Skip to main content
Home Fly Fishing

Fly Tyers Be Crazy

kayakerinkeywestkayakerinkeywest Posts: 671 Officer
I was thinking about adding the small selection of flies that I use to my web store.  A Gurgler, a Clouser, Permit Fly, and a  Big Tarpon fly.  But first, I needed to de-construct the fly to see what the costing would be plus to get a time estimation so I could pitch it to a couple of fly makers.  It would also make some good/different videos since I also sell Bucktails and could make some other one off videos.  Anyways, I bit the bullet and ordered the equipment.  $65 Griffin Rotating Odyssey Spider (old version), $35 Fly Tying tool kit, and the required fly components $52.    So basically $150 for a single fly.  Awesome.  The only good thing was that I was able to take it out and catch a couple of Tarpon on it and didn't even lose it.  Victory. 

I had no real interest in tying flies but have been designing my own jigheads and soft plastics for selling so that provided some interest.  After building a few of these flies, I am pretty much at the same position.  No real interest outside of using for replenishing my four flies that I use but if I do end up selling flies, it will strictly be re-selling.  Zero interest in production myself.  

All About The Bait Store -


  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,771 Captain
    I've been tying for many years (started in the mid-seventies and by '79 I was tying for shops and folks that knew what they wanted).  A few years ago I had to quit it - but may take it up again if I ever quit guiding.  Those of us that are or were commercial tyers have never made much money at all -but enjoyed making things with our hands.  I still make lures for anyone that wants quality work and products - but now it's strictly lures - leadheads and bucktail jigs... 

    You might want to re-think that commercial tying and instead concentrate on learning the craft and coming up with something better than the next guy.  if you do, folks will seek you out to have you make stuff for them.  At least that's the case with me back when I was doing production tying - and at times filling orders for three different shops at the same time while working as a full time fishing guide... 
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • kayakerinkeywestkayakerinkeywest Posts: 671 Officer
    Yea, I totally understand the not much money part.  With saltwater flies costing around $4-5 in a shop and $2-4 via the internet, then the cost of the material, shipping/marketing/handling costs, it doesn't leave much margin for the laborer or end seller.  Add to that, flies are not a high turnover item where people are going to buy 10-20 or more at a time, there is slim pickens for making money.  I am fortunate that the selling part is not the problem.  Acquiring enough product is the issue.  I wouldn't even consider adding this one single fly without at least 500 pieces to start and the ability to get a couple hundred more a month.  And that is just for one fly.  Finding someone who would be willing to give up their eye sight and carpel tunnel for less than minimum wage and do that continually will be difficult to fulfill.  

    I think you are right, the only real profitable route is the designer style flies.  But even then, it would need to be endorsed by a notable fishing personality that can increase the value and can increase volume.  The only good sellers point is that there are a lot of fly fisherman that are pretty price insensitive and are willing to spend a lot of money (the more it costs the better it is).  That route just wouldn't work for my customers as I harp on them to just get a basic bait that matches the hatch and then put all of your resources into learning when and where the fish are going to be and that will increase your odds way more than any Credit card could, outside of hiring a guide and having them do that part.
    All About The Bait Store -
  • CWFliesCWFlies StuartPosts: 160 Deckhand
    Kayakerinkeywest, I tie commercially myself. I can let you know the $2-4 flies online and $4-5 shop flies will have you pulling your hair out with how much time you'll put in for very little money. Focus on quality, uniqueness, and variety and you'll be able to charge double to triple those prices or more and people will buy from you. Get to know the prices of materials very well, and how long patterns take you to tie. 
    If done correctly saltwater flies should be bringing in anywhere between 2.5-4.5X min wage. 
    Be prepared for it to take a lot of your time. 
    If you have any other questions about commercial tying or tying in general DM me and I'd be happy to answer any questions.
    I just placed a large order for materials from a wholesaler with the idea being I could sell wholesale to other commercial tiers for 15-20% cheaper than what a company like Hareline can offer. I won't have nearly as many materials as they do to start but slowing building up my inventory. It  won't be ready for about 3 months but just throwing that out there.
Sign In or Register to comment.
Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

Preview This Month's Issue

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Florida Sportsman App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Florida Sportsman stories delivered right to your inbox.


Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Florida Sportsman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now