Storage Organization for Fly Tying

This year I was determined to get back to tying my own flies for Puget Sound fishing – for both searun cutthroat trout and Coho salmon.

In particular, I wanted to expand beyond variations of Clouser minnows. And that meant buying more tying materials, including feathers and hairs from various animals; synthetics; more threads and eyes; and flash.

It became clear early on that using a single drawer of my file cabinet wasn’t going to work.

File Cabinet

I had an Oasis Lazy Susan caddy for my threads, bobbins, and scissors so I was covered there.

Oasis Caddy

But it was organizing the various naturals and synthetics that was going to be a problem. It’s critical when one doesn’t have a dedicated tying room or area to have organized storage; having things scattered on tables or the floor won’t work – particularly when one has dogs that are intrigued by smells of animal fur or hair.

In my case, half of my corner desk is for my computer and home office functions; the other half is my tying area demarcated by my Hareline Mega Tying Mat.

I recalled seeing various plastic drawers at Office Depot and a visit there led me to the six-drawer cabinet I purchased.

Plastic Drawers

The six drawers allowed me to get things organized with a drawer for hooks and eyes; one for flash material, one for synthetic body material; one for various animal hairs, one just to store the bucktails; and one drawer for miscellaneous odds and ends.

I was set.

And the organization seems to work for the first few flies I’ve tied. I’m guessing if I got motivated to try tying steelhead flies I could use the existing storage I have.

But it’s clear if I was tying for trout in the Yakima River or the streams of the Rockies, fly tying could include dry flies, nymphs, and streamers, and I’m not sure I have enough storage for that. And that doesn’t include the time needed to tie the various insect imitations on much smaller hooks.

So I think I’ll just tie flies for local waters and buy flies as needed for everywhere else.

Oasis “Lazy Susan” Fly Tying Organizer

Oasis Lazy Susan

After I took an introductory class on fly tying at the Gig Harbor Fly Shop, purchasing fly tying materials and tools became the obsession. It became almost immediately clear there would be a need to find someplace to put “stuff”, to borrow the metaphor from George Carlin’s brilliant comic routine.

The material was easy – I have a few organizer plastic boxes I got at Target. In them go the feathers, hair, flash, eyes, and hooks. Easily stacked, translucent, and able to be stored in a drawer.

The bigger issue was tools. I didn’t want to have to put everything in a box or bag and have to pull everything each time it was time to tie. In addition, I thought keeping the tools and vise on display would serve as a reminder to get tying; and would make my desk look like a little bit of a fly shop.

After seeing what was available, I decided on Oasis Fly Tying Benches’ The Lazy Susan. Compact (8 inches by 8 inches by 9 inches tall), with room for a lot of things in little bit of space, the small bench is perfect for someone who needs a small footprint on a desk or work area.
This is a two-layer platform – the top for tools, the bottom for spools and other materials. The platform attaches to the base via a metal ball bearing roller, making rotation of the unit very smooth and easy. I like that feature.

The top platform has 24 holes for tool storage – scissors, bobbins, bodkins, bobbin threaders, and anything else. My only criticism is I wish a few of the holes were a bit larger for bigger scissors or forceps, but it’s only a small nit.

The bottom layer has 12 brass rods (that you install yourself – so you have to be a bit careful to get them all at the same height) making space for 24 spools of thread or other material. There are large holes around the lower layer, providing room for glues, hair stackers, etc. The only problem I’ve found so far is that my Zap-a-Gap bottle is too large for the medium holes and too small for the large holes, so it tends to fall over if I spin the unit.

In addition, there is a hook to hang hackle pliers and a foam insert for bodkins. And there is a magnetic patch on the lower layer for hooks and razors.

For me, it’s about perfect.

You can find it at a number of online retailers or directly from Oasis. I’ve found prices vary a bit, but it’s basically around $90. You can order it from Oasis here.