Trick Question – What’s the most important fly tying tool ?
Trick Answer - Your fingers.
DISCLAIMER - It takes a man who is comfortable in his own skin to talk about hand care
One thing I’ve found, it really pays to keep your fingers/nails in good shape when it comes to tying flies. Nothing gets in the way more than ragged finger nails and patches of rough skin. For a long time, I just put up with it.
It wasn’t until I started hanging around with my guitar playing buddies that I learned how to take care of my finger tips and nails. Guitar players are meticulous in the way they take care of their finger tips and nails. The need them smooth and well kept in order to make sure they don’t get in the way of fretting and plucking strings.
I found out what they use to smooth things out – glass nail files. A good glass nail file is worth its weight in gold when it comes to maintaining health smooth nail and removing rough patches of dead skin and such from finger tips.
It makes tying go so much smoother, wish I would have figured this out about 40 years ago. If you are tired of snagging materials and such, give one a try. (as with most things, don’t buy a cheap one, it pays to get a good quality file, they are guaranteed to last a life time, unless you drop and break it.) They work so much better than nail clippers, sandpaper, emery boards, ...
I ordered a batch directly from the Czech Republic (for some reason, they make the best files) for the folks in my fly fishing club. The guys and gals just love the way they smooth out the rough spots on their nails and finger tips. I actually have a few left, if you’d be interested in one, drop me a PM.
There, somehow I strangely feel better having come out of the closet and having talked about hand care.