I was just putting some freshly tied flies in the box when I noticed these shadows coming through the window shutter. This is my favorite pattern - I call it The Mighty Maggot and I caught more than 20 species on that fly.

Magic & Meditation of Fly Tying

Compared to catching fish, tying flies is a completely different process. However, just like fishing, it is one of the best ways to cope with every day life issues. We all get stressed and anxious sometimes. We all have obligations and some rules to follow, even when we don’t like it. Unlike the mess that every day life can bring, tying flies is everything but a mess to me. It is a process that happens in an impeccable order, and by all means, it is nothing but a form of meditation.

As simple as it may seem on the outside, what happens on the inside while we are tying flies is quite amazing. Wrap by wrap, step by step, we keep repeating this simple task. Suddenly, it becomes the single occupation for our mind. It becomes a form of meditation. Sometimes it lasts for hours, and sometimes it’s only a couple of flies. But during that time, our mind is empty and all it does is think about another wrap.

If you are a nypmh guy like me, you know that beads are the next most important thing. You need a good hook and a proper bead. You can play all you want with the rest, but you need your nymphs as heavy as they need to be. Shallow, deep, slow or fast – all waters ask for different nymphs.
No doubt dry flies can be very effective, but I have always been a nymph guy. Ggive me a handful of nymphs, and I will catch pretty much anything that swims. Tying flies is a creative process and it’s also great fun. This photo shows some of the fun I have while I’m tying flies.
I always like trying new materials. Some years ago, I found these gritty beads. They look great on nymphs, and fish seem to like them quite a lot as well.
A close-up look at my favorite pattern called The Mighty Maggot. I tied this fly many years ago, and it has remained the best and the most successful fly. It’s pretty simple to tie – all it takes is some weight on the hook shank, two threads, a piece of wire and a layer of coating.

Of course, there is always room for improvement. That’s the magic of it. You get better and better with each wrap and each fly you tie. You accept your mistakes and you learn from them, eventually ending with a tied fly that you like. Take a minute and imagine an empty fly box. Now imagine every single row filled with flies. For example, you can imagine 10 orange beaded nymphs in one row, 10 dark red midges in another row, 10 dry sedges in the third row, and so on. Everything has its place. In your fly box and with every fly you tie. You instantly feel better because even thinking about tying flies evokes calmness. 

Are you hungry? Here’s a bowl full of nymphs. Bon Appétit!

For me, fly tying is equally as important as spending time on the water actually casting to and catching fish. Whether it is tying simple flies, complicated patterns or realistic ones, or taking photographs of flies I just tied, it is my way to make the time slow down. It is my way to achieve sanity and serenity, a getaway from everything bad that may be happening in my life. Seeing all those materials: beads, dubbings in all kinds of colors, so many different hooks and threads…I instantly feel good. So many combinations and options, so many things I can do, the creativity is just endless. The moment I start tying, only one ting becomes important – to tie the fly the best I can and to finish it. After that one, I will tie another one and another one. Magic or meditation, it doesn’t even matter. It works. – Aleksandar Vrtaric

“For me, fly tying is equally as important as spending time on the water actually casting to and catching fish.”

Sometimes you need tiny patterns to catch big fish. Inspired by the legendary Pheasant Tail, this is a pattern I tie for trout and grayling, but it works wonders for at least a dozen other species.
Rainbow beads can be a real game changer – when nothing else works, rainbow beads will do the job.
A good fly can be tied of anything. There are endless opportunities and combinations, you just have to use your creativity.

Contributed By

Aleksandar Vrtaric

I was born in Koper, Slovenia and I have moved many times since. I am now based in Zagreb, Croatia’s capital, and I still make my living by taking photographs and writing articles. Spending time in nature is probably the most important thing in my life. Experiencing solitude and serenity is what makes me complete and fly fishing is just a part of that story. Both as a photographer and a fly angler, I find spending time outdoors the best and the most valuable time I can spend. Being an introvert, it feels completely natural and I just can’t imagine living differently. 


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