Step 1: Get materials.
Step 2: Get more materials.
Step 3: Get more of what you already have.
Step 4: Think of more stuff to get.
Step 5: Return one item that you bought and buy more stuff.
Step 6: Organize your stuff and then forget where you put it all.
Step 7: Buy more stuff ’cause you can’t find it.
Step 8: Repeat steps 1 thru 7; twice.
Step 9: Inventory what you have and then buy more stuff.
Step 10: Dream of more stuff to get.
Step 11: Buy stuff you’ll never use but want to have “just in case”.
Step 12: Seek professional help; repeat steps 1 thru 11 until cured.
Here are some tips I always give to someone who’s getting into tying or has been at it for quite some time:
Rule #1: Choose whom you’re tying for… If you’re tying to put something up on the wall or on the desk to be admired, ask the jig tyers. If you’re trying to tie something to catch fish, tie it up, go fishing and let the fish be the judge! Most of the time jig tyers will tell you what they like to see (a handful will tell you what will work better for fishing). The fish will always tell you what they like to eat!!
Rule #2: Experiment, experiment, experiment… Don’t get stuck in the rut of always using the same materials. Venture out and try new stuff from time to time in order to increase your understanding of the vast materials out there and how they behave and perform in the water.
Rule #3: Have fun with it! Don’t get too wound up (no pun intended!) in perfection! If you’re tying to fill orders then yes make it look good. If you’re not tying to fill orders just remember that them fish will hit the ugly ones just as hard as they’ll hit the pretty ones!
Rule #4: Observation is key! If you’re really wanting to hone your skills on tying, find tyers that you really like their style and look at how they tie up. Then find your favorite style of tying and bounce some ideas off of them. Otherwise you’ll be inundated with “your tail is too long”, “your tail is too bushy”, “too much body”, “too much paint”, and on and on. Tie up what you like and tie it the way you like it and go catch some fish with it!!
Rule #5: Repeat #3 as much as possible!!
There are tons of tricks of the trade but here are a couple of techniques that I use when tying in my chenille.
1) When I’m ready to start tying in my chenille I’ll first lay it on top of the hook shank with the tip of the chenille up against the jig head. Then I’ll pull the chenille back just a tad. This gives me a subtle gap for when I’m finishing off the chenille with my whip finisher.
2) Once I’ve run my thread from the jig head over the chenille and I’m down to my tail material I’ll put 2 or 3 really tight turns of the thread at the point where i’m going to start wrapping the chenille around the hook shank. Before I run my thread back up to the jig head, I’ll pull the chenille forward and run 2 really tight wraps of thread right up against the butt of the chenille between it and the thread base/tail material. This really anchors the chenille both on top and right behind.
3) Now I run my thread back up to the jig head and wrap my chenille up to the jig head. Now it’s time to get the chenille ready for finishing. Holding some tension on the chenille, I’ll wrap the thread tightly around the hook shank binding the chenille up against the jig head and to the hook shank. Then I will pull the chenille away from the jig head just a tad and give the thread 2 or 3 really tight wraps. Again you’re just ‘pinching’ the chenille down ensuring that it won’t easily come unwrapped.
4) Using a whip finishing tool I give it three tight wraps and finish and then repeat. Sometimes I’ll add some ‘hard as nails’ and sometimes I won’t.
Hopefully these tips have helped ya some!!
Here’s a handy conversion tool to make sure you’ve got the right bead heads and hooks paired up for your fly fishing adventures!
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