BASALT - I resisted tying my own flies for years and I'm not exactly sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. When you're new to the fly fishing game you often have bigger fish to fry (pun intended) than figuring out whip finishes and dubbing loops. Things like achieving a drag-free drift are of much more importance to the novice fly angler.
Deciphering the complex world of aquatic and terrestrial insects is yet another example. How to cast that fly rod without the line ending up in an ugly pile on the water? How to not look like or feel like a total dweeb? Again, bigger fish to fry.
It can be argued that I put the cart ahead of the horse on this one. I can tie flies with the best of them but flies are only part of the equation. In other words, if Mr. Miyagi of Karate Kid fame was my imaginary fly fishing sensei, he would surely start my apprenticeship with tying the fly, building the rod or perhaps spinning silk into fly line. Maybe I'd get to fish after that? First you need to wax a few cars and paint the fences, right?
I can certainly say that fly tying and fishing your own flies makes you a more rounded angler. I'm sure there are legions of non-fly-tying anglers out there that could out fish me on even their worst of days, but I receive just a smidgen more in the satisfaction department than they do - especially when that fish is landed on a fly that I just tied up the night before. Gratification!
I still have plenty of flies in my boxes from before fly tying took over my life, but I'm loathe to use them and often hand them out to those new to the game. Many people love to fish, and are darn good at it, too, but they don't have the interest or time to invest in creating their own patterns, and I get that. They probably aren't single, work in a fly shop, or spending a part of most days on a world-famous trout stream. I'm content with being a prime candidate for one of those "hoarder" TV shows as I have more flies than any one person would ever need.