When it comes to tying materials, it pays to fish for deals
#4 Bridal boutiques
It can be a little intimidating to venture into one of these dens of estrogen, but in my experience, the clerks will fall all over themselves to help once you explain that you’re looking for materials to make homemade fishing lures. Just a guess, but I suspect fly tiers are easier customers to deal with than bridezillas.
At any rate, bridal shops—specifically the kind of stores selling various supplies to the makers of bridal dresses, jewelry and accessories—are an amazing source of large, beautifully dyed saddle feathers. Also, when it comes to schlappen (the longest, softest, webbiest rooster feather) the best I’ve ever found for my giant pike flies were in a bridal boutique. They cost about the same as the stuff packaged for fly tiers, but were of far better quality.
There are a few materials for which it doesn’t pay to scrimp, including tying thread, dry-fly feathers and your single-most important component: the hook. But when it comes to many other materials, you’re limited only by your imagination—and your willingness to be seen buying a ladies’ fur hat.