Fly Tying: Doing the Math

Though a slightly specious argument, most of us need all the logical underpinnings we can find for our habit of tying flies. John McCoy takes on the math in the Charleston, West Virginia Gazette-Times. “Let’s say a Woolly Bugger — a simple, universal wet fly/streamer that catches trout, bass and other gamefish with equal success — costs $1.50 at a store. I can tie that fly for 18 cents.” Now how many flies could John have tied while he was figuring all that out?

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  • Bruce

    “I can tie that fly for 18 cents.” Sorry, but I have to crack up when I hear most tyers talk about all the $$ they save tying their own flies. It’s an equation that usually only works if you ignore the $2-300 (or more) spent on the rotary vise, $150 or so in tools, anywhere between $100 – $200 dollars a year on supplies, and that’s as a bare minimum for your average tyer. Most will also add in things like another $100 for a special “tying” lamp, a specially built tying desk of some sort, all sorts of bins, trays and caddies for holding tools, spools etc. When all that is factored in, do you still figure that bugger cost you 18 cents?
    Tying is a wonderful pastime, and there are lots of great reasons to do it, and one certainly doesn’t need to spend all the above-mentioned purchases in order to do it, but let’s face it – most do. And for the amount that the average tyer spends on tying equipment and supplies, you’d have to be losing an enormous amount of store-bought flies in order to actually be saving $$$ by tying your own…

  • Well put, Bruce. As you say, tying, like fishing, is often an excellent excuse to buy a whole bunch of new gear.