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hey guys ive been wanting to  get into fly tying but i donst know wat to go after or wat equipment im going to need?loking to macke blugilll trout and bass flys. trying to see if icould macke a couple extra bucks by selling them

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Comment by jose "nacho" mejia on August 1, 2013 at 4:04pm

alsowat about kig heads? cant i use thos also?

Comment by jose "nacho" mejia on August 1, 2013 at 4:02pm

i was also wondering the fly to price racio you guys sell them for?

Comment by DAVID L EITUTIS on July 31, 2013 at 7:27pm

JOSE I CAN'T ADD ANYTHING TO WHAT ALLEN ALREADY MENTIONED but one thing is true for sure: YOU CAN MAKE ALOT OF EXTRA BUCKS IF you get handy at making bugs !!!!!! Just remember it is tedious at best when you sit down to do a hundred or so and gets bothersome in a hurry !!!!!! I wouldn't tie up lots of anything till ya see what sells. My first sales were of simple foam spiders and sold tons of em . Paid for my first vice in the first month and that was 30+ years ago....

Comment by Allen Morgan on July 31, 2013 at 7:08pm

Well, first off, you're going to need a vise.  I wouldn't drop hundreds for your first vise.  Find yourself a decent vise that's rather flexible as far how what size hooks it will take (Bass hooks are much bigger than Trout hooks).  Even better if you can find a used one.  In another thread, someone mentioned Regal vises being good.  I think that's what I'm using(?), or a good knock-off of one.

After that, you're going to need some tools.  Most of those are fairly cheap.  A good thread bobbin, whip finisher, bodkin, and a decent pair of scissors round out most of what you'll need to buy, tool-wise.  Some things you can make.  I've got two hair stackers that I made from PVC.  Dirt-cheap, and they work fairly good, although static can be an issue.  Metal hair stackers will avoid the static issue.  For as rarely as I use them, I have yet to see the reason to buy a metal stacker.  Why spend $5 on head cement when a bottle of clear Sally Hansen's Hard As Nails fingernail polish works just as well?  While you're in the cosmetic aisle, pick up a good pair of tweezers.  You might also want to get some double-edged razor blades while you're there.  Around here, I get Wilkinson Sword blades for a little over a dollar, with all the disposable razor blades.  Be advised that the box is rather small and hard to see.

Materials - This is where it can start to get $$$$$.

I would highly recommend taking yourself to a hardware store, like Ace, and get some small spools of the smallest guage brass and copper wire you can find.  Maybe stainless, as well.  The really good fly-tying wire is better, but costs more.  Just starting out, this stuff will work.  While you're there, get yourself some bead-chain.  The stuff that connects to the switches on a ceiling fan.  Yes, that stuff!  Get some black, and maybe brass.  When cut into pairs, and tied on a hook, they make good eyes.  As you progress, you might want to get some different sizes.

Next, go hit up some hobby stores.  Hobby Lobby, Micheals, Hancock Fabrics, etc.  Find where they keep the feathers.  Look at the Marabou.  It's dirt cheap.  It may not be the best quality for fly-tying, but it will work.  Chartreuse, Green, and Olive are the colors I use the most, although White, Black, and Yellow are also good.  Find the Peacock feathers.  Look around, and see if they have any Peacock Herl (the fibers from the feather).  If so, grab it.  If not, get a couple Peacock Swords and/or Eye, and cut the herl from the shaft as you need it.  If you see a Pheasant Tail Feather, grab it as well.  I've also found black goose biots there, dirt cheap.  If they have any Wild Turkey Tail feathers, get one as well.  After that, find where they keep the closed-cell foam sheets.  2mm is a good size.  I recommend green, yellow, brown, black, and maybe a light green if you can find it.  These are great for making foam grasshoppers.  Other colors are available, and can be used to make Gurglers and Poppers.

Ok, now it's time to break out the credit cards.  You'll need to find a good fly shop, or several.  Bass Pro has some nice stuff, but it ain't cheap.  Cabela's has some as well.  A dedicated Fly Shop (think Bait shop, but all they do is flies) will have lots of stuff.  There are also many good dealers online.

You're going to need hooks.  You can sometimes find hooks at a regular tackle shop that will work, especially for Bass and Bluegill.  I know folks that tie on Aberdeen Crappie hooks.  I use really cheap Bass worm hooks to do some hair poppers.  I also scored several packs of cheap, size 4 bronze Cricket hooks on clearance, and they're almost exact copies of size 4 Mustad Streamer hooks.  I use those for Clousers.  Trout flies, on the other hand, can be very, VERY, tiny!  You might be able to get away with some Salmon egg hooks, but odds are, you'll want to get some actual Trout hooks.  Remember that Dry Fly hooks are meant to be as light as possible, to aid in floatation, while Wet Fly and/or Nymph hooks are heavier, to help them sink.  You can always make a dry fly hook sink, but a wet fly hook is hard to float.

Premium feathers are horrendously expensive, but are usually worth the money.  I'm talking dry fly hackle.  The main reason premium hackle is so expensive is the recent "feather hair extension" fad a few years ago.  Hair dressers were going into fly shops, and purchasing everything on the shelf, turning it around and marking it up several hundred percent.

I would recommend getting just a few colors.  Grizzly (white and black barred feathers), brown, and maybe a nice Olive.  I wouldn't buy a top grade, just get an economy grade.  If you can find a half-neck or half-saddle, even better.  Heck, you might find a combo-pack of half-necks with those colors.  You can get a lot of other kinds of feathers, but I would wait until you decide if you really want to step off into this deep end.....

Then, there's fur/hair.  Bucktails are probably what you'll want to start with.  Get a few colors, as you can.  You might find some deals on broken/pieces, especially in a shop that Crappie Jig tiers frequent.  Then, there's Squirrel Tails, Rabbit Zonkers, Deer Body Hair (use for Bass flies), etc.

There's also Synthetics.  Craft fur, Flashabou, Krystal Flash, Puglisi fiber, and others.  Thread, you'll want some thread.

There are lots of other things you can get,  Brass or Tungsten beads, eyes, Silly Legs (you want these for grasshoppers), etc.  You'll have to decide when/if you want to get it.

If you hunt, or know some hunters, you can get tying materials dirt cheap, if not free.  You'll probably have to cure/tan the stuff yourself.  Duck/Goose/Wild Turkey/Pheasant/Quail feathers, Deer hide/tails, Squirrel tail, etc.  You might also want to make a friend of a local Taxidermist, as they often have scraps, and they're already cured/tanned.

I should warn you, that I'm not kidding about "stepping off the deep end".  I've been tying for about a year now.  I was given a starter kit from a friend on a different board, and it's probably worth a couple hundred, easily.  I've since spent several hundred on more stuff.  Professional Fly Tiers will often have several thousands of dollar's worth of stuff stored hither and yon.

Because of the cost issue, I do not recommend buying "everything" you need to tie a bunch of stuff.  Instead, pick up a few things here, a few things there, enough to tie a few different patterns, ones that are proven to catch fish.  Once you get there, pick up something here, something there, and build your supplies.  I actually have a document that I've typed up, with lists of things I want and/or need for tying.  I even have a smaller version, hand-written, in my wallet, should I suddenly find myself in front of tying material.

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