Anyone who ties even a few flies has an immediate problem: What do I do with all this stuff? Get it organized to tie better and more efficiently.
If you are like me, you tie a ton of flies. I think I have almost hit the 1,000-fly mark, so I need to put them somewhere. Those bead storage boxes that they sell at craft stores (Michael’s, Joann’s, etc) are a cost effective and practical solution.
I have a few boxes that are for my smaller nymphs and dry flies, plus a few more that have longer compartments for my streamers and deer hair bugs. This lets you find the flies you need for each trip and lets you stockpile and replenish on-the-water boxes so you always have enough flies.
You don’t have to be a fly tier to use this, if you buy flies this also works great.
This relates to a previous post where I recommended that you cut the corners off your dubbing bags: ring them up.
I used zip ties for at least 2 years before I finally found binder rings which are 1000 times better. They are metal and open and close so you can add new packs or take off empty packs. I divide up my synthetics and naturals then subdivide them even further: rabbit, squirrel, muskrat, fox, ice, trilobal, senyo, and all the others.
I just hang them on my desk or throw them in a box by my desk. It has been the easiest and best storage trick I use.
Pencil cups, not for pencils. For feathers
This is the number one way to keep all your long-stemmed feathers like pheasant, lady amherst, ostrich, and peacock feathers in one place. Most of the time the different bird feathers are different length so you can find them fairly easily.
I used to pop them in a drawer or keep them in a bag, but this keeps them straight and fluffy and looks awesome on your bench.
Separate everything into its own category drawer: hair, feathers, fur, rabbit, synthetic body, natural, bucktail, arctic fox, saddle hackles, marabou, etc. It works great because I can find what I’m looking for in no time, plus I don’t lose materials. This helps figure out what you need or don’t so you don’t buy extra or don’t buy enough.
The Renzetti Tool Caddy is the best. For a while I used a pencil case that worked just fine until I spilled an entire bottle of head cement in it, ruining a bunch of my tools. Now with the tool caddy I don’t ever worry about any of my liquids spilling or losing my tools.
I have six bobbins, four pairs of scissors, three brushes, three hair packers, and so much more in there, so it was well worth it.
Hang your tails
This doesn’t just apply to tails, but to any big obnoxious material. I hang up my two fox tails, raccoon tail, and my saddle dry fly hackles. Buy those Command hooks and use medium copper wire scraps to hang them. It works well to reduce clutter and save space in drawers and on your desk. It also looks pretty cool just like the feather cup.
As a side note, buy a tail and you’ll never need to buy another again no matter how many flies you tie. I have barely put a dent into my tails. It would almost be worth it to split a tail with someone.
I like having a clear space to tie. It helps me tie better, stay organized, use my scraps, and just tie higher quality flies. Having plenty of space also keeps everything together: tools, flies, and materials.
Good luck with storage and if you have any questions come into the shop or call. In the meantime, happy tying.