Week 1 – Watch Your Index Point
It seems one of the most common mistakes fly tiers make, especially those just starting out, is to crowd the eye of the hook. Crowding the eye is the process of finishing off the fly you are tying by wrapping the head or the finish knot over part of the hook eye instead of behind the eye. Not only does the fly not look like a well completed fly but it leaves less room for the tippet to get through the hook eye to actually fish the fly. The easiest way to correct this is to watch your index point when starting your fly.
It is a natural tendency when brining the thread to close to the eye when positioning to tie in the final materials. Something in our brain tells us we have to be closer to the eye of the hook. Fortunately, there is a simple way to correct this. When you attach your thread, attach it at the index point on the hook and make certain to not bring the thread past where you attached it when positioning to complete the fly.
The Index point on the hook is one eye width behind the hook eye (figure 1). When you attach your thread with a jam knot attach it at the index point (figure 2). You can then either cover the hook shank with thread if needed or simply move the thread to where you need it on the shank to begin the fly. No when ou bring the thread towards the eye on the hook for the finishing steps you don't go forward past the index point. You can bind in your remaining materials and still have enough room for the head of the fly (figure 3).
In time it will become second nature to not move forward past the index point and all your flies will be looking much better.