Quick Tip #1:
I have known some great fly tiers. One in particular was a perfectionist. He would not use a fly unless it was perfect. One tip he gave me was not to use scissors to cut the thread as it would leave a small tag which could be seen. Instead he used a straight blade of some sort such as an X-acto knife for a clean cut. (This is NOT the tip yet.) So I got an X-acto knife and used it for years. One day I was tying and I reached for some material. As I did something began to roll off my desk. I closed my legs to catch it, and I did. Unfortunately it was the X-acto knife. Four stitches later I was as good as new and a little wiser. Since then I have switched to a cuticle remover to cut thread. It works perfectly and is SAFE.
Quick Tip #2:
When showing a friend how to tie some parachutes dry flies, he was having a very difficult time splaying the tail fibers and keeping them splayed. A very simple fix is to use a loop of thread (or any other small diameter material) at the bend of the hook. Pull it from bend through the tail fibers to split them. To split the tail in half, run the thread evenly between the fibers. Then tie down the excess thread and you have a perfectly split tail.
Please note there are 3 tail fibers in this example. When you go to split 3 fibers, you pull the thread such that your loop straggles the center fiber.
Quick Tip #3:
The 1st is for those who on occasion feel a little pain when tying any fly with a stinger hook. By utilizing a small magnet you can keep the stinger hook out of your way. The magnets can be purchased at most home improvement or craft stores. The size of the magnet is up to you. I personally like the 3/8 of an inch circular rare earth magnets, as they have a very strong magnetic field.
The picture below illustrates how I used to tie intruder type flies. But after 10-20 times catching the stinger hook, something needed to change.
By utilizing a small magnet, you are able to keep the stinger out of the way. Please note, I have found trapping the stinger hook between the vise and magnet works great.
Quick Tip #4:
This next tip/trick can be used to change the look of dry as well as soft hackle type flies. With so many social media platforms, people are posting some truly beautiful flies. I have been asked how people can post pictures of flies with all the hackle fibers aligned so perfectly. Well, there are two reasons. One is to practice/tie a lot. Second, they are using different techniques to get a desired look. Below are two ways to hackle dry flies (And there are many more ways then these two approaches.)
The 1st method is just a typical way to hackle a dry fly. In this method, I have the dull side facing me.
The extra space on the hackle is there so that with your 1st wrap of the hackle you do not trap any fibers forcing them to go towards the rear of the fly. Each successive wrap is wrapped in front of the previous wrap.
As you can see the hackle fibers are evenly spaced without any major problem.