January 5, 2019Chris Wessel, Tying Flies

A Solution for the Fly Tyer with Limited Space

A Solution for the Fly Tyer with Limited Space – By Chris Wessel.

I have been tying flies since I was a teenager, but I have only really started getting serious about it in the last few years. I used to take out everything I needed to tie my own flies for the season and then pack it away again when I had a years’ worth tied. This approach served me well at the time, but when I started using tying as a daily stress reliever after work I was met with a problem: I wanted easy access to my tying gear, something that looked clean, and a system to keep our pets from getting at my materials.

We have three pets (two cats and one dog) that we love. The cats, unfortunately, love all my tying gear and one of them has even been caught chewing on a #4 Daiichi 2117 Hook.

Our house has limited free space partially due to its size, but mostly because my wife (Kristin) and I both have several hobbies. We have a little space in our basement where I could have set something up in. However, I would likely be there all evening and Kristin and I would rarely cross paths! I wanted to be in our living room which also serves as Kristin’s studio space for drawing. It is the best lit, most comfortable room in the house. Pairs perfectly with tying.

I was cruising the local classifieds one day and saw an ad for a used computer armoire being sold for $100.00. It hit me: this could solve my problem! I went and picked it up for $80.00 (I like to haggle a bit) and brought it home.

The first thing I did was add castors (wheels) to the bottom so it could easily be moved around to vacuum underneath or even move it from room to room. I then added stick-on hooks for large materials such as rooster saddles and hen necks. The bottom had enough space to add in plastic drawers for more material. My tying light sits perfectly on top of the armoire and provides suitable lighting for my needs. I added a couple of spool and tool holders to the main area as well. One of the best features is the keyboard shelf that slides in and out. I have my vise attached to it, and when it is pulled out for a tying session it has enough room on it to accommodate the materials for the current pattern I’m tying. When you are done tying for the day you slide the keyboard shelf back in and close the armoire doors, resulting in a clean look. Not to mention the money you save avoiding vet bills for the surgical removal of hooks and tinsel from your cat …WIN!!

So, for any of you tyers with an apartment or limited space in your home, consider this option to maximize your tying area. I have recently added a plastic storage unit on wheels next to my armoire to accommodate my addiction: weekly orders of new materials! (I did well without it for the first few years).

Chris is a fly fishing guide in Western Newfoundland, fishing for Atlantic Salmon and wild Brook Trout.

Chris’s current favourite Hook And Vice cap is the Fishing Bear Pro Model.

Photos by Kristin Roks Photography