When you begin tying flies there are plenty of phrases you will hear repeatedly and after a while they will become automatic. Your tools will become an extension of your arm and you won’t have to second guess.
But right now if you are beginning this may not be automatic yet, some of this may even be overwhelming and confusing.
With “Tying off” being one of those phrases.
You will continue to hear it all the time between the Fly tying videos, books, magazines, our tying sessions and everywhere else so it might help to become acquainted with the meaning.
What “tying off” essentially means (in a matter of fact- run on sentence- kind of way of putting it) is this:
“You’ve reached the point where you are finished using one material that’s on the hook but you can’t put another one on until you remove the excess material you have left or it’ll look like crap when it’s done.”
Photo Example: You can’t put any dubbing on to the pattern that you are following, until you have removed the rest of this turkey biot below:
Yet how would you do that?
By tying it off.
Now I’m Going to give you a step-by-step that will not apply to every single material (because as we will go over in a later post, it varies, for example: with a soft hackle you may put thread behind the Hackle and run it through to the front) but this will definitely apply to the great majority of them.
So..here we are.
Stalemate: It’s 3am.. You’re Sitting at your bench, super excited to whip up something with this new found love of fly tying you’ve acquired. yessss!
..then all of a sudden you realize you’re completely unsure on how to get rid of this mess left, without the whole thing coming undone.
..Look at those Hackle pliers dangling, dangerously close to unhooking and sabotaging all of your hard work.
(You can sleep well tonight knowing that sooner or later it will happen, it’s ok, not a big deal just put them back on and wrap it again.)
First thing is first: Observation is key.
And as you will see throughout the tutorial ..the back end of my turkey biot wrap has a gap..?! It’ll happen to you, it happens to us all, they still catch fish we just don’t always decide to post photos like this. We are our own worst critics.
Now that The introduction is over:
Where do we go from here?
You’re gonna Take those pliers with the material attached and hold it vertical with your right hand (reverse this if you are left handed)
Then with your left hand (reverse all of this if you are left handed) bring that threaded bobbin UP and over to the left side; by doing so it will begin to compress the material from underneath.
Now: You can do this next step below two ways at this point.
You can either carefullyyyy bring it up and over, but if you’ve been to our Fly tying group or saw me at a show you’ll hear me say “just toss it over”. Really, just toss it.
In which case you literally, just hold the Bobbin and drop it over the other side.
Do that twice in the same spot, while holding those pliers in the same position.
and Don’t move that hand that’s holding the hackle pliers! Yet…
Now you can! So here is what you do next. After throwing that bobbin over twice and it’s hanging there..
You’ll pick up the bobbin and hold it up in the air vertical (The exact same way you were just holding the hackle pliers)
and then go ahead and drop those hackle pliers.
As you can see below you have essentially resumed the same previous position with the tools, but now they are reversed.
Next: While leaving those hackle pliers hanging there you will Bring that thread around and up in FRONT of the hanging pliers and the material.
Then… REMOVE the pliers. (but don’t take my word for it on how many wraps before this step since I cant see what you’re tying and it’s all personal preference depending on what the material is. You may need more or less) so experiment and see what works for you .
At this point Depending on what you are tying and what the next material is you can take one more wrap, Cut off the excess material that you spent all this time trying to finally rid yourself of, take one more wrap anddd thats it!
You tied it off!!
This technique is used constantly, and sooner than you realize you wont even have to think it will just come automatically.
Now Continue with your pattern from here. have fun!