Flies on Ebay

On my wanders around the internets I am always amazed at the bargains that can be had for the lazy fly fisher. I remember reading an article about the owner of the Glasgow Angling Center who stated the most amount of cash he makes is due to flies – he buys them in dirt cheap and then sells them at a huge markup. Every week I am sent emails from folk in Kenya who try and sell me flies in bulk to sell on through this site – I suspect these flies are the same ones that are sold under the Fulling Mill banner so you can imagine how much the markup must be. Essentially without any haggling whatsoever they want a few pence per fly.

I suspect a lot of the flies on Ebay are tied in Kenya by the Fulling Mill factories (or ex employees?)

Anyway check this selection of flies out on Ebay – a selection of 40 dry flies for £10 – however you can get even cheaper than that. In fact, here is a selection of parachutes that would so someone an entire season on the Kelvin – 48 of them with a starting bid of eight bucks it probably wont get much higher than that!

48 of these stuck in a metal railing would not break the bank

While we are about it here is some small CDC patterns 10 of them starting at 2.99.

Again – a fly angler starting out need not worry too much about spending extortionate amounts of cash for flies – the trick starts when you need specialty flies like micro flies and personal favorite patterns like Deer Hair Emergers however there are good local tyers who will tie these up for you.

So do you tie or buy?




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  1. Craig · December 11, 2011

    Rumbled! You been trying to find 28 cheap ones on eBay?

  2. Craig · December 11, 2011

    Only joking there great value, I was looking at buying flies up at GAC for the trip I’m on now a couple of weeks ago and for 48 parachute Adams it would have set me back about £48 bloody ripoff! The only flies I see value in buying from GAC now are pike flies.

  3. Chuck Graves · December 11, 2011

    This past summer I sold all my fly-tying supplies, vises and all. The biggest problem is, my eyes are shot. It’s hard enough just tying the flies on the leader.

    I now try to buy from local tyers. With the economy the way it is here in the States you can find a number of people on ebay that are tying their own to sell. Price is higher, but it’s easier to send them back if you’re not satisfied.

    After reading Alistair’s latest entry I decided to check out some of these Kenya fly-tying houses. I can’t help but wonder how much the locals that work in these places are making per day.

  4. Colin Wilson · December 11, 2011

    i tie, rarely buy any flies at all. I’m a fussy bugger, when it comes to flies, and i know what i like and what i have confidence in. Best commercially sold flies ive seen were in hugo ross’s shop in Wick!

  5. Alistair · December 11, 2011

    Craig – Pro Tip, the best pike fly I have ever used (especially in THAT place) was a white piece of EP Fibre banged on to a hook – caught me loads. Anyway, I thought it was a fly swap – didnae say whose flies !

    Chuck – Local tyers are the way to go for the wee specialty flies and custom patterns. I know that Fulling Mill have a policy of paying their workers a decent wage and I wonder if these flies are just slipped out the back door.

    Colin – I wonder if they were a local tyers flies?

    Saying all that – I am well up for any local tyers advertising their wares on here however nobody ever gets in contact. The one commercial local tyer I know is swamped with orders and gave up his full time job so business must be booming.

    I should bang part of a condom on to a hook and call it a Kelvin Cock or something and market it – I would make a killing 🙂

  6. Craig · December 11, 2011

    That EP flie is noted Alistair but the condom on a hook has been done before, it’s called a San juan worm Alberto is the man to talk to about that one. You could do yours Alistair with actual condoms you find on the kelvin or even better you could do a fly made out of f***y pads you would have a life time supply of materials!

  7. Colin Wilson · December 11, 2011

    Aye i think it would be a few good local tyers, all materials are of the best quality, jungle cock used where it’s required etc, no substitutes.

    I won some flies by fulling mill a few years ago, they did not reflect the quality of tying in there brochure being poorly tied, having said that poorly tied flies catch fish too, but with the likes of FM your paying a premium price.

  8. Craig · December 11, 2011

    I must admit the fulling mill flies are very well tied these days.

  9. Alistair · December 11, 2011

    Craig – hmmmmm, I shall send the boy out to collect some used Jonny’s from the banks of the Kelvin.

    Colin – The thing is up until now I really only fish with maybe a dozen or so patterns – and thank God trout take poorly tied flies #grin# For next season I have got to get my ass in gear and start tying teeny flies to catch those tricky buggers. I can honestly say I have never seen truly teeny flies for sale in any of the shops.

    I would grudge paying that amount of cash to Fulling Mill for a fly tied in a sweatshop 😉

  10. Paul Mac · December 11, 2011

    I have also been one who has been “reeled in” by these cheap flies. I though to myself 30 tradional wets inc teal blues, butchers, alexandrias etc. So i ordered them and arrive they did decent enough hooks not as pretty as your fulling mills and to be honest im not as keen to fish with them if i have the same fly but a nicer pattern in the box. However i have took fish on these flies. The moral of this story is they will catch fish and probably worth a bash, i dont think tyings are as important as the hooks serious fly tyers will prob disaprove but i feel if u get it infront of their face and they want it theyll take it. Just like the cheapo tobys that do as much damage as any.I also bought 3 bloody butchers as tandem sunk lures this is one of my favourite flys and it as a tandem was to good to resist. So i ordered them they arrived in time and i put them on my desk then one lunchtime im looking at the bag and though hold on. The night before i was reading my Hugh falkus sea trout fishing book and ther is a small diagram how to tie a tandem on this seem to be nothing like this only a piece of mono whipped into the tying. So as you do i gave it a steady pull popped straight out all three did the same. They where 1.80 so its not the end of the world lol but i was excited about these as my team of three is never without a bloody butcher as i dont tie i cannot reproduce them need to get sum1 to knock them up for me.

  11. Craig · December 11, 2011

    My bad the condom flies called a vladi worm.

  12. nick west · December 11, 2011

    hi. I’ve done good work with troot with cheap flies, however, a couple of trips to the bushes and they start coming unwound. i would recommend them, but they are perhaps single use!
    Regards Nick.