ASO Mammoth’s Fly-Tying Basics

If fly fishing is your outdoor sport, then you’re at least a little obsessed with flies.

After all, there are several important components of a fly-fishing setup but nothing is as important as the fly itself. As a result, there are just about as many fly varieties on the market as there are fish in the Mammoth Lakes area. Sometimes you’re the only one who knows exactly what you need, so many fly fishermen and women have turned to tying their own flies in the exact shape, size, and color that they think will land them the best fish in the water.

Fly-tying can be an intimidating hobby to get into, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get started and take your fly-fishing to the next level. Don’t believe us? Check out our guide to fly-tying basics. Whether you’re only dreaming about fly-tying or have your fly vise set up and are ready to start tying, this guide will get you started on the right foot!

Should You Try Fly Tying?

Unless you’re a professional, fly fishing is about fun and being engaged with nature. If tying your own flies helps you do that, then it could be worth it for you. Some fly-fishers make their own flies because they simply enjoy the process and the art of making a fly, which you don’t need much experience to do. However, to create effective flies you’ll need to know how a fly casts based on its makeup, how it looks to a fish, and the looks and behaviors of the creature you’re trying to recreate. Plus, you have to be aware of how flies act in different conditions such as clear and murky water or high and low flows. For these reasons, most fly fishers have at least a year of experience under their belts.

If you’re a fly fisher who is tired of buying expensive flies after losing yours to a bush or are not satisfied with the results of what you’ve been buying, then fly-tying may be for you.

The Basic Types of Flies

Although there are many different variations, there are four basic types of flies.

The first is a dry fly, which floats on the surface of the water. Since dry flies float on the surface they typically look like mature insects, so research what the mature insects in the area you’re fishing in look like and base your fly from there

A wet fly is simply a fly that doesn’t float. Wet flies are most effective when they look like insect larva that have to swim to the surface to mature because these larvae are what fish eat the most.

Next are nymphs which are similar to wet flies only in the earlier stages of development. Thanks to their early development stage and their availability in the water, the larva that nymphs are modeled after make up the majority of most fish diets.

Lastly, streamers are designed to look like aquatic life such as minnows, leaches, and crayfish. 

Fly-Tying Gear 

Apart from the materials you’ll need to make the fly, you’ll also need tools such as a bobbin, scissors, and a fly vise. The most important tool is the fly vise which is what holds your fly steady as you create it. While there are many fly vices on the market, there are basic qualities that every good fly vise should have. The main thing to look for is versatility. If you know you’ll always be fishing with a specific size of hook, then you won’t need versatility. However, if you want to experiment with different materials, then make sure your vise is easily adjustable.

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