Does Fly Tying Save Money?

Catching your first fish on the fly is always amazing. It gives an entirely new level of satisfaction and a lot of fun, but the real question is, should you tie your flies? Does it save money?

Yes, it saves money in the long run, but the math isn’t too simplistic.

Before I shed more light on it, you must understand, why we tie and what’s the difference between tying flies and buying flies.

Comprehending these basic things and perceiving the real benefits behind them will help you in making an informed decision, furthermore, you will learn why some people love to tie their flies and recommend it to others.

Buying Flies VS Tying Flies

Do you know 6.1 million U.S. citizens relish fly fishing?

It has become one of the most pleasurable leisure activities and sports.

It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or a professional-level fly fisherman. There is always one primary goal – to catch more fish.

However, the thing that confuses them the most is to understand the difference between buying flies and trying flies. Since, these days, more and more fly fishermen are tying their flies and recommending it to the beginner and other fishermen as well.

If you are also in this baffling situation, allow us to reveal the differences between both of them.

First, let’s talk about ‘Buying flies’; it is expensive, without a doubt.

Buying flies option is better for those who are NOT seasonal fishermen and only want to test and enjoy this as a hobby, occasionally.

Since fly fishing is more like an art.

You use an artificial fly to fool fish into biting. The thing that makes it unique is you can catch a specific kind of fish by using a specific type of artificial fly. For example, if you are more interested in the trout, they are more interested in the flies than lures.

Spin fishing makes it easier for catching a wide variety of fish, therefore, it is considered easier too. Though fly fishing is tough according to the fishermen, once you have command on it, the ratio of catching fish can increase drastically. Moreover, you will be able to catch bigger fishes as well.

On the other hand, tying flies has its benefits; there are a lot of reasons why people prefer tying flies.

It is inexpensive and also allows them to catch specific kinds of fish. Besides, they can customize their flies, try new materials, and play with many different patterns.

The only issue is it requires an upfront investment.

You need to invest in the tools and materials right away. That’s why tying flies is for those who are professional or immensely interested in the fly fishing hobby.

How Does It Save Money

It saves money, but the only drawback is the investment in tools.

According to experts, the initial investment in tools for fly tying can likely reach $140. You will need many things, such as:

  • Saddle Hackle ($10)
  • Spools of Thread ($9)
  • Feathers ($8)
  • Peacock Herl ($12)
  • Scissor ($14)
  • Whip Finisher ($7)
  • Fly Tying Vise ($37)
  • Bobbin ($11)
  • Bodkin Needle ($5)
  • Hackle Pliers ($11)

These are some basic things you need for tying your fly. Besides, if you are buying the equipment for the first time, you would need a fly rod and reel which are more expensive.

The above list represents “Needs”, not wants.

It is pertinent to have them to get started with tying flies. But the real question is what is the cost-benefit of tying over buying.

In reality, you won’t get any benefit until you tie a high volume of flies.

That’s why it would be correct to say that most tyers will likely never save money if they aren’t professional and seasonal fishermen. In other words, it all depends on how much you fish. Usually, the seasonal fishermen make up the cost of purchasing equipment in the first season.

Recent statistics show that the average cost of a store-bought fly is around $3, whereas if you are tying your flies with the above equipment it will cost you $3 for the first 100 or so flies.

Isn’t it great?

The price per fly will drop even more once you have all the required tools and accessories.

You will start to see a financial advantage within a few months.

How Do I Learn It?

I know it would be tough to perceive how the entire fly fishing equipment works, particularly if it is your utterly first time and you don’t know anything about it.

The best thing you can do is to sign-up for a fly-tying class.

Typically, the flying tying classes charge around $100 for two classes.

In these classes, they teach you about tools and materials. They will go over all the basics you will need to know to move forward.

Some classes offer guided tours and trips also to polish your fly tying skills even more. Some fly tying classes teach you about some special techniques too which you can use for the rest of your tying career and catch more fish.

If you don’t have money to pay for the fly tying class, watch the fly-tying video. There are plenty of videos and tutorials on YouTube that can assist you in tying the fly.

You can also watch product-review videos for buying the equipment online.

Some people buy books for learning fly tying, however, in our opinion, books have limited value. They won’t teach you anything except revealing the history of fly tying. It is better to watch someone tying a fly to make sense of it.


All in all, it is worth to tie your flies. Most people think tying your flies is all about saving money, but the real benefit of fly tying is becoming a better fly fisher.

The satisfaction of catching fish on flies you created is always amazing. It boosts your confidence and compels you to try different techniques too, which eventually turns you into an expert, seasonal fisherman.

I encourage you to pick up this fly tying hobby; you will certainly find it rewarding.

So, happy tying!!!