sexyloops fly tying school part 22 - fingertips

sexyloops fly tying school part 22 - fingertips

t.z. | Friday, 18 March 2016

Tiny … small things, tiny steps - getting them wrong is often the reason why “it” does not work out at the end. As in many matters life, this applies to fly-tying as well as to playing music and making guitars.

WTF you might ask - well - I see that connection, because I am crazy enough to draw such conclusions. Excuse me if I am wrong, but hey … I try to play music myself (percussion mostly) and flyfish and am very lucky that I have good friends who actually can play music. We often have discussions - specifically drummers - about very small movements. Funny enough the mechanics of drumming isn´t too different from flycasting.


One is the amazing drummer Jojo Mayer. You should really check him out, even if you do not play drums. It might change the way you think about your hands. Paul, and Jason especially might like this video very much - - the use of fingers and wrist. Jojo (an amazing magician as well by the way) also taught me how to eat with chopsticks back in 1985, but that´s another story involving my first ever sushi, eating with chopsticks and the oh so easy to grab, but never seen before piece of wasabi ….

Another amazing artist and craftsman, I am lucky to call a friend is Jörg Tandler. He makes wonderful guitars and is a very good player too. It always astonishes me how much attention to detail he puts in his work. But the time and effort pays off. His instruments are stunningly beautiful and sound amazing. Jörg is a flyfisher as well and can be found fishing small streams in his home area in Germany, chasing big browns in New Zealand or wiggling his to-hander for imaginary seatrout on the Danish coast.

Today I visited him in his workshop and after a good coffee or two we went fishing with his good friend Andreas and his two wonderful sons Jonas and Elias. It was a wonderful experience seeing the kids fish with their dad. Maybe a tiny step for the father, but I am sure the fishing experience they have  will stay in their minds forever. It was a great pleasure being around them. (see pictures below - I took a few shots which speak for themselves.)

So what does that have to do with fly tying - well, think about your basic moves. How do you use you fingers? I often see that beginner fly-tiers have a hard time placing material on to the hook where it should be.
Please ask yourself what you want to do before you start. Which parts of your body to you want to use and so on …. 
Placing material at it´s “tying in point” with high precision (better than halv a millimetre) isn´t all that easy. You will find it very difficult, should you try to use you whole arm for example. My advise is to rest your body in such a way that you can use your fingers and fingertips. 

How to hold and present material on to a hook

... a very tiny step which can make a big difference for your tying ...

Here´s the graphics to illustrate the little “trick” i use. Hold the material with you thumb and forefinger forming an O. Say that is your zero, or start point. By simply stretching your forefinger and thumb you can move the material by an inch (2,5 cm). Isn´t that amazing? This allows you to place your hand on the tying vice. All the weight of your arm is on the vice, you hand resting relaxed over the hook. Much less tension in you neck too.

note how the material holding hand is resting on the vice

fingertips1start positionthe match function as tying material dummy

end position with fingers stretched
the match function as tying material dummy


Fishing by Ehrenburg Castle

Jörg Tandler &
Jonas, Elias and their father Andreas 

the Ehrenburg above the valley

father & son

indian style fishing

turning rocks

proud fisherman with a beautiful fish soon to be returned

Jörg with an old Gibson he´s refurbishing for a customer

tandler workshop
wood turning into instruments

one of Jörgs signature models


picture by Al Pyke 

Thomas Züllich, or - “t.z.” as most call him - is a German flyfisher & flytier living in Norway. His flydressing is based on old traditions as well as very modern and innovative methods of creating flies. You can book Thomas for guided trips, flytying classes and presentations. He regularly gives speeches and demonstrations at fly fishing fairs. Thomas is member of the ProTeam at Partridge of Redditch as well as Regal Vises.

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