Fly tying for beginners

I seem to have a habit of forming hobbies quickly and with gusto. For example, I recently decided I wanted to make a coffee table, so acquired some beautiful ironbark and an electric plane and off I went. A fleeting passion? Perhaps (coffee table aint finished). But more recently, after spending some time with fellow blogger and new flyfishing convert Hamish, I got inspired to get into fly fishing. For me, it feels like a natural addition to lure and occasional bait fishing, in terms of challenging myself to catch a broader range of species on artificials, developing greater ecological literacy and generally spending more time in or near the water.

Anyway, despite never actually having caught a fish on a fly, I decided to buy a beautiful Scott fly rod and Manic Assassin reel, thanks to the boys at Manic Tackle Project, New Zealand. I also raced out to my local tackle store and bought the best fly tying kit I could afford. If anyone played with lego, racing cars, models or anything cool when they were young, you might understand the apprehensive excitement of opening a cardboard box full of shiny, trinkety, gimmicky little bits of plastic, metal and technology. Thankfully my kit had a good little guide book and with a bit of extra encouragement from Youtube, I was on my way to fly tying.

Below I’ve included some of my first attempts. Sitting down with a glass of wine or a beer and playing with bits of feather, string, hooks and other materials is immensely enjoyable. I even went to Lincraft the other day, and instead of being a horrifyingly boring and strangely surreal experience I spent $50 bucks on a range of lovely emu feathers and other miscellaneous bits and pieces. I never thought I’d see the day where I have to ask my fiance if I can duck into Lincraft…

Fly tying has done other strange things to me. I keep looking at these birds in the backyard and thinking to myself ‘I’d love to get my hands on you’. I’m even willing the cats to at least just have a go…maybe they’d be kind enough to drop some of those lovely hackle feathers. I’ve started looking at roadkill on the side of the road, thinking, ‘that would make some beautiful flies’. The aforementioned cats have even had parts of their tail go missing while cuddling up to me and my new feather collection. I spent the weekend at the farm where, on the main driveway, I needed to stop the car every 10 metres to pick wads of cow’s tail out of the barbed wire…Needless to say, I think this will be one of those hobbies that hangs around, and simply adds another exciting element to the multifaceted and immensely enjoyable pastime that is fishing.

Pheasant tail something


Not sure what this is meant to be…but it looks pretty cool!


Lead core Wooly Bugger with front-facing hackle

Mullet maggot


Some sort of bug


As you can see I’ve been having a heap of fun. This represents about 5% of the flies I’ve tied so far…it’s completely addictive and I can’t wait to get out and test some of them on the water. Hmm, what to do now…vise calling 🙂

*for anyone who’s interested in photography, these shots were taken on an old Nikkor Micro lens on the Nikon D7000 body…not a bad result!

Lee, July 2012