7 Tips For Starting A Fly Tying Class
By Greg LaBonte

So, you’ve been fly fishing and tying for a while now and you want to pass on your knowledge. What good is knowledge if not shared, right? I get it, it’s why I started Maine Fly Guys. A great way to pass on knowledge is to start a fly-tying class for the youngsters. After teaching several different classes with varying difficulties, I’ve found myself wishing I knew these 7 tips before starting! Just as you want to share your knowledge, I wish to share mine.


1.     Get a good camera set up

Doesn’t matter what kind or how you do it, you want to have a nice camera set up that is attached to a big tv. See flies are small. If you have a group of 4-10 people, even if they are seated close to you, it’s unlikely they’ll see the detail necessary to learn the material effectively. Get a good camera and hook it up to a tv! Invest in this tip, it’s my #1 tip for a reason. If the learners can’t learn properly, what’s the point?

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  1. 2.  Pick 1 fly per class

A lot of people try to do 2 or 3 flies per class. Depending on the length of time, this may be fine, but if you have 1-2hrs blocked off, stick with 1 fly. If it’s a one-off class, just do something easy and practical (e.g. Woolly Bugger). If you’re creating a series of classes, then pick 1 fly each class that touches on a different area of fly fishing (e.g. dry fly, wet fly, streamer, salt water).



  1. 3. Build On Skills

This only applies to series – don’t introduce new skills each time, build on the skills learned previously. Don’t teach them in class 1 how to wrap hackle then neglect that skill moving forward. Building on top of learned skills and reinforcing them will help the learner create better flies and remember learned information over a longer period of time



  1. 4. Advertise The Class

Do not just rely on word of mouth. You need to really partner up with folks and advertise the helk out of the class! Tying classes are typically smaller in size, but can get larger with proper advertisement. Creating advertisements is one of the best ways to ensure the class will be successful year after year!



  1. 5. Stay Local

I always stay local with materials, vises, tiers, etc. Stay as local as possible. I have reached out to HMH vises more times than I care to count to use spare vises for classes. Each time they’ve come through, in return they get a small bit of exposure. Local communities helping local communities, it’s what our civilization is built on. Stay local and you’ll foster intercommunity relationships that could last a lifetime!



  1. 6. Get Different Perspectives

Again, if doing a series of classes, reach out to different fly tiers. I’m sure you’re the GOAT of fly tying, but each individual has a unique skill set and brings something unique to the table. Each time I hear Nate Wight talk about fly tying or see a Scotty Biron tutorial, I usually learn something new. So reach out, different perspectives create more wholistic learners and that’s really what we are trying to do here, create well rounded fly tiers.

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7. Build In Feedback

How do you know your learners are learning? Consider building into the end of the program an exercise such as sticky points. Where you may hand out a piece of paper or an electronic survey asking, where was the stickiest point of today’s lesson? Learner feedback is incredibly valuable when improving classes. Without data on learner experience, how can you really improve? So gain some feedback, the more data you have, the better your classes will be!

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