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What is Fly Tying?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

Fly tying is the process of attaching materials to a metal hook that is to be used by certain types of fishermen for catching fish. Fly fishermen use flies to attract fish to their line; the process of fly tying, and the process of fly fishing, are both considered to be difficult processes that take great skill and patience. People who participate in fly tying may do so for personal use or for commercial gain, and the flies can be made from natural or synthetic materials. A fly tyer will very often base his or her designs off living flies, or off of color schemes and shapes that are known to attract certain fish.

Certain equipment is necessary to accomplish fly tying properly. One of the most important pieces of equipment used for fly tying is a fly tying vise that can hold the small, curved end of the hook while the fly is being tied. Sufficient light will be necessary as well, and many fly tyers use magnifying glasses to execute some of the finer work of the process. A variety of sizes and shapes of pliers will also be necessary, in addition to the materials used for tying the fly. These materials may include threads, feathers, skins, or other natural or synthetic materials.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

The design of a fly will vary significantly, and there really are no set guidelines for creating a fly. Most flies, however, do feature similar parts, such as the head, side, cheek, horn, tail, and tag. The flies are designed to mimic the look and motion of a living fly to which fish will be attracted. The fly is tied to a hook, so when the fish attempts to eat the fly, the hook catches the fish so it can be pulled out of the water.

Fly fishing is a special type of fishing that uses an oiled line affixed to the fly. The line is attached at the other end to a fly fishing rod that is much longer than other types of poles. The fisherman must use a certain type of motion to effectively cast the fly into the water, and the motion can take a significant amount of practice to perform correctly. The very minimal weight of the fly can make it difficult to cast, and many fishermen strive to cast the line in such a way that the fly touches the surface of the water just barely, mimicking the motion of a living fly.

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