A Few Tips For the Paranoid Fly Tyer

some fine points by Acey Fiveash on the least approached aspect of our craft:
the Dark side of the Force – a prominent moral, philosophical, metaphorical and psychic concept of the Fly-Tying universe, the undarkened Force being a mystical energy which permeates the enlightened tier.


“I’ve tied literally thousands of flies at this point in my life. Sometimes people and fly shops even want to buy some of them from me, which means that I have found myself having to tie multiple dozens of the same pattern all of which should look pretty much look exactly alike. With variations in materials and other more cryptic variables sometimes making two identical flies seem daunting, much less a dozen of them.

If you’re nitpicky and self-critical like me (for your sake I hope you’re not) this can drive you a little crazy when tying a large order of flies. I have learned a few things over the years to help me maintain my sanity though:

Wait at least a few hours to do the final inspection – If you just finished tying a dozen flies for somebody don’t immediately jump into comparing them to one another. Every little tiny, itty-bitty difference will seem glaringly obvious to you and you’ll wonder if you should retie that one with the wing that seems a fraction of a millimeter shorter or just get rid of that one there with the eye that looks like itmight be a little lower than the other eye. Step away from your flies and comeback later. If you’re at least a reasonably competent tyer you’ll find that you won’t be able to tell much of a difference from one fly to the next.

Don’t compare your flies to flies in bins at big box stores like Bass Pro or Cabela’s – These flies come from big companies like Umpqua that have fly “factories” in Asia where people get paid good money (by their standards) to spend eight hours a day, five days a week, tying the exact same fly over and over and over again. Remember, unless you’re willing to spend this kind of time doing the same thing your  flies will never be as perfectly uniform as theirs.

And remember that as a tyer of flies you will always be more critical of the flies you see – This isn’t to say people who don’t tie don’t know what a well tied fly looks like, but as a fly tyer, you’re more likely to notice the finer details, good and bad. To most people, as long as the fly does what it’s supposed to do and doesn’t fall apart after the first three or four fish (sharks, muskie and other big toothy fish not included) they’re going to be pretty happy with it.

Hopefully these tips will help put you at ease if you’re anything like me.”

and just for the record-

Paranoia [ˌpærəˈnɔɪ.ə] (adjective: paranoid [ˈpærə.nɔɪd]) is a thought process believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs, or beliefs of conspiracy concerning a perceived threat towards oneself. (e.g. “Everyone thinks my flies suck !“)
Making false accusations and the general distrust of others also frequently accompany paranoia. For example, an incident where a fly angler might snag trees all day long or loose an enormous fish would just view these as accidents or coincidence,  but a paranoid person might believe was intentional.’

i can see how this fits with Acey’s Agitated Angler / Dadgitated ideas on fly tying…. :mrgreen:

7 thoughts on “A Few Tips For the Paranoid Fly Tyer

  1. alright Acey, here’s the part you might not know about. Kyle meant to post that comment on your blog but i guess, being similarly ‘Agitated’ it ended up here. the guy needs a little help, that’s why i sent him the magnifiers !… :mrgreen: 😆

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