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Discussion Starter #1
I am just starting to tie spey flies and I was looking around at materials and got a bit overwhelmed with choices as I don't know many patterns. I really enjoy looking and reading all these posts with the beautiful spey flies, and would like to tie and fish this style of fly. So, my question is what are some good starter materials? in regards to feathers, floss, hair, wings, etc. I'm guessing maribou would be a must have? but what else? thx for any input.
 

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Depends on what you mean by "spey" flies. Are you talking about the style of classic flies that were designed and used on the River Spey, often using drab colors with heron and spey cock hackles with mallard wings (ie- patterns from AE Knox's Autumns on the Spey, or variants/freestyles similar to)? Or are you asking about the more broad range of flies often associated with casting and fishing two handed/spey rods (ie- married wings, hair wings, feather wings, Dee flies, intruders, tube flies, etc.)?

Resources, patterns, and materials are going to depend on what style you're looking at. Give us a little more info, or photos of flies that you are trying to tie, and we can focus in recommendations, rather than just hitting you with pages worth of broad information
 

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If you are wanting to tie spey flies, as in flies from and inspired by the flies tied on the river Spey, then the starting materials can be pretty simple. I'd recommend picking a few patterns from a book (Shewey's or Veverka's are good modern books that have all you need to start) and getting the base materials there. For spey's you can get away fairly cheaply to start:
you need some dubbing (I use seal because I am canadian, but Angora goat is a pretty good substitute); some spey hackle(Starting out I'd get Ring neck rump and Schalappen because it is much more economical when you are learning the style); Bronze mallard, possibly goose shoulder(modern flies), or some kind of hackle neck(glasso style) for wings; some gold and silver tinsel; Floss (I like silk for non-flourescent colours, and then whatever looks good for flouro); and finally hooks ( Alec Jackson is good because it has decent proportions, especially as you are getting a feel for the style).

Oh and lots of patience.
 

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flytie09
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I was starting out not too long ago...so I know where you're coming from. Where the heck do I get started? Getting into Spey and Dee flies or Spey style flies is definitely a daunting adventure...Well..I can say if you get the itch...it can get rather expensive first off...so keep this in mind and in perspective. Don't be scared off by the difficulty, price of materials or lack of information......there are resources out there and you can start out with a moderate investment of materials. Namely the biggest resources are the tyers on here, the Spey and Dee Fly Books from John Shewey and Bob Veverka, Marty and Dec's Steelhead Fly Tying Art and Design and the many youtube videos out there.

I'll outline some basic material to at least get you started. You don't have to go whole hog and pick up one of everything......it's a few suggestions and alternatives. You can advance from these suggested with some of the more exotic materials:

Hooks - Blue Herons and Alec Jackson hooks are a good platform to get started. Stick with return eye hooks starting out. I use BH #2s and AJ 1.5s almost 90% of the time.
Hackle - Select schlappen in various colors, order a natural ringneck pheasant skin (also available as loose rump feathers or strung in various colors), packs of burnt goose is pretty inexpensive and is available in a wide array of colors, and Spey marabou (also in numerous color options. I'd stick with natural, black, purple and orange for now. Don't get caught up with heron or eared pheasant starting out. They're tough to find and expensive.
Collars - The select schlappen listed above, select mallard, teal or gadwall flank (in natural for starters), and select guinea (in natural color for now...but availble in wide array of colors) is a good starting point.
Tails - Pick up a full golden pheasant head (full crest and tippet). These are offered in a full array of colors. I'd suggest starting out with natural.
Body material - Synthetic floss is offered in selections of 20 various color readily available and pretty reasonably priced. Angora dubbing is my material of choice. It's easy to use and inexpensive. Pick up the two Wapsi angora dubbing dispensers available from shops everywhere....every color you'll need will be in there.
Rib - Flat tinsel in medium and large...comes in gold one side and silver on the other. A spool of small, medium and large silver and gold oval (French) tinsel and maybe a spool of large pearl holo tinsel.
Wing Material - Select bronze mallard feather pairs (lefts and rights), natural turkey tail pairs (lefts and rights), goose shoulder (blacks, white, purple and orange to start out), and I'll throw in peacock sword and eyes as it's fairly inexpensive. Some strung Chinese saddle hackles in black, orange and purple too is a great option for beautiful yet inexpensive wings. I would also highly suggest you pick up a good quality natural golden pheasant skin. These are inexpensive and loaded with feathers that can be used as collars, wings, tails and hackle. I can't imagine a world without the magical golden pheasant.
Thread - I use Veevus 8/0 or 10/0 black and white. Maybe some 8/0 UNI in orange or red.....but most flies you tie can can be done with white and black to start out.
Cheeks - There is no way around it....but jungle cock cape and Spey/Dee flies go hand in hand and you'll want to find a cape if you evolve in your tying. It's not 100% necessary...but little rivals this material. There is fake stuff......but the jury is out on it, at least in my mind. If you get a lesser grade cape.....you can repair the nails with some Sally Hansen's clear nail polish and make some fine fishing flies.
Toppings - Natural GP crest from full head as noted above. These are not common to many flies.....but are a nice addition when there.
Butts - Ostrich herl or peacock herl is a nice touch on several patterns. Black is fine for starting out. It can also be used for bodies as well and if you want to get extra fancy on some heads.

I'm sure there are others I forgot to mention. There are guys on here that can tie circles around me that have and will offer some other great insight.

If you have any question about this, any pattern you might see or a technique you're unsure of or stuck on....don't be afraid to post it here or PM me direct. We were all beginners once.

Good luck.
 

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Geeze flytie09, that was a very complete response!! Excellent advice for sure. Only comment I might offer is keep the materials sparse. RESIST DOING THAT EXTRA WRAP! I personally have realized that I enjoy tying tented wings the most, they just have certain swept back lines that look sexy, if a fly can look sexy. ZZ Top always comes to mind when I approve of one of my finished flies. And then I look at all of the other examples of different steelhead flies shown and find those great to my liking. youtube, books, even a class for instruction will help immensely. Enjoy the journey. Oh yeah, display your ties and ask for criticism. It will be invaluable, that is what I have found.
 

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I am just starting to tie spey flies and I was looking around at materials and got a bit overwhelmed with choices as I don't know many patterns. I really enjoy looking and reading all these posts with the beautiful spey flies, and would like to tie and fish this style of fly. So, my question is what are some good starter materials? in regards to feathers, floss, hair, wings, etc. I'm guessing maribou would be a must have? but what else? thx for any input.
Speys for days:
Wool yarns or roving, and/or silk flosses. Flat and round tinsels in medium, smal, gold and silver. Quality marabou is invaluable as hackle, but schllapen, pheasant rumps, and legal heron too, of course. Duck flanks and/or hen saddles. Bronze mallard, or goose shoulders and turkey tails.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Depends on what you mean by "spey" flies. Are you talking about the style of classic flies that were designed and used on the River Spey, often using drab colors with heron and spey cock hackles with mallard wings (ie- patterns from AE Knox's Autumns on the Spey, or variants/freestyles similar to)? Or are you asking about the more broad range of flies often associated with casting and fishing two handed/spey rods (ie- married wings, hair wings, feather wings, Dee flies, intruders, tube flies, etc.)?

Resources, patterns, and materials are going to depend on what style you're looking at. Give us a little more info, or photos of flies that you are trying to tie, and we can focus in recommendations, rather than just hitting you with pages worth of broad information
I guess I'm looking to tie spey flies in the classic sense as you posted. Single spey type hooks (Alec Jackson) with drab, earthy colors ( black,brown,green,) I just seen this post with this fly, which I gravitate towards,,, not sure of the materials needed to tie like minded flies? Especially the wing / tail and feather materials?
PS: Hope you don't mind me posting this pic Steelguy, hats off to you , nice fly tying!
370505
 
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