|A #10 Royal Sakasa Kebari and Pheasant & orange tied without a vise|
Friday, July 15, 2011
Fly Tying Simplicity
As I have grown older I have tried to simplify many activities in my life. This is one reason I have become so enamored with Tenkara. Tenkara consists of not much more than a rod, line, and fly. Although I still go fishing using other methods such as using spin rods and bait, Tenkara has become my dominant and preferred method for spending a morning or evening out on the water. Before I made my first cast with a Tenkara rod I had become fully obsessed with the art of tying flies. To me, this hobby is on par with the enjoyment I get while fishing. But if one is not careful, the cost and acquisition of materials can get out of hand. This in turn could lead to a mild but enjoyable form of chaos. I wrote a post awhile back on creating a simplified fly tying kit that one could easily place in a pocket for a road trip or sit on the couch and tie without the effort involved in dragging out vises or rummaging through bins of materials. If done slowly, I can produce quality flies with the small pin vise included in my kit. Everything I need fits into an Altoids tin. But after reading a recent thread on the Tenkara USA forum I have decided to take the simplicity of this kit one step further. For centuries there were no fly tying vises. I have read that many tiers of north country flies in the past and even a number of Tenkara anglers in Japan today tie flies without the aid of a vise. Granted some of these flies may be larger in size and that helps in holding the hook but with a little practise (and some hand cramping) small well tied flies can be produced also. Pictured above are my first two attempts at tying without a vise of any kind. Despite the fact they took me longer than usual to produce I think they came out pretty good. They are size #10 Mustad nymph hooks. This is a little bigger than the size #12 and #14 hooks I am accustomed to but I have no doubt that they will catch fish. Do I plan on giving up my vise? Not on your life, but its nice to know in a pinch or just for the fun of it I can tie a good fly with nothing more than a bobbin, thread, hook, and a feather. I also viewed tying like this as a challenge that may in the end improve my ability to tie. I hope to tackle smaller and more complex flies in this manner in the future and plan to post results when I get a chance.