The Essential Tool For Every Fly Tyer’s Table
Tie → Test → Fish
If you're a fly tyer, you've almost certainly experienced the incredibly frustrating feeling of carefully tying the perfect fly for your next time on the water only to find out on your first cast that your fly doesn't swim well at all.
That's exactly what led to the idea for the Fly Tester.
I had spent an entire weekend tying up two dozen of the most beautiful looking streamer flies you can imagine, but when I went fishing the next day the first fly I threw in the water swam upside down!
I'd essentially wasted my entire weekend tying flies that simply didn’t work very well and obviously led to a less-than-ideal day on the water.
If you think about it, we as fly anglers are real optimists; we spend an incredible amount of time designing and tying a bunch of flies, then go straight to the river, throw them in, and hope they work!
I realized that we fly tyers didn’t have any method at the time to determine if the flies we design and tie are any good, and in a lightbulb moment I came up with the idea for the first Fly Tester.
Creating the Fly Tester
The primary objective for the Fly Tester was to enable fly tyers to test the multiple types of flies we use, so I wanted it to be capable of testing streamers, nymphs, and surface flies such as poppers, sliders, and dry flies.
To achieve the ability to test multiple styles of flies, we needed to design the Fly Tester to circulate the water in a way that simulates the flow of a river or stream.
The innovative design we arrived upon revolves around the Fly Tester creating a steady circular flow of water with adjustable flow control, allowing you swim up to 3 flies in 2 directions at once – from streamer flies, to top water flies, to nymphs and emergers.
Design Better Flies with the Fly Tester
Check out the articles, Why Is My Baitfish Pattern Swimming Wrong? and Why Is My Baitfish Pattern Swimming Wrong? Part 2, to see how the Fly Tester can help you quickly identify and fix the flaws in your fly patterns.
The Fly Tester helps you cut your fly development time down to a fraction of what it used to be and take your fly tying to the next level.
Ultimately, the Fly Tester allows you to observe the swimming action of your flies immediately after tying, improve your fly designs and have confidence they will perform as intended when fished, and share your fly patterns swimming on video with the fly tying community online.
With the Fly Tester, by the time you get to the third, fourth, or fifth version of your fly, you already have a fly design that is vastly improved from the first version you created!
Taking It to the Next Level: The NEW Fly Tester
Notice the size difference of the new Fly Tester in this video from Brian Wise of Fly Fishing The Ozarks.
Although the original Fly Tester was successful and worked well, the downside of the original Fly Tester was it was it was large, difficult to keep clean, and quite expensive for the average fly tyer.
The original Fly Tester was a better fit for fly shops than for the individual fly tyer, so my vision for the new Fly Tester was to create a "personal" Fly Tester that was more affordable, compact, portable, and easier to clean and maintain than the original model.
The new Fly Tester is an improved unit for the fly tying public that delivers on my vision that every fly tyer should have the ability to swim, test, and share the flies they tie with others in the fly fishing community. The new Fly Tester is the essential tool for every fly tyer's desk, and is as important as the fly tying vise itself for successful fly tying.
NEW Fly Tester Improvements
Portability and Protection
The new Fly Tester comes in a stylish carry case with a protective foam interior, and at a third of the size and weight of the original model, the new Fly Tester is highly portable, easy to store in your fly tying den, and requires less water to operate.
Easy To Clean
The Fly Tester’s new removable streamer fly testing tube makes it a breeze to keep your Fly Tester crystal clear.
2X More Affordable
The new Fly Tester is at a much more appealing price point than the original model.
BONUS: Social Media Sharing & Fly Videography
One of the cool things is the Fly Tester enables you to take fantastic photos and videos of your latest fly tying creations and share it with your friends, fans, and the fly fishing community on social media. This is becoming increasingly popular, especially in the current COVD world we live in!
The new Fly Tester allows you to film your flies in action up close and personal. The fine detail you can capture really shows off what your fly can do, especially in slow motion.
Now with just a Fly Tester and a smart phone every fly tyer can be a movie director!
Is the Fly Tester a Good Fit for You?
If you're an avid fly tyer who wants to test and improve your flies to make the most of your time at the vise and on the water (and even take some photos or video to share via social media), the Fly Tester will be an excellent addition to your fly tying desk.
If you own or work at a fly shop, the Fly Tester is a great tool for you to demonstrate flies you’re selling and take videos to share with your customers online (“Here's the fly of the week!” / "This is what they are biting on today!" etc.) The Fly Tester is the ultimate sales and marketing tool for fly shops everywhere.
Commercial Fly Tyers
If you're a professional fly tyer or run a commercial fly tying operation, the Fly Tester is the perfect tool for developing new patterns, testing new flies (before tying hundreds or thousands of them), and using for quality control.
Want more content like this?
Subscribe to the Flymen mailing list at the bottom of the page!
About Martin Bawden:
Martin is the founder of Flymen Fishing Company and the head product designer. When not on the water “field testing,” he can be found tying at fly fishing events. Articles on his innovative fly tying products and fly patterns have appeared in various fly fishing publications.