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Spence's Bench
Spence's Bench
OldredbarnJanuary 16th, 2010, 3:11 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
EricdJanuary 20th, 2010, 7:06 pm
Mpls, MN

Posts: 113
That's an old phone.
Shawnny3January 20th, 2010, 7:46 pm
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Oooh - nice.

I have that same light - how do you like using the magnifier?

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
OldredbarnJanuary 21st, 2010, 7:07 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608
Eric,

It's funny you bring up the phone. I have been debating with myself about doing away with the land line. It seems only tele-marketers actually use it anymore since we finally broke down and got cells a few years back. The really unfortunate thing is when we had the basement finished I still had dial-up instead of wireless and I had the whole damn basement wired so I could sit at the bench or in front of the TV and "plug-in" the laptop...So much for being on the cutting edge of technology and planning, eh!?

Shawn,

I only use the magnifier if I want to get a close up of a fly after it's finished for some reason. My eyesight has been an issue since I was 40 and I'm 56 now. I can remember being able to tie just about anything on the end of my line no matter how small or how dark it was out...

I first had problems with far away and joked that I only needed to wear glasses at hockey games so I could see the puck. So, I had sun glasses made with this in mind...I would wear them all day and if I needed to change a fly I would have to lower the sun glasses down my nose so I could look over them. Because I had been looking through the prescription glasses all day I would hold up the end of my tippet and the fly I was going to tie on and see four of them...

This was a problem solved by a friend who, after hearing this story, pulled a pair of 3X reading glasses out of a vest pocket. For a trip out west in 2004 I had a really nice pair of sun glasses made with the far away perscription on top and a bi-focal half moon of 3x for up close.

The odd conclusion to all this was after a couple years of trying to get my life back after two back surgeries my brother-in-law invited me out to a hockey game. I was unable to sit comfortably for a couple years and had quit going and had actually stopped playing in the spring of 2003. Well I'm sitting there and put on a pair of long distance glasses and everything was blurred...I couldn't figure it out! I pulled the glasses off and could see the game and the puck perfectly...(?)

I have a cousin that is an ophthamologist and I told him this story between periods at a Red Wings hockey game. He told me that it's not uncommon for the distance vision to improve as we get older and the reading range to go to hell.

Anyway I love the light but hardly use the magnifier...I have pairs of glasses that are basically worthless to me now unless my eyesight keeps changing. I tie with the pair of 3x especially size 16's and smaller...

One last thing...My dentist uses these really cool lens that attach to a pair of glasses and he's let me look through them. They gave me a contact to the supply house that makes them, but they are quite expensive...I'm trying to get the cousin ophthamologist to snag me a used pair...They look really odd when you are wearing them, but they work.

Take Care!

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
EricdJanuary 21st, 2010, 2:27 pm
Mpls, MN

Posts: 113
Spence,
Our house is similar and we've been talking about the same thing regarding our land line.

I did start tying flies at my computer desk. It's an IKEA desk that has a drop down front, very compact for my compact house. It works well for this beginner tier because I can follow directions easily on the screen...until I get the hang of it.
OldredbarnJanuary 28th, 2010, 1:33 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608
Eric,

The internet has really changed the world, especially the fly tying one! That sounds like a great set up you have. That little counter next to my tying space will hold pattern books and/or my laptop.

When I first started tying I was lucky enough to have a friend who is one of the best to show me the steps. When he wasn't showing me how to tie he gave me tied examples to use as my models. Other than that a person had to sign up for classes somewhere, a club, a fly shop, or at a school if they provided it.

If you don't already know of this site you should visit www.charliesflyboxinc.com. It's Charlie Cravens site and his step-by-step HD photos are wonderful. Once you are in the site choose "Fly Box" to the right and then "tutorial" for the instructions etc. He's a very helpful guy...You have questions or comments he responds to you himself.

Take Care! Keep at it!

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
EricdJanuary 28th, 2010, 1:47 pm
Mpls, MN

Posts: 113
Thank for the encouragement, Spence.
I am also taking a class and about to graduate the beginner's course with the intermediate course following.

So, should I purchase from Umpqua dealers...or where? The nearest Fly shop to me has great guys, but is the most spendiest place I shop.
EricdJanuary 28th, 2010, 1:53 pm
Mpls, MN

Posts: 113
Sorry, "most expensive." I know some of your professions.
Jmd123January 28th, 2010, 5:03 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2589
Eric, I took a fly-tying class 20 years ago and never looked back. It is a terrific way to learn fly tying. I took it at a local fly shop and there were five of us in the class. We were all seated at school-type desk-chairs with our own vice and set of tools, while the instructor (the owner of the fly shop) passed out materials and showed us step-by-step how to tie streamers, wets, dries, spin deer hair, tie on dumbell eyes, etc. The first fly we tied was a simple Woolly Bugger - STILL one of my favorite, and most effective, flies. Ever since I took that class I have NEVER fished with a fly that I did not tie myself.

Best of luck and I'm sure you'll have a blast (and catch lots of fish on your own flies thereverafter)...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Jmd123January 28th, 2010, 5:04 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2589
P.S. I buy my fly tying stuff from Cabelas, Orvis, and Feather-Craft. All seem relatively reasonable with respect to materials.

JMD
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
EricdJanuary 28th, 2010, 6:09 pm
Mpls, MN

Posts: 113
Hi Jonathon. This class is instructed by a local guide in a small log cabin type building in the middle of some kind of wildlife conservation area. There's cages all around with reptiles and birds, it's very fitting. The first one we tied as well, for obvious reasons, was the Wooly Bugger (three years ago I was laughing everytime I said that) and now I have the wallpaper of my phone saved as the first Parachute Adams I tied.
I have an old bulletin board with my grandmas rosemaled frame with all of my new flies displayed. There's only about a dozen tied with very poor and old material, but it's a start. I'm sure a few false casts is all they can handle.
I really need some new materials.
OldredbarnJanuary 28th, 2010, 8:39 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608
Eric,

Materials have always been the Holy Grail of tyers...Especially before genetic hackle showed up over the last 20 years or so. It can get costly.

Some suggestions...If you have any friends that hunt they can be helpful...Wood Duck feathers, snowshoe rabbit feet, bunny skins, squirrel...Deer hair etc. Just keep it separate from your main stash until you are sure the wild stuff is free of bugs.

I have seen good tyers use fur from old coats that are tossed for being out of fashion or whatever.

Unfortunately here in Detroit we have lost so many fly shops it is getting difficult to put your hands on stuff. A side note to this is I've cleaned up when some of these places were going under. Keep you eyes out for this sort of thing.

Mark (Softhackle) turned me on to using embroidery thread for softhackles instead of the expensive silk. Old antron carpet pieces in different colors can be cut up and mixed with some bunny fur for a good dubbing. I think the guy came from up your way, a guy Close I think his last name is created a good drake pattern called the Carpet Fly using antron from old carpet pieces.

You can find close-cell-form in shipping packages.

Anyway...If you are just starting out be patient and don't be so concerned that you can't afford $90.00 necks...Great tyers can do some incredible stuff with materials other guys would throw out. The most important thing I think is practice and working on getting your proportions correct...If the fly looks right and tied correctly I don't think the fish know it was wrapped with an old Indian neck feather or a Hebert one.

It's all about having a little fun with your craft and fooling a couple Hogs!

Spence


"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
WbranchJanuary 29th, 2010, 1:56 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
Pretty much all tying materials are quite reasonably priced except quality genetic dry fly necks. For $3.00 you can buy a bag of felted beaver fur and have enough material to tie 200 #14 - #18 dry fly bodies. A 1/4 ounce bag of marabou is about $5.00 and there are tons of feathers, enough to tie all the Woolly Buggers you will need for the next five years.

I probably have twenty genetic saddles, in various colors, from Whiting and Hoffman but ever since the rise in popularity of CDC I tie many of my flies with CDC compara-dun wings or CDC post wings and just two 2 - 3 turns of a genetic hackle feather. These flies float well and catch many trout. I buy my CDC in bulk bags from shop in Idaho for $17.50 a bag. Not cheap but I'll get at least 100 flies per bag.

IMO unless you are planning to tie a broad range of sizes in dry flies I would strongly recommend not buying a full rooster neck but instead buy a half saddle from Whiting or some other high end hackle company. Saddle feathers range in length from 6" - 9". Since most dry flies are in the #12-#20 sizes you will be able to get 3 - 4 turns of hackle on at least six flies per feather. Just learn to know what to look for in a saddle feather before you go and spend $50.00 on one. Densely populated, stiff barbules, on thin stems with hackle barbules of reasonably uniform length from the tip to the butt.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Shawnny3January 29th, 2010, 4:25 am
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
If you only tie a small number of dries, hackles can also be purchased in small packs in specific sizes. It's obviously more expensive per feather than buying a neck or half-neck, but if 98% of that neck you buy is going to spend years sitting in a drawer, you might as well just pay for the 2% you actually use and not buy the rest. Even though necks have gotten progressively better over the years, the difference between the expensive necks and the economy necks is huge, particularly if you like to tie small. I suggest you buy as much as you will use in the near future and try to get quality materials.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
WbranchJanuary 29th, 2010, 8:23 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
"but if 98% of that neck you buy is going to spend years sitting in a drawer"

That is true if one elects to buy a traditional rooster neck. But I told the fellow to buy saddles, now you can even buy 1/4 saddles from Whiting for between $25 and $40 based on the grading of the specific quarter. Virtually every feather on a saddle is useable and the long and slender shape of the feather, with very little web, allows the tier to get 6 - 8 flies per feather. The smaller the fly the more flies per feather.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
OldredbarnJanuary 29th, 2010, 9:23 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608
Eric,

Just a quick note of encouragement...My fly tying friend that I mentioned above who mentored me has been tying since he was a pre-teen. He will be 60 this December and basically has tied all his life.
He is known here abouts as "the" guy (dry flies)and has had tying articles with his flies in them back to the mid-70's and fished with guys that everyone here would know. He actually had his flies displayed in a Sport's Illustrated mag article in the 70's...He tied commercially for years, thousands and thousands of flies, and as a young man would take the bus downtown to one of the major banks in Detroit and was ushered in to the president of the bank's office past waiting clients because he was delievering an order of flies to the guy before he left on a fly fishing vacation.

He did all this on an old Thompson "A" vise! He had paid less than ten bucks originally for it and only changed the jaws as they wore out. Someone made him a little wooden stand that the vise clamps to and there is a little cup like holder for his bobbins etc. He laughs at my set-up and still apologises to my wife for not preventing me from going heads-over-heels in to the sport. He finally broke down a few years back and purchased an HMH vice that doesn't look too different than his old Thompson.

Quality is quality and there really isn't any short cuts...Just keep at it and see where it goes from there.

Spence

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
DryflyJanuary 29th, 2010, 12:43 pm
rochester mn

Posts: 133
I buy the whiting 100 packs, which is saddle hackle. I've got quite a few packs. I've thought of taking the plunge and getting a high quality
chicken skin. What would be better, a saddle or a neck. I've heard saddles generally have two size feathers, say 12 and 14, while necks while have a range of sizes. True? Opinions?
WbranchJanuary 29th, 2010, 1:40 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
Go up about 4 - 5 postings and you can read what a number of us think about the pros and cons of a full rooster cape compared to the rooster saddle.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
EricdFebruary 16th, 2010, 3:19 pm
Mpls, MN

Posts: 113
Thank you all.
I have another related newbie question, now that the materials are piling up in mounds:

What is the best storage box/compartment for all of the fur and feathers? What will keep them safest from bugs and drying out? Also, I have some pretty fresh Pheasant Tails that I need to do something to so they don't attract unwanted bugs. Someone mentioned Borax...
WiflyfisherFebruary 16th, 2010, 6:24 pm
Wisconsin

Posts: 653
Personally, I think the Hebert Miner Pro Grade necks are a much better buy than the Whiting 100s are. Plus, you can tie more sizes and less waste. Plus, a beginner is going to have a heck of a time tying with 11" long saddle hackles. The costs of Hebert Miner Pro Grade necks is not that much more than the Whiting 100s.

Also, some fly shops like JimsFlyCo.com are now offering half necks, or half neck combos. See... http://www.jimsflyco.com/products/JimsFlyCo_Cree_Sub_Rooster_Cape_Combo_Pack-1122-156.html. For $25 that is a bargain.
John S.
https://WiFlyFisher.com
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