On The Fly: Reinventing the fly-tying wheel
December 10, 2014
I don't remember tying a single fly this summer. The warmer months become a blur when you work for one of the busiest fly shops around, and some things, especially vise time, fall by the wayside. There is something instinctive in me that awakens when the first flakes begin to fly. Akin to spawning rituals or yearly migrations, when the days get shorter, I get on the vise.
Many ideas swirl around my head during the summer, usually written down on scraps of paper before I forget them. Most of these "ideas" turn into the curse of reinventing the fly-tying wheel, often stumbled upon or thought out years before I even tied my first fly. It seems every time I come up with a "new" idea, someone thought of it years ago. Is there anything new under the sun when it comes to tying flies?
The answer to this question is a resounding "yes" — and no. Every year, new patterns are released by contract fly tiers the world over, and some of them are quite interesting, utilizing new materials, techniques and so on. There are some tiers out there who are true artists. Other "new" patterns are simply variations of someone else's proven flies. However you look at it, it is always interesting to see the new offerings every spring. Most longtime fly fishers know the right drift to the right fish beats having that "right fly," at least most of the time.
I have been on a pike fly kick so far this winter, spinning up large, flashy and hairy forage fish patterns for these toothy and aggressive predators. These big flies require big rods to throw them, which is a welcome distraction from trout fishing in the spring and fall. After I get those out of my system, I've got a green drake dry fly that has been kicking around in my head since summer. There is always something to look forward to when it comes to fly-fishing, whether it is a destination trip, learning a new technique, or simply spending quality time with good friends on the water. For me, I also look forward to those eureka moments at the vise.
"On the Fly" is provided weekly by the staff at Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt.