Fly Tying


Fly tying in its most basic form is about imitating nature to catch a fish. Just keep that in mind as you’re making each fly. You’ll learn how to combine numerous materials together to capture the form, shape, and color of various insects. Even if you have no plans or desire to throw a line in the water, you’ll find crafting these miniature works of art rewarding – something you’ll want to display around the house even. You’ll also notice quick improvement as you continue tying – there’s progress in every one you try.

The two tutorials we will walk you through include creating a wet fly and a dry fly. Both are great for beginners. A wet fly is one that weighs the fly down so that it swims in the water, whereas a dry fly rests on the surface of the water. This month’s New Hobby Box has all the materials and equipment you’ll need to get started.

The tools in your fly tying kit:

  1. Vise

  2. Hackle Pliers

  3. Large and Small Bobbin

  4. Bobbin Threader

  5. Bodkin

  6. Rotary Whip Finishers

  7. Hackle Guard

  8. Hair Stacker

  9. Scissors

A quick look at how to use the tools above.

This is a look at how to use a whip finisher. We won’t use a whip finisher since it’s not absolutely necessary to tie a fly and requires quite a bit of experience to use. But once you are comfortable tying flies, this will be a great step to add in.

And last but not least, the hackle guard. This is a “nice to have” tool, but not necessary to use – it can often complicate things more than necessary for beginners. We don’t use it in our tutorials, but the Green Adams Fly would be a nice one to try it on.

The materials:

  1. Hackle

  2. Peacock Herls

  3. Pheasant feather

  4. Tinsel (you will have two colors – these are assorted, when picking the right color for specific flies, think what would closely imitate the creature we are imitating)

  5. Thread (you’ll have an assortment of colors, for both of our tutorials use your darkest shade of thread)

  6. Dubbing

  7. Chanille

  8. Hooks

You have a variety of hooks in your fly tying kit. If this is your first time, you’ll want to use one of the larger hooks – the extra real estate on the shaft of the hook will be easier for you to work your magic. As you get more skilled though, you’ll want to use hook sizes and styles that are more aligned with what the fly is intended for. See the video titled “Choosing the right hook” at the end of this tutorial.

It’s time to set up your station.

The physical box that your fly tying kit was shipped in makes for a great working surface. Begin by unfolding that.

Unfolded New Hobby Box

And now for setting up the vise.

Since this is possibly your first time tying a fly, we recommend starting with the largest hook in your kit. There are numerous reasons to use a certain size hook and even a certain style, but the more real estate to work with on your first try will be beneficial. Go ahead and place your hook in the vise. You want to make sure that your vise isn’t going over the bend of the hook or touching the barb.

Hook in Vise

Tying a Green Rock Worm

The rock worm caddis is a really fun fly to tie and a solid wet fly for beginners. The story of how they operate in the wild is fascinating.

These are the tools and materials you’ll need to tie the green rock worm.

  1. Dark thread or green thread

  2. Bobbin

  3. Bobbin Threader

  4. Scissors

  5. Peacock Herls

  6. Dubbing

  7. Tinsel (use a tinsel color that contrasts against the green

Green Rock Worm Materials

To get started, we need to get our bobbin and bobbin threader set up. Use a dark thread or green thread for this.

Remember – try to use one of your larger hooks for this one, if you are new to fly tying.

This is what ours looked like after trimming off the excess.

Green Rock Worm Fly

Tying a Green Adams Fly

The Adams fly is a little more challenging than the rock worm, but it’s really fun to mimic. It’s one of the most popular dry flies around. This variation uses green dubbing, but the regular Adams fly uses a more neutral color.

These are the tools and materials you’ll need to tie the green rock worm.

  1. Dark thread

  2. Bobbin

  3. Scissors

  4. Hackle

  5. Pheasant feather

Green Adams Fly Materials

Now it’s time to start tying the Green Adams Fly.

The glamour shot of our finished Green Adams Fly

A Few other Flies to Practice:

The Pheasant Tail Nymph

This is a more advanced fly – I’ve tried it out a few times, but it’s something I need to practice more –  but you have all the necessary materials needed to create one. In place of the copper wire the instructor uses, you’ll want to use your tinsel. This nymph is dark in color, so pick a tinsel that contrasts it nicely and adds a little flash to it. This is also a great fly to practice whip finishing. The hook size he is showcasing is a size 16, the smallest hooks in your kits are size 14s which will be close to how he’s creating this.

The Elk Hair Caddis

The Elk Hair Caddis is an intermediate fly in terms of difficulty. You’ll need to acquire elk hair or deer hair for this fly and use your hair sorter tool in your kit. You’ll have all the other materials necessary, such as hackle, tinsel, and dubbing. If you’re particular about the color of dubbing to use, you’ll want to purchase a tan dubbing.

Additional Resources:

Charlie’s Fly Box is a well-respected blog for beginners and experts alike. If you click on any of the images on his site, it will show the tutorial in great detail on how to make the flies.


Tell us how you’re doing! 

We want to see your flies… Don’t be shy, show us what you’ve made and if you have questions ask us and your fellow hobbyists in the comments below.

Happy Hobbying!

-Your friends @NewHobbyBox

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