type needed.
All of this preparation does take a bit of time but can be done in the winter when there is not a lot of other activities in store or even in an evening when you only have a few minutes. After your initial session, processing a new pack of materials just takes minutes.
Over time you can find simple ways to increase your tying speed if you want. Not everyone wants to tie flies faster, I respect those folks. An old friend didn’t want to tie fast, his preference while tying say dry flies was to tie the fly up to the hackle and then light a cigarette and smoke while picking out “just the right hackle feather”. But then if we were on a trip he would have me tie his flies because we needed “something” for the next day’s fishing!
- Bob Newman
- 50 plus year award winning fly tyer and commercial tyer