Basic Fly Tying

Like tenkara, tying tenkara flies is simple. Basic fly tying skills, tools and materials are all you need. The Tenkara Flies pages show the step by step instructions for tying nearly all the flies I use.

If you do not have a vise, you can still tie flies. Please see the Fly Tying with Clamps and Nippers article. Having a vise and some fly tying tools does make it easier and quicker, but it is not at all necessary. Flies tied "in hand" or with just clamps and nippers tend to be imperfect, disheveled, very "buggy" and surprisingly effective!

Fly Tying Hooks

For those who want to tie their own tenkara flies, I have tenkara hooks that to my knowledge are unavailable anywhere else in the US.

Owner Mainstream tenkara hook
Gamakatsu Amago keiryu hook

Varivas 2300 Ultra Midge hook, size 30

For some time I have been interested in fly fishing for micros. If you want to fish for small fish you need to use small flies. Whether you are interested in midge hooks for micros or for sipping tailwater trout, I have the Varivas Ultra Midge hooks in sizes 28 and 30.

Fly Tying With Clamps and Nippers

Although you will probably want to use a vise when tying at home, if you tie during a fishing trip or even at streamside, you probably will not have a vise with you. You can tie flies that are very effective (although perhaps not very neat) with just a pair of Dr. Slick Spring Creek Clamps and a pair of nippers.

Hook in vise, thread started behind hook eye.
Hackle tied in, ready to wrap.
Wrapping the thorax.
Finished fly in vise

It is not at all hard to do and takes only a little practice. Click here for more information and step-by-step instructions.

And really, if you tie for the fish rather than for the fisherman, and view a fly as a tool rather than a small piece of art, you might decide you don't actually need a vise anyway. Flies tied with clamps and nippers look pretty buggy - and they do catch fish.

TenkaraBum Home > Basic Fly Tying

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” - Benjamin Franklin

"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." -
Col. Robert Venables 1662

As age slows my pace, I will become more like the heron.


The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.

Beware of the Dogma

Currently processing orders that were received Sep 30.

Ever since I started fly fishing, I've wanted to fish beautiful flies. I respect and understand the bait and lure fishermen and even those who purchase flies, but it's not for me. I get more happiness when the catch starts at the tying bench with a piece of artistic creativity.

Phillip D, Montana