Friday, August 24, 2012

Tying - an obsession we fail to admit to, or hide from ourselves

Posted this on a forum recently in response to a query about saving money by tying your own flies - I thought it was worth a blog post too

You start fly tying, buy materials for a fly , get home, tie said flies and like them. then you post them on forum, "hey, i tied some nice flies, my first" and ask for critique. 
You get great positive comments, but also some stuff to improve which entails buying more materials to better fit the  same flies you just tied, ex, hackles.
So you go to the store again and buy the hackles recommended. 
Now, you've been to the store twice, lets say the second time you pick up some extra stuff for the next fly you want to tie, 'since you're already at the store'.
Two trips, and maybe you're out $50 including gas etc.

Now, would you have spent $50 on flies for the fishing trip. Maybe, but here's the thing, the materials will tie you more flies than 10 or 20, they crossover to other patterns. But thats materials for just two patterns, and simple patterns at that.

6 Months down the line, you're well into fly tying, its relaxing, you enjoy it. Lets say two trips to the tackle store for fly tying materials per month, for 6  months, = 12 trips, $30 a trip = $360. (more if you shop online, but we'll not count that yet)
Now ask yourself this - if you were to buy flies, would you spend $360 in 6 months. or $720 in year? I think not, unless you're buying display flies.

5 years down the line, you like the look of display flies, want to start tying them.
Materials are in some instances rare and expensive, even the hooks ($15 for 6), you start to buy those materials, lets say the budget entry level subs in case you dont stick with it. You end up sticking with it and get pretty decent at tying display flies. You start to search out rare and expensive materials. The purchases in one week from three different sources  >$120. Always searching ebay and other sites, picking up what you can find when you find it, in case you never see it again, lets say an Argus pheasant feather from Netherlands for $35 shipped - ONE FEATHER.

Now ask yourself, are you doing it to save money, or are you doing it because you love it. If the answer is the first, its time to get help. If the answer is the second, you tie because you love it, its relaxing, its creative, your addicted to it, its still time to get help, but you can put it off for a while :cool:  

This is drawn from two real life experiences. My own, and that of  forum member.
From my own standpoint, this year alone i've spent way more on fly tying materials than I have on flies ($0) - guess how many times i've been fishing - - - lets say i can count it on one hand.


Oh, and here's my latest fly


  1. Thanks a you actually made me think about how much I have spent on tying. I am now nauseous

    1. A real eye-opener. We are blinded by the thrill of tying. If it was a car need all that money you'd have gotten rid of it a long time ago! Its amazing how blind obsession can cloud our judgement. BUT, I wouldn't have it any other way!

  2. What price contemptment?i would hate to be on my deathbed thinking what fly materials i could have bought with the money i had in my bank is short buy what makes you happy and content...


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