Beginner’s Masterclass with Tim Flagler – Pro Tips for Tying with Foam

Closed-cell foam is an excellent fly tying material. Here are some tricks for using this common and inexpensive ingredient.

[by Tim Flagler]


Thinking back several years—actually, decades—I remember foam-body flies beginning to appear in magazines and fly fishing catalogs. At the time I thought to myself, Wow, those flies must float all day. Then, shortly after, I can’t believe a trout would eat one of those things. Since then I’ve watched foam patterns evolve and become more refined. I also find myself tying and using them on a regular basis.

Today, closed-cell foam is available in nearly every color, thickness, and shape, but I’d like to focus on 2-millimeter-thick craft foam, which is used the most and is readily available. You can find the stuff virtually everywhere, from grocery and craft stores to fly shops. It cuts, folds, glues, rolls, stretches, and colors easily. Closed-cell foam is cheap, durable, and most important, floats. And fly tiers love stuff that floats!


For the full story, pick up a copy of the Fly Tyer Summer 2019 issue at your local bookstore or newsstand. Check out Tim Flagler’s corresponding video for this feature below.