Comments for Beginners... fly tying.  2018- 2019
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Fly Tying  2018-19
This is mostly for beginners in our Rocky River TU Fly tying Class, but feel free to download something if it is of interest.

The introduction to this page is being updated on October 23, 2018.  Here is the class schedule for 2018 - 2019.

Most of my fly tying efforts are for my own fishing and also teaching others.  Our local Trout Unlimited Chapter RRTU which stands for Rocky River Trout Unlimited, started a fly tying program in November of 2008.  It has turned out to be pretty successful since we have picked up new members, and over the years we have turned out some pretty good tiers.  I have been teaching the beginners, Tom Adams teaches the pros because he is very skilled.  Alen Baker helps us all and fills in when someone has a conflict.  In addition we have several others in group who have pitched in to help.  George Fleszar has been a big help with the beginners and Brian Esque, and Tim Ramsey have also provided a lot of assistance.

All of the information directly below marked in red stays the same from year to year.  If you see a different color, that indicate a change.
Our meetings are held in the Fellowship Hall at Covenant Presbyterian Church.  The church is at the  corner of Dilworth Road and East Morehead Street.  This is the same place  that we have our monthly TU meetings.(actually changed back to the adjacent room this in 2017 year). We are moving back to the larger room which is on the second floor of the Fellowship Hall.

 The actual address is                   
1000 E Morehead Street
Charlotte, NC 28204

Time: Classes run from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM.  In the past we sent someone out for hoggies, but it became a real hassel.  It was hard to please all the diets and what people could eat or not eat. Also it meant that someone had to go out and pick up sandwiches.  We got a little lazy and started ordering pizza and it got very expensive pretty quickly.  Our new plan is to take a break for 30 minutes and either go out and grab a sandwich or bring your own lunch.  We already had a lot of people who did bring lunch so we will see how this works out.

Dates: We have five sessions from Fall to early Spring. Here are the dates... all Saturdays. 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
November 17, 2018
December 15 2018
January 19 2019
February 16 2019
March 16 2019

Charges: We have a good deal.  The total charges for all five sessions is $10.00.  We have 8 “rotary” fly tying vices, and provide all the material for the fly tying.  Many beginners end up purchasing their own vice as the sessions continue.

The beginners class will be run a little differently for the 2018/2019 season.  More details about that to come.
Check the links on the left sidebar and if you are new, read through the past history.


March 16, 2019 Fly tying Class

February 16, 2019 Fly tying Class

January 19, 2019 Fly tying Class

December 15,2019 Fly tying Class

In December we tied the Hare’s Ear, Pheasant Tail, and the Girdle Bug.  We did some dubbing and demostrated the use of a dubbing spinner.  We had good turnout of about 10 people.

more later

2018 -2019  Season

November 17th 2018 was a good day.  We had about 12 tyers (thats the english spelling, tiers is US)  there also was a good turn out with Tom Adams for the more advanced tyers.

We went over the fly tying tools and their uses and started tying Wooly Buggers.  Also did some variations one of which is the Peach Fly which is  very popular in Virginia  Photo later.

Someone took a good photo of 4 or 5 flies we tied on November 17 and it is a pretty good collection of the flies we tied the first session.  We usually will tie some of these flies 3 times or more because the repetition is very helpful.  Even experienced tyers will tie the same fly 6, 12 or more times,  and after awhile  they start looking better and better.
.On the docket for tomorrow are:

Hare’s Ear
Pheasant Tail nymph
Pat’s Rubber Leg

Learning about dubbing.
2017-2018 below
This information is being written November 2017 since I had a lot of computer issues until now.  We had a good year with George Flezar helping with the beginners every session.  In the last sessions February and March, we had 19 or 20 beginners show up.  At the same time we had around 10 of the more advanced tyers with Tom Adams.  We actually purchased two more vices, which brings the total to 10 vices. 

We have seen an influx of women and youngsters probably brought in by way of Linda Hickle of Women On The Fly. They have added a lot of energy to our group. Here is a list of the flies we tried to teach at our beginners class.

Below is a list of the flies we tied last year and will probably tie again this season.

remove the list below and copy with text  note to self

(Below are some of the flies we have tied over the years.  Our goal is to teach traditional flies and the techniques requried to tie them.  This list will vary and repetition of tying the same fly is desirable.

Adams Dry
Elk Hair Caddis
Girdle Bug (Stonefly)
Two-wired Stone fly
Half & Half Streamer
Hare's Ear Nymph
Partridge Soft Hackle...  Partridge and Orange, Partridge and Green
Peacock Red Butt
Griffith Knat
Pheasant Tail Nymph
Wooly Bugger
Zebra Midge Improved

Below are other flies we have tied in the beginners class.

CDC & Elk... improvement of Elk Hair Caddis
Clinkhammer Special ...Similar to the Adams Dry but sits lower in the water.
Perdigon style flies.    heavily weighted competition flies
Jumping Jack Flash     really easy fly for beginners


Preview for Fly Tying Classes for 2016 / 2017

Our class is open to anyone with fly tying experience or just a beginner.   We have remained flexible.  People do miss sessions, so for the beginner class we have a backup tier or two.  Alen Baker is the first backup and Tim Ramsey and  George Fleszar have helped out also.  This is important because the  first class is an introduction to the tools for fly tying. We go over all of them and then teach the students how to wrap thread in “touching turns” down the hook.

Each class builds on what we did the month before. As we go through the first day we will tie some simple flies.  As an example, we will add a tail of pheasant barbels to the hook. We then tie in about 10 Pheasant tail barbels up the hook shank and the next thing  you know we are finishing up a Pheasant tail nymph.  For the beginners, we will try to tie multiple flies on various hook sizes.  We start with a size 10 which is a fairly large hook and end up tying with a size 16. We will use different materials for the thorax and add a hot spot to the wing case. 

I like  to stick with the basics and traditional flies. As we discuss things  about tying I like to explain how early tiers had to make do with what  they could catch, hunt, grow or snitch from thier momma’s sewing bag.  These conversations and others about  how some of the early flies came into being are part of the process.

How I go about teaching the first class is a little dependent on who is in  the class. Recently we have some parents bringing youngsters and that is a good thing. In general they all do well.  In many cases the youngsters tie better  then the adults.

The more More Advanced tiers.
Tom Adams and Alen Baker set their own agendas, and I usually check with Tom to see what he will be tying.  Both of them tie some pretty terrific flies and our class  has produced some good tiers, many with lots of talent.

Even though we have the Fly tying class information on the RRTU web site, I have been typing a message to the beginners to tell them what to expect at the next  session.  This season I will post more detailed information about the flies we tie in case someone wants to tie before the next class   I find this helpful and I almost always will put a link to my  web page about the class with a little more detail.

November Class:
Coming up in November the beginners will start with learning about and how to use the fly tying tools.  We will go through some basic skill lessons and then tie the Pheasant Tail Nymph in different sizes and different dressings.

I am not sure what the advanced tiers will be tying, because they usually discuss that among themselves.

**************** Below this point are some of the events of 2015 / 2016

March 12, 2016   Reminder that we will have the last session for this Spring this coming Saturday March 19, 2016. The beginners will be focused again on the importance of  Proportions when tying flies.  In our last session which was about Stone Flies, we did not have the proper materials to let all in the beginners class tie the flies appropriately.  I have rounded up all the correct materials so that we can tie the wired stonefly.  In the Riffle has a good video on the Wired Stonefly, and we should be able to duplicate Both two wired and three wired stonefly.    Here is what we hope to achieve.   Photo.   here.  I have it but have never gotten around to posting the photo.

I think it is important to read the article below about stone flies.  I found it extremely interesting because it tells us much about why we need to understand the history and habitat of the stoneflies world wide.

See you Saturday.  


January 25, 2016  Fly tying class that was snowed/iced out has been rescheduled for this coming Saturday  January 30th. 2016.

January 23, 2016 12:00 noon
We did not get the snow and ice that was expected but still the roads are still very icy in many places and some of our fly tying folks are some distance from Charlotte.  I see cities like” Waxhall, Hickory, Unionville SC, Indianland SC and Kannapolis, and Gastonia.  Traveling over icy roads at those distances is not a great idea.

One of our beginners emailed me that she was not coming because someone ran into her and she is being treated for a concussion. 

January 22, 2016-- 3:50 PM ....  Fly Tying Class will not be held on Saturday January 23 due to dangerous weather.   There is some talk about having the class reschduled for January 30th but that is not firm yet.


January 21, 2016-- 9:00 AM ....Check here for information about Snow and Ice for Saturday Morning’s Class. We might have to cancel if the Church doesn’t open.  I assume the information will also be on the RRTU web site.

For January 23, 2016  Fly tying class
It is less than a week before our January class.  I am sending a copy of the spread sheet that Tom Adams developed that goes along with the Hook Box.  If you like it and can use it, ok, if not that’s OK too.  The rest are notes below,  many of them since the last meeting. in December. 

See you Saturday January 23rd.



Our yearly schedule for our fly tying classes is for a total of 5 months: November, December, January, February and March.  Again this year the total cost for the 5 session whether you come to all five or just one is $10.00.

Here is 2016 remaining winter schedule for fly tying classes.
January 23, 2016
February 20, 2016
March 19, 2016

Our meetings are held in the Fellowship Hall at Covenant Presbyterian Church corner of Dilworth Road and East Blvd. Charlotte. NC.  Classes run from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM.  We will send someone out for Hoagies about Noon: cost is $5:00 if you want one. We will call in to the Harris Teeter on East Blvd. the number of sandwiches desired at about 10:30 to 11:00 based on the number of people who want them.

How to use Deer Hair, Elk Hair and other hair in fly tying.

The session in January we (the beginners class)  plan to tie elk hair caddis and other flies using elk, moose, and deer hair.  Like everyone there is a learning curve to fly tying.  Fortunately, in my earlier years fly fishing, I went out west and fished from the Blue Ribbon Fly Shop in West Yellowstone. Not only do they tie flies in their shop, but they hunt elk and deer and other animals.  They process the pelts for fly tiers and are very specific about what fur to use and where it comes from on the animal..  I bought a few patches from them, and they were so much superior to anything else I had tried or had access to.  The link below is a very interesting article about “Know Your Hair and Its Best Use. We will talk about this and try out various pelts to show you some of the differences.  I think you will find using different sections of pelts, it will be a little bit like trying out the various dubbing materials we used at the December meeting.

I know there are a number of shops similar to Blue Ribbon Flies, so here is another one that is quite interesting.  It is hard to believe the number of items Chris Helm has in stock. Look at this view of the inside of his shop. Then browse around on the web site


(repeat from December). Hook Box I got this next  idea from Tom Adams and made some minor changes.   This is a Hook Box that I got from at Michael’s in Park Road Shopping Center.  The Fly Box is called a CraftMate, and is actually a bead box for people who do crafts.  It has sloping side which allows one to get the beads out easily.  Also in this case the box locks.   more


Speaking of hooks, here is an interesting article that goes over the basics but is also more detailed and experienced fisherman will probably learn a few things.

From   Here is the Anatomy of a Hook.

anatomy of a hook crop 

I have been having trouble loading the spread sheet into this program for you to download.  I think the simplest thing to do is to email everyone on the Fly Tying List a copy.  If you want it, there it if not that’s ok too.  If you show up on this site and want a copy, I will email it to you.  Just send me your email address.

We tied a Jumping Jack Flash at the end of Decembers class ... take a look.

 Information for December 16, 2015
Below are some useful printouts and other information. 

1.  You have in your fly tying kit several threads.  These spools of thread are all of the brand UNI and most of these spools are listed at 8 ought,   I found one that says Danville”s  210 Denier  Flat waxed Nylon.  For the time being the 8/0 size will work, but as you become more advanced, you will find that you have other choices.  The Link Using Denier to Standardize Fly Tying Thread. explains an important concept in fly tying.  We have talked about crowding the head of the fly and making the fly too bulky.  This article will  help.  It prints out to a couple of pages and is both interesting and important.

2.  You will be using brass beads and then Tungsten beads to add weight to your fly.  There are also Cone heads, barbell eyes and other methods to get your fly down toward the bottom faster.  Tungsten beads weigh more or less twice the weight of lead and much more than brass or glass beads.  Tungsten beads also cost around 44 cents (retail) each so they make the cost of the fly much much higher.  If you are going to lose flies in the trees and bushes or let the fish snap them off your leader/ tippet than learn some alternative ways to get your flies down fast.

Here is a Bead Chart which matches up the right sized bead with the hook.  It also shows both the inches and millimeters  which is a help.  I actually made a copy of this that fits in my wallet, and I can pull it out to check sizes when I am buying beads.  I never remember the various size and get confused with the mm and inches.  Since I tie flies I wish they were just metric because everyone but the US names them in mm.
Bead Chart below  


3. Hook Box I got this next  idea from Tom Adams and made some minor changes.   This is a Hook Box that I got from at Michael’s in Park Road Shopping Center.  The Fly Box is called a CraftMate, and is actually a bead box for people who do crafts. I have been having trouble loading the spread sheet into this program for you to download.  I think the simplest thing to do is to email everyone on the Fly Tying List a copy.  If you want it, there it if not that’s ok too.  If you show up on this site and want a copy, I will email it to you.  Just send me your email address.

(This was done December 19th 2015)Tom Adams will be doing a demonstration on dubbing tomorrow Dec 16th.  It should be very interesting and it is a skill you will want to have. 

I hope to have some more useful information to add to this page.  There are lots of good videos and articles that make for interested reading.  If you are a beginner, sometimes the videos on fly tying leave a few steps out, and once you get the basics you will find you can follow the videos because you will have learned many of the basic steps.

Jack McNeary   email me