Journal: Fly tying skills don’t happen overnight

My thoughts on life, fly fishing and living.

Superior fly tying skills don’t happen overnight. Good fly tying success can.

I’ve quit comparing my flies to those of others. I’ve quit doubting my fly tying abilities. I’ve stopped watching fly tying videos in awe and started watching fly tying videos to learn. I’ve used my time at the vise to tie what I like, be it the true pattern recipe or not.

All of these things have made me better. And all of these things have given me success on the river, and the enjoyment of tying my own flies and catching fish on them.

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My skills are average

I can tie flies, but they’re not all that great. They get the job done, and in most cases, that is all that matters. I have average skills at this point and very little time behind the vise.

I’ve only been tying for about 2 years, and even in that 2 years, my actual vise time has been fairly limited. I get an hour in here and a couple of hours in there, but I make it, and it’s enough to fill up a box and head to the river.

I’ve had to always remind myself that fly tying skills take years to acquire; some people never acquire them. Early on, I was often disappointed at how sloppy my flies would turn out. I realized quickly that fly tying skills take hard work and dedication to truly acquire.

And I was fine with that. I knew that I had to earn the skills that would ultimately produce the flies I’d seen so often in photos or videos by some of the truly talented people out there.

Success changes everything

A good day on the river, using flies that you’ve tied yourself, will quickly change things. Days like those made me realize that my fly tying skills are just fine. They could certainly be better, and they will be some day, but I no longer had to look at my flies and compare them to those more superior than mine.

As long as they trick trout, decently resemble what they are supposed to, and resemble whatever it is trout think they are, then I am just fine with that. They don’t have to be perfect, they just have to get the job done. I’ve been able to successfully get the job done and that is what matters most to me.

Just have fun

No matter what your fly tying skill level may be, just have fun with it. I sure know I do. It’s relaxing, rewarding and most of all, therapeutic for me. It won’t be easy in the beginning, but it will be fun, and that is what it is all about.

And when you see that awesome fly tying video out there of some guy perfectly tying a size 22 Adams, just know that he was once in the same boat as you. He acquired those skills over time and you will too. I sure know I’m starting to.

Tie what you can, how you want to tie it and have fun along the way. After all, you don’t need recognition from your peers, you need it from trout.

Cory Perry

I’m a husband, father and fly fishing geek living in Greenville, SC. I’m down with slinging flies, tying flies and spending every minute I can enjoying the vast outdoors with my family and friends.

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