My Fly Tying Cave
I want to show you and tell you a little about my Fly Tying center. For those of you just curious or perhaps you’re thinking of starting the hobby yourself, this might give you ideas. It doesn’t take much room to create a tying bench. I’m always intrigued by the fly tyers space, curious about how big their room is and how they organize their stuff. Some have beautiful wide open spaces, others tie in their garage on their workbench. I say whatever works for you. It’s nice to have natural light in your space and very good working lights with a magnifier for those very tiny fly patterns. A computer of some sort is a must if you work by video or have to look some information up. So I’ll clean up my room and give you a tour!
My fly tying cave
Thread & wire bobbin rack
How much room does one really need?
My Fly Tying cave is a good description of my space. It is extremely small in size, it’s dark, no windows except a piano porthole at the top that opens for fresh air thank goodness! This space serves as my fly tying station, my office, my Cricut center. And it’s a fantastic space! I made it my own, it’s cozy, it’s comfortable, it’s visual, and I love spending time in there. You might say “oh my God that is crammed with stuff!” yes it is but it’s an organized cram! For example, when you’re tying flies, you stay in a sitting position. You want to be able to reach all your materials and tools from that position or with a slight roll of your chair. It’s a lot of sitting in one place, it’s good to get up every couple of hours and go for a walk.
Happiness is an organized space
The key to a happy story in fly tying is to formulate a system for your stuff right from the start. At the onset of my hobby, I watched many YouTube videos (here I go again YouTube!) on how to store and organize fly tying materials and tools. I started small but my need for space grew as my experience flourished. I’m a woodworker as well, and so I designed my tool caddy from examples I saw online, now wishing I had made it bigger as I’m running out of slots. I have a basket system for some of the larger materials like bucktails, rabbit strips, and synthetics. A small acrylic drawer system holds my smaller items. I store all my feather capes in ziplock bags with lavender mothballs. I designed a wall mounted bobbin holder that can hold 80+ bobbins for thread and wire.
Hooks: The point of no return!
Soon after I decided to pursue this hobby it became evident to me that fly tying hooks are going to be a problem. Hooks are very expensive and there are many different kinds for various applications. Not to mention the multitude of sizes they come in. So one has to begin with a plan right off the bat before the point of no return! It’s called protecting your investment! Haha! So for the smaller hooks, I went to the Dollar store and bought these see-thru plastic compartmentalized containers. Same idea for the larger hooks but with bigger hardware style containers. Everything is labeled, I am the poster girl for the “Brother Labeler” machine and have shares in the labeling cartridges company! Oh and the beads! We use a lot of beads tying certain types of flies. They’re special beads some made from copper, others tungsten (a heavy metal) and some glass like regular beads. They come in multiple colors as well as sizes.
Space and planning in a nutshell
I really can’t stress enough that order is so very important with fly tying. With the help of a friend who is the “Goddess” of programs like Excel, we refined a database list of my materials. Each time I buy an item I add it to the list, I can do it on my cell phone and it updates through the Cloud. That way I can verify if I have the material before buying it, avoiding doubles. I know you might think it’s a little extreme but with so much stuff you can easily forget what you have. I like being organized and even though my space is small I have everything I need. I’ve seen a fly tier on You Tube who had his fly tying bench in a closet! I figure mine is a step up from that! If you’re thinking of starting this hobby I hope this has been somewhat inspirational!