15 Fly Tying Tips & Tricks that Will Simplify Your Tying Sessions

| Last Updated November 18, 2020

Over the years we as fly tiers learn a few tricks that can help simplify our tying sessions. Below you will find a list of tips that can speed and enhance your tying. Do you have a tip you would like to share? Send us your tips and we will add to our growing list.

Here are 15 Fly Tying Tips

Painting Dumbbell Eyes

Take a comb of correct size and put into vises jaws. Slip the eyes between the tines. For a two-dot color eye use two different size finishing nails. Grind the points of the nails off so the nail has a blunt flat end. Dip the larger nail into a jar of paint of your choice and lightly dab top of dumbbell eye. 

It doesn’t take much and you will get the hang of it after a few attempts. The blunt nail end leaves a perfect circle of paint. Do all the eyes in the comb this way then rotate the vise over and do the other sides. Let dry then come back with smaller nail and put the dot eye in. Presto! Perfectly painted dumbbell eyes.

Popper Bodies

Use thin brass tubing and cut a length and apply a small handle. I use masking tape to build up a small graspable handle. Sharpen end of tubing with a file. Press tubing into closed cell foam block of your choice twisting as u go. Heating the end of the pipe with a lighter greatly speeds up the cutting process. Once you are through, push the foam out with a chopstick. To make the center hole, heat a bodkin needle and press through.

Deceiver Saddle Hackle Tails​

Getting the hackles lined up in the praying hands style of tying can be cumbersome. The easiest way I have found is to select your hackles one at a time then lay across your thigh just before you knee. The natural curvature of the hackle lays nicely here. Lay them one at a time on top of each other. Make a set comprised of (2-4) hackles in each pile. Now you can pick them up all at once easily and pair together.

Craft Fur​

The best white craft fur I have found is that off the miniature Santa’s they sell around Christmas Time in numerous stores. It is longer than the Craft Fur that you find manufactured for fly tying. These Santa’s can be had for about the same price as a patch of fur. You will have to figure out what to do with the beardless Santa’s when you’re done shaving him…;-)

Epoxy Fly Dryer​

For the wheel, use an old lobster pot buoy and cut 1-2 inches slices off the middle portion with a sliding compound or chop saw. Attach the wheels to your motor with the help of a small dowel.

For Making a Dozen or More Epoxy Flies

Use Flex Coat High Build rod finish. It has a long pot life and you will get a dozen flies coated and onto the wheel before it sets up.

Clear Thread

Use white thread or clear so material colors bleed thru I use Larva Lace Fine nylon thread for much of my tying. It is strong, thin, and best of all disappears once epoxy or head cement is applied.

Use a Lot of Flash​

Remember, You can always take flash off a fly but never add to it. Start off heavy and if you think the fish are refusing due to lots of flash then pull a bit off. Apply flash with the folding technique. It will never pull out of the head.

Durable Flies​

A drop of super glue after each step makes for durable flies.


Sharpen all but chemically sharpened hooks.


​Carry a comb and a file in your pocket. Really helps to de-tangle a fly once fish mauls it.

Hook File​

Make a great sharpening file by taping two chainsaw files together


Get in the habit of applying flash and synthetic winging material in by folding the material over at the tie in point. This way it will never pull out. Tie in a little off center so you will have staggered ends once the other half is tied down.


a really good comb to keep with you for cleaning up flies is a mustache comb it’s also great for blending hair or fibers when tying flies…


When I tie especially clousers and deceivers, I place two or three pieces of flat regular gold or silver tinsel ( 1/32 or 1/16 in. wide ) down either side and leave it 5/8 to one inch longer than everything else. Try it and watch the natural tying action…

                                   Share to Pinterest

My name is Caleb and I am obsessed with hunting, fishing, and foraging. To be successful, you have to think like your prey. You have to get into the mind of your target - and understand Big Game Logic. If you have any questions, or just want chat about your latest hunting score or big catch, you can reach me at admin@biggamelogic.com. Read more about Big Game Logic.