Tips for Taking Your Tying Stuff on a Trip

By Mike Hogue


Fly Tyers are the worst sort of pack rats. We all save everything and collect way to much stuff. If I had any time I'd follow my own advise and set up just a travel kit. Some how taking a lot of junk on vacation, gives me the warm fuzzies. In the back of my mind, I am thinking well since I am away from the TV and I don't have anything to do , I'll just take along a whole bunch of junk and I'll be ready to make anything I need. Yeah right. Like I am going to see 44" pike in Arkansas or need foam heads to make 50 dozen bass bugs.

The heck of it is some of my best ideas have arisen from trips I've taken, seeing stuff and things which come to me on a whim. Several flies just seemed to be the right thing when I was fishing and I've developed some of my best flies via a Coleman lantern and a camp fire. While the quality of some of these ideas isn't exactly the best, the inspiration is always top notch. Lots of time I need to see what the fish eat, how they behave and react. Travel made flies can be tested on the spot, fine tuned and refined to fit the conditions and surroundings.

Here's some tips which help me to be a little more organized.

Size Hackle and Sack It Up

Instead of hauling necks and saddles around make up little travel packets of hackle.........size each one. For ex I pull 3-4 feathers off my Hoffmans, size them and put them in a bag. Then I don't have to look around for stuff. I also make up small pack of woodduck., partridge, grouse ect. Small packets take up less space then a whole neck or saddle. Chances are you won't need to make 4 dozen dries anyway.

Make up sets of Materials for a Specific Flies


Group Types of Materials Together

Poul Jorgenson told me he puts together stuff for six patterns for demos and that's all he takes. He puts each pack together with all of the stuff to make that one fly........ So if you demonstrate just take the items to make the one pattern in one packet. If you plan on fishing a certain hatch, try making a set of materials just for that hatch and group those materials together.

I also group stuff in gallon bags. All of the tinsels.....tubing is one bag. My crystal flash and flashabous are in one bag. Deer hair in a bag ect. Then just grab the whole bag.

Get some Plastic Connectors


Get some plastic cable connecters from the hardware store. These have a tab and zip You slide the pointed end in the tab, tug and and it snugs down & locks. Clip the tag end off. You can make a selection of wires......lead, copper, silver, gold, red, green, brown ect on the the connector and have all of the wire in one set. I bought such a kit a few years ago and have used it for along time. For materials like Flash- a-bou and such the connectors are a way to keep all of the materials together.

Save Those 35mm Film Containers &

Get a Wal-Mart Floss Box


Empty clear 35 mm film cans are handy for lots of stuff like eyes and such. I also took alot of chenilles and yarns and got a floss box from Wal-Mart. I carded up alot of yarns and put them in the floss box. Now I have all of my yarns in one box. I rolled up rubber legs and did the same.

Put Dubbing in Boxes

I have some nice fly boxes with adjustable tabs inside. These are great for dubbing boxes and I put all of the dubbings in the boxes and arrange dubbings by kind, texture and color. I just grab a box and go. These are $2.50 each and have 18 slots .



I use a soft side canvas brief case I got from Eddie Baurer ( $18) and a Plano tackle box and a spinning reel case. I put all of my tools in the spinning reel case ( these are square pouches with a zipper) . I use the Plano to hold my hooks and threads, tinsels and such. The soft side brief case holds a lot more stuff than the one made by JW Outfitters and will hold my Hoffmans length wise ( all of them) plus a crap load of necks. I think I can put like 50 necks and saddles in that bag. Plus my bag o tails, flash, dubbing boxes and a lot of other stuff.

When I lug around a ton of stuff I give up and get a repack box with a snap lid and throw all the stuff in there........Repack boxes are sold at Wal-Mart and are made by Franklin Plastics. They have a hinged lid that folds together and are 3 feet high and 3 feet wide ( roughly ) . About $7.

Tubes for Threads

One thought is the BT's travel tubes I have. These have cap ends for loading up threads and tinsels. You load up a tube and carry the tube around........These are $3.00 each and hold 7 spools.


Hope that helps. Have a Nice Trip. Mike




For more Info Contact:

Mike Hogue / Badger Creek Fly Tying / 622 West Dryden Road, Freeville, NY 13068

Phone: 607-347-4946