Have these words ever passed your lips? “But honey, I will save a lot of money if I start tying my own flies!” That is where some of us started out. Saving money by tying flies is possible in theory with some self discipline and constraint. Until it isn’t. When you finally admit that you have no impulse control when it comes to your tying addiction, you will need to give some serious thought to material storage.
Those that are just getting started tying their own flies can probably put all of their tools and materials in a shoe box. I can still vaguely recall those days. Now I need an entire room, plus a little more in my basement to keep everything that I have. But I don’t have a problem. Really I don’t. And if my wife asks about my tying material collection, I assure her that my collection is very normal while doing it with a straight face if possible.
I like to keep all of my tying materials neatly stored in my tying desk and a couple other cabinets. I keep materials that I use the most in my desk. Most of the materials are kept in their original packages so they are appropriately labeled and similar materials are grouped together in larger plastic bags. My tying thread and wire are kept in smaller drawers and sorted by brand and size. Likewise, hooks are sorted by style and size.
If you don’t have a dedicated space like I do for your fly tying, plastic totes work very well to keep your materials organized. Another option if you
don’t tie a lot of different fly patterns is to organize your materials by what is needed to tie a particular pattern. You could keep a plastic tote that has just the materials needed to tie a Parachute Adams or an Elk Hair Caddis.
One thing you need to pay very close attention to is keeping bugs out of your tying materials. Materials that you purchase from your local fly shop are going to be clean and bug-free. If a friend gives you a beautiful full pheasant or wood duck skin that they harvested, be very careful! The best
thing to do if you have great friends like that is put those donations right into your freezer. After a couple of days, take them out and let them thaw.
Gently wash and dry them. When they are dry, put them in your microwave for about 10 seconds. After that, they should be safe to keep with your
other tying materials.
Wherever your fly-tying journey takes you, try not to become like me!