Stillwater Fly Tying – Just For Starters by Hywel Morgan

As you'd suspect from the title, this DVD shows you the basics of fly-tying and will provide a good grounding for anyone wishing to take up the hobby. As such, I can recommend it heartily.

Hywel Morgan presents a program about fly fishing on Sky, and his style is relaxed as well as being informative; a prerequisite on this sort of DVD. The wrong presenter could easily have made the subject tedious to the point where it would not be worth watching (I have a few angling related DVD's that, once viewed, are best used as coasters….). That is not something that can be said of Mr Morgan however.

Starting off with a brief description of various materials and some of the tools used Hywel Morgan quickly goes on to tying the flies themselves, taking you through the complete manufacture of eight different flies in turn and each time demonstrating a different technique – starting the foundation thread (base layer), then tying on the tails, bodies, ribbing, hackles, wings and eyes or boobies (you can see why they are called boobies when you watch the DVD). After making some of the flies, we get a small clip of him fishing with it.

Stillwater Fly TyingThe flies he makes are the Peacock Spider, Cat's Whiskers, Diawl Bach (Little Devil), Barbecue Buzzer, Gold Head Damsel, Tequila Boobie, Copper Bead Hare's Ear, and the Shuttlecock. With each of these patterns a new material is utilised and techniques shown that will stand you in good stead when you move on to other patterns. Personally I would have liked to have seen a few other materials and techniques demonstrated. For example, we are shown on two occasions how to attach marabou feathers to form the tail and once how to make marabou wings, but at no time does he show matched wings made from primary wing-feather fibres, an important technique for the making of many flies both wet and dry.

I only have three other (minor) problems….

He mentions whilst making one of the flies that when they suffer a bit of damage, the materials will start to unravel (at which point you will need to change flies), but this can be overcome to an extent by coating the foundation thread with clear varnish. When dried, it will help keep the materials in place and therefore produce a stronger fly. Mr Morgan however neglects to do this on each of the flies he makes.

I was always told to keep the point of the hook hidden by the jaws of the vice to prevent snagging the tying thread and possibly snapping it. Although he mentions the dangers of snagging the tying thread, he always has the hook point sticking out by quite a margin. I would advise anyone taking up fly tying after watching this DVD to keep the point well hidden.

When showing the tools he uses, it quickly becomes apparent to any seasoned fly tyer that he does not use a dubbing needle (imagine a large sewing needle with a handle). These are primarily meant for teasing out the fur on those flies using hares ear dubbing (the fur from inside the ear), but also have many other uses in the manufacture of a fly.

Reading the above, it might sound like I'm complaining about the method he uses, but that would not be a fair assumption. These are minor quibbles and should not detract from the rest of the DVD or put anyone off buying it. We each have our own way of doing things, and no doubt you will soon adapt his method to suit your own style.

This is a very good dvd and, as I said at the start, I can recommend it heartily. Overall I will award 8/10, if he'd demonstrated the making of matched wings, it would have been higher.

Normal retail price appears to be £9.99

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