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Old 08-31-2017, 10:30 AM   #1
Grey-Jay
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Reasonable cost start to fly tying

I would like to pursue this and looking for suggestions for quality but the best not necessary. My web reading concludes avoid all kits that contain lower quality materials and missing required things. Desire is hobby-passion and know full well there is no cost savings. Nevertheless don't want to spend $300 on a vise. Buy local vs. Big Box would be nice. Outlets, used market, classified for tools? Thank you for suggestions on retail, brands, getting started list. There is of course a wealth of web info and books but posting here for southern Adirondack-Capital Region based answers.
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Old 08-31-2017, 01:32 PM   #2
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Determine what you want to tie (how you fish) and work backwards. I started tying because I spent way too much money sacrificing cheap-to-tie flies to the bottom of the Salmon River. I bought a Griffin rotary vice, which is pretty cheap for a rotary, but it has done everything I have asked of it. Materials are cheap and easy enough based on what you want to tie. You'll spend some money on hooks though. Thread is basic, get black, brown, and maybe a bright color. Get a decent set of scissors and a nice bobbin (some cheapies can be rough on the edges, which results in frayed thread).

The flies I tie the most of are: estaz eggs, leeches, buggers, hare's ears, elk-hair caddis, and pheasant tails. Simple and effective. Someday when my hobbies have been whittled down to just a few, then, maybe, I'll get into more complex patterns.
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Old 08-31-2017, 02:53 PM   #3
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I would strongly recommend something similar to what fly rodder posted. here's what id do...

think of 1 or 2 flies that you use a lot or consider to be your "go to's." find a version that you like and buy the materials to tie that fly or flies. learn that technique etc... then, add a fly, then another, then another. over time you will accumulate materials and techniques and not be throwing you know what at the walls and seeing what sticks. if you just blindly jump in and start buying stuff, you will be wasting a lot of money
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Old 08-31-2017, 03:44 PM   #4
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If you travel up to Placid or Saranac Lake area stop in at Vince Wilcox's shop in Ray Brook.......Wileys Flies. He has a great selection of material (the best in the area) plus you will be able to get some great info and suggestions in person.
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Old 08-31-2017, 04:40 PM   #5
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Take a flytying course, they should be able to answer most of your questions about cost of getting into flytying. Ditto on the vise already mentioned. Join a flytying forum or flyfishing website, tons of info. Hope this helps!
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Old 08-31-2017, 06:28 PM   #6
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Flytying

Keep eyes out for TU flea markets and Craigslist for a vise. Fly Shack in Gloversville has some good inexpensive vises. They are knock-offs of renzetti and regal, but they'll get the job done and they have lots of materials. They have the real vises too plus inexpensive hooks and tools. TU chapters always have tying classes somewhere but there are tons of videos on YouTube to start you out. You don't really save money tying your own, but when you lose a fly it's a lot less painful knowing you can just make more. Cheers.
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Old 08-31-2017, 08:15 PM   #7
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First, you are embarking on a fascinating and enjoyable lifelong pursuit. Enjoy the journey!

All of the suggestions you've gotten are good ones. Starting with a few 'go to's' is a great strategy. Also get a few books. Having read nearly everything I recommend AK Best's book, Production Fly Tying. Why? Because nobody presents a better approach for constructing high quality flies with the correct proportions.

The other thing I'd do is browse Hook & Hackle. They tend to be lower priced without sacrificing quality.

I would not skimp on vise quality, though. That doesn't mean spending a million. I got my boys HMH vises and they have been bomb-proof tools.

Good luck!!!
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Old 08-31-2017, 08:24 PM   #8
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Fly tying is a relaxing and addictive hobby in itself. Great wintertime activity. As mentioned , local fly fishing clubs always have lessons. Many of the most successful flies are easy to tie, wooly buggers for instance. What you'll find is you will tie up a dozen of each fly you use regularly, Instead of going out with a couple dozen flies total, you'll eventually have a few hundred in your vest.
Feathercraft is a good online source for material and hooks, The Flyshack, oh and Hook and Hackle Company is the source on line I use the most.

I have a Renzetti Traveler vise on a Regal brass base I'd sell for $125 including shipping if your interested, MP if interested.

Mark Francatto was the person who taught me to tie. We'd been fishing and he'd given me a couple of flies to use. His approach was, "I'm sick of given' you all my flies dammit, your commin' back to my place and I'm teachin' you how to tie your own". And I never looked back... Hook up (pun intended) with some old codger like Mark and you'll be on your way to a lifelong hobby.

John M.
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Old 08-31-2017, 08:27 PM   #9
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I joined a friend two weeks ago at a local TU meeting (Gloversville) and making a nymph was part of the agenda. He brought an extra vise for me and guided me through my first fly. It was fun. Two days later, I went off and caught a small brown trout on it. It was a great feeling and I'm hooked if you pardon the pun.
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Old 09-01-2017, 11:14 AM   #10
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+ 1 for Vince @ Wiley's in Ray Brook. Great shop. Top shelf guy.

Goldstock's in Scotia/Glenville has tying materials, recipe books and local knowledge.

Maybe someone on this thread knows what became of Ed Bendl's Northville shop and inventory. Ed had great stuff, tied beautiful flies and inspired me to give it a try.

A few kind words about Ed...http://www.sparsegreymatter.com/viewtopic.php?t=2272

I'm glad today that I saved my early attempts. I still get a chuckle when I look back at some of the early monstrosities I tied and think about all the fish my flies scared away.

Have fun and enjoy the hobby!
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Old 09-01-2017, 12:08 PM   #11
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Boy, this is when you miss the good old days..I think I might have paid $12.00 for my vice and another $25 or so dollars for all of the necks, thread, etc.. when I started out...Herters! Grade A Jungle Cock necks for less than $20 dollars.. The vice has lasted me 50 years..I wonder how long a really good one would have lasted?

Try Craigslist and do a regional search if you are willing to buy used equipment...
If you buy feathers, make sure they are not buggy..

Last edited by mgc; 09-01-2017 at 12:08 PM.. Reason: you not yo
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Old 09-01-2017, 09:45 PM   #12
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GJ,

Sent you a PM.
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Old 09-02-2017, 08:44 AM   #13
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Looking at that Griffin, the table clamp will not work for me. Need to find one with a heavy base.
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Old 09-02-2017, 10:21 AM   #14
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Last year I bought an Atlas Rotary Vise from ebay that I am very happy with. Here's a link
http://www.ebay.com/itm/ATLAS-Rotary...kAAOSw241Yc7Zw

If I was just getting started, I would approach it differently than most. I would buy some nymph hooks, fur, and some partridge or grouse hackle and play around with tying some nymphs. That is what I did when I started so I'm probably prejudiced. You have a really big advantage with you tube these days. You can watch videos of folks tying different flies to see visually how to do things. When I started we had to look at books and figure out exactly what they were describing--not always easy. Any fly that remotely looks like a nymph will catch fish--its not as much rocket science as some would believe. That's not to say that better flies wouldn't work better but the fish often don't know the difference between a well tied imitation and a poor one.
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Old 09-02-2017, 12:23 PM   #15
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My first year thus far, 80% of my fishing was with nymphs based on water and limited rises, no indicator, and a split shot at times. 70% of my trout caught were on dry flies.

This week, trolled numerous streamers on sinking line without luck- 4 of 7 connected motorless ponds. varying speed and figure 8s
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Old 09-02-2017, 04:29 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grey-Jay View Post
My first year thus far, 80% of my fishing was with nymphs based on water and limited rises, no indicator, and a split shot at times. 70% of my trout caught were on dry flies.

This week, trolled numerous streamers on sinking line without luck- 4 of 7 connected motorless ponds. varying speed and figure 8s
My guess is that you're not getting either your nymphs or your streamers deep enough.

See Goerge Daniel's book Dynamic Nymphing for rivers. Get deeeeep when trolling ponds.
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Old 09-04-2017, 05:56 AM   #17
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After much study and chat, it looks like at my desired price range, a Peak rotary or Atlas are among the best quality choices. I have read of numerous user issues with the also comparable RenzettiTraveler that I might want o avoid.
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Old 09-04-2017, 08:35 AM   #18
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Grey: The important thing is to get started. I started out with a Thompson A vise (inexpensive) and when you're starting out, I doubt the difference between an expensive vise and a cheap one will be that noticeable. If you buy a cheap one you can see if you enjoy it and then upgrade later. I used the Thompson for years. I've been tying for decades and am still a mediocre tier at best but I've amassed what probably amounts to a couple thousand dollars of materials and equipment. It just happened bit by bit. I've added significantly to my materials by obtaining my own: squirrels, deer hide, ducks, grouse, etc. So if you are a hunter or have friends that are, you can obtain lots of material for nothing that would otherwise cost a lot. I've even obtained road kill for use--most recently a racoon. It does take a little work to skin the hide and I just salt the smaller ones and let them dry.
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Old 09-11-2017, 04:17 PM   #19
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If you can accept tying to "catch fish" rather than tying "for show" .. then you can save a lot of money on excessive materials you don't need for getting started. ie; There's no need for 10 different colored threads when one light & one dark will do the trick. ie; No need to buy 5 different color capes (cream , med dun, grizlly, etc. etc) when one light/med dun cape can cover creams to iso's and consistently fool fish. Progress from there as needed... you'll probably still end up spending more than you ever expected, haha.
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Old 09-28-2017, 03:02 PM   #20
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Used Vice

Search the classifieds on Classic Fly Rod forum or better yet post a WTB fly vise... very helpful folks -
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