Do you tie your own flies? No, I don’t mean do you put flies in bondage; I mean do you tie your own flies to use in fly fishing? – Zoltan
I’m well aware of what you mean, as this is something I’ve had to wrestle with for some time. But no, I don’t tie my own flies. Many hardcore fly fishermen think you’re not a real fisherman if you don’t catch fish with flies that originate from your own vise. But I don’t tie for a very good reason: I like fly FISHing. Not fly crafts-making. If I wanted to screw around with crafts, I’d macramé or go to Build-A-Bear.
I am most grateful to fly tiers, of course, without whom fishing wouldn’t be possible, unless I wanted to revert to heathenism and use worms, or worse, Powerbait. But doing it myself leaves me cold. Maybe if you’re a less- than-committed fisherman, you have time to obsess over making sure you have just the right hot orange Giorgio Benecchi iridescent thread, or the Hareline Hare-Tron Dubbing, but to think that such fussiness marks you as a superior fisherman makes you sadly delusional. It’s kind of like assuming you’re a better fighter because you stitch your own boxing gloves. One skill has little or nothing to do with the other, unless you’re inventing something new which catches more fish than what’s already available. But they’ve already made the bead-head prince nymph, the parachute Adams, the Clouser minnow, the Fat Albert, and the woolly bugger, so who are you kidding? You probably won’t.
Many people justify the hours they while away at fly tying by saying it’s something they do in the “offseason,” when it’s cold. To which I respond: if you’re a truly committed fisherman, there is no such thing as an offseason. I fish when it’s hot, I fish when it’s cold. Sure, I catch fewer fish when it’s cold. Unless I go to my local sewage treatment plant, which has a warm water outflow where the fish like to stack. Some winter days, I do better there than I do during the loveliest warm-weather evening hatch. I’ve had 20-bass days at the poop plant with snow on the ground. No, it’s not very romantic. But it is aromatic: though the water comes out chemically-treated and probably cleaner than the rest of the river, the air is vaguely redolent of crap. But no more so than when I find myself downwind of someone who is insisting that I’m cheating myself by not tying my own flies. So it’s a fair tradeoff.