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My Tying Space: Neil Luehring’s “Fishing Room”

As fly tying season approaches, we thought it would be fun to put the spotlight on the fly tying space that our guides create to tie their own flies. First up, Neil Luehring. Neil has been a guide at Angler’s Covey for literally decades. We featured his BWO pattern for our October Bug-of-the-Month, so let’s get a glimpse into where Neil works his magic.

A Dedicated Tying Space

I first learned to tie flies at the age of 14 and over the years I have had many different tying spaces.

My first fly tying set-up was in a desk that my father had built for me. It had a top that lifted up and exposed a fairly large work space. Globs of glue and paint from my model car building days dotted that work space, but it worked great for fly tying as I could simply put the top down and hide my mess when I wasn’t tying. Since then, my tying areas have evolved from attic rooms, closets, and basements to a dedicated room in my home.

When my wife and I purchased our house, we had a list of things we desired. Like most couples, her must-haves were related to kitchens and bathrooms. Mine were centered on the garage and a fly tying space. Our current house has a storeroom in the basement that I converted to my “fishing room.” We call it that because one side of the room is fly tying stuff and the other is rod building stuff. The unfinished room is about 8’ x 15’.

Neil in the tying space he has created in an unfinished basement.
Neil, in his fishing room, says “From my view, several elements combine to create a great fly tying space.”

A clean, well-lighted tying space is essential

I have three 4’ LED work lights that provide the general lighting for the room. In addition, a gooseneck light is focused on my tying vice. The gooseneck has a bulb that closely replicates natural sunlight so I can see what the colors of my flies are when on the river.

In addition to the ceiling lights, Neil has a gooseneck lamp equipped with a bulb that simulates sunlight.
A close-up look at the vise and gooseneck lamp.

Storage is the key to organization

I put up a lot of pegboards in my room for hanging stuff for quick access. I have an array of several old cabinets in there to create more horizontal workspace, and to provide storage. Many of my materials are in plastic bins and I have a couple of the multi-drawer storage bins for things like hooks, etc. It is important to store your natural materials in things that are fairly airtight to keep moths and other insects from them. Be careful about getting materials from well-intentioned friends. The materials can be sources for bugs, odors, and other undesirable things.

“Well-organized space” may be an understatment.

Comfort equals being more productive

Spend the money for a good chair and consider ergonomics in your tying space. My fly tying bench is made from an old damaged door with simple legs made of 2×4’s. It is solid and built to the right height for me to comfortably work. Your space should be comfortable, well lit, warm in the winter, and cool in the summer. I have an old stereo system and a small TV in my room for entertainment. I have an old laptop on my bench that gives me internet access.

A place to escape

My fishing room has evolved over the years from not only a work space to a personal sanctuary. Much of my time there is spent lost in thought about a new fly pattern or experimenting with a new tying technique. It is a place of peace and solitude for me. Fly fishing possesses a certain Zen quality; for me, that attitude starts in my fishing room.

Interested in tying? Angler’s Covey offers classes on Saturday mornings — the free 101 class and the 201 class that takes it up a notch. Our Open Tie Nights every Wednesday offer a great chance to laugh and learn with others as you spin up some flies.

1 Comment

  1. […] other tying spaces featured in our blog, check out guides Neil Luehring‘s tying room (a whole room dedicated to fly fishing) and Joel Walker‘s tying […]

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