Choosing Salmon Flies

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A custom tied Inverness Pot Bellied Pig Fly
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Commercially Tied Versus Custom Tied

There can be vast differences in the price that you pay for salmon flies online. What many fishermen don't know is that many cheaper flies available for sale are tied overseas in sweatshop conditions. 

These flies often use the cheapest hooks available, and a minimum of materials and scantest amount of tying thread. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with saving money and trying to make your money stretch as far as possible, buying ultra cheap salmon flies is a false economy. 

After having spent money on permits and licences, buying decent quality rods and tackle, skimping at the most important part, the point where you connect with the fish, makes no sense. Salmon are very strong fish, and a badly tied salmon fly on a bad quality hook, can quickly ruin your outing.

It is very easy to spot substandard flies online - 
Multi fly deals - many poorly tied flies are sold in quite large lots. Almost like the vendor is trying to get rid of his non moving stock. Do you really want a large collection of badly tied, and ineffective flies?
A minimum of materials - Cheaper flies often look very spartan, and like they have been tied in an attempt to use as little material as possible
Poor photographs - A bright clear photograph uncovers a great deal of flaws. Cheaper or poorer quality flies are often badly photographed to hide their poorer quality.

So what is the alternative to these commercially tied flies?
Custom tied flies are offered in great numbers on Ebay, and the vast majority are offered at very fair prices.  Custom tied flies are tied by dedicated craftsmen and women who take incredible pride in the flies that they make. In many cases if the flies you are looking for are not listed, by contacting the seller, your desired flies can be tied and offered on Ebay in a very short space of time

How do you recognise custom ( craftsman tied) flies?
They look great - Salmon flies are very beautiful to look at. A craftsperson takes pride in the flies that they make and each of their flies will look like a minature work of art
Smaller quantities are offered - 3 flies is  often the optimum number of flies offered on Ebay, because this number enables the seller to make some money after paying their fees. Some sellers offer their flies individually, but at a higher price.
The seller tells you how they are made - The best sellers will tell you what materials are used in the fly, including hooks. They want you to buy their work and letting you know about the quality hooks and materials used  is a good way to do that

To sum up...
Cheap Salmon Flies are a false economy. Having a dozen of the same pattern is no good if the hooks break, or it falls apart very quickly
Custom or Craftsman tied flies are not particularly expensive on Ebay, and will last much longer, as well as giving you the  best chance to land that salmon of a lifetime

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