I have a habit (not what I would call a bad habit necessarily) of going a little overboard when it comes to tying flies. What happens is, I plan a fishing trip, be it a week in advance or a year in advance, and I start tying every conceivable pattern I can think of for that trip. Then I go on said trip, come home, and start tying every pattern I wish I would have had. This little quirk has left me with an insane number of flies, many of which have never left my home, much less been fished with. The plus side to this is with all of that practice I’ve gotten pretty good at making flies.
About a year ago I had a very brief moment where I believed I could be a pro fly tier. I went to a new fly shop that had opened with a box of my flies, showed them to the owner and without any hesitation he picked out four different patterns and told me he wanted a dozen of each. Easy as that.
I walked out of that shop king of the fly, knowing that it was my ticket into the glamorous world of the fly fishing industry. I was going to be one of the few lucky people in the world who had a job that they loved. The rest of my life was going to be spent making flies, talking flies, fishing flies. I would be a legend in fly fishing circles. Fisherman would drop my name like I was Lefty. Oh yea, my life was going to be fucking awesome…
And that feeling lasted about thirty minutes into tying the first dozen flies for that order. That’s when I realized I could tie flies fast or I could tie flies neat, but not both. I also found out that when it comes to making flies for other people I tend to become a touch obsessive. I like my personal flies to look good and to be durable, but if I tie up a half dozen of something for an upcoming trip I don’t worry if one or two flies have a slightly longer wing here or a shorter tail there. I know it doesn’t really matter to the fish. As long as it floats/swims/drifts properly a few minor aesthetic problems with a fly won’t make much of a difference.
I do not feel that way when it comes to making flies for other people. I want them to be perfect. They must be identical. There must be NO flaws. None.
For someone whose catch phrase would be “hell, I don’t know, seems good enough to me, whatever,” being obsessive about anything is kind of stressful.
So, like I said, the dream of tying flies professionally died pretty quick after my first order from that flyshop.
I do still occasionally sell flies from my shop on etsy. So far most of what I’ve sold have been to people that know next to nothing about fly fishing looking for presents for someone else. When I do sell a fly I have to ask what color, hook size, and weight they want and if I get an answer back at all it’s usually a great big “I don’t know.”
I did recently sell two orders that were worth a combined $25 or so. After shipping, materials and time I think I made a cool $5 profit. The funny part about it is that I’m totally cool with that. I knew after that first four dozen flies I sold that making money wasn’t what it was about for me. I just like tying flies and if other people are willing to buy them so they or someone else can go out and try to catch a fish, all the better…
Though, I would like a new reel.