Faster Fly Tying – Stop Wasting Time Laying Down and Picking Up Scissors

The author's desktop fly tying tool holder makes iy much faster to find them when you need them. Made from an off-cut from an old plum tree.
The author's desktop fly tying tool holder makes it much faster to find them when you need them. Made from an off-cut from an old plum tree.

Faster Fly Tying – Simple Organisation Makes a Big Difference

Faster Fly Tying MP3” by Allan Burgess. Released: 2019.


Do you have trouble putting your hands on that particular colour of fur or tinsel? Do you find yourself getting frustrated searching through your old shoebox for the peacock herl or chenille every time you attempt a new pattern? Do you despair of ever tying flies with the speed of a professional? I had these problems once, but no more! Fly Tying Materials online.

I decided to set aside a purpose-built fly tying area. I’m pleased I did. Now I can see a pattern in a book or magazine and within a few seconds have all the materials laid out ready to start tying.

If you have young children, you need to be able to lock everything away out of sight where little fingers couldn’t reach it. But I didn’t want to waste a great deal of time setting up before I could start tying.

Using an old-style roll top desk really makes fly tying much more enjoyable. The best this is that you can simply pull down the desktop and everything is hidden.

Keep all materials in plastic containers. This keeps things separate and easier to find. I have one plastic “box” for furs, another for small hackles, and yet another for tying threads and so on. Plastic containers are ideal. They keep out destructive insects and are cheap and easy to come by. I label all mine. This makes finding the right materials even quicker. I still stick labels on even though the containers are clear plastic. It just makes that aforementioned search that little bit shorter. 

Fly Tying Tools Holder

I used a piece of old plum tree wood to make a desktop holder for my fly tying tools. Not only does it make finding tools faster, providing you put them back in their holes each time you finish using them, it looks good too. The reason the tools are close together is that I wanted my wooden tool holder to take up as little room on my tying bench as possible. After over a year of using it I have found it performs perfectly. It is amazing how such a simple idea can really speed-up up your tying and reduce the frustration that comes with searching for tools on a cluttered tying bench.  

I also use plastic or wooden trays to hold the material for a batch of flies I’m tying. By laying out batches of materials sufficient to tie say a dozen flies of one particular pattern, it is possible to greatly
speed up the tying process. If I’m tying a dozen “yellow-rabbits” for example, I’ll cut and trim 12 lengths of fur, layout 12 hooks, and so on, all in the same tray. By placing these in the large white-bottomed tray I can still quickly pack everything away at short notice. On my return, I can immediately take up where I left off.

Much extra enjoyment comes from a well-organised tying kit. It is now a real pleasure to open the desk lid and zap together a couple of streamers or saltwater concoctions, where once it took ages just to get started.

Finally, I pass on the following advice from an excellent old book I have in my possession by American author George Leonard Herter, entitled Professional Fly Tying, Spinning and Tackle Making Manual and Manufacturers Guide. It was first published back in 1941. The book describes the Leo Wronski method of
holding scissors and it reads. “When you are tying flies for production or even when you are tying them in quantity for your own use, you waste a great deal of time picking up and laying down scissors. Leo Wronski, professional fly tyer of Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania has revised an excellent time-saving
method for handling them. He puts them on his fingers and does not remove them while tying. When the scissors are not in actual use, he slips his thumb out of the handle ring and holds the scissors in the palm of his hand. This may seem awkward at first, but after you have tied a few flies in this manner you will be amazed at the amount of time you save and the ease with which you can speed up your fly production.”

When I first used Leo Wronski’s method, I too found it awkward. But persevered and now wouldn’t tie flies any other way. It speeds up the whole operation enormously, especially if used in conjunction with laying out your prepared materials in batches as described above.

Being good at losing flies, I’m now just as quick at tying replacements.