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Fly tying

Frederic M. Halford, 19th Century English fly tyer

Fly tying is the process of producing an artificial fly used by fly fishing anglers to catch fish. Historically in England, fly tying has also been termed dressing flies. People who tie flies are called fly tyers. Fly tying a manual process done by a single individual using hand tools and a variety of natural and manmade materials that are attached to a hook. Although the recent history of fly tying dates from the middle 1800s, fly tyers were engaged in tying flys since at least 200 AD.

Helen Shaw, an American professional fly tyer, defined fly tying as the "simple process of binding various materials to a hook with thread".[1] Fly tying is a practical art form that many individuals are able to practice with reasonable success and tie flies which produce results when fly fishing. It is also a hobby that benefits from the fly tyer's knowledge of the insects and other food sources that fish consume in the wild.[2]

Fly tying requires some basic equipment; a vise to hold the hook, a bobbin to dispense and provide tension on thread, scissors, pliers and the appropriate materials for the particular fly pattern selected. These materials consists mostly of feathers (hackle), fur, hairs, threads, and various synthetic materials.

Fly tying equipment enables the fly tyer to efficiently and effectively assemble and secure the materials on the hook to produce a particular type of fly. Fly tying materials were originally limited to various furs, feathers, threads and hooks. Since the mid-1900s, many more natural and synthetic materials are available to use to tie flies.[3]

Fly patterns are the instructions or recipe required to create the fly. They specify hook sizes and types, the materials and colors to be used, as well as the sequence to be followed and the assembly methods. There are thousands of possible fly patterns available to the tyer.

  1. ^ Shaw, Helen (1963). Fly-tying—Materials, Tools and Techniques. New York: The Ronald Press Company. iii.
  2. ^ Leonard, J. Edson (1950). Flies-Their origin, natural history, tying, hooks, patterns and selections of dry and wet flies, nymphs, streamers, salmon flies for fresh and salt water in North America and the British Isles, including a Dictionary of 2200 Patterns. New York: A.S. Barnes and Company. p. 33.
  3. ^ Wakeford, Jacqueline (1992). Fly Tying Tools and Materials. New York: Lyons & Burford Publishers. p. reface. ISBN 1-55821-183-7.