A Fly Tying Philosophy & Style For The Best Fly Patterns
In the world of fly tying, a little dialog has taken place regarding developing a philosophy for designing and tying fly patterns. We want fly patterns that work…period. Therefore, the discussion leans heavily towards the pragmatic how-to aspects of assembling a fly. While certainly necessary, moving beyond the mere how-to and adhering to a well-considered philosophy can help focus your creativity while avoiding unproductive tangents.
Over the years, I’ve developed a philosophy about fly tying which I hope you’ll find interesting and useful.
The Ideal Fly In Order Of Most Important To Least Important:
- easy to tie
Many great fly patterns meet only two or three of these criteria, but the closer you come to the ideal, the better. A fly pattern that is very effective but at the same time, expensive, difficult to tie, and fragile would not, in my opinion, be a great pattern despite it’s productivity.
Regarding the style of flies, I design I have one overriding concern, whether it be a dry fly or streamer (and even nymphs and wets, though to a much lesser extent).
Whenever possible, I like to see my fly!
This is particularly important when fishing fast, broken surfaced freestoners, though less critical in glassy spring creek-like conditions. Though it is not necessary to see your fly at all times, most anglers enjoy a highly visible fly, and I believe it results in more trout sighted and landed.
Furthermore, I contend that there is almost always a way to make any given, and hard-to-see, fly pattern more visible without harming its effectiveness, and this is something I strive for in my designs and tying.