Well here it is, I have made plans to head out to Panguitch Lake in the morning to make my first serious attempt at ice fishing this year. Reports earlier this week tell of fishermen out on the ice, although they were talking about maybe 4 inches of ice...a little sketchy for me! That was Monday, and we have had bitter cold temperatures this week, so I'm hoping we will be looking at least 6 inches of ice by now. We will give it heck anyway!
So in preparation for the ice fishing season, and as many of you ladies are still searching out Christmas gifts for the guys, I am going to write a two-part post. I want to talk about fly tying kits, then I will demonstrate how to tie one of my favorite ice fishing jigs. So be sure to check back tomorrow to see the jig tying demonstration. Hopefully I will also have some success to report from our fishing trip tomorrow too!
I received my first fly tying kit when I was about 14 or 15 years old. It was a great kit to give me all the basic tools, hooks, and instruction manual to learn a few basic flies, and enough material for me to tie all I wanted for a few years. Since then I have only had to buy more feathers, threads, cement, and body materials. A basic fly tying kit will include most if not all the tools you will need, as well as a variety of materials that will enable you to tie almost any fly out there. Fly tying sounds hard, but after a few tries it is really easy to whip out a professional looking fly! Most of my friends that are into tying also started out at young ages. Most of these kits are now being sold with an instructional DVD, a great bonus to learning the art!
The rewards to tying your own flies are also worth the effort to learn. Nearly 15 years later, I can still recall the joy of catching my first trout off of a fly that I tied myself. I still feel a little pride today catching a fish on something I created myself. Also, you can be fishing with a fly that you made, which will only cost you a few pennies, versus a good fly from the shop that will run you between $1.50 to $3.00 a piece! Lets just say I was a little shocked last time I bought a dozen flies, and I have resolved to only tie and use my own from here on out.
There are tons of fly tying kits out there. As I entered "fly tying kits" in the search field on the Cabela's homepage (www.cabelas.com) I easily found several kits ranging in price from $30 to just over $100. In fact Cabelas has a great starter kit available at $29.99 (Cabela's Gunnison Fly Tying Kit). One word of caution as you search for a kit; there are complete kits (tools and materials) and then there are materials kits (only threads, feathers, and yarns, no tools). To tie properly you need the tools, especially the vice and the bobbin. Get the complete tool kit, it is worth it! Months or years down the road upgrading is simple, or maybe then would be the time for a materials kit to replenish what has been used. If you find that you love this art like most of us do, you can also upgrade your tools, and even purchase fly tying desktop organizers. You would not believe all the little extras available out there if you get hooked on fly tying. I feel like tying is to me what scrapbooking is to my wife. However, I feel like my hobby is much more inexpensive, but let's not go there right now. Love you babe!
You can find fly tying kits at almost every major sporting goods stores. In addition to Cabelas I have found them at Sportsman's Warehouse, Cal Ranch, and the sporting goods sections at most Ace hardware stores around the area. These stores will also carry tools and materials that can be purchased individually if you are needing something for a particular fly, or even jig heads for the jigs I will show you tomorrow. The item you will be purchasing most often is hooks. You will want to try your flies in different styles and shapes. These sporting goods stores also carry a very good selection of fly tying hooks.
Now, check back tomorrow as I will post details and pictures explaining how to tie a great ice fishing jig. Also, give me some feedback! If you would like to occasionally see me demonstrate tying specific flies here on the blog I would be more than happy to do so. Feel free to comment or contact me for more information about fly tying if you are interested.