Published Jan 16. 2019 - 5 years ago
Updated or edited Jan 19. 2019

Tying better flies

Fabien Moulin aims to tie some really good looking flies, and ponders a bit about how to improve as a fly tyer.

Jock Scott wet fly
Green Highlander wet fly
Classics as wets
Fabien Moulin

I'm very concerned that my flies have the right proportions and are tied technically correct!

Some of the flies I tie are not necessarily for fishing, but tied for the technique, to get it one step closer to the final product. A bit of trial and error.
These techniques can later be used later in an original pattern with specific materials. There is a lot of opportunities, patterns, techniques and materials that I would like to learn to master.

Fabien Moulin tying
Fabien Moulin tying
Fabien Moulin

Fabien Moulin

By Martin Joergensen
I became virtual friends with Fabien on Facebook, and was immediately taken by his very beautiful and perfectly tied flies. I asked Fabien to write a bit about his tying philosophy and present some of his flies.
You can find Fabien on Facebook here and on Instagram.
Fabien also has a web site, mostly in Norwegian, and he has published an Android app called Fiskeimarka, featuring quite a few of his flies.

A complete fly tyer

I'm very interested in becoming a complete fly tyer. That is to be able to tie wet flies, dries, nymphs... To be able to achieve this, I must practice, read and learn about many different types of flies.
I have found that there is a relationship between the different patterns. Often I am surprised that on a dry fly I use a technique that I usually tie on a wet fly.

As long as I live

I think it's very exiting to share experiences, tips and tricks with others. Any fly tyer can certainly do something, which I can't, and in this way you learn and become better. I am convinced that I will learn as long as I live!
As a fly tier you develop all the time. It happens very often that I tie a fly, take pictures of it - and a week later I can't post it, because I'm dissatisfied with something.

Ibis and White
Colonel Fuller
Dr. Burke
High Priestess
Wet flies
Fabien Moulin

When I tie flies and post on some social media, I get different reactions. You have to be aware that not everyone likes the way you tie or present the flies. It's something that doesn't worry me. People who don't want to see my flies, can just scroll past them. On the other hand you find the comments that are almost always encouraging and constructive. This is a great opportunity to learn even more and communicate with better fly tyers. It is when you ask, and are not afraid to make a fool of yourself, that you learn the most. Yes, there is always someone who is better than you!

Another thing is all the materials, new and old. Of course you need a fair selection. In order to be able to tie a little of everything it is also important to work, practice and try out patterns you really didn't intend to tie. It's just the way I feel that I get closer to becoming a better fly tyer.
"The next fly gets better".

I read this when I began to tie flies, and I quote Veniard now: "When you face a challenge with a technique, practice as long as you can! After that you can continue to the next challenge”.
This has been - and is - the way I tie flies.

Blue Charm
Fabien Moulin


To all those who want to tie flies, but aren't sure if it's something for them:

Europea 12
Europea 12
Fabien Moulin

You must have some tools and materials as well as an interest. The question is: how much?
After that it's patience, repetition, exercise.
I started with a beginner's package that my wife had bought for me. It was possible to tie quite a few types of flies with the included materials. Certainly not all patterns with the right color and exactly the material that is listed with the original pattern, but more than enough to learn techniques and try various flies.
Many are opposed to fly tying kits, and I understand that, if you can already tie a little and know exactly what kind of flies you want to tie. But for someone who wants to try if the new hobby is something worth pursuing, it's a good way to start. You can see if it's dry flies, salmon flies, nymphs or... that you like to tie, and then take the next step and buy materials for exactly this purpose.


The tools are an important part of tying flies. For me there are five important tools. Not that the others are not important, but less so.

  1. The bobbin holder is one of them, because it's always you in your hand and you always use it.
  2. Scissors, one curved pair, one fine and pointed pair, one coarser all-round pair and one for wire.
  3. The vise. I depends on what you tie and how much. And the price. A rotary vise is recommended for anyone who ties a fair number of flies. I tied for 2 years with the vise that came in the beginner's kit. Then it was worn down and destroyed, and I had to buy a new one.
  4. Hackle pliers. There are many to choose from! You will get far one that has a firm grip and rotates.
  5. Tweezers and a needle are a must for me, and not that expensive.

If I were to invest in tools, these were the ones I would spend money on. With other tools like whip finishers, hair stackers, the simplest are often the best.

Marston's Fancy
Grey Monkey
More wet flies
Fabien Moulin

Buying things

Hackle is something I spend some money on. It pays to wait a little and buy a good saddle or neck. If you tie dry flies, this is an important part of that type of flies.
Books and the like are also a good investment. You can find a lot of information online, but sometimes it is nice to read stories behind a technique or a pattern. You get a better understanding of how things are.
You can't buy everything at once, but little by little.

Daniel's Coachman
Caddis dry fly
Klinkhåmer variant
Madame X Varuiant
Dry flies
Fabien Moulin

What I like to tie

The answer is not that simple, but I must admit that I like classic, winged wet flies. The reason is that I have to use everything I can to get a good and proper fly. The most important thing is to vary between dry flies, nymphs, wet flies ... because then you never get tired of tying, and can tie the next flies with joy. The joy, desire and interest of doing your best on each fly must always be present.
There are some patterns I can't do 100%, and after having tied a lot of them, I still don't get them. Streaking Caddis is one of them. It still doesn't look like I want it to!

Silver Doctor wet fly
Fabien Moulin

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