Fishing & Hunting Tips

How to tie your own flies

Fishing has different aspects of fun and when we are talking about fly fishing, oh boy we are talking about so much fun! There’s always the option to buy the flies for your next flyfishing trip. But Tying your own flies for fly fishing will allow you to customize the design, shape, and texture. Isn’t that sounds great?

With the modern era, everything is so ready-made for us now! We don’t need to make anything, everything is so made up there already. Maybe that’s why we have a lack of fun. Nothing could make us happy. How about making your own flies and go fishing with it rather than buying one? That definitely boost up the fun of flyfishing. So, let’s get started!

It’s an article for the beginners, here we will discuss the basic fly tying equipment checklist and some essential knots. We will also go through two very effective trout flies: the Wooly Bugger and the Elk Hair Caddis. Also, you can take a look at this top 5 fly fishing combo offers.

How to tie your own flies

Why should you tie your own flies?

  1. Save yourself money
  • Of course, you will save some money tying your own flies. We angler always have these problems where we found ourself losing lures and flies in the bushes or trees, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the same fly if you can tie your own.
  1. The amazing feeling of doing it yourself
  • The feeling of catching the very first fish by the fly created by you is amazing! It’s right that it might take a week for you to get your patterns perfected, but when you mastered in it, that sense of accomplishment will fill your heart by utmost happiness.

Tools and equipment

  1. Vise: the very first tool you need for this job is a vise. It’s the essential thing that firmly holds up the hook of different size and type while you perform the whole task. There are many types of vise available but the C-clamp vise is my all time favorite.
  2. Hair stacker: after spending some time on fly tying, you will need to tie some flies using animal furs, such as deer hair or bucktail. The tips of the hair must be even before it is added to the fly. To do this, you’ll need a hair stacker.
  3. Scissors: tying your own flies, you will need a tiny sharp scissor in every step to cut the thread or the flies. You will find an ultra-sharp, fine-pointed scissor in any fly shop, they often sell these scissors made just for this purpose.
  4. Hackle pliers: these are a handy little item that helps grasp very tiny objects with its jaw, just slip the ring in your middle finger and apply pressure and squeeze both arms with your thumb and another finger. That will open the jaw of the hackle pliers, these mainly helps you hold delicate feathers when wrapping them around the hook.
  5. Bobbin: The bobbin holds the spool of thread while you wind it around the hook to secure the materials to it.
  6. Whip finisher: it’s the utility tool to perform a whip finisher, it’s the finisher of every fly tying. We will learn more about it later in this article.
  7. Head cement: Head cement is placed on the knot once the fly is finished to keep it from coming untied. It’s the last tool you need in fly tying job.

3 must have fly tying skills you need to learn

In order to tie effective flies, there are 3 essential fly tying skills you need to learn asap. You will be needing these skills in every fly tying.

We’re talking about the jam knot, the pinch wrap, and the whip finish knot.  They correspond to the three essential operations needed to complete all flies – attaching the thread to the hook (the jam knot), attaching material to the hook (the pinch wrap), and securing and removing the thread from the hook upon completion of the fly (the whip finish.) let’s learn.

The jam knot: we attach the thread (any kind of thread) to the hook by this knot called the jam knot. To tie a jam knot

  • Take your bobbin and hold your thread behind the hook shank on a bit of an angle (45-degree angle)
  • Start wrapping your thread from the eye back towards the end of the hook
  • Wrap while trapping or jamming the tag end of the thread firmly against the hook shank
  • After a couple of successful wraps, you will find your thread attached with the hook
  • Finally, Cut the tag end off with a scissor from the hook

Well done, that’s how you perform the jam knot.

Pinch wrap: if you need to secure any material to the hook which you will be needed often and often in fly tying, the pinch wrap is a solution for that. There are many other techniques to attach any material with the hook, but the pinch wrap is the perfect one for the beginners.

Let’s learn how to perform a pinch wrap.

  • Take a little feather to attach it with the hook
  • Choose a position where and how you like to attach it
  • Secure it with your right hand and pinch the material against the hook with your left hand
  • While holding the feather with your left hand, roll your thumb back a little bit and bring your thread up to cross the material
  • Roll your thumb forward and roll your forefinger back and then roll your thread behind the hook
  • Now repeat that a couple of times

You will see the feather gently attached with the hook with a pinch wrap.

Whip finish: it’s the finisher move, you need to perform this whip finish when you’re done with your fly tying. Now, whip finisher is a little bit complicated, takes some practice to happens smoothly but once you get it, you can do it again and again.

You will need a whip finisher tool for this, you can also perform this with your hand but I prefer the tool most to do it smoothly.

  • Hold that ball to prevent the arm of the tool spinning
  • Catch your thread with the hook at the end of the tool
  • Bring your thread underneath the tool around the little notch of the whip finisher
  • Now release the ball to allow the tool to spin, the thread will cross itself then and make upside down figure “4”
  • You will find a horizontal piece of thread and a vertical piece of thread
  • Take the horizontal piece of thread and pinch it against the hook shank with successive wraps
  • Rotate the tool around ⅚ times to secure more effectively
  • Now take the little notch out from the thread and then finally tug the thread near the hook and gently take the whip finisher out from the hook

That’s how you perform the whip finisher. Get it? I know you don’t, cause it’s near impossible to make this understand by writing words. Here’s a video about how to perform the whip finish. Here you go, now it will take a couple of minutes to master it!

The Wooly Bugger

The wooly bugger is a great fly to start. It’s a classic trout fly for trout fishing. You will find this one in every serious trout anglers tackle box. The process of making this wooly bugger is not that hard, anyone can do it. So why not do it yourself!


  • Hook: Long-shank streamer hook, sizes 4–10
  • Weight: Lead wire, 0.15 diameter
  • Thread: Black UNI-Thread, size 6/0
  • Tail: Black marabou
  • Body: Medium black chenille
  • Hackle: Black Chinese saddle hackle
  • Rib: Medium copper wire


The wooly worm – (a wet fly)


  • Hook: Long-shank streamer hook, sizes 4–10
  • Thread: Black UNI-Thread, size 6/0
  • Body: Medium green chenille
  • Hackle: a very soft, thick and webby feather will do the job as hackle
  • Rib: Medium copper wire


  • Attach your thread with the hook using a jam knot, don’t cut the tag end (this tag end will not let the materials slip away from the hook)
  • Create a nice, smooth and even thread base
  • Wrap the thread all the way back to the bend of the hook
  • Cut the tag end when you are done the wrapping all the way back to the hook bend
  • Now it’s time to add material, pick a green fluffy chenille and with the help of your thumb pinch off some of the fuzzy materials from the end to uncover the inner rope
  • Tie in the material to the hook by the core thread exposed
  • Place the material near the hook bending point and perform some pinch wrap to tie the material with the hook
  • Take a soft, webby and thick feather, hold it to the tip and stroke down the quill of the feather towards the butt end of it
  • Position it where you want it and secure the feather onto the hook shank with a pinch wrap
  • Take your thread all the way up to the eye of the hook by wrapping it ( be careful here, don’t wrap it too close to the hook eye)
  • Now lift your feather, grab the chenille and tie the material away from you around the hook
  • For wooly worm, you need to perform the first wrap of chenille behind the feather and then forward of the feather
  • Continue wrapping it forward around the shank of the hook
  • When getting close to the eye of the hook, secure it by wrapping it with threads
  • Once it’s secure, cut the chenille
  • Now finally wrap your hackle feather around the hook by holding it up and stroke the bark of the feather back
  • The quill of the feather should be placed between the wraps of the chenille
  • The quill will be buried and the barbs should be sticking up
  • Now secure the feather with few more wraps
  • Finally, perform a whip finish to end up making the wooly worm

Here’s a video tutorial about making a wooly worm fly.


Wrap up

Fly tying is a great way to convert your pastimes into productive times. The most amazing part is, When you can tie your own flies so proficiently and quickly, you don’t have to buy any more flies which will definitely save some bucks. In average. It cost’s 2$ / fly. But when you will master the skill, it will cost only 20 cents per fly.

Now you know how to tie your own fly. What are you waiting for, made yours now and go for some fishing with it!

Nicholi Wyto

Hey I'm Nicholi Wyto is a professional sports fisherman and hunter, love to enjoy spending time in Michigan’s rugged northern forests. I love to explore my experience and help others who are interested in fishing and hunting.

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