Fly Tyer of the Month: Pat Dorsey

Pat Dorsey is one of the more well known personalities in the fly fishing business- and for good reason. Pat has done a lot in his 35+ years experience. He is an Orvis Endorsed Guide and won the 2001 Guide of the Year honors. He is an author of 4 books and countless articles, a signature fly designer for Umpqua Feather Merchants,  as well as being co-owner of the prestigious Blue Quill Angler fly shop in Colorado.

I am extremely appreciative of Pat taking some time out of his evenings after guiding to answer a few questions for us.

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There are many paths life can take a person these days- what brought you into fly fishing, and ultimately guiding and and writing about your experiences?

 

I caught my first fish with my father Jim Dorsey when I was 10 years old in the Gunnsion Valley. Early on, I knew there was something special about fly fishing. My Uncle taught me how to tie my first fly shortly thereafter. My passion was fueled by catching tough trout on small flies, which ultimately led to a career in the fly fishing industry.

 

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Pat’s latest project was Colorado Guide Flies and it is a tremendous book with the insight of countless Colorado fly tyers and guides.  What was it like working with such a talented cast?

 

Colorado Guide Flies is the project I’m most proud of. The book is filled with stunning photography (which is another passion of mine) and a lot of great information. I fished with the best guides in Colorado whom shared their flies, tips, tactics, and techniques to catch trout on the watersheds they guide on. The book contains nearly 600 flies with recipes. It is a must-have for any angler (east or west) as these flies are proven guide flies that fish well all over the country.

 

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Let’s talk about commercial fly tying. How did you start your commercial experience- what was the first fly that was accepted by one of the big tying houses? Also- for the new or young tyer out there reading this- what advice would you give him to get a fly into a catalog?

 

I was a commercial tier before I was a guide. I supplied flies for a dozen or so fly shops in Colorado. In my prime, I was tying nearly 28,000 flies a year. 25 years ago, I started guiding. For a while, I tied and guided, until my guide schedule would not allow me to tie on a large scale. That’s when I sent my flies to Umpqua Feather Merchants. The first fly they accepted was the Black Beauty, a long time proven pattern. This was followed by the Mercury series of flies, and through the years, I have submitted several patterns.

 

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Your signature flies are extremely well known, and most are midges. Is this a result of you liking that style of fly or a byproduct of where you guide day in and day out or both?

 

It is a byproduct of where I guide. The South Platte in Cheesman Canyon (Deckers) is a classic tailwater fishery, loaded with lots of midges and mayflies. In most cases, you’ll be fishing with flies size 20 and smaller.

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I will readily admit- midges are not my forte,  I absolutely love the patterns but I don’t tie or fish them often.  I know your book goes well beyond a pattern list- and talks about how to fish them effectively. What are 3 tips for better midge fishing success? And which 3 patterns of yours should be in every fly fishermen’s boxes regardless of locale?

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The smaller the better. Oftentimes, fishing a size 24 (instead of a 22) is the difference between catching fish and NOT catching fish. The Mercury Midge, Top Secret Midge and Black Beauty (and its variations) are must haves for all tailwater junkies.

 

Let’s talk about stages of fly development. Where do your ideas come from more- seeing new materials, someone else’s flies, or being on the water and observing a certain look, behavior, or problem?

 

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My design has always been simple yet effective. I keep my flies thin and sparse and typically use some flash as a trigger. A prime example is the silver-lined bead (Mercury Bead) on my midges. It imitates the gas bubble in the thorax prior to emergence. The realistic looking appearance helps entice trout to eat my offering….

 

For all those wannabe midge tyers- what are some must have materials to tie with? What tips can you give for those struggling to tie correct proportions on the smaller hooks?

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Think simple, sparse and most importantly small. Start with a size 18 and move down in size as you get comfortable. Once again, practice makes perfect. I tie just about every day, some for guide trips, and some for my personal days. Fly tying is the next part of the addiction…

 

Being friends with you on Facebook for a while- I think everyone gets a little Fly Box Envy from seeing row after row- dozen after dozen in what I believe are Wheatley Swing Leaf boxes What are your thoughts on fly box organization? Do you bring all of your flies to the water on an outing, or do you narrow it down by hatch type, season, and river? Why do you prefer the Wheatley Swing Leaf boxes to the others?

 

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I carry at least two Wheatleys with me at all times, sometimes three. They have all my tailwater flies and some bead head patterns that work well for larger freestones. I carry another ripple foam box with scuds, one with aquatic worms, and several dry fly boxes depending on the hatch. I only carry what I need though, for instance, I do not carry Tricos in January, just midge adults.


How many flies are in the midge box? I would guess 800……??!?!?!?!?

Some of my Wheatley’s have well over 2000 flies in them. Some of the rows have 50 flies…

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For the people like myself who have yet to fish Colorado and the Rockies, give some advice on preparation.  Is there any specific gear- rod size, tippet selection that you would recommend? Are there any books I should read?

 

The Rockies are a special place. We have 9000 miles of trout streams, of which 170 of those is gold medal. There are a lot world class tailwaters and lots of fabled freestones. You’ll find good nymphing, dry fly fishing, and streamer fishing. A 9 foot, 5 and 6 weight rod are ideal for these waters.

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Are there any fly fishing websites that you like and recommend in general, or for fishing Colorado specifically?

I would recommend on checking the flows before visiting a river.

http://www.dwr.state.co.us/SurfaceWater/Default.aspx

Otherwise I recommend using my fishing report on www.patdorseyflyfishing.com

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Being a guide you probably see it all as far as clients are concerned. How can a client better prepare to have a successful day on the water? Is it adjusting expectations, or putting in practice on the water? What would allow you to do your best job for them?

 

All my guide trips begin with a discussion about their expectations. My goal is that the customer is a better angler at the day’s end. Practice makes perfect, I encourage them to get back on the water as often as they can. There is no substitution for time on the water. I make myself available via email and cell phone to help them along the way. I tell my customers… “A guide trip is never over…reach out to me anytime with any questions or concerns.”

 

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What is your current favorite

Vise: Regal Stainless Steel
Bobbin: I use Thompson ceramic bobbins that are 30 years old.
Thread: Mostly 8/0 Uni
Hook Brand: Tiemco
Tying Book: I learned to tie flies from the Jack Dennis manuals
Fishing Book: Mike Lawson’s book on Spring Creeks is a must-have
River to Fish: Cheesman Canyon
Species to Fish For: Wild trout most of the time….

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Mercury PT Nymph

Your floating your home river in the following seasons and can only use 1 fly- what are they?

Winter- Black Beauty
Spring- Stalcup’s Baetis
Summer-Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger
Fall- Flashback Mercury Pheasant Tail

 

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Are you working on submitting any flies for 2017 or are working on any new fly designs? Any other projects you have in the works for 2017?

 

I have submitted some new flies and I am updating my South Platte book. It is currently out of print….

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Are there any sponsors you would like to shout out?

I am blessed to be a Simms Ambassador, on the Sage Elite Pro Team, Umpqua Fly Designer, Regal Pro Staff, and Scientific Anglers Pro Staff.

 

Lastly- What does the industry need more of?

The industry needs people that are willing to give back, sharing information to help others. It’s a small world and a tight knit industry. Take a kid fishing…they are the future of our sport.

Pat- Thank You for taking the time and sharing your knowledge and expertise on fishing for, and tying flies for selective tailwater trout. You can reach Pat through the following links.

Pat Dorsey Fly Fishing: HERE

Blue Quill Angler: HERE

Instagram: HERE

Pat Dorsey’s Fly of the Month Club: HERE

You can also visit some of his sponsors below.

Simms Fly Fishing: HERE

Regal Vises: HERE

Scientific Anglers: HERE

Sage Fly Fishing: HERE

 

Lastly, you can pick up two books by Pat Dorsey- Colorado Guide Flies and Tying and Fishing Tailwater Flies in the shop by clicking the titles. They will be 20% off for the next 5 days.

 

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© Daniel Podobed and In Pursuit of Trout 2015-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Daniel Podobed and In Pursuit of Trout with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

***This blog article features the stunning photography of Pat Dorsey  taken and owned by Pat Dorsey. Unauthorized use and or duplication of those images without express and written permission is strictly prohibited.

 

 

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The Book Shelf: Naturally Artificial Signature Flies by Vincent Wilcox

For those obsessed with reading, acquiring, and rereading good fly tying, fly fishing, and books in general, this ongoing series will be for you. I have always loved a good book, and when I started fly tying books became more than a source of knowledge of materials and techniques, but it became inspiration. I recommend that any beginner tyer to tie their way through the book. It is a great way to walk in the authors shoes. The next time you read through it, it will be that much more profound, and the nuances of technique really become evident.

Each week I’m going to do a short review of 1 fly tying book, and 1 fly fishing book. There may be an extra added, but once I do the review, I will add the books on my “Book Shelf” page which will be added later for easy reference. A fly tyer can never have too many books. Some of the books that will be featured are available in the shop, although some you will have to track down through fly shops or websites.

Fly Tying Book Review: Naturally Artificial Signature Flies by Vince Wilcox

Vince Wilcox is the owner of Wiley’s Flies Fly Shop in Ray Brook New York, an author of two books and countless magazine articles, signature fly designer for Idlywilde Flies and Umpqua Feather Merchants, and guide on several waters across the country. His style of fly tying is very unique in his early adaptations of synthetic materials to make flies both effective and durable.

This book is in spiral bound form, and should not be overlooked. Early on, these were not my favorite types of books, but it should be noted that fly tying books- especially those for beginners, should be mandatory as they lay perfectly flat and take up minimal room on the desk next to a fly tying vise. The pages open fully and you need not worry about cracking the book spine.

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This book is laid out in a very efficient, easy to read manner. Each fly that is featured has a difficulty scale, the estimated time to tie by skill level, a general commentary or history of the pattern and its variants, as well as a complete break down of the materials used. The book is beautifully photographed and narrated so any level of fly tyer can tie these flies. These are very much guide style flies, there is no pomp and circumstance to these patterns. They are innovative and effective without excess polishing or fancy.

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Superman Nymph

You might not necessarily know it by their names, but these flies have been sold by the thousands. Names like the Lint Bug, and Little Green Machine and Superman are equally silly and deadly. When seeing Wilcox’ designs are probably the nightmares of the naturalist fly tyer. It is not that natural materials are absent from his designs, but rather the fact that when he can substitute a synthetic material to gain durability, ease of use, consistency, or fishyness for a lack of a better word- he does so unapologetically.

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This is probably the reason the only non 5 star review on Amazon is written by someone named Catskills Angler- quite frankly his flies go against the status quo. I like that. Unlike the reviewer who writes: “ Despite the inflated claims for their effectiveness, these flies are designed from the tier’s point of view rather than from the trout’s.” I completely disagree, if anything these flies are exceedingly more appealing to trout than the tier. Some of the patterns come across as too simple, but that present the absolute correct size, color, proportion, and triggers that is likely to grab a trouts attention.

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Being a custom tyer myself, I have limited free time at the vise, so when I sit down to tie a fly I’m often drawn to flies that are aesthetically pleasing to me. They are often time consuming, and after time spent on the water, many times I walk away knowing I left fish in the net if I had just had a box full of simpler, fish first flies- or what I now refer to as F³. These are the types of flies everyone should have in their boxes. They are unassuming fish catchers. The Lint Bug is probably the very definition of this. Nothing more than some dubbing, a rib, and a flashback but it can imitate a midge, a baetis, a sow bug, a caddis larva, or a scud. In an hour you can tie up more than 2 dozen while sipping a bear and breaking to watch the replay. Open the book and look at these flies not as the next top Instagram fly, but the one’s in the $$$$ box you don’t show to even your best fishing buddy. “What did you catch it on?”- “Superman”.

My conclusion: This might be the best tying book you’ve never heard of, or picked it up to leaf through and walked away. You have to understand Vince’s 30 plus years experience as a guide, outfitter, fly designer, and author to start understanding the nuance of these seemingly shallow designs. There doesn’t appear to be much to them, but study them closer and you’ll start learning from someone who has tied tens of thousands of flies. Definitely deserving of a place on your book shelf, and that is why I chose this book to review as the first addition to my Book Shelf HERE.

You can get in touch with Vincent through his fly shop Wiley’s Flies  HERE
You can also follow him on Instagram HERE

This book is available in the shop, click HERE to purchase.

If you would like me to review any particular favorite book of yours, or maybe a book you heard about but don’t own yet- comment below. Hopefully I’ll be doing 1-2 of these a week.

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Start the tying season off with my biggest sale of the season.  I know I have many things to be thankful for, and even though I am a microscopic fly shop I am thankful for every single customer that has had confidence in my flies and materials this past year. As a thank you, below are the Black Friday Sales I will be offering starting now and running through Monday, November 28th 11:59. The following sales will ring up automatically, no coupon necessary.

Flies- 15% off
Materials- 15% off
Books- 25% off
Apparel- 25% off

In addition to that, I am very excited to announce that I will be offering a guide/tyer program going forward. I have been in the industry a few years now and I have had many tyers and guides in the industry order from me. I want to encourage other tyers to order through me for fill in orders or to try out materials.  Going forward, all guides and tyers with a valid business will receive 15% off all orders.

Message me your information before ordering preferably, and I will set you up with a personalized coupon code to use for all orders going forward. Any guide or tyer who spends $100 or more will receive free shipping for the rest of that calendar year. If you are interested, message me at pros@inpursuitoftrout.com

 

Fly Order Announcement

Hope everyone is doing well. I just wanted to take the time to announce that I’ll be taking a short break from tying orders. I’ll resume that on 11/19 but you can email me your order requests to get in line to avoid delays once I start back up. Last year near December I was nearly at 3 week delays, and at some point it was longer. Email me at inpursuitoftrout@gmail.com

Speaking off- To GUARANTEE delivery for any Christmas fly orders- the cutoff date is December 6th, but December 1st would be better. That is to guarantee the flies being tied, and delivered by Christmas in the US. Regular merchandise can be ordered up through the 21st to guarantee delivery by Christmas.

I’m taking a break to accomplish several things. First is to re design/layout the workshop. As order volume has grown tremendously, the workshop in its current state is inefficient. It is crowded, and overall just not conducive to best cranking out these flies. I’ve added a significant amount of materials to my collection, and storage and inventory are all over the place.

Secondly, a big part of this break has to do with R&D- the backbone of any good commercial tying operation. I’ve been tying a large number of 2 patterns for nearly a year now, and although I’ve been doing other custom streamer orders- I haven’t had a lot of time to play with new materials, and to tie some patterns I”ve had kicking around in my head for a while. That really bugs me- I have new materials that have sat for months….

Lastly, I’ll be prepping a lot of stuff for the holiday rush. I have a lot of new materials finally hitting the web store- so please check that out. I’m getting in FrankenDub Monster Dub for building sick streamer heads, I’m also getting in streamer hair from The Laughing Fly which I’m excited about. Besides that, I’m going to be stocking a TON of new stuff from Hareline Dubbin.

Oh yea- and I’ll be taking a few mornings or evenings to bow hunt within this period as well- including a 5 day hunt on my PA farm. Hoping to get my first archery buck-

I will be posting more articles and interviews in that time- so I won’t be completely away from home base. My next interview is a fly tying duo….and their flies are quite devilish.

Have a good one!

Fly Tyer of the Month: Brandon Bailes

Brandon- Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions and sharing your ideas on flies and fly tying. Introduce yourself where you grew up, current home town etc. Whats your fishing history? What drew you to fly fishing and then eventually tying your own flies?

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Thanks for asking me to do this, it’s an honor! So I grew up in North Alabama and even now I live in the same general area with my wife and my 2 sons. Growing up I took for granted all the water I have surrounding me….not just the Tennessee river but mainly the small streams and creeks ( over 100 named streams in my county alone) that I loved exploring. I still remember how much fun it was when my Grandfather and I would get the old map out of his pickup truck and find a new creek to explore….and to this day I still have a lot more to visit Another great thing about my home location is I am only 1 hour both north( TN) and south(AL) of 2 trout tailwaters( yep, there’s trout in moving water in AL) and I have warmwater streams as close as 2 miles from my front door.

As far as what drew me to fly fishing, I think it was a natural progression and for the water I fish it seemed more efficient. I bought my first fly rod kit at the age of 12 and spent years catching panfish on dry flies, that I had no idea were suppose to be fished on the surface…so I guess I was swinging wet flies. Then some years later I remember buying a few flies that looked like baitfish and I took them out to a stream by my house determined to catch a bass instead of just panfish. Little did I know I was fishing a classic streamer, the Grey Ghost, and it worked extremely well on those small water bass and it started the wheels turning in my head about how these lil streamers were made.

Shortly after I found myself searching forums and youtube for videos/articles on how to tie flies and then I bought a cheap tying kit from a big box store. I had found a great outlet for my artistic background and was able to bring in aspects of my technical/engineering side. To me, it’s a great feeling of accomplishment when you tie something that looks and swims like you had envisioned…it really can be looked at as art in motion……and that’s where I am to this day and how I got here. Trying to make artwork that hooks fish!

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Did you have a mentor when learning to tie? What type of flies did you tie early on, and how successful were you?

I know this will sound bad but Youtube got me thru the basics with my cheap vise but a man named David Darnell helped me immensely with materials, advice, and tools. He’s been a father figure to me in many ways and helped advance my tying in a short amount of time.

My first flies were the venerable Wooly buggers and they worked even though I had no hackle on the them….and come to think of it they didn’t even have a bead head. In any case, they worked and started my addiction with streamers. My next fly was the Clouser minnow, it caught my first decent Smallmouth, Brown Trout, and Carp. Now you know why I’ve been infatuated with streamers of all shapes and sizes.

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About your instagram name- where did Panther Branch Bugs come from?

Any other social media links you have and want listed for people to find you? So I get asked this a lot, Panther Branch is a spring fed creek that I grew up on and learned to flyfish on and I decided on it to honor my greatest mentor, my Grandfather. He grew up on the same farm as well and he use to tell me stories about his father putting rainbows in the creek and how they would actually survive until they were all caught throughout the year. This creek is a tiny blueline on the map but my Grandfather and I spent most spring/summer Saturday afternoons exploring the water…catching redbreast sunfish, bass, crawfish, hellgrammites…you name it. Even to this day I fish it at least once a week as its only 10 minutes from my house and every time I step in the water I feel like find something new. It’s a special place for sure.

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In your opinion, what makes an average fly tyer, a great fly tyer? What tips can you give to younger tyers out there to improve their progression?

To me, it boils down to one major thing and that’s “taking your time”. When you slow down you find that there’s tons of details that can be overlooked if you’re just cranking thru flies early on….for example, is your thread laying flat or twisted tight, are those rubber legs equal distant, are your eyes glued on straight..etc. A great tyer also finds a niche they fit in and works to perfect that niche whether it be the perfect parachute Adams, articulated streamer, or deer hair bass bug.

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What characteristics do you look for in successful fly designs? Do you work or brainstorm with any other fly tyers to improve your stuff or get a 2nd opinion?

Well I look for 2 major things initially….1. Profile and 2. Action. Once I have these two things down pat in a design I start to tweak things such as weight and materials to see if it has any major effect to the way the fly looks or swims. I think its best to have a fly that is completely streamlined for ease of fishing but also ease of tying in bulk.

Luckily, I have some great friends that are both accomplished tyers and fishermen to help with feedback. My good friend, Adam Harman of Blueridge Custom Flies, has always been great when brainstorming on an idea or critiquing a fly and I try to do the same with him, even though I’m all thumbs when it comes to nymphs like he ties. I also have friends that aren’t interested in materials or design…they just fish, and I can hand them a few flies to use and they come back with great ideas as well, solely based on how a particular fly performed. So its great to have both ends of the spectrum and in general its nice having these friendships in a sport we all love.

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I’ve never been to your home state of Alabama- whats the best fishing around you? Do you guide down there? If so, with who- and what species do you typically target?

Oh man! So many choices and so little free time! Honestly though it really depends on the time of year. If you made a summer trip I would say skinny water Smallmouth with hoppers, a spring visit would be Largemouth with 2/0 deer hair concoctions in the morning and then hit the big water for the rest of the day to catch 40-50 White bass /Hybrids on their annual spawn run, and if you visited in the fall or winter it would be throwing streamers to trout on the tailwater. There’s always something to fish for here no matter the time of year.

As for guiding, in the past I have taken people on warmwater trips for Smallmouth and White bass but at this time its not something I do on a regular basis. Although if the interest continues to grow you never know what may happen……

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What’s your favorite type of fishing to do? Favorite species and method of fishing?

These days I find the most joy in fishing for small water smallmouth bass with downsized streamers on a glass rod. To me, the coolest thing is finding a watershed that looks like brookie water and being able to throw a 3” streamer into each run and see a shadow emerge to chase and eat your fly! When you do this you really do see the Alpha predators of that stream and a lot of these fish are never seen because people don’t think decent size fish live in such small water.

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Are you tying commercially at this time? If so, how is business? Have you submitted any flies into the big catalogs for evaluation?

I don’t tie commercially right now, of course I tie small orders for guys quite often and spring thru summer is when I see the most orders. My future plans, once my wife finishes her Masters in the Medical field, include ramping up my business to a more professional level, which will include a website and more hours for tying.

As far as submissions go, I currently have 2 flies in the 2016 Orvis catalog….the Bailes Out minnow and the Panther Creek hopper. It’s crazy to see something you tie end up in a well known store like Orvis. I have a few other patterns that will be going in for evaluation for the 2018 season and I’m hoping they will make the cutting room floor.

 

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One thing I really appreciate is the quality of your deerhair work. It is a definitely something I’m not comfortable with from lack of practice. How did you get into the deerhair bugs- what drew you to them and how long was the learning curve?

I think like most guys that get into deerhair bugs I started out by buying them from Pat Cohen, even though I tied for myself. Within a few months I found myself buying deerhair, a hair packer, and his DVD’s and I was at the vise trying to stack my own. For the first major learning curve, It took me about 2 months to become somewhat decent and I still find that it’s the one niche in fly tying, for me, that requires constant practice to keep a certain level of competency. I have also learned that you find something new out with each different patch of belly hair….so it’s a constant process of learning the material.

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What are some of your favorite new fly tying products that you use in your flies, or that improve the quality of your flies?

I would say my favorite new material for building streamers would have to be the Hareline Micro Pulsator zonkers. The strips are great for the smaller streamers I tie but they are in no way sparse…super full and the colors are pretty endless. I seem to use them every chance I get.

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Also the heads available from both Flymen fishing co and Dropjaw flies are just awesome……both provide a clean finished look to any streamer without worrying about epoxy dry time.….and did I mention they just look cool! But really I could go broke just trying to sample all the new fly tying materials that are coming out these days. Its so easy to add a fresh spin on even classic patterns with all the stuff out today.

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Let me separate one thing- Drop Jaw Heads….give me the low down on these INCREDIBLY unique head designs. How do you tie with them? I haven’t pulled the trigger because of the expense and I don’t know how durable they are- so how durable are they?

The Dropjaw heads really are incredibly unique and offer a truly custom touch to any streamer. What I normally tell guys when trying to explain how detailed these heads are is that, Jason Arave and Chad Nelson are doing miniature taxidermy on fish heads! No two heads are alike and they have so much depth in the coloring, due to the guys painting them in layers and then epoxy coating. Speaking about the epoxy clear coat, the guys at Dropjaw have taken the time and invested lots of research into the best performing epoxy for the heads and it shows. I have been out fishing along rip-rap for hybrid bass and slammed my streamer into the rock jetties on my back cast, pulled the fly in expecting to see a cracked head, only to find a lil scuff mark! So whatever Jason and Chad are doing is working well.

As far as how I tie with them…I use them on any streamer I can imagine and also the inside of the head has a wide enough opening that they fit a huge range of hook sizes. Lately, I’ve been concentrating on the newest head design, the Pinhead, combined with zonker strips and stacking SF fibers for a belly ( which I learned from Gunnar Brammer) it makes a perfect skinny water streamer!

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The Pinhead is the smallest offered right now and I actually throw it in an articulated streamer on a 6’6” glass 5wt with ease. My other favorite would have to be the juvenile trout head ,its quite a bit bigger than the Pinhead and once tied in correct proportions looks like it could jump out of the fly box and smim off on its on! So if you haven’t seen a Dropjaw head in person you truly are missing out and I don’t just say this because I’m an ambassador for them….I was just a regular guy wanting to splurge on a cool new material and once I get my first pack of heads in and talked to Jason on the phone I knew they had something cool going on !

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What vise are you currently tying on? What are the biggest pros about that vise?

For the past 3-4yrs my main vise is a Renzetti Clouser with the brass & stainless steel upgrades. For me, it does everything well….from midges to deer hair bugs. The biggest pro to me is it’s an American made vise that has a great reputation and it’s one of those vises I can see passing down to my kids…one day……maybe 60 yrs from now

Are you currently a member of any fly fishing or fly tying pro staffs? Anyone you want to shout out?

I’m lucky enough to be an Ambassador for the guys at Dropjaw Flies and I’m also on the Tyer Program with Flymen Fishing Co., as well as a member of the Orvis Friends of the Field program. All these groups are top notch and you really can’t ask for any better!

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If you could fish anywhere in the world for the next couple of days, where would you go?

Man that’s tough! But I think I would have to go simple and pick a Montana spring creek with hungry Browns that are willing to eat streamers in the morning, hoppers midday, and finish the evening with fading light and a mouse

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You’ve received some other press this year- through The Fiberglass Manifesto- What did you think when they contacted you? In that article they gave mention to a fly of yours named The Bloody Fanged Bat- something I remember seeing on facebook early on when I was following you. How did that fly come about?

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Yeah Cameron is a great dude and the sole reason I have more glass than graphite now He’s been nice enough to have me do a few tutorials over the past couple years but the Bat seemed to do well and get a reaction from both fly guys and gals along with everyone else. Honestly the way it came about was our Facebook Warmwater fly tyer group had a Halloween fly posting and I was in the middle of refilling my bass boat box when it hit me……if I just shorten the tail on that mouse and give it wings I can make a bat.

So tying the bat wasn’t an issue, it was the wings that gave me a hard time as I tried a few materials that either wouldn’t stay in place or just didn’t look right. Finally I just went to some 2mm foam, heated and rounded the edges, along with adding on some pieces of prepainted toothpicks, which was all put in place onto the belly after I covered the underside with UV goo. It would probably twist a 40# leader due to the wings but I carry at least one on my display to each show because it’s a something you don’t see at most fly shows

deerhair-bat

Is it true you are considered a warm water specialty tyer? I ask because you and I share the same affliction of tying some pretty big trout streamers?

I consider myself mainly a warmwater guy for the most part. I don’t tie a lot of small trout stuff other than a few standard flies…actually the smallest hook I own right now is a 20 and that’s pretty much for tailwater midges. I always say I’m not talented enough to tie small stuff but I do enjoy tying trout/bass streamers along with bass bugs. over the past year I have gotten back to streamers that fit the water and style I fish most….skinny water, sure there areas that warrant a 5-6” articulated streamer at certain times, but 95% of the time I tie and fish streamers that catch both numbers and size…which is usually in the 2-3.5” range. Now if we are talking an 8wt, floating line, and Largemouth on the lake….well then I reach for at least a 2/0 bass bug

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Will you be doing any of the fly tying shows this year? If yes, where at?

As of right now I am scheduled to tie at the Smoky Mountains Hook&Hackle show in November and I usually do Orvis demo days at some point during the year as well.

What are some of your favorite materials to tie with? What materials offer you the most consistency and creativity?

Well I know I talked about the Hareline Micro Pulsator strips already and they are very consistent but I think my most favorite material, if I can call them that, are good hooks. I might be considered a hook collector by some but I really like all the solid and dependable hooks that are out there. When I first started tying a bought cheap bulk hooks and I would sit and weed thru them for rolled points and crooked or bent eyes. Then hope that they would hold during a fight with an angry Smallmouth. I quickly learned that the hook has to be a solid foundation to base any fly off of because if it doesn’t perform then the rest of the material doesn’t matter.

For the record my current favorites are the Patridge Predator series, Gamakstu SP11’s, and Ahrex Curved Shrimp…..and then of course you can never have too many Gama B10 Stingers!

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One of my personal favorite questions- lets talk about fly development. You sit down at the vise, no orders to fill- just an empty box and your collection of materials. Do you sketch something out first, is the fly based on a material, a color, a specific location etc?

I have this weird habit…..i’m sitting here with 3 boat boxes and 9 other various fly boxes overflowing with streamers and bugs but what do I do…..i know I’m getting up the next morning to fish “X” location so I sit down and think” what would be a cool way to catch a fish there?” . so I usually end up tying 3-4 flies and stick them in a box that is already full of patterns that are tried and true on the water I’m going to fish…….and 9 times out of 10 I end up only fishing the 3-4 flies I tied the night before and if one of those freshly tied flies catches a fish then I feel like I’ve won the chess match that day.

How do you test your flies- when do you give them a passing grade?

I test in stages…first I tie up a prototype and test in a sink filled with water. If the fly falls, rest, or swims a short distance like I want then I move to step two. The next step is on an actual stream that will be the water type I intend to fish( slow moving, fast moving, pocket water, etc) and if it passes that test then I concentrate on catching fish. Once it catches fish I usually look the fly over and see if there is any particular area that can be trimmed away for ease of tying but still perform the same and give off the same profile……after all that’s said and done, well I usually make room in the flybox and put it into rotation.

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What are your current favorites:

Bobbin- Griffin Supreme
Deerhair Thread- Veevus 200D
Regular Thread- UTC 140
Scissors- Dr. Slick 4” Razor Scissors
Glue/UV Resin- Loon Flow….so many uses

loon-flow
Any favorite tools/gadget you use often- Granite vise base from thegranitefly.com…..not really a tool but it is great way to have a solid foundation to tie on and it looks good

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Have any new designs you are throwing around> Any concept fly you are looking to build/perfect?

Right now I’m trying to come up with a Hellgrammite that is not overly complicated but still looks convincing and fishes well. I have a few different styles I’ve been tying up and at least one is in its finally stages of being done. So far the fish like them too!

prototype-hellgy

What’s the state of fly tying right now?

I think fly tying these days is growing immensely due to material choices and the whole social media connections made. Social media is a great way to connect and share ideas but as with anything in life a few bad apples do start to stink it up on occasions but if guys will just remember that this is a platform for creativity I can only imagine the things to come in the tying world!

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Who are some of your favorite fly tyers?

Wow! So much talent today….off the top of my head I would say my buddy Adam Harman, Gunnar Brammer, Andreas Andersson, Collin Carlson, Steve Yewchuck, Richard Strolis, Eric Snyder, Blane Chocklett, and of course, Tradd Little.

 
What do you think of the divisiveness in fly tying right now?

Man! Like I was saying in the previous question, there’s a few bad apples out there for sure and sadly a few have a professional platform in the industry that could be used in great ways instead of putting people down for their gain. You have guys that spend their days trolling the internet just find someone tying something similar and then they try to crucify the person for doing so. It’s pretty sad to see grown-ups act this way but it just has to be taken with a grain of salt. This sport of ours is meant to be fun, relaxing, and a way to show creativity….not a sport based on how many “likes” or “followers” you have. I think social media is a great venue to share our hobby but nothing beats time on the water instead in front of a screen. And if you really break it down, all we really gotta do is have fun while we’re here and make sure the fish likes our flies

To the question about People arguing over what is, or isn’t a “fly”? You know I’ve never really gotten into the whole “that’s not a fly it’s a lure” debate but I’m not a purist for certain either. My opinion, solely, if it’s marketed and sold for convention gear fishermen then I say its not a fly Growing up I also saw guys using flyrods and live worms to catch bedded bluegills in spring…not for me, but if it makes you happy and lets you escape everyday life?

Any final thoughts, rants?

Get outside and go explore those streams you drive by everyday…you could be pleasantly surprised at what you find!

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A huge THANK YOU to Brandon for taking the time to answer these questions, and allowing us to see his incredible fly tying skills. His flies are beautifully crafted and the photography is top notch as well. He is a very humble man, but his work speaks for itself.

Please take this time to follow Brandon on Instagram HERE, where you can stay up to date on all of his latest creations. If you would like to get in touch to order some of his flies, you can reach him through his email  bailebr3@gmail.com

Lastly, there are going to be 3 flies tied by Brandon given away over the next week or so. To be eligible for the first fly, simply subscribe to the blog and answer this question.

What flies would you like to see available for purchase in the online store- Trout Streamers, Predator Flies, Trout Nymphs, or Saltwater Flies?

I’m expanding significantly these last few months in 2016, but even more so in 2017. New materials coming soon as well including FrankenFly Franken Dub (Monster and Nymph) as well as several The Laughing Fly materials.

For the other two giveaways make sure to check out my Instagram page HERE

Thank you for reading!

Fly Tyer of the Month Preview: Brandon Bailes

Hey Guys,

Heading into the last quarter of 2016, there are a lot of new posts coming, including many more interviews to catch up.

The next Fly Tyer of the Month will be Brandon Bailes aka Panther Branch Bugs and he is an incredibly skilled and diverse fly tyer. He is probably considered a warm water/deerhair specialist but his trout streamers are pretty sick as well.

brandon-bailes-imimage-3
Brandon Bailes

Take a peak at his Instagram page HERE, and comment below with any questions you would like asked about any of his flies- any techniques you would like discussed etc. You can also check out my page, @inpursuitoftrout as well.

As per the usual, there will be a few lucky winners once the interview is posted who will win some of his flies so stay tuned.

 

 

Pat Cohen’s Sculpting Scissors

Hey Everyone-

I haven’t done any product reviews in a long time, and I am incredibly behind so starting with this one, I’ll be trying to get one or two up a week. If you want to see any products, materials, gear etc reviewed- either in print or video- email and I’ll see what I can do via the Facebook Live tool.

If you aren’t familiar with Pat Cohen and his work, you are living under a rock. The guy is an absolute artist on the vise, his deer hair work is second to none right now (imo), and he is a true professional. I got to meet Pat and watch his demo at last year’s Somerset show and it was mesmerizing. He’s also a great guy, and more than willing to lend a hand helping a fellow tyer.

Back in May I ordered one each of his Sculptin Scissors after talking with him, and even though I didn’t need new scissors- I know enough about Pat that he isn’t pumping out new tools just to move a few units- there is some thought and purpose behind them. Combine that with the fact I had no less than 15 average pairs sitting in my foam tool organizer I could hardly resist. Scissors are absolutely critical to clean work, whether it is prepping materials or cutting thread once you whip finish the fly. Regardless how much you spend, its difficult to find one that is worth the value. These scissors are hands down the best I’ve worked with yet. Dr. Slick Razors are good, the Hareline Titanium scissors are okay- these are AWESOME. There are four different scissors he came out with.

4.5″ Straight. Price: $24.95

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These scissors have 2″ long, double serrated blades which is perfect for all the nasty synthetic materials we are tying with these days. My gripe and obsession about scissors is that must suck- honestly, you drop down $25 sometimes less- and you tie a couple weeks and once they get dull- you collect them to cut wire and shit- but mostly they sit on the bench taking up valuable real estate.  just take up room.

These are STILL cutting gsp thread without tension. Yeup- they CUT gsp thread. No need to stab it while pulling the thread like you are starting a stubborn lawn mower- it cuts clean.

I really like this pair of scissors for deer hair work. It is a big enough (and strong enough) scissor to cut premo strips up all day long- without being heavy or awkward.

Bonus- These can be resharpened. Contact Pat directly for more information on that.

Pros- All of the above- the best scissor in this size and price range that I’ve ever used.

Cons- Due to the blade style, I don’t feel comfortable sharpening these myself, so at some point they will have to be sharpened.

4.5″ Curved Scissor $24.95

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These have 1.75″ double serrated blades. At first I didn’t want a pair of curved scissors until I thought about it. While they certainly aren’t necessary- I love mine. Shaping deerhair is much easier with these- you can clean up Sex Dungeon heads after the razor work and it looks beautiful. Would do equally well with rams wool heads, Laser Dub, etc. Also good for tapered cuts on under flash.

Pros- ^^^^
Cons- The curved shears work perfectly but feel slightly sticky on the curve. I don’t notice it while using them but if you open and close them slowly enough you’ll feel it. It might have to do with the double serrated blades- but then again in my day job among many other things, I sell $550 dog grooming scissors- so the comparison is slightly unfair.

4″ Straight $24.95

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While not a significant decrease in overall size, the blades are only 1″ long, which is great for work on smaller flies and in closer quarters. Great for use on nymphs, dry flies, etc.

Pros- Fine point, but not superfine point. To me, this is a pro, and not a con, because most arrow point scissors dull quickly. Ignore the size, these are a workhorse bench scissor. You could tie all day long with these and lose little.

Cons- None, my favorite scissor in their size/price category.

4″ Curved $24.95

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Utilizing a a blade length of just short of 1″. This little scissor will immediately clean up your tying process. My favorite task is cutting rabbit strips. When you tie a fly that utilizes a rabbit strip tail and over wing, the tie down process can be mess. Most scissors suck at trimming rabbit cleanly- but this truly is a wonder. By using the curved part, you can cut it closer, minimizing thread wraps to clean up the tie down point.

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Pros- Cuts rabbit hide clean, minimizing thread waste. Would be great to tidy up elk hair caddis if things went array during the tying process.

Cons- Not completely necessary. If you are of the minimalist type, you certainly don’t want 4 scissors taking up room on your bench space. I’m the type of tyer who will take as many types of arrows in his quiver, if you know what I mean. Every tool has a purpose, find every tools perfect purpose and your tying will improve.

You can buy each of these directly through Pat’s website, www.rusuperfly.com. He also sells a set of all 4 at a discount price of $84.99 savings of over 15%.

Fly Tyer of the Month: Andreas Andersson

 

Andreas- lets start off with the quintessential first question- what got you into fly fishing and ultimately fly tying? And how did that journey bring you into articulated streamers?

I guess you could say that fishing did bring me into fly fishing , i had been spin and bait fishing since a very young age. My curiosity with fly fishing came as a natural progression at about age 12.

My very first flies were tied at a local fishing club at the same age. Articulated streamers and bigger flies in general came when i found out just how fun catching pike on flies are. Some time after that i started trying the bigger flies for trout as well and the ball was rolling…

andreas fishing with pike

When did you first see an articulated streamer- if you remember, what fly was it? And what made you start tying them?

I don’t know really , maybe some fly i saw in Fly tier magazine a long time ago. Probably some of the Michigan guys flies ,Galloup or Maddin would be my guess.

The reason i started tying bigger flies originally was to catch pike and later just an ambition to catch larger trout . Looking at what the American guys were doing with articulation came naturally with that ambition.

 

What was the first articulated streamer you designed? How successful was it?

The first i can remember putting a name on was a fly i called ” Medium rare” , a front weighted streamer using rabbit strips in a slightly unusual way, pretty good actually especially after i put a fish skull on it, i can still remember clearly were i caught my first respectable trout on it.

 

It seems like you have enjoyed a lot of success around the world, and particularly here in the United States where there is a streamer explosion going on. You even had your flies featured by Brian Wise of Fly Fishing the Ozarks- what was that process like? 

show time at the ozarks

 

Yes its been crazy and it keeps being pretty crazy.

The American streamer culture is pretty cool and its surely rubbing off on the rest of the world, i see it growing a lot over here to. I have sent flies to many countries but the US is nowadays the most common destination without a doubt.

Yeah i think that’s really cool, Brian does such a great job and Ive always enjoyed watching his tying videos s. To me Brian has created a kind off modern streamer ”Hall of fame” and of course I’m very proud to have 6 fly patterns featured and also being the first non American.

The process was fairly simple , Brian contacted me that he wanted to feature some of my flies and i sent him photo and text s.b.s for the flies.
You also demo’d a few flies through Fly TV including one of my favorite patterns of yours- the Delivery Man. For the US audience- what is Fly TV and how did you develop that pattern?

 

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Fly Tv is part of the Swedish fishing film YouTube channel Kanalgratis , they produce some really nice stuff so definitely worth checking out. I was asked on to demonstrate some tying by my friend Niklaus Bauer from Flydressing. A Whitlock/Cohen style mouse and my pike fly the Delivery man.

delivery man pike flies

The Delivery man pattern was developed to be a pike fly with a big side to side movement and that head was definitely crucial in getting the desired effect. The fact that it casts very light for its size and are easy to vary in color is good to. Other predatory fish as striped bass,golden dorado,taimen,musky and large browns have responded well to it to.

It seems everyone is tying great streamers right now- who are a few of your favorite tyers- and what separates them from everyone else?

Yupp, there sure is a lot of people tying streamers nowadays. I don’t know if I have any favorite tyers but there sure is a bunch that are good, i might like this or that of what i see for different reasons. Ok a few then…

wishful thinking mice

Rich Strolis ,broad spectrum when it comes to tying and a he’s always been nice to me. His Ice pick streamer was a major inspiration for my Project Sushi and he even took the time to advice me via video on how he does to get those dubbing heads so nice.

sushi flames

I actually tied some pike flies for his trip to Alaska so hopefully I returned the favor a bit.

The Michigan guys, they are definitely some of those who started this madness. Not mentioning anyone in particular and not forgetting either.

Brian Wise and my Swedish friend Niklaus Bauer, they are some of the few guys I’m likely to juggle around ideas with. Both have real understanding of cause and effect in fly design and are nice guys with very different tying styles.

ozarks

Ulf Hagstrom has been my wing man on several fly tyers rows and shows, always a great time..Andre Mieges to for his epic color combos, both really nice guys


You are fly fishing for trophy trout next week at an undisclosed river- which 6 flies do you bring?

Fun question!

I really would like to know the type of river. Drifting a tailwater that’s producing water or wading a shallow pocket stretch would definitely affect my choices.

But undisclosed it is..ok.

1 Ragdolly ,baby browntrout colors 6″

ragdolly in brown trout

2 CF Baitfish, grey/white 3″

craft fur baitfish

3 Sid, White 5″

white sid

4 Huck sculpin ,olive 4″

huck sculpins olive

5 Aino , baby rainbow 7″

aino rainbow

6 Sisu , firetiger 6″

sisu fire
My absolute favorite fly of yours is the Aino or the Aino variants- Describe that fly’s development?> What were you hoping to achieve- and how did you come up with the tying steps to complete the fly’s head? 

aino brown and rainbow

 

Glad you like it!
That fly might have one of the most copied head style you’ll find on the internet nowadays.

The Aino (pronounced ”I know”) has a body made as a mix of two other patterns. Namely Blane Chocklett’s Game changer or more so the shanks and hook platform it uses, the other being Kelly Galloup’s Barely legal with top and bottom stacked marabou. The Aino uses palmer and/or polar chenille to push or lift the profile a bit as well and to get some sideline flash, and some Steve Farrar synthetic fibers or Deercreek Gliss n glint as a tail.

aino

Well i was looking to get a serpent type swim on a fly that could still shoot out sideways a bit on the pause, and it needed to cast better than a Game Changer that gets a bit heavy when wet.

The head was the thing i was sure about from the start having tested it on other flies before and it just works, but the body took way longer before i had decided i was done.

craft fur aino

The head i use with the reversed synthetic fur came to be as a way to give a more full profile to sparsely tied flies, basically faking size. As well as to make flies that ”cuts” sideways between strips making them look injured..or high or something, either way they wont move straight for long.

The modern UV-resins along with how i place the eyes made it possible to control the shape very easily. Some other bonuses are that colors be placed and layered with control and that the finish point of the thread is hidden inside the head protecting it from teeth and it looks pretty neat to doesn’t it?

 

What are your thoughts on hook selection when it comes to streamer design and behavior? How do you select which hooks go on a certain fly, and what are a few of your favorite hooks right now, and why?

project sushis

I would agree that hook choice and also placement of particular hooks in multi hook flies are very important. The way I choose hooks is usually pretty much old knowledge that a lot of people have heard before but lets go through some of it anyway.

Lighter and/or smaller hooks in the back making it easier for it to flutter around and articulate. Bigger and sometimes heavier wire hooks up front for keel/tracking and also to give plenty of hook gap with the big heads common on modern streamers.

partridge

I’ll often use different hook models, sizes, bends, and wire thicknesses within the same fly to get different effects. The hooks I use the most at the moment is Partridge of Redditch Predator X, Attitude Streamer, and Attitude Extra..why would take another page of writing.

partridge hooks

Hooks are a big deal that affects what you can and can’t do with flies and their action, I definitely have a bunch of ideas for hooks I would like to see produced in the future.

white river bound

 

Are you tying full time right now? Have you considered having your designs tied commercially?

No i do have a regular job besides tying and doing demos, but i spend several hours a day tying and have done so for years. To me its a good balance that works and i still have time for my family since most of my tying is done at night,i have never been one to require much sleep anyway.

Yes i have considered it but i haven’t sent any samples yet,don’t know why..and i don’t know if Orvis or Umpqua or similar would be interested. The flies catch fish so that part is good at least lol, we’ll see.

What are a few of your favorite materials and why?

 

Ok,

Craft fur since i use it a lot and can apply it to many different flies to get flow and movement without paying much in terms of casting weight. Also makes decent heads as we touched upon earlier.

delivery men in parrot color

Bucktail..i obsess over really good bucktail, i have mountains of it and still never pass up good ones.

 

skull beads

I think there’s a few that thinks I’m pretty handy with deerhair to and i feel comfortable working with it so that to.

dragon sids

 

Sid seems to be based off of Tommy Lynch’s D&D- a fly you also tie insanely well. What’s the key to getting that fly swimming properly, and what do you differentiate on the sid vs. the d&d- it looks like the head varies SLIGHTLY- whats your theory on that?

d&d
Tommy Lynch’s D&D. Tied by Tommy, photo credit goes to Tommy Lynch.

 

Yupp i definitely took a lot of inspiration for the head from Tommy Lynch’s D&Ds.

I like the dive and wiggle the flies get with the wedge cut deerhair heads as well as the slow rise on the pause , its simply a good idea .

I would say that getting any fly to swim properly is a matter of more than one factor, the angle of the jig hook bend, the width, density and thickness of the deerhair heads are certainly key on these to me.

About differentiation of those patterns i would start the other way around. They do share the wedge style head and they both are great hunting fly patterns, most of the rest is different.

good image of the sid head trim
Sid by Andreas Andersson.

Sid has a thicker or fuller profile in the water and generally less flash, and might be a little bit easier to tie, that’s good. D&D’s has a slightly wilder action due to less friction in the tail and more flash, that is also good..non of them are likely to be excluded from my fly boxes any time soon.

Sid gets a slightly more triangular cut to make it less prone to spin when stripped cross current , its noticeable if you spend a day making long presentations with jerk strips that a DD will twist up your line more, still a great fly tho. Also the triangular cut is less likely to catch on teeth and do last longer because of it.

sid fish head closeup

 

Are you currently designing/testing any new patterns? When will we see those? Any preview you would like to debut an image of?? 🙂 

Testing and tweaking is one of the most fun and important parts of tying flies…most of my ideas are not good enough to earn a spot in the box to be honest, but sometimes you get stuff right.

I let testing take time.. Nowadays with so many great patterns around not much is actually new anyway. No pics yet, top secret lol.
During the design process, what kind of testing do you do- and what are you looking for during the development before you finalize the pattern and begin working on color variations?

 

ragdolly ate up by a michigan brown hullyfly2frame
Photo credit by @HullyFly2Frame on Instagram.

Most testing is fishing..what i look for is –

1 Does it catch fish?

2 Does is do what i was looking for in the first place in terms of action,depth,actual size when swimming and more.

Colors are usually something that is tested simultaneously since I’m often trying to mimic a specific prey or even a specific behavior of that prey . So to me that goes together even though I’m highly likely to play around with colors later on to.

sculpin filet

Speaking of- you seem to have the most creative and polished color schemes of anyone right now- whats your theory on color and color schemes?

Thanks a bunch! Most of the time I’m trying to make a fly look and behave like a type of prey whatever fish I’m tying for is used to eating. Preferably an injured one of those prey items ,predators do sniff out the weak individuals no doubt. Color choices follows that.

yellow delivery men

Other times I’m making flies meant to piss the fish of to get a territory/reaction strike and then i might be using more wild or highly visible colors.

Other stuff i may take into account is surrounding elements like light or the absence of light, water color, temperature, time of the year and so on.

Another thing , the only fly i might (but rarely that either) do single color is white, all others are a blend of some kind, two reasons- Nothing or close to nothing in nature is really single color is it?…and its boring to paint with a small palette.

sid in grey and pearl

If you could fish anywhere in the world right now- where would you go and why? 

Really tough one , my bucket list isn’t exactly short. There s a ton of places i wanna go and plenty of species i have never fished for. If i were writing this earlier in the year i think my friends along The White river in Arkansas or maybe Michigan would get a call with me asking to borrow a couch to crash lol.

But right now i would be extremely happy to just get up north to my friends house close to one of my favorite brown trout rivers or to take the drift boat out with my dad, both scenarios just because i know i would have a great time…it don’t have to be more complicated than good company and a river for me most of the time.

Where is your favorite place to fish- and what makes it special for you?

Can i pick a few if i keep it short?

Stockholm archipelago going after pike, perch and sea-run brown trout..its basically a maze of thousands of island and incredibly beautiful .

hunting grounds

The Norther part of river Dalälven. My family has a house there and just being in the area with snow on the mountains into the summer is great..the fishing isn’t bad either.

Dalaven River
Dalaven River

The Gim river in county Jämtland in Sweden and river Rena in Norway are both places i love to fish with my friends and both offer opportunity for some serious brown trout.

ready to hunt boat pic

 

Do you see any tying trend that upsets you, or that you don’t understand? Can you tie a trout streamer TOO big?

 

No not really upset it usually takes a lot more than tying to get me upset…but some guys I have spent hours answering questions on how i do certain things and techniques just to get a pattern ripped without credit or thanks , that’s a bit sad because what i told might have taken years to get just right .

Credit is nice to get and i think to give it as well, i have learned tons by watching, reading and talking to other tyers through the years and I’m certainly thankful to those guys and girls for sharing their knowledge.

Getting inspiration from what others have done before and using that to achieve something specific you are looking for in a fly is different thing that i don’t mind at all, i do that all the time some times knowingly some times not since not much is new under the sun.

monster rainbows

Yes and no, i have tied 9 and 10 inch streamers for guys chasing tail water trout and they catch monsters on them. But at the same time yes, when you step over a certain size in each watershed you will pay a price in less or no fish.



What plans do you have for the rest of 2016 and beyond? 

 

I have a couple of events planned in Sweden and abroad, next up is Switzerland in a few weeks.

And also the fishing season is far from over here up north so there’s plenty of fishing left to be done as well.

 

I’ve seen you do several fly shows/fairs in Europe- do you have fun tying flies at these shows? Have you considered doing any shows in the US at some point?

 

Yes i enjoy teaching and demoing fly tying and i do it a lot, i have done that in 9 countries so far. Its always a good time and atmosphere and i get to meet a lot of friend on the road to.

andreass 2

 

Yupp i have certainly considered tying in the US and have gotten some invitations to.

I’m going to the states next year to fish , we’ll see if anyone wants me to do any workshops or demos while there.

For those of us striving to be a more solid production tyer- what tips can you give us? What mistakes did you make early on?

medium rair

Well first of always try make every fly as good as you can and take the time to make sure you do. Might seem obvious but speed and being able to make piles of flies that all look and work the same aren’t rushed .

Speed comes from experience , good preparations and also working with good materials.

prep work 2

Some things i have either learned from others or from simply tying thousands of flies per year and learning by doing, here a few of them that have helped me.

-Learn to tie with scissors in hand, you use it all the time and constantly picking it up and putting it down is a waste of time.

– Learn to do half hitches and whip finishing by hand, similar scenario as with the scissor with the added bonus of stronger flies if you make it a habit of throwing a knot in there once in a while.

-Prepare materials before you start wrapping , a huge time saver that also helps you with consistency. I use thick foam strips with slots cut into then as a second pair of hands as well as plastic cups, organizing boxes, magnets for hooks and so on.

another prep station

-Wrap small..picked this one up from Charlie Craven many years ago. I see a lot of people at classes and workshops with 5-6 inches of thread outside the bobbin. Not only has the bobbin a long way to travel per wrap ,it harder to place it accurately and with proper tension that way. Wrap small..

-Lastly read, take classes and listen to what others are doing. A lot of what works for others might not work for you but there’s usually a few gems of information to pick up.

Kelly Galloup Owner of The Slide Inn in Montana. Author of Modern Streamers of Trophy Trout
Kelly Galloup Owner of The Slide Inn in Montana. Author of Modern Streamers of Trophy Trout

Some of the people i have learned from in one way or another that curious people might want to check out from include AK Best, Al and Gretchen Beatty and Barry Ord Clarke and several of my best Swedish friends on smaller flies. On modern style streamers Kelly Galloup, Rich Strolis and Mike Schmidt and more..On deerhair the late Chris Helm as well as Mike George and Pat Cohen. Nicklaus Bauer if you are into pike flies…i could make this list longer.

I have been tying for well over 20 years now and done my 10’000 hours and learn new stuff all the time. No one is an expert at everything..we gotta remember that or stop getting better.

Ohh and about the mistakes done earlier on i probably did all of them .

What’s your favorite species to fly fish for?

Brown trout rule! Trout are special to me , always has and always will be even though i certainly enjoy fishing for other species to.

small trout big appetite

 

Are you currently a member of any pro staffs? 

Yes a few.

On fly tying i work with Partridge of Redditch hooks, Regal vises, Deercreek uv-resins and materials and Flymen Fishing company. The Scandinavian distribution companies Fly Co and Flydressing are also very nice to me and i try to return the favor.

 

 

 

When it comes to fishing i work with FlyFish Europe, they are the European distributors of several high quality brands like Simms, Scott fly rods, Scientific Anglers fly lines, Waterworks-Lamson reels and more.

 

 

The following flies- 

Delivery Man- what are you favorite go to color schemes.

delivery men in parrot color

Delivery Man- ”The Parrot” looks coolest no doubt, its a black,blue,orange combo that looks like nothing but it hunts anyway.
Skinhead- tips to perfect the head clean and locked down. 

Skinhead- Start with a needle for precision and then a scissor to get the hole through the rabbit strip the right size, glue and thread the eye through the bunny. Finnish with a small amount of uv-resin to get the finished head looking a little bit nicer.

skinhead close up

Ragdolly- How should it swim- do you tend to fish it on a floating or sinking line- or does it vary?

Ragdolly- The R.D is my favorite fly, it just works. The deerhair head should be cut with flat sides and top and bottom to have the current gripping it better pushing the head around causing a chain-reaction to the rest of the fly. It will jack knife, fly out sideways and pulse on automatic , very easy to fish, cast and to make to look alive.

ragdolly in brown trout

90% of the time its a sinking line and 10 % a short head sink tip, i cant remember ever using a floating line. You could but i don’t.

Lastly- what is your most popular fly world wide?

Popular in terms of catching big trout, Ragdolly. It just seems to work wherever i send them.

ragdolly

Delivery man, Sid, Aino and the little CF Baitfish all have been great to if listening to fishing reports.

And the head style of the Delivery Man/Aino has been taken on by a ton of other tyers so i guess you could call that pretty popular to on its own merits.

Notice the Aino like head using craft fur and uv gel.
Notice the Aino like head using craft fur and uv gel.

 

A huge thank you goes out to Andreas Andersson for taking his time to answer these questions, and to share his wonderfully tied and photographed flies. He gets full credit for these photographs, so please share the link- and not the images. You can see all of these and THOUSANDS more well tied and photographed flies on his social media pages.

Instagram: @andreas13andersson
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/andreas.andersson.73157
Email: a13andersson@gmail.com

For flies, contact him via any of those sources. At the time of this writing, he said his turn around time is right about 3 weeks.

 Andreas is as talented as he is gracious with his time- always willing to lend a hand to me if I had a question over the last couple of years.

You can buy some of his flies in stock, HERE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fly Tyer of the Month Coming Soon: Andreas Andersson

I can say I’ve been excited for a long time coming about this one. Next week I will be putting up my interview and spotlight on Swedish fly tyer Andreas Andersson, who is known for tying some of the most innovative streamers in the world right now.
If you are on social media, you have probably heard his flies being talked about, and many just need one name: Aino, Sid, Skinhead, Ragdolly, Sisu, – he’s also the guy who created the Project Sushi, Delivery Man, Wolftrap, and many many more.
What is strikingly apparent is that he toils over the vise- when you see his color combinations they are perfect. His proportions and usage of material is second to none.

In this spotlight I’m hoping to extract tips and tricks to help you tie his patterns, but also develop your own. I’ve talked to Andreas before, and he’s been very open about what he does and why he does it, so it should make for an entertaining article. The other plus is that his flies are works of art- so you’ll see a stunning gallery of gorgeous trout, bass, and pike flies.

andreass 2

There will be a giveaway for this interview as well- more info on that coming later. Just know it is definitely worth checking back on the site- and subscribe to the page NOW if you haven’t already done so to keep up with the newest posts and products.

Last but not least- I will be stocking his flies in my shop going forward, so when you check the site and see his flies- they are ready to ship from the US- no wait times needed.

Thoughts? Comment below!

Oskar Hagelin and Daniel Bergman Fly Fish Norway

Oskar Hagelin is an excellent fly tyer and fly fisherman out of Sweden that has a serious streamer fetish. Oskar was the very first fly tyer featured in my Fly Tyer of the Month segment, and for good reason. He has studied streamer design concepts for a few years, and has put in a lot of time on the vise creating patterns. You can view the original interview HERE

Below, you will see Oskar Hagelin and my new friend Daniel Bergman of Fly Dressing (http://www.flydressing.se/) fly fishing with streamers in Norway for amazing trout, in some amazing scenery. They share some fishing tips that will hopefully help you catch some large trout on streamers, but they convey the sense of community and brotherhood that all of us who continually cast streamers share. You never know what lies ahead, so keep casting.

Fly Tyer of the Month: Tim Savarese

In the fourth installment of my Fly Tyer of the Month series I talk with Tim Savarese aka yea_trout_that on Instagram. He has become a social media rock star due to his incredibly sick stoneflies- but as you’ll see in this interview, his skills extend beyond just the Plecoptera genus.

Enjoy!

tim s

 

Where did you grow up and how did you start your journey into the sport of fly fishing? Is it something you found on your own, or did your family get you into the sport?

I grew up in PA. When I was younger I did a lot of spin fishing. I got pretty good at it but it became boring so i bought my first fly rod when I was 17, it was a TICA #6-7. I still use it, great rod for the money. Corks starting to fall off. I used to have terrible nymphing tatics but I still caught fish. I would say fishing was mostly self discovered. My dad definitely got me fishing to begin with but l became obsessed with it after its introduction.

tim ss

Living in PA, you have access to some of the most consistent fisheries on the east coast with such a rich history. Who were some of your influences as a beginner?

PA has what I would consider world class trout fishing at times. Other times I sit and ponder whether the fish went vegan. Ha ha. Lots of great water if you know where to look for it. I pretty much did my own thing with fly fishing as well. I taught myself so at times I’m unorthodox but it works for me. I always tell that to new comers. You can learn from the best in the world but their way might not work for you. You need to find your style and methods of being successful.

What advice would you give to someone fishing eastern pa for the first time?

Advice for the area would be to bring a few rods. Nymph, dry, streamer. Lots of quality fishing but you may have to work for them.

czn

What is your current nymphing rig, rod, weight, etc?

I like to euro nymph, tight line, czech. What ever it’s called I do it. 10′ cabelas CZN. 4 weight. Sage 2250 reel. 2 fly rig. Its fun. Lots of action.


PA is pretty well known for the fly fishing competitions. What are you thoughts on competitive fly fishing- it is still controversial in many people’s minds. What positives or negatives do you see?

Hahahaha, I guess to each their own. Not my thing.

opening day trout

Any pet peeves you have about other anglers while on river?

I hate when people fish directly across from me in smaller water.  Not too many pet peeves, if there’s plenty of good water, give other guys some room.

articulated stonefly

To the guy beginning to nymph, what advice would you give?

 

Advice. Hmmm fish are constantly feeding. Just because you didn’t get bit first cast doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Maybe they were munching on a fat craw or gulpin a sculpin when your puny pheasant tail drifted by. Maybe that’s why you should fish size 4 stones and be done with it. Hahaha

 

As far as fly tying, there seems to be an endless stream of talent out there across the country and the world. Whose work do you find interesting these days?

So many great tiers out there these days. Lots of guys coming out with innovative patterns. I don’t have any particular names that jump out at me, too many good guys to list.

golden stone

How would you define your style of fly tying? What are a few of your favorite flies to tie? What is your approach when sitting down to tie? What are you hoping to achieve at the end of the fly? Some guys do it for artistic expression, innovation, while Russ Maddin has been quoted that fly tying is simply a means of production.

My style of tying is controlled chaos. My desk is a distaster at all times. Its inevidable. I tie halves of flies get bored and start something else. I cant sit and tie 50 flies. Its just not my style. I really focus on the cocept of functional realism. It’s the premise of most of my bugs. Lots of guys tie flies that look like they could crawl off the vice, and lots of other guys tie bugs that just flat out catch fish. I’m trying to tie a bug that will perform well at both of those. I’m definitely a quality over quantity guy.

stonefly box

Are you tying commercially right now? If so- how is business thus far? If no- is it something you’ve considered doing full time?

I just do small orders. No expansion plans for now. Just moving a few bugs here and there. Not quite sure what the future holds at the moment. I guess we will just have to wait and see.

stonefly hatch


To those that aren’t familiar, Tim ties some of, no- THE sickest working stoneflies that I’ve ever seen. How did you come up with the concept, and how did it evolve to the absolute jurrassic proportions and sickness that they are at now?

PA has a giant variety of stones as many states do and the trout destroy them. I started tying them and kept adding little features making them more realistic and somehow they ended up looking this way. I like fishing big stones because its usually my anchor fly so i want it down to the fish fast. I also want them to look obnoxious because I feel like the trout just cant help themselves when they see them bouncing along.

scorpion stone

What tips can you give to the people trying to tie one of those stoneflies? The rubberlegs have to be the most difficult part on that. Am I right?

Tips. Hmmm just be creative and have fun. Just break flies down to steps. All complicated flies are is a handful of easy steps. If you think about to many at once you’ll mess up. And yes, the legs are never easy, but you just get used to it.

Flymen Fishing Company logo

 

I ran into you back at the January Somerset show tying in the Flymen Fishing Co booth- how was that experience? Will you be a regular on the circuit this year?

The show was fun. I would absolutely tie at more shows if my schedule allows it. Fun meeting everyone, putting names to faces etc. The trout unlimited event was a fun event. A decent showing for a small venue. It was cool to tie and chat with the local guys from my area. Somerset is huge and very . Very different for sure. In the future I want to continue to do shows/presentations.

flymen fishing

Many of those flies you conjure up with feature Flymen Fishing Co products- what is it about their materials that you like so much- or put another way- if anyone hasn’t tried their products, what are a few reasons to try them out?

Flymen Fishing Company has some unique awesome products. Obviously I use mostly the realistic stone, mayfly and caddis beads, but they have so much to offer to streamer guys as well. Weighted sculpin helmets, crayfish tails, weightless heads, body tubing. So much potential. The beadheads and helmets are awesome because the paint doesn’t come off. I’ve tried, its really hard. The tungsten aspect is great because they get down fast. Overall just awesome stuff. Martin and the team do a great job.

new tails

 

az-mega-syn-golden-stone
Buy it in the shop HERE

What are some of your favorite dubbing blends?

I like Arizona mega synthetic a lot. Great product. Dubs really nice and looks super buggy. I’m also a huge fan of Nature’s Spirit Emergence. They have awesome unique colors to chose from and are very easy to use.

advanced green weenie

A very recent series of flies you’ve been tying are these large buggy grubs with one being dubbed the Advanced Green Weenie- how did the design process go, because it is WAY more technical and impressionistic than the original. What have the fish said?

The advanced green weenie. ha. Yeah the grubs are cool.  The fish love them. I’ve gotten lots of good feedback with durability and fishability. The loon UV resin holds up great. All fish love worms.

grubby

You have a pretty big following on Instagram these days- who are some of your favorites to follow on their?

I’m very appreciative of all the people that follow me.  It’s pretty awesome that people are picking up what im putting down. I have a lot of fun with @bug.wild @wycoflyco @ebbsforce1 and @flyfishfood. We like to joke around a lot. I follow any pages that catch my eye. Lots of good ones.

With quite a large social media response, have you contemplated doing any tying tutorials?

Eventually once I get a few things accomplished with tying I will do tutorials for sure.

evolution he

 

You seem to tie all types of flies well- when you go fishing what do you prefer fishing- dry flies, nymphs, or streamers- and why?

I like nymphs best because they look the coolest and I’m mostly a dirty nympher. I actually buy dries from a local shop because i usually never have any or the materials to tie them. Streamers are fun to tie, but nymphs rule my vice.

golden stonefly

I saw on their your better half gave you a Regal Revolution as a gift- is that your main vise right now? What are your thoughts on that vise- positives, negatives, etc?

The regal is so sick. She was awesome with that surprise. I love it so much. Its not just my main vice but my only vice. I used to tie on an apex that was given to me. Man, that thing was ugly. Its nice to have a vice that actually holds hooks well. I don’t think there is a single negative aspect about a revolution. Id recommend them to anyone.

kayla outfishing him

Speaking of Kayla, she seems to be a very competent angler herself. When you fish together does it get competitive?

Kayla is killing it right now. Shes learning fast and is really good right now. Yes, she does out fish me sometimes and I’m cool with that. We definitely have friendly competitions. She recently became an ambassador for Riverbum which I’m obviously stoked about.

meal worm

What plans do you have for 2016 and beyond? Have you considered getting one of your patterns picked up by one of the fly companies? Any upcoming trips you are planning?

Lots of future plans, not going to disclose too much right now, but good things on the way. I will hopefully be tying at symposium and maybe a few more shows. Should be a good year.

flymen caddis

Are you working on any new pattern designs right now? Give us a hint on what we can see in the future?


More stoneflies, I want to start working on realistic mayflies and caddis as well.

fff

Any sponsors you would like to mention?

I’m in the Flymen Fishing Company tier program which I am super stoked about. Super thankful to Martin for that opportunity. Such a fun professional relationship.I am also pro staff for Fly Fish Food as well. Cheech and Curtis have been so great to me, and help me grow as a tier. They are such a great addition to the tying community. Websites listed below.

Flymenfishingcompany.com

Store.flyfishfood.com

Flyfishfood.com

Lastly, what are some parting thoughts you have- about anything. If anything is bugging you about the industry, or local politics effecting the rivers you fish, or you really want to bring awareness to a good cause in the industry etc.

I want the younger generation not to get caught up in the social media stuff to fast. Yes its fun, everyones doing it, but that shouldnt be the reason you fish. Not at all.  Fall in love with fishing because you love fishing. Not instagram likes. Don’t worry about “pro staff” or whatever you want to call it. If its meant to be then it will happen. If not then who cares! Just fish, fish a lot. Take care of the fisheries and the fish. Pick up trash, quick releases etc. Most imprtantly just have fun.

What beer you digging right now?

Sour beer is great. Very niche/hard to find but it’s coming around. It’s like the sour candy of beers. Destihl wild sour has to be my favorite at the moment.

sour beer

If you could fish anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why? And who would you invite with you?

I really want to go to Mongolia for taimen, REALLY BAD. Its a 10 thousand dollar trip though. Mongolia is rustic, and taimem are amazing predators. Fishing giant squirrel patterns is appealing to me. I would take Kayla because she would love that trip.


 

I would like to thank Tim Savarese for taking the time to complete this interview. I know he’s been incredibly busy with orders. I’m going to post a few more flies of his- I just love his style of fly. Please comment below and let Tim know what you think of his flies, let me know what you think of this interview series so far etc- and I’ll be posting up a way in which you can win your very own stoneflies tied by Tim!

 

 

wyco flyco brown
walt evolved

 

 

mouse hatch

 

hot spot stone

 

heavy metal rainbow

 

caddis pupa

 

wire nymph
Again- just comment below and let me know what you thought. Next month I’ll also have 2 interviews hitting the website to fully catch up, and then I’ll continue doing 1 a month. If you haven’t yet, check out the web store HERE I’m going to be having a Memorial Day sale starting tomorrow….last but not least-

To see more, up to date work by Tim Savarese- check out his social media pages

Instagram: @yea_trout_that
F
acebook: Tim Savarese

 

 

 

 

 

in.pursuit.of.trout.website.logo

Interview with Tim Savarese Coming Soon!

Hey Everyone,

Due to getting behind from orders, I’m going to have another Fly Tyer of the Month interview dropping over the weekend to catch up. The subject of this interview is Tim Savarese, a tremendously talented fly tyer out of Pennsylvania who you probably know by his Instagram handle, yea_trout_that. He has a tremendous following on there, and is really pushing the boundaries through his very unique style. If you aren’t familiar with his tying, you are in for a treat. If you are familiar, maybe you can learn something to help you in your pursuit of trout.

Along with the interview, I will be doing an Instagram based fly tying contest, where you can win a few of Tim’s insane creations, along with another prize or two.

If you aren’t currently subscribed to the blog- please do that so you can stay up to date on all of the new content and products going up on the site. Also, check out and follow In Pursuit of Trout on Instagram, @inpursuitoftrout

Stay tuned-

Dan Podobed
in pursuit of trout website logo_opt

Fly Tyer of the Month: Enter to Win!

giveaway time

 

Hey everyone-

If you haven’t read the latest Fly Tyer of the Month interview with fly designer Jonathan Kiley you are missing out. Click HERE to read it now!

Jonathan has been so generous, that he has given me some serious Fly Skinz swag to give out. I’m going to give prizes every day  over the next week via this website plus the In Pursuit of Trout Instagram (@inpursuitoftrout) and Facebook. Check every day for your chance to win some very unique Fly Skinz tying materials!

We will be giving away Spiked Slow Rolla Tails, Kiley’s Pearl Body Wrap, Kiley’s Fish Finz, Scud Skinz, Bugger Bling, Mice Bitz, and MORE!

Plus, one lucky winner is going to win the grand prize which includes  3 of the most bad ass bass flies tied by Jonathan Kiley, a Tacky Big Bug Box, some decals, and a $20 off coupon for the In Pursuit of Trout web store.

For the first give away, I’m going to give out a pack of the Spiked Slow Rolla Tails in Black for sizes 1-4.

To enter, simply comment on the interview HERE, and say what fly you would add a Spiked Slow Rolla Tail to-  Winner will be announced tomorrow!

spiked slow rolla tails

Fly Tyer of the Month: Jonathan Kiley

 

warning

The following interview features high levels of synthetic materials on extremely original, progressive fly designs. Viewer Discretion Advised.

All jokes aside, there is still this archaic group of fly tyers out there that feels that synthetic materials somehow dilutes the purity of fly tying. Johnathan Kiley is one of the most progressively minded, creative, out of the box fly tyers in the business today. His designs are outright gaudy at times, but they catch fish. I’ve never seen one of his flies posted and thought that it was or could have been tied by anyone other than himself. Johnathan Kiley created his material business, Fly Skinz, a few years ago, and he is already shaking up the global material market with his innovative products. Without further ado, here is our interview.

First, for the people that are unfamiliar with you or your company Fly Skinz, give them some background. Who you are, and what your company is about.

fly skinz products

 Fly Skinz was created because as I was making up new materials most of the flies were names with “Skinz” in them. It was a brainstorming effort between myself and a mentor within the fly fishing community. What I really needed was a website or source where people could go and see how to use a lot of the products…the www.flyskinz.com was born. The best part about this whole experience so far is the people I have met along the way and the professional relationships I’ve created with them. I consider a lot of them good friends. Yes it is business but I really feel “old school” so to speak with having a relationship with people I do business with on a daily basis. I share a lot of information with them which can be very risky but I feel they will be honest with me in return.

 

     Fly Skinz to me is something of an evolution…I started the business or the thought of a business several years ago. I was tying for guides and friends a lot. I was pretty apt to customizing flies in which ways people could not purchase them. I was always inventing new ways to work with existing materials and even making new ones to help people catch fish. At some point along the way I felt I could use my talents of coming up with new materials and maybe make a living on it.

spiked slow rolla tails

     There is no doubt that the fly tying or fly fishing community is a very saturated industry. It’s actually extremely difficult to make people break the traditions of it. I’m not really worried about the “in-the-box” folks…I want to create something new and revolutionize things. There are a few people pushing those boundaries right there with me and I really feel it is a good thing. Think of traditional archery, or anything else that has evolved over the years…why not fly fishing?

scud skinz

The first product created was actually my Scud Skinz…I was tying a scud pattern to fish the waters of CO below the many reservoirs. These fish here are extremely pressured so I thought I needed to make a more realistic pattern to combat the fish identifying the norm. Literally you will hear people say the fish know fly patterns by name here. Long story short I made my own shell out of vinyl which not only made it appear realistic but was a lot faster to tie than using a plastic bag.

 

It seems like you’ve come pretty far in a relatively short period of time. Getting your materials into Hareline is obviously huge. How has the overall industry reception been? Any haters? We all know the purists that exist within this niche industries.

 

I would agree with you…I am really excited what I have done in a short period of time. With that comes a lot of pressure. I might be the one putting the pressure on myself, but either way I feel it. How do you stand out from so much tradition? How do you create something new in a saturated market? My answer is….thinking, strategy, research and development, and just plain old hard work.

 

With being new there are always going to be “haters” out there. I say, let haters hate. I’ve already been exposed to folks talking crap about what I am doing. It’s no surprise and honestly it’s more disappointing hearing it from someone that is very well known. The thing is, I’m not in this industry to make people mad, or step on toes…I just want to do something where I am free to think on my own. With that, the end goal is to one day work with a team or have a team of people that want to do the same with me. I want to be happy as I’m working hard day in and day out. If I wasted time thinking about that kind of negativity I wouldn’t be where I am today. Fortunately I have people that believe in me and what I am about that have helped me get this far in the industry.

hareline dubbin 2

 

I owe a lot of credit to the Hareline Dubbin team and their support. They took a risk by having a guy such as myself and essentially making me part of this huge thing. I hate disappointing anyone or feeling that I have done so. So I work hard to ensure I am open about how I am running Fly Skinz. I’ve tried at the beginning to partner with  people and no one seems to be “all in”. It was like I was having to be like them in order to make it happen. It also moved slow and if anyone knows me I jump all in no matter what I am doing. If I feel for a split second someone isn’t with me I start solving problems in order to make something worthwhile.

 

You know that I’m drinking your Kool Aid- I immediately saw the innovation when I saw the Fish Finz for the first time. Tell us about the development of the Fish Finz- what gave you the idea, and how did the initial design and manufacturing process go?

 

fish finz

I appreciate that you have enjoyed the Fish Finz! The Fish Finz was  actually something sitting in the corner of my tying bench in a few different forms for a while. It wasn’t until I was in contact with the geniuses at Fly Fish Food that helped it come to fruition. They wanted me to make a sculpin fin so they could skip the annoying parts of making fins the old way. Just to have several finz in the bank ready to rock and roll. I sent them a few samples and it blew up from there.

 

Along the way I ended up developing a whole new material and manufacturing them myself as you see them today. It wasn’t easy, and I basically taught myself a whole new trade. That’s how I work though…all in as I said before. With some discussion with my mentor and what would be more appealing to the market it all came together. I am very fortunate and can’t thank all the people involved in the process enough. Yes I can come up with new ideas and make it work on a fly that fishes unbelievably but if the team effort doesn’t happen between inventor, manufacturer, distributor, shops and the customer…it won’t work.

fly fish food bros
Cheech of Fly Fish Food- one of the earliest tyers using Fly Skinz products. (amazing work)

 

When did you start tying flies or fly fishing? What/who was the inspiration, where did you grow up fishing?
 Well, I was a young lad…just kidding. I was really young (8 yrs old) when I started tying and it was my father who showed me the road to learning. At the time the painstaking process of learning the very basics of everything seemed very unnecessary I now realize why. My father was very methodical and meticulous about teaching me fundamentals. From the beginning to end…so fly fishing for instance. I wasn’t allowed to actually fish until I learned to make all my own equipment. So the flies, rod, fly boxes…you name it! As a kid this was how I spent my time at home. My father was a jack of all trades and knew a lot about everything it seemed. What motivated me today is knowing that all his life he possessed all of these skills and could have probably worked in a field he loved but didn’t. I want to be someone my own family or people can look up to and motivated them to do something they love. After all it is the American way right? I know some people might not feel it is that way anymore but I am a believer. You are your own barrier.
walther white jonathan kiley
The Walter White of fly tying…
What are a few of your favorite flies to tie?
 
This is a tough one… I would have to say anything big like a streamer or a top water fly. The reason why is because I’m probably imagining what the strike or take is going to be like as I am making it. We all live for that tug!
awesome fly

As far as fly design goes your materials lend a unique advantage to anyone with a creative mind. Describe your fly design process Does it start with a new material, an idea, a problem to solve etc?

You nailed it…it’s usually to solve a problem. I’m always in that mode. Realistically it’s the critical thinker mindset I’ve been programmed with. I think I can thank my father for this. Knowing a ton of trades really allows a person to “connect the dots”. Over time you can just look at something and know how it is done. Like tying flies…when I did so many by the book I could just look at a picture and make it. If I didn’t have the exact materials I would improvise or make my own. I don’t mind doing it either, in fact it’s my preferred method. This allows me to be a free-thinker and less stressed:) within that there are some good life lessons.

crab bitz
How would you define your style of fly tying?
My style of tying is driven by my brain…ADHD. Sometimes as I tie a fly I might change it mid way through. However once I have made a great pattern I might only make a few minor changes along the way. Especially if I feel it needs refinement after fishing it.
bass flures 1
ADHD on these foam flies. Amazing.


Will you be tying at any shows this year?

 
I really hope so. Since I work in the aerospace industry full-time I am scheduled to make another move for work. The benefit though is it is somewhere warm and my fishing throughout the year is going to increase dramatically.
tying demo
I heard you grew up back east, where did you grow up and what made you move west? 

I grew up in PA, and fished a lot growing up all over the state. I moved west due to work, but with my job I have fished in places people would have to pay a lot of money to go where I have been. My job is a blessing in disguise for fly fishing. In general I have loved every place I’ve been as far as fishing. This might be because I use it as a stress relief.

What is on the horizon for you and Fly Skinz in 2016. Are you currently developing any new materials?

I have a lot of new ideas I am trying to make come to fruition for next season. I feel ahead of the game but along the way the new ideas keep flowing. These are some new materials coming out that I am really excited about and really think the tying community will be as well. I think this is the basis on how companies either thrive or die. If I could work in an R&D department for a fly company it would be a job come true. The “Brain Train” is what I call it, and never stops.

I saw that you got involved with Project Healing Waters. How did you get involved with them, and how has your experience been?

 I’ve worked with PHWFF for the last 3+ years in many capacities. First I volunteered as a mentor and tied during the tying classes. As I sat in and helped out I wanted to do more. It just so happens one of the leads was stepping out of the tying/training chair position.  I immediately volunteered because I had a lot of ideas. So I developed a class that taught more skill sets than flies. I knew that most of the veterans moved a lot after the program so I wanted the to feel confident in more areas than trout fishing in CO. It only seemed fair. Not to mention the had some amazing trips in saltwater and more. So with the help of my good friend Bill Kirk, we developed curriculum for 4 levels of classes. Each one progressively showed the skills where they could eventually tie anything and everything.

 

Here is a short list of my favorite flies/materials of yours for each one list how difficult they are to tie for an average fly tyer- from a scale of 1 to 10. One being easy, ten being very difficult. And then any tips you can give them.
 

1. Articulated Sculpinz using the Fish Finz:

sculpinz

I really feel this fly can be a 3-6 depending on how crazy you want to get with it. It can be easy like a wooly bugger, some zonker material and finz if you want. Tips for finz…easy as can be. If you want them to stick out simply tie some dubbing dos first and let the material get squeezed in between to help it pop. From there the fish will love the action.

2. Spiked Slow Rolla Tail- favorite type of fly to use them on:

swamp thing

The Swamp Thing… It’s a fly I created to attract the most unsuspecting fish. The slow rolla tails themselves are so universal…you can make worms, bait fish, bugs, your imagination is the only limit.

Back to the fly though…it’s an easy 2. However it catches fish like no other. The action it makes in the water is nothing like any tail out there. You can drag it on the bottom slow as can be and the fish will chomp away. I love that fly!
3. Your Foam “Flures”:

bass flures 2

So these are a recent obsession and take me back to when I was building lures. I also used to make handmade wood lures. These join the two together in ways that make any traditionalist cringe. That’s maybe why I love it 🙂

5. Mini Craw:

mini craw

The mini craw is surprisingly a little complicated…however it is a very effective fly. I will do a video soon I hope…it’s probably a 6-7.

What is your favorite type of:
Vise:  …now it is a Peak Vise
Bobbins: Rite Bobbins
Thread: veevus, mono, and Kevlar
Glue/UV: gorilla superglue & Loon
Fly Box: I love Cliff Boxes but also like tacky boxes for my small stuff
Fly Rod…I’m not a snob when it comes to rods or reels. A lot of manufactures use the same blanks but put their name on it. I have to experience before I buy. With that I have several I love. I’m looking into some glass ones again though.
Fly Reel… Same with reels as rods:)
Vest/Pack:I love Simms gear, and what they stand for. All around great gear.
Other Tool/gadget: hmmm , what can’t leave home without? A good camera…I’ve been sponsored by GoPro since I did triathlons a while back so definitely that.  I’ve also just purchased an Olympus TG-4 camera that I’m starting to really enjoy. 

Are you a member of any pro staff teams? If so- what teams. What are your thoughts about the social media pro staff craze in fly fishing?

I think I could consider myself a member of Harline Dubbin 🙂 and a few others but nothing like “pro staffers” you hear of these days. I’m planning a huge project over the next few years that maybe gets several entities involved.

Any one you want to give a shout out too?

Hareline is at the top of this list, along with Loon as they have also helped me out…of course my local Fly shop “The Peak Fly Shop”.

 

Any parting thoughts?

 

Not much on this except it’d be nice if everyone could just be happy for one another. Do your thing and if something doesn’t go along with your set of rules, as long as it’s not breaking rules…worry about yourself. Not everyone needs to hear your opinions. Appreciate and move on. As for the tying industry itself…there is not much out there that is really new any more unless you invent it yourself. There are those who preach to give credit where credit is due when it comes to patterns. Truth is there are so many patterns out there you could easily associate it back to someone else. I probably don’t know half the amount of tyers out there. Not because I don’t want to but it’s the way it is. Take a stroll at a show in different regions…there is no way to avoid the overlap. So get over yourselves and press on. Some of these “well-known” tyers do the same thing. Trying to preach for credit when they have modified one simple step on an existing pattern. It’s silly really, and I don’t have time for that kind of stuff.
Many thanks to Jonathan Kiley for taking time out of his busy schedule for this interview. He is a great guy, and an extremely talented fly designer. I’ve been using his products in my own flies, and to help spread the message I am going to give away quite a few of his products over the next week or so via Facebook and Instagram. Scroll to the bottom for links and information.
To end the interview, here are a few more pictures of sick fish and sick flies.

belize bonefish
bass flures 3
bass flures amazing collection
bass worm
proof of concept
buggers
mouse bitz
slow rolla fly
clousers with slow rolla
salamanders

fly skinz decals

 

Fly Skinz: www.flyskinz.com
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKw2CFk90AgqKrngc2mPZiQ
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/flyskinz/
Materials available through Hareline Dubbin
To enter to win some Fly Skinz materials, check out the In Pursuit of Trout Facebook and Instagram pages
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/In-Pursuit-of-Trout-775737565780891/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/inpursuitoftrout/
in pursuit of trout website logo_opt

Fly Tyer of the Month: Michal Zapal

Michal Zapal is a fly tyer from Poland who is becoming increasingly well known and popular for his style of fly tying. Michal is skilled in all aspects of fly tying, but is probably most well known for his style of simple but perfect competition style jig nymphs. I’ve been following Michal’s work for several years, and he has been very generous with his time answering the following, plus quite a few extra over the years for me when I needed help with a technique on one of his flies. His work has been featured on many websites across the globe, including FrankenFly, The Limp Cobra, plus many tying forums in the US. He is also the creator behind the brand Live 4 Fly Fishing where has several different fly tying and fly fishing products, and a line of apparel. 

michal zapal intro photo

Michal, for those that have not followed your work, introduce yourself and your fly fishing brand and business Live 4 Fly Fishing. When did you get started fly fishing and fly tying, and how did that evolve into you starting Live 4 Fly Fishing? What are some of your fly tying accomplishments?

My adventure with fishing started in the 80’s when, with my Grandfather, I took my first steps by the river of Wisła (Vistula), trying to outsmart barbels, chubs, breams and wels catfish. As the time passed by, my passion and interests slowly turned into something else – I changed spinning and float rods to fly fishing set and started to chase after trouts and graylings using my first home-made flies.

I had that luck, that near the place where I lived in, there were a few small rivers flowing, where the trouts and graylings are majority species. I spent hundreds of hours on fishing escapades and, by this, had a chance to carefully observe aquatic environment which along with having tied thousands of flies, has given me the knowledge to create new patterns of flies and modify these old ones (still classic patterns of course). 

michal zapal fishing photo

I also had an episode, that I took part in fly fishing competitions, I managed to win, but I don’t take this as a success, because I had poor competitors. LOL
From the moment when the idea to create Live 4 Fly Fishing appeared, I tie comercially, mainly for individual orders, and I have less and less time for fishing trips. But I am trying to use all my free time to spend it by the water for fly fishing and testing new patterns of flies.

Live 4 Fly Fishing was created on the beginning of 2013. Lot of people who tried my flies persuaded me to create a company which will offer good quality flies. I like to experiment with blending various materials for dubbings. Now I am proud to have created two original kinds of blends on my own and I am selling them known as Live 4 Fly Fishing Special Blends. They are blends of natural fibers, some of them are with addition of synthetic fibers like SLF.

I am member of two Pro Teams: Competitive Angler (US) and Deer Creek (UK).

michal rocking behind the vise


When you started tying flies, who were some of your earlier influences, and who are your current influences?

I tied my first flies when I was about 17. It coincided with the time when I started fly fishing. I always thought that fly fishing and fly tying are inseparable. And I still can’t imagine my fly fishing without tying flies. I remember that my beginnings in fly tying were difficult. There wasn’t all this information on the internet which is available now. Knowledge about fly tying was passed by anglers at variuos fishing meetings in Poland. Sometimes getting information about the flies, fly tying materials, etc. bordered on the miraculuous. Those were difficult times for fly tying and fly fishing, but so interesting. As I mentioned when I first started fly tying, there wasn’t much information available everywhere. There were also difficulties with getting materials. I cannot also say that I had a guru in the subject of fly tying. I had a few older friends, who tied a good flies.

Nowadays, there’s so many good tyers, that it’s difficult to enumerate them all. Part of them are specialist in tying streamers, other tying great dry flies, others – beautiful salmon flies. I think that among so many great tyers, you can get some inspiration, but the most important thing is to create your own style based on a solid foundation of experienced colleagues.

caddis pupa tubing body

quilled bwo's

You seem equally skilled at tying nymphs, dry flies, and streamers, what are some of the patterns you are most well known for? What are some of your favorite flies to tie?

From the moment when I started tying flies commercially, 60% of flies which I am tying are nymphs. In Europe nymphing is very popular, so that’s why this is the majority of my tying. I am tying also dry flies and streamers. No matter whether dry flies, nymphs or streamers, these are categories of flies, which are very complex. That’s why I can discover them all the time and develop myself. And this is what I like the most in my fly tying. If I will add experiments with new materials and testing flies by the water to this, then I can say that I am in heaven.

mink muddler

When sitting down to design a new fly, what is your thought process? You seem to have a very creative side with some of the nymphs using very bright, flashy materials and different color combinations.

I assume that a good nymph is one that can induce fish on many associations. When I fish, very often I reach for patterns that do not imitate anything specific living in the aquatic environment. Very often those fishcatchers turn out to be very effective baits. As I mentioned, I love experiments with tying materials, so that’s why I’m using all these flashes, different color combinations of dubbings etc.

creative attractor jig nymph rainbow revenge

flashy ny mph

I see a lot of your flies (nymphs, emergers) feature significant color changes in the bodies. It’s a great effect- lets take your multi colored Catgut Nymph- how are you getting the color change in the body? Do you think these color changes are a trigger for the fish?

multi colored catgut nymph

Exactly as you say. I change threads to get this effect. When I build a shaded body I use UTC threads, and they are my favourite for this kind of flies. Visually, they are definitely more interesting. I caught a lot of fish on the design of catgut you mentioned,

What advice would you give to fly tyers out there that want to tie flies as cleanly (perfectly) as you do? What tips do you have for tying large numbers of flies?

Answers for these two questions are very simple. Tie, tie and once again tie. Strive for perfection. And if you want to tie huge amounts of flies you need to have all materials grouped, order in workshop and  Facebook turned off lol.

production tying 3

 

production tying

Fly tying is becoming a global market, with products being readily available. I know some of the US tyers struggle at times to get some european materials, are there any materials you struggle to get in Poland?

I’ve heard, that you are looking for European tying materials which are especially appreciated on American market. But just as you’re looking for materials in Europe which are hardly available in the US, I am looking for materials in the US which are hardly available in Europe. Nowadays, it’s not a problem to make an order for materials from every part of the world in stores like Competitive Angler or Casters Fly Shop, which are stores where I usually make orders for fly tying materials.
I usually buy Whiting capes in US. In Poland they are available, but there’s not as much choice as I would expect. When I’m not tying flies with my own dubbing I am using sensational blends from Jack Mickievicz. I also buy a lot of synthetic materials in US like Crinkled zelon, and Arizona Synthetic Dubbings, which you have in your store for sale, as I remember. So I see only positives flowing from this, that fly tying market is global. Through this exchange of materials, all of us can feel like a member of the great family of fly tying.

materials

 

Speaking of materials, you launched two material lines this year through Live 4 Fly Fishing. A line of dubbing and a line of metalic tinsel. How did you decide to launch some materials of your own, and what did you learn during the process of making them and testing the batches?

When it comes to dubbings, producing them is a long process. My dubbings are blends of natural furs, which need to be properly prepared, dyed, cleaned etc. Dubbings made of hare are hand made, without using any machines. I can tell that fur which I am using to produce my dubbings is hand shorn and selected. These values are what makes these blends unique and desired by fly tyers who tie mainly nymphs and wet flies.

I don’t produce these blends in huge quantities, and they are available only in some stores, including yours.

live 4 dubbing set 1

live 4 dubbing set 2

Metallic Ribbing is a material that can be used in many designs. I usually use it as a ribbing in tying buzzers. After this, as it will be covered by a layer of Deer Creek UV Resin, it gives a very interesting effect. I use them also as a metallic accent in the smallest dry flies, nymphs and wet flies.

metallic ribbing

metallic ribbing 2

From the photos, you have an extensive material collection and workshop. How do you organize some of your more common materials – such as hooks, beads, wire/tinsel etc? 

michal above bigger

 

Yeah, I am fly tying junkie. I still buy new materials, and I don’t use them lol. I like this – my fly tying materials collecting. There’s only one problem. I don’t have more space for storing. All of my materials are sorted in described boxes. These, which I use most often I have at hand. I work at home and I created a special place which I still modernize.

hare's jigs with tying hack
Great production hack- use a large section of magnetic sheeting to keep your bugs in place.

 

You tie a lot of nymphs using stripped peacock quills – I love tying with them but I find those that are chemically stripped are VERY brittle. Do you have any tips on tying with stripped peacock quills? 

Beautiful hand stripped peacock quills.
Beautiful hand stripped peacock quills.


I agree with you. Those quills which are stripped chemically are really brittle. That’s why I prepare quills for myself by my own. They are hand stripped. I don’t tie nymphs only. Wets and dries look also great with quilled body. If your quills are very fragile, you can try to soak them before tie. It should help a little.

At this point on the website, you have hundreds of patterns available for sale. If you had to guess, how many flies did you tie in 2015?

All of orders which I realized are archived. So flies from orders, flies for myself and flies for my clients for whom I was a guide will give us a number about 10,000.

production tying 35lbs of beads
With 35lbs of beads, you can tie a few flies 🙂

What are some of your favorite hooks and materials when tying nymphs? 

Most of flies I am tying on barbless hooks. My favorite hooks for nymphs are Hanak hooks. But I am also using Partridge and Akita for some nymphs patterns. As I mentioned I am using my own blends of dubbings to tie nymphs, and 200 others which are available on market

hanak better

Do I have some favorite materials? Let me think. Generally, each pattern of fly requires using other fly tying materials. But I definitely like combination of Sparkle Braid with Hare’s blends. It always gives interesting visual effect and is always deadly.

diamond braid he 3
These materials play well off each other. This could represent any number of things.

 

What are your thoughts about investing in quality hooks and materials and their overall effect in your ability to tie a good fly? I see a lot of US tyers trying to use  cheaper hooks and materials to minimize their investment and they struggle tying some of the flies they are attempting. 

I always use high quality hooks of known brands. I don’t know how to use something what pretends to be a hook, lol. Now there are a lot of hooks on the market, which I wouldn’t recommend. Good hook is a half of the battle. I always try to use best materials, because it makes my work more pleasant. I set my bar high. Flies which I tie for my clients should be liked by me, in the first review. So using all those good quality materials, allows them to go through the complicated, internal quality control, before they go to my clients.

Good hooks aren't cheap, but they are worth their weight in gold when you get a fish on.
Good hooks aren’t cheap, but they are worth their weight in gold when you get a fish on.



Back to hooks – do you tie the same fly on a few different hooks to see what works best, or through prior experience do you kind of know what style of hook you need for that fly to work properly?

At this stage I know what model of hook will be best for pattern which I want to tie. But I don’t limit myself only to checked models of hooks. I am trying to be open for novelties. Actually each pattern of fly can be tied in various ways. But thinking about the ultimate look of the fly forces us to use certain shapes of hooks, which dictate all the proportions.

bad ass pt
To me, this fly looks great on a curved, grub style hook.

Which tools could you not live without in your tying workshop? 

All of tools which I am using in my wokshop are necessary for me. I can’t imagine my tying without bobbins. I am using Tiemco and C&F. I also have a set of necessary tools, which was produced especially for me by my buddy Grobôcz Mésterk . I have brushes, bodkins and finisher. You can check him on FB, he makes really beautiful stuff from wood.

 

Your Facebook page for Live 4 Fly Fishing is absolutely incredible. It is pure motivation for fly tyers, but one of the best things is the beautiful fly tying photography. What is your set up, and what tips can you give to those struggling to get clean shots of their flies on camera?

jig nymph beautiful photography

Thank you very much. I am glad that you like my pictures. It is true that a good picture, allows for good presentation of the fly. I am an amateur and I use probably semi-professional cacacacamera. For shooting my flies I use body Canon 70D and lens Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 VC.

 

One of my favorite videos in the past few years was yours for your Demon Death Ghoul Streamer. For those that haven’t seen it- it is NOT your typical tying video- in a good way. How did you come up with the fly, and what made you go outside the box with the video? 

demon death ghoul

Thanks. I am glad that you like it. I suppose that there are not a lot people who share your opinion. Music, which was used in that movie is devilish lol, but I can’t imagine to create this movie with different soundtrack. I wanted to make something different, something with humour. The story of a monk, who at night turns into a demon, and tie flies in ruins of monastery seemed to be perfect to connect it with pattern of streamer which I called Demon Death Ghoul. It was our Halloween joke. I didn’t get Oscar for that movie (I don’t know why?!) but I cheer myself that Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t get it so far, lol (maybe he will in a few days on 88th Academy Awards ceremony. I keep my fingers crossed for him).

articulated


As for the fly. for quite some time I have been using zonkers streamers for keeping the colors and using the same materials, which I showed in the movie. These are excellent baits everywhere, where trouts live. Demon Death Ghoul Streamer is a modified version of my old pattern Demon Streamer. This new version is very popular nowadays articulated streamer.


I’ve seen you do a few more tying videos since then, have you considered doing them more regularly – and have you considered writing articles or even a book at some point?

Making movies is a great fun and excellent complement of rod trips. I would continue creating them in that way that I started, I mean connecting SBS’s with second part by the water, what ultimately makes a fly a main character of the movie.I think that it is more pleasant to watch than a regular SBS video. Together with my girlfriend, who helps me with creating all these videos, we are totally amateurs. So all our productions leave a lot to be desired. I would make movies regularly, but I never have enough time to do that. As I mentioned, I tie flies commercially, I have a lot of work by the vise.

Honestly, you are first who asks me about my fly tying and all of stuff which is connected with it so widely. I am glad that my work is becoming noticed. It is very fortifying and motivating.

As for the articles and book, I didn’t think about it, until the moment when you asked me about it. I believe that I could make a valid and meaningful opinion on several issues related to fly tying.

During all these years of tying flies I’ve got some experience, and it would be helpful in writing some articles. In my opinion writing a book is a culmination of fly tyer’s career. Now I don’t feel strong enough to write a book, I still learn, and I am glad that I can learn, because it allows me to develop.

It looks like you had a booth at at fly fishing show somewhere in Europe. What show was it- and what was that experience like? Did you enjoy tying in front of a crowd and answering questions? What questions did the audience ask you most often?

michal zapal fly fishing show

 

Yes, I was invited by my friend who is Varivas distributor in Poland for Rybomania Trades last year. They are the biggest fishing trades in Europe. Every year they organize trades in few cities in Poland. I participated in this edition which was in city where I live. It isn’t stricte fly fishing event, but there were a few companies from fly fishing environment who participated in these trades. I received invitation for Nordic Fly Fair this year, which will be 7-8th May in Elverum, Norway. I hope that it will be great time spent with Vikings. I would also love to take part in big fly tying fest in autumn, but it is not sure, so I don’t want to spoil anything. A lot of people visited our booth during two days of trades. People asked for various things. Very often for materials which I use to tie my flies, but actually they asked for everything what is related to fly tying: what vise I can recommend for beginner what hooks I prefer to tie my patterns on etc. I spend most of the time at home where I am working, so my contact with people is limited. So every conversation with people in real is a big pleasure for me. I am this kind of person who likes help to others, and I am tyer who doesn’t keep secrets about my fly tying.

A zonker style streamer. Great for targeting trout.
A zonker style streamer. Great for targeting trout.

If you were designing a box of confidence flies to fish an unknown river to fish for trout and grayling, which 6 flies would you have in your box? 

I would take for sure: Olive-Beige Scud, Black Ant, BWO Emerger, Caddis Pupa (my pattern), Peacock Sedge, White-Gray Zonker Streamer.

If you could go fly fish right now, anywhere in the world- where would it be and why?

Iceland and fishing huge brown trout in lakes there has been in my head for quite some time now.

brown trout

What are your favorites:

Vise – Through all these years of my fly tying I have used different vises, but for a long time I am faithful Snowbee Waldron which I use to tie the majority of flies. This is great vise, but I have a feeling that it is underrated by tyers. I can tie on it flies #26 and also fly on hook #6/0.

snowbee waldron

Bobbin – To be honest, I have three favorite: CFT-61 and CFT-60SW and TIEMCO Standard Ceramic Bobbin

Thread –
I probably use all of threads which are available on the market. To different type of flies I use different threads. So I don’t have any favorite, but I like Nano Silk from Semperfli and Giorgio Benecchi’s threads.

Glue/UV – I would say that LOON but I think that Deer Creek Pro Team Member shouldn’t say that lol. Now for serious. I think that Deer Creek UV Resin is the best. I am using it with all my quilled nymphs, buzzers, some streamers. You can check out the product on their website, HERE (For those in the US, I would recommend contacting Caster’s Fly Shop or go on their website HERE tell them IPT sent you)

deer creek uv

Fly Box – For few years I have been using C&F boxes, but now I am waiting for package from US with my new Tacky Fly Boxes. They look like they may become my favorites soon. 

Here is a short list (VERY short) of my favorite flies of yours- for each one list how difficult they are to tie for an average fly tyer- from a scale of 1 to 10- 1 being easy, 10 being extremely difficult. And then a tip or two for anyone wanting to tie that fly. (I’ll post a picture of each one)


1. Bunny Vis Quilled Emerger

quilled bunny emerger

Difficulty: 7– Most difficult thing here is tying the quill and hackle evenly. We can obtain precise alignment of quill by using right thread. The best will be easily separating fibers. 

2. Caddis Catgut Nymph

multi colored catgut 2

Difficulty: 3– The most important thing to tie this nymph is using threads which are easy to split for separate fibers. It’s really easy to tie.

3. Jig Nymph #129

jig 129 for five flies questions

Difficulty: 4–  I think the important thing here is matching the length of hackle to the size of fly, and trying to put those Holo Tinsel stripes quite evenly on both sides of the body. Deer Creek UV Resin should be put on in thin layers. If it is needed, put two layers on, if not- just one.

4. Streamer #S20

streamer s20 for 5 flies questions

Difficulty: 4– Shouldn’t use very long zonkers to tie this fly. This one on my fly is a little bit too long lol.

5. Caddis Dry Fly

caddis for five 5 flies

Difficulty: 5– This kind of caddis should be very subtle, it shouldn’t be tied with too many materials.

 

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and your patterns for the interview Michal! You are extremely humble and I appreciate you taking the time out of your day, away from the vise to answer some questions for this interview.

For those reading, we want to hear from you- comment to tell us your thoughts about this interview and Michal’s flies. There will be a prize package given away. To be entered to win,  comment on this post with your favorite fly featured today, or comment through the In Pursuit of Trout Instagram page (@inpursuitoftrout)

Links and Information:
Buy Michal’s materials and apparel on his website Live 4 Fly Fishing HERE
Like Michal’s Facebook page HERE
Check out his Instagram page HERE
Watch his fly tying tutorial for the Demon Death Ghoul Streamer HERE
You can also buy his dubbing blends through my shop HERE

 

 

in.pursuit.of.trout.website.logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview with Michal Zapal Coming Soon!

Hey Everyone,

At the end of the month I will be posting my interview with Michal Zapal, owner and fly designer of Live 4 Fly Fishing. Michal is an incredible fly tyer out of Poland and is equally adept at tying nymphs, dry flies, emergers, streamers, etc. You can preview his work below on his Youtube channel. I am very excited as I have been following Michal’s work for a long time now.

To increase the interaction of this segment, please comment with a question you would like answered by Michal- I will try and get all of the questions answered, although it may not be possible. Also, I am still locking up a prize to give away with this months interview, but it will definitely include a bunch of Michal’s Live 4 Fly Fishing Dubbing. You can pick up some of your own in the shop HERE

live 4 dubbing

You can also check out his website, Live 4 Fly Fishing, HERE

Now, I give you an introduction to Michal Zapal…

 

Change Your Mindset and Improve Your Flies

I am by no means an authority on fly tying, in fact I am relatively new compared to most. However, I progressed fairly quickly because my passion became an obsession and I was willing to put in hours of tying everyday to learn the foundation of techniques required to tie more complicated patterns. New fly tyers have access to a litany of information through the use of the internet. There are fly fishing and tying forums, websites with instruction, Youtube, Facebook and more. For the new fly tyer, there isn’t a problem getting information, it is deciphering information. There is such an overwhelming amount of conflicting recommendations, it is hard to know where to start. Fly tying tips are a dime a dozen, some are good- some are okay. I wouldn’t say any tip is bad, but some are more useful than others.

I’m a big fan of guide and tyer Russ Maddin out of Michigan. Russ has a number of patterns to his credit including the Circus Peanut, the Kraken, and the Mad Pup. All of those are commercially available. Russ is probably most well known for being one of a handful of Michigan guides and tyers that progressed tying and fishing radical streamer designs and evolving it to where it is now. Today I was re-watching the video for one of his newer patterns, the Flash Monkey.  The Flash Monkey is a fly that is effective on many species, including large trout, steelhead, probably salmon and smallies as well. Russ does a great job of teaching how to tie the fly, but it is his commentary in between the tying steps that you will really want to pay attention to. He goes over a lot of things that are missed if you aren’t paying attention.  He says something I wish I was told when I was starting off tying flies. Russ said the following:

“Take your time, if you don’t like your fly you aren’t going to fish  it as well. It all comes down to right now. It pays to go nice and slow. If you don’t like something, don’t be afraid to pull it off of there. It’s not about filling boxes, it’s about tying a fly that your going to like and fish with confidence.”

I used to find myself rushing to tie flies simply to have more flies, but the quality of each one was poor. They didn’t have correct proportions or the durability required to last multiple fish.  Most of those flies never left the box, until I tied better flies and those ended up in the garbage. That is the point. When you are tying a fly, focus all your effort on tying that fly- to the best of your ability. If you tie in a material, and the proportions aren’t right at that moment- it will never be right. Instead of proceeding just to get another fly done- cut it off and start over. By maintaining that quality control, even if you aren’t a fast tyer, you ensure a well made fly that you will fish with the utmost confidence, that it won’t fall apart, and that the design was constructed correctly, which will ultimately catch fish.

I always kept needing more boxes, so I frequently had boxes filled with flies from years past. What filled them wasn’t pretty. Sure, the flies will catch fish, but if that is all we are after, just use bait. Nothing caught trout better for me than pizza dough. But I haven’t fished that way since I was 12. Tying flies with a level of skill is something I am conscious of. Same for fly fishing- if it was just about catching trout, I would use egg and worm patterns and clean house. But giving in to those easy temptations would halt your evolution.

 

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Notice the tail is too long, the abdomen is too short, and the collar is too large and the wraps are uneven. This fly will absolutely catch fish- but I think I can do better in my sleep these days.
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I don’t cherry pick flies out of old boxes. If I tied them years ago, and I still have them- I didn’t fish them for one reason or another- mostly because they aren’t tied as well as they could have been.
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Here is a cup of flies out of two old ass fly boxes that I will donate to a youth angler I see on the water this year. Beginners are going to lose a lot of flies, so if you can help them out to keep them fishing, why not?

Make a commitment right now- go through your old boxes, and pull out the flies you could have tied better. Take a picture of those flies, and donate them to a fly fishing organization or a young fly fisherman in your area. I’ll even sweeten the deal- for the first person to make up a little donation cup of flies or a box of flies and take a picture and post it in the comments and be willing to send it to me to donate- I will send an IPT Decal and a Circus Peanut streamer.

Lastly, I want to show you the preview to Russ Maddin’s video. He has two or three of these available now. You have to pay a couple bucks to watch the full video, but these aren’t 4 minute tutorials. You are getting 40 minutes plus of instruction not only on how to tie the fly, but on how to fish the fly, and adapt it to the type of fishing you want to do. You won’t find a more thorough tying tutorial out there.

Flash Monkey by Russ Maddin from Mangled Fly Media on Vimeo.

You should also check out his Circus Peanut video. That video will teach you to take this commercial looking version-

bastardized circus peanut

To THIS

real circus peanut

 

 

Circus Peanut with Russ Maddin from Mangled Fly Media on Vimeo.

Flies from the Vise and some Motivation

Hey Everyone-

If you haven’t, go check out my interview with Swedish phenomenon and bad ass fly tyer Oskar Hagelin HERE. That was part 1 of an ongoing conversation with different fly tyers from all of the US and abroad.

This week hasn’t been extremely productive on the vise as I’m at the beginning of a very large production run of my Slimy Sculpin (now available in the shop). I did manage to get some flies tied for my own boxes though.

Enjoy-

Tungsten Micro Trigger Nymph- (available in the shop)

This fly is a new twist on a fly I’ve tied for a long time that has caught many fish while euro nymphing. Now tied on a 2x short, wide gape hook, this fly will get a lot of time in the water on my line this year. I tie this in olive (pictured), brown and tan- and then I’ll also tie it with and without the hot spot. If I omit the hot spot, I’ll use a UV ribbing to maintain a trigger on the fly.

tungsten micro trigger nymph

Hi Vis CDC Para Adams-

This is my twist on the standard parachute adams fly by replacing the calf post or synthetic posts with a hi vis cdc post. Then I replaced the standard hackle for CDC hackle by using the Marc Petitjean Magic Tool. Very effective on rough waters.

hi vis cdc adams

This is another version of the fly above, with a more subdued hi vis post. I really like pink when fishing low light conditions either early morning or lat evening.
cdc adams

Articulated Slimy Sculpin (available in the shop)

This fly has been very well received, and is the hands of many people across the country right now. This is my blend of a semi-realistic and impressionistic sculpin pattern utilizing Jonathan Kiley’s Fish Finz (available in the shop), and Flymen Fishing articulation shank and their Sculpin Helmet. I tie these in 4 sizes and a few different colors. Great imitation of the slimy sculpin found throughout much of the US and Canada.

What do you do when you clean your bench and have 1 hook, 1 rabbit strip, some eyes and a bottle of Loon Outdoors Thick handy? I created this fly. Pretty interesting to see if it catches something this  year- or if it will even fish well.

loon baby bass

dry sculpin

Lastly- some fly fishing motivation. I’ve been out this winter a few times already, but I know a lot of people haven’t been. To keep your spirits up- I came across a beautifully produced video featuring the uber talented fly fishing guide/celebrity Maddie Brenneman. This is actually a commercial, but the message will resonate with anyone that has spent time fly fishing.