This is the time of the year in Michigan when many of us start getting serious again about making time for tying flies. If you’re like me, though, even being away from the bench for a few months leaves me feeling like a total novice when I get back at the work in the fall. It takes a few dozens of a couple of old standby patterns to get back in the grove.
The last few years I’ve started back on standard streamer patterns first, then switched over to tying a few batches of standard nymph patterns before getting back to dry flies. And I hate to admit it, but getting my manual dexterity back is really only half the problem — the other half is that as I get older my vision isn’t what it once was when it comes to doing detail work on flies down the the #18s I eventually need to tie to fill up a season’s set of boxes.
In any event, I have found one thing to be especially valuable these last couple of years at the start of the season, and that is watching tying videos on a regular basis. I usually learn something new, but I also find that watching a few tying videos helps me to remember lots of the little tricks that I’ve picked-up here and there over the years.
I do buy a tying video every now and then (I just re-watched Feenstra and Darkes’ Guide Patterns for Steelhead Streamers, for example — a video I picked-up on eBay a few years back).But another great spot for quality tying videos is actually the Internet.
If you haven’t checked it out yet, point your browser over to my favorite tying spot on the web — The Weekly Fly. What I find particularly nice about this site is the production quality of the videos. The lighting, closeup work, and the audio quality are are excellent, and in fact I think in many cases are better than the video and audio quality in many of the commercial tying instruction videos that I’ve watched. Another nice thing is that The Weekly Fly folks are featuring really excellent “big name” tiers alongside promising new names in the sport as well. The content of the site is really amazing, and you get a chance to see some really interesting new flies being tied with some of the newest materials in the fly shops. Cool stuff.
As a related aside, I’m meeting with Colleen Masterson-Bzdok (Education Director) in early November at the Boardman River Nature Center in Traverse City to discuss the formation of a winter tying circle for folks who live in the greater Grand Traverse region and want to get together one night a week at the Center to tie flies and swap patterns. If you’re interested in participating in something like that, drop me a line. We’ll get you on the list.