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Hey everyone! Happy Holidays!

My partner gave me a wonderful gift of a fly tying kit that I have been eyeing for the past few months for the holidays. 2020 was my first season fly fishing and I am looking forward to spending the next couple months of social distanced downtime to begin tying my own flies. I have a cheap vise I bought years ago to tie jigs so I plan on using that until I get better and upgrade along with these tools to start. A couple questions for all the tiers here...

- I mainly fished a #4 Redington Crosswater combo for smallmouth, largemouth, and panfish (it is my first fly rod). What patterns, hook sizes, materials would be good for a beginner to start with thinking that I will continue using this and probably upgrade to a 6wt next season?
-What foundational materials and supplies will give me the most bang for buck when getting started?

-Any good beginner fly tying books, articles, blogs, youtube videos etc. I should begin with?

 

I plan on probably buying my materials from Chicago Fly Fishing Outfitters since I took a few casting lessons here earlier this year when I began. What do I need to start?

 

Happy Holidays, 

Ryan

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A book I really like that is great for beginners and anyone else that likes to catch fish on flies is, "Simple Flies: 52 Easy-to-Tie Patterns that Catch Fish", by Morgan Lyle. The patterns are great and the book starts off discussing tools, materials and techniques. I highly recommend it.

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nice tools. dont worry about getting the best bang for the buck as you will win on one fly and lose on others. find the fly pattern you want to fish and then buy materials for that fly. bob clousers book[clousers] is great for newbies  and covers topwater mid depth and bottom flies with great photos

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13 hours ago, John Gillio said:

A book I really like that is great for beginners and anyone else that likes to catch fish on flies is, "Simple Flies: 52 Easy-to-Tie Patterns that Catch Fish", by Morgan Lyle. The patterns are great and the book starts off discussing tools, materials and techniques. I highly recommend it.

 

Thanks John. I'll check this one out!

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5 hours ago, rich mc said:

nice tools. dont worry about getting the best bang for the buck as you will win on one fly and lose on others. find the fly pattern you want to fish and then buy materials for that fly. bob clousers book[clousers] is great for newbies  and covers topwater mid depth and bottom flies with great photos

 

Rich. Thanks for the advice. That is probably a good place to start. I'll also check out the clouser book!

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You need to know these three techniques to get started. They are easy. 

https://youtu.be/IgGpTxo-Dds

A wooly bugger is a good starter fly.  I like this guy's videos.  He is mostly a trout guy, but he has a few bass patterns.  Olive is a good color. 

https://youtu.be/7Ku1-lnkKzI

Here is also a Kelly Gallup video on tying buggers and that is very good.  

Keep in mind flies don't have to be perfect works of art to catch fish. 

https://youtu.be/E7D994IXurw

There are endless ways to tie this fly, with many variations .

A clouser is another fly that is super popular, again with endless variations. 

I used to follow this site and YT channel, FlyFish Ohio. They guy in the videos is Joe Cornwall, unfortunately i don't see much of him on the web any more. He has a good book too. 

http://www.flyfishohio.com

Notice the Shannon Streamer. That's rich mc's pattern. 

This is a tutorial for a murdich minnow.  It's originally a striper fly and they are pretty big. Years ago some dude I met on the water gave me a shrunk down version that was maybe 3" .  I used that fly till it disintegrated.  This fly if tied right comes alive in the water.  That ice fur skirt causes turbulence behind it causing the flashabou to wiggle as if it were alive.

https://youtu.be/7cHD2GOUFWI

There are again many various of this on the web, but that above version only smalle is the way I learned to tie it. . I make them with olive and brown back, yellow or red eyes. Looks like a baby bass.  I also tie in one or two wraps of lead free wire, just to get it to crack the surface. 

Years ago I met Dave Whitlock and asked what were his favorite smallmouth flies.  I was suprised when he told me a foam beetle was one.  Tim Landwere owns a fly shop way up nort (Tightlines).  They guide on the Menominee River for gigantic smallmouth.  Those guys typically throw big streamers (that's his shop in the murdich video).  There is a suprising portion of his book talking about this foam bugs they tie.  https://www.amazon.com/Smallmouth-Fly-Fishing-Methods-Tactics-Techniques-ebook/dp/B079LPCFCG

I have not experimented much with these on river smallmouth, but I have been fishing the hell out of a pattern called a chernobyl ant for pond bluegills.  I can't say that this specific pattern is the best, but I have been doing well with it.  It's very easy to tie.  Also cheap.  You can buy the foam at Hobby lobby and it's super cheap. 5 dollars will buy more than you could ever hope to use. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oK167pJZF1I

here is a bass sized version of a foam fly by theTightlines guys. 

https://youtu.be/AK7N4SFrBZo

Again, there are numerous foam patterns out there and once you learn a technique or two you can maybe come up with your own. Funny I was just searching YT on the Chernobyl ant found this.

https://youtu.be/IYGYs64rLxo

 

 

 

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 For a typical "bass hook" , Mustad sells the 3366 and come in hundred packs, for around 10 bucks.   It will work for all kinds of streamers and deer hair bugs and poppers.  It was the original hook in a lot of patterns. They are really cheap compared to a lot of other hooks and they are way sharper out of the pack than people give them credit for.  It's not a crappy hook at all but there are others that are much nicer. 

Gamakatsu B10S is another similar hook that is significantly more expensive but n my opinion probably better.  Double check on the prices but I think they would be under 10 bucks a pack for 25.  Which, given the cost of other materials might be worth it. 

Daichi also makes nice hooks that are not crazy priced. If you go to Chicago Fly Fishing Outfitters, they have every imaginable hook.  Just tell them what you want to tie. Their prices are pretty good too.  You are not going to save much shopping on line. 

 

 

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Wow thanks for all this information everyone. I'm blown away by all the support. I bought the Clouser smallmouth book to start. I also got into a fly tying class at Chicago Fly Fishing Outfitters over zoom right now. It's going well and learning the basics. Learned to tie a wooly bugger and pheasant tail nymph. Class has been very helpful and worth the money all considered (materials supplied, gift card, and three 2 hour classes). Going well over Zoom and the instructor has been able to make the adjustment (Zeph). Thanks for those links Mark. Going to look into these techniques and patterns to help me expand beyond the classes.

My first rod is a 4wt. I'm having a hard time gauging what size flies, leaders, tippet length to use to cast most effectively. Maybe I'm overthinking some of it (coming from the conventional tackle side) and should worry more about my actual cast... Mark- those hook recommendations you mentioned, should I be able throw flies of that size on my 4wt? Thanks!

On 1/1/2021 at 3:13 PM, Mark K said:

 For a typical "bass hook" , Mustad sells the 3366 and come in hundred packs, for around 10 bucks.   It will work for all kinds of streamers and deer hair bugs and poppers.  It was the original hook in a lot of patterns. They are really cheap compared to a lot of other hooks and they are way sharper out of the pack than people give them credit for.  It's not a crappy hook at all but there are others that are much nicer. 

Gamakatsu B10S is another similar hook that is significantly more expensive but n my opinion probably better.  Double check on the prices but I think they would be under 10 bucks a pack for 25.  Which, given the cost of other materials might be worth it. 

Daichi also makes nice hooks that are not crazy priced. If you go to Chicago Fly Fishing Outfitters, they have every imaginable hook.  Just tell them what you want to tie. Their prices are pretty good too.  You are not going to save much shopping on line. 

 

 

 

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Ryan, I'd like to add Tim Flagler to the list of names of tyers doing videos. He would be my favorite of the bunch. As Mark mentioned, the Mustad 3366 hooks are good hooks at a nice price. Another reason I like them is because they have a little wider hook gap which seems to give a better hook set.

I won't answer the question you had for Mark though I will say that as you become a better caster you will be able to throw heavier flies on lower line weights. Your casting ability determines the size fly you can throw, to a great extent. 

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1 hour ago, John Gillio said:

Ryan, I'd like to add Tim Flagler to the list of names of tyers doing videos. He would be my favorite of the bunch. As Mark mentioned, the Mustad 3366 hooks are good hooks at a nice price. Another reason I like them is because they have a little wider hook gap which seems to give a better hook set.

I won't answer the question you had for Mark though I will say that as you become a better caster you will be able to throw heavier flies on lower line weights. Your casting ability determines the size fly you can throw, to a great extent. 

Tim Flager is the first video I posted. 

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12 hours ago, Ryan Staudt said:

 

My first rod is a 4wt. I'm having a hard time gauging what size flies, leaders, tippet length to use to cast most effectively. Maybe I'm overthinking some of it (coming from the conventional tackle side) and should worry more about my actual cast... Mark- those hook recommendations you mentioned, should I be able throw flies of that size on my 4wt? Thanks!

 

They come sizes down to a #10.   You could just make smaller flies.  I would think you could probably cast a  #4 or #6 clouser .  One of my favorite flies is the smaller Boogle Bug #8 I think.

BoogleBug® - Bass & Bream Bugs in Solar Flare, Pearly White, Power Pumpkin, Yella Fella, Black Galaxy, Mossy Green & Electric Damsel .

That thing is  blast!  I can cast it with my 4wt no problem. 

 Most of the fish I have caught were not that far away.   Like 30 feet. 

Generally they say a bass rod is 6-8 wt.   Many people use lighter rods.  especially when it's smaller water. 

I have 4, 6 and 8.  The 4 is my favorite but on the Kank I usually use the 6 or 8.   

Someone let me try out a  #5 Redington Vice- a 200 dollar rod. It had a really nice reel and that $125 SA line. while we were un the Dupe.  That was one heck of a  nice set up.  They make a 6 wt with a wells grip.  That would be sweet. 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have a Redington 8 wt collecting dust that I bought a few years back when I first tried to dabble unsuccessfully, so make next purchase will probably be a 6 wt. However in the spirit of economics, I am going to continue using my 4 wt for a little while. This was very helpful Thanks all. 

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