Tying Flies – The Only Books You Will Ever Need

Guest Blogger: Clay Cunningham, Cody, WY, retired National Park Superintendent

the fly tier's Benchside referenceI started learning how to tie flies when I was twelve years old in 1948. Obviously, my early production of wet flies, Quill Gordon’s, Hendrickson’s, Mickey Finn streamers, and crude nymph imitations were pretty ugly. Some might say my flies are still ugly. My fly tying speed is slow and my skill is average. I tie flies slowly and methodically. Tying flies for me is a pleasurable hobby rather than a rush to produce quantity.  During my early years I collected most of my fly tying materials from animals that I and others hunted or trapped. My first fly tying vise in 1948 was $3.95 from Herter’s catalog where I also bought a lot of fly tying materials, a bow, arrow making supplies, trapping supplies, reloading equipment and even their U9 rifle in .30-06 caliber during their prime business years from 1948-1968.  I used the Herter’s fly tying vise from 1948 to 1994, when I bought one of the popular rotary vises and gave my fully functional Herter’s vise to a young beginning fly tier. But, this is about the only books you will ever need to become a good fly tier.

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