A year ago I got a small fly tying kit as a 2012 Christmas gift. That should have been the impetus to take a class. But other events, the decision to move to Gig Harbor, and all that came after that put fly tying off in favor of moving and fly-fishing.
So I signed up late last year when the Gig Harbor Fly Shop scheduled its classes for the first weekend of January. Blake Merwin, the shop owner, taught the class. Originally we were going to tie three trout patterns, but the student interest was on flies for the local saltwater so we first tied a woolly bugger, the moved to a Clouser Minnow, and finished up with a small trout fly.
What I found fascinating was how easy it was to begin well and then start making mistakes, which are the inevitable costs of learning. As it most things there were three reasons for mistakes: not knowing what I was doing, struggling to keep up through thread breaks or losing tension on the fixed vise that came with the kit; and finally lack of muscle memory.
With all that, it was still an intriguing and relaxing three hours.
One thing Blake told us was that even for him each new pattern needed to be tied at least six times before he felt as if he had it down. That was a good bit of perspective.
And as we were wrapping Blake told us we weren’t the worst class he ever had – not by a long shot. Good – may as well be in the middle where most people start.
As the class concluded, I ran over to the area of the vises and made my first purchase: a new Renzetti Saltwater Traveler 2300. I knew I was going to learn to like tying and a new vise was the place to start.