The Group

Fly tying requires what some refer to as "essential skills," and so I'm wondering, while working on a program to teach a beginning fly tying class, what skills are essential and can be taught in two, two hour classes?

The group at Corens Rod and Reel continues to grow and with that growth we now have tiers with a range of skills and there is a concern: how to help the beginners but challenge the more advanced tiers. This is a problem for all fly tying groups, whether they are tightly structured or a loosely knit band of feather wrappers.

This problem generated the idea of a class to accelerate the skill sets of beginners as well as teach fly tying to a novice. (It was that or putting in a wet bar for the advanced tiers.)

So I made a list based on observation, reading, and a number of years working with different groups and teaching a number of fly tying classes. Which was then filtered between Eric's twenty years plus of running a shop and working with beginners and my twenty years plus of tech writing. And so we decided to start up a fly tying class for beginners and/or novices.  

But not just a, "here's a woolly bugger and how to tie it," type of class. Instead it will focus on skill sets, i.e., setting up your vise, putting a hook in the jaws correctly, how to lay down a thread base, do a pinch, wrap different materials on a hook, proportions, how to do a soft loop, how to read a recipe and so on. I don't know as of yet what we will call the class, however I am certain between Eric and I that we can come up with a pithy title. And we have, Basic Skills for Beginners.

The class will be limited to six, run two Saturdays, and each session be two hours long. Cost will be fifty dollars, tools and vises will be available and all materials will be provided. In other words, all you have to do is show up.

At the end of the class, the goal is to put a recipe on the table, all the materials necessary to tie that pattern, an example of the fly and armed with their new skills, the beginner should be able to tie that fly with confidence.

Eric and I have confirmed the two dates: March 14th and March 21st starting at 9:00 am at Corens and running till 11:00.

If time allows, I will assemble a notebook, complete with photos and drawings and once it's been proofed, tested and refined, I'll post it. Of course if it's an abysmal failure...

But as a philosopher once said, "...anything worth doing is worth doing badly."

I have accumulated ideas from a number of notables, including Jay "Fishy" Fullum, Lefty Kreh, and others that I've met over the years. Add to that a collection of fly tying books from which I've stolen as many ideas as I can.

So now it's time for the shameless self-promotion part of this. If you know someone who is interested in learning to tie a fly but isn't sure whether they want to invest in tools, this is the perfect opportunity for them to see if they like tying before they spend any money getting started.  

Then of course, when they come to a Thursday night at Coren's, or to any tying group, or watch a You-Tube video, they'll be able to wrap feathers on a hook with the best of them.

At least my hope is that they will.

Here is the information: 
Basic Skills for Beginning Fly Tying
Location: Coren’s Rod and Reel
6001 N Nina Ave, Chicago, IL 60631
Phone: (773) 631-5202
Dates: March 14th and 21st
Times: 9:00 – 11:00
Cost: $50

I hope to see you there!