Welcome to Copper Fly - Beginners Instruction to tying flies


Can you say "OBSESSION"?

by ArkieFlyGuy


I can honestly say that those “kid in a candy store” feelings are back. Since taking up fly tying, every time I receive a new catalog with tying materials in the mail, fond memories of the Sears Christmas Wish Book return. Walking into fly shops, I feel just like I did walking into Ben Franklin’s Five and Dime with my mom. I knew then just where the toy section was and couldn’t wait to see what was new. Now, I know just where they keep the chenille and tinsel and I just can’t wait to see what is new.

A new pattern online, a tip from a fly tying buddy, or seeing a bug I think I can imitate use to trigger an online journey to the “shopping cart” and “check out” section of Cabela’s, E-flytyer.com, or any of the 84 fly tying material supplier websites I have in my “bookmarks.” But “budgetary constraints” have forced me to hold off on ordering any more fly tying materials from eBay or any of the online or catalog fly shops. I’m no longer allowed to enter fly shops with any cash, blank checks, or credit cards.

Fortunately, I have a very frugal friend who reminded me, while splitting a Great Value Ramen Noodle lunch, to consider alternatives to satisfy my fly tying needs. “That stuff looks just like dog hair!” made me laugh, but then I took a look at the carpet on my living room floor. AJ and Zig (my fiancé’s attack guard Yorkies) are shedding and George (the house cat that spends all day keeping the foot of my bed warmed up for me) leaves some hair at times. After a daunting session of picking up some of the pet hair, I found myself thinking of the dubbing I could make from it.

Now, I find myself following the abundant gray squirrels in my backyard around with scissors, saving the lint from the filter in the dryer, emptying the vacuum cleaner into the trash sifting out any potential materials. I’ve taken cigarette butts from ash trays to get the filter material to use as dubbing and tails. Mops, dusters, costume jewelry, are no longer safe just lying around the house.

I was walking around the park this summer and found myself picking up feathers from the geese and ducks that hang out there. I found a couple of goose feathers and couldn’t wait to get home and tie them up in a fly.

I was staying in a motel on business a few weeks ago and happened to pass the maid’s cart in the hallway. There was an apparatus that I’m sure is used to dust or clean, but the fluffy material coming off it was just to “fishy” to pass up.

Yard sales and flea markets are hot spots for finding Sally Hansen’s products, Christmas tree tinsel, and good ol’ thread in various colors, sizes, and types.

Old electrical extension cords are not thrown out at my house. The outer covering makes a nice back for a stonefly. The inner insulation materials may have some tinsel or cord materials. And of course the copper wire for ribbing is great!

I offered a beer to a homeless man in exchange for a fleece lined jacket he had found in the trash in an alley downtown.

A lady at church almost accused me of lewd behavior until she realized it was the fuzzy yarn boa she had draped over her shoulders down her chest that I had lust in my heart for.

I found Nirvana during a Christmas party at a friend’s new house when I realized the multi-colored carpeting throughout the house was Antron. After spending 30 minutes on my knees in all four bedrooms and the den with my pocket knife and a Ziploc bag, I think my friend decided not to invite me to the New Year’s Eve party.

I’ve taken more interest in hunting than I did pre-fly-tying. I use to hunt a few days a year for deer just to get away. Now I sit for days in sub-freezing temperatures 16 feet in the air in a deer stand, brave the freezing waters of flooded farmland and timber, walk hours in brush and bramble, not so much for the meat or sport, but for the chance at deer hair, duck biots, hare’s masks, squirrel tails, beaver fur, pheasant tails, and the feathers of most any edible fowl.

I can now make hooks from leftover chicken bones, safety pins, small flint rocks, and those strips of metal in wiper blades. My neighbor’s wind chimes were way too loud and the line holding the tubes at the top were just the right size for ribbing scuds. And they make some pretty nice leaders, too.

Hey, if MacGyver can do it, why can’t I?


Born and raised in the Ozarks of Arkansas, Terry Beeson has been fishing all his life. He was introduced to the world of fly fishing in 2001 and has become permanently attached to the sport. His love of nature and the outdoors is evident from the list of his passions - hunting, fishing, camping, guitar, golf, woodworking, and his latest passion, fly tying. Still living in Arkansas, Terry is an active member in the North East Arkansas Fly Fishers club in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Visit Terry's website here.