Where do you tie flies? If you are like me, you might have had a variety of fly tying stations over the years. I thought I’d share my journey and give you a peak at the latest iteration of my fly tying room.
The image above is several years old and shows the portable fly tying table my wife bought many years ago. It comes apart and slips into a carrying case only a couple inches wide. It was my first table I used to tie flies after we purchased our Sisters home and I used it frequently.
After we moved to Sisters full-time, I switched to an old physician’s desk.
It had a pass-through center drawer I used to store most of my hooks. OK, it became kind of a junk drawer too because it was easy and convenient to open and stash something.
Over time, I accumulated more materials and struggled finding methods of quick and easy storage.
This is an example of trying to make do in the space I had. What you don’t see are the boxes of materials in the garage. The plastic containers below and to the side of my desk stored the materials I used the most.
It was difficult to pull out materials, tie with them, and walk back to the garage and put them away. You’d never know I like to be organized and this drove me crazy. But I couldn’t come up with a better solution in the space.
My wife would tease me I only had one square foot of space around the vise I used.
Every once in a while, I would spend some time cleaning the desktop and start over.
We made a major change to our living area last year and it included an updated fly tying area for me.
I don’t always use my Nikon Z 6ii camera or computer, but there’s enough space to do so. The camera is used to create videos for my RiverKeeper Flies YouTube channel or during a Zoom fly tying demonstration.
I purchased a Fully standing desk which easily changes height. No, I don’t stand and tie flies, but raise the desk when taking close-up pictures of flies to post on my website.
Here are three drawers next to my chair. They hold the materials I use the most.
And a close-up of the middle drawer. It is full of storage trays holding hooks, beads, thread, floss, and lead.
This image shows an additional row of storage for more thread. There is one more layer which has lead and wire.
The bottom drawer stores a variety of tinsel, a bag of biots, a bag of leg materials, poly, hundred packs of hooks, a few feathers, and a coffee grinder used to blend dubbing.
These are some examples of the types of bamboo drawer organizers I used.
Here is a view of the back wall with the doors open.
The books are obvious, but the tall section on the left is where I store most of the materials used for the flies I tie.
You’ll find a variety of materials including lots of hackle, duck wings and feathers, foam, deer and elk hair, natural hide sections of muskrat and beaver, EP Fibers, Zelon, CDC, and extra dubbing
I often pack fly tying materials when heading out on a fly fishing road trip.
I’ll tie in the van…
…and along the river…
…even on vacation in Hawaii…
…or last minute…which I call “just in time”.
How many different configurations have you used for tying flies?
John love the pictures especially the one in the low chair outside your van with what appears to be an empty beer bottle upside down against your wading boot? Curious was this the only empty bottle of beer?
Great post. Very timely as this is the time of year when the tying materials come out! I struggle to have a corner where I can leave the vice etc set up because a lot more tying does get done that way. Unfortunately my young grand kids are very fascinated with the feathers and animal fur if it is out on the kitchen table!
Where did you get those narrow bamboo trays?
I LOVE your tying area! Why am I not surprised about the organization? Also, the picture of tying in the van while traveling is great. To answer your question about how many different configurations I’ve tied in the only addition I could think of to add to those you already offered is – I had a tying kit/small vise in my drift boat and often tied for clients on the river. It was a way to provide “entertainment” when the fishing was good, but the catching was slow. Take care & …
Tight Lines – Al Beatty