Fly Tyer of the Month: Robert Strahl

 

 

Welcome back to the Fly Tyer of the Month series. This month our featured tyer is none other than Robert Strahl of New Zealand. When I first came across Robert’s tying through his Instagram Page, I was mesmerized. His fly tying style is beyond unique, and as you will see, merges deeply into art form. Sure, you will see flies that resemble patterns you are familiar with, but tied to a level of complexity and perfectness you probably will not see often.   When you combine the aesthetics of these, with the fact they are fished hard, it gives you even more appreciation for the time spent on the vise.

 

 

 

 

IPT: Robert, how did you first get started in fly tying? Who were some of your earlier influences, and what motivates you behind the vise these days?

 

Robert: Hi Daniel, Firstly I’d like to thank you for asking me to do this interview, I’m honored.

I first got into fly tying because I felt it was a natural extension of my passion of fly fishing. Also, being a master carpenter in my professional life, I subscribe to the belief that if you want something done right, do it yourself. That’s not to say I haven’t faced a bit of criticism over my style.

I’d have to say my earliest influence was my friends. They had started tying a couple of years before me, and managed to impress upon me that catching a fish on one of your own flies was somehow more satisfying, I’d have to say, they were right. This spurned me on to get a cheap vise and collect some materials.

Lately I’m inspired by macro photography, and the thought of what a trout must see in the water. Trying to use the minimum of material to achieve the desired effect.

 

 

 

How would you describe your fly tying aesthetic or style? What do you find interesting to tie, what do you find difficult, etc?

 

I’d describe my style as clean. I like to apply a simple material as tidily as possible. I’m annoyed by thread, and try to keep my knots as hidden as possible. I find dries and emergers fascinating. They’re meant to represent such a fleeting moment of an insect’s life. They can be grotesque and beautiful. 

On the other hand, I find streamers challenging to tie. Not by their difficulty, but more so by my disinterest. There are truly some talented streamer tyers out there, tying some beautiful stuff. I’m happy to trade with mates for streamers though.

 

 

 

It’s hard not to get right into it but your realistic ties are out of this world! How did you start tying in a realistic style, and what tips can you give to aspiring fly tyers to help them with their realistic efforts?

 

I became interested in realistic flies after seeing the work of Johan Put and Fred Hannie to name a couple. It requires another level of detail and concentration, as well as experimentation. There is no how to guide for realistic patterns as far as I know. Also I feel I have a long way to go compared to the before mentioned.

My advise to someone wanting to venture into realistic tying is to study your subject, be patient, try new materials. And ask questions. The fly tying community is a friendly place. Fly tyers are full of passion, and usually willing to share their knowledge. 

And lastly, just keep repeating to yourself, Light and Magnification…..

 

 

 

 

For example one of my favorite flies, and one of the first flies I ever saw of yours, is that “Stinger Mayfly Nymph”. How long did it take you to tie that fly, and have you ever fished this or any of your other realistic flies, or are they just for shadow boxes?

 

Stinger is one of my favorite ties. One that I’m really proud of. I think it took me several days to nut it out properly in the beginning, and have the proportions the way I like. I’m often asked if I fish realistic flies. I have, and they fish fine, but mostly I tie them as gifts. These days my attention has wandered away from realistics, but I’m sure I’ll return to them again. I’d like do a presentation piece sometime, as realistic as possible.

 

 

Looking over your Instagram page,@robertstrahl, one of the things that stands out is accentuation of texture in the flies. What natural materials do you enjoy working with, and how can younger tyers better implement them into their flies?

 

I really love working with hackles in general. You can make some really lovely, fishable dries with nice proportions from two hackles and some wing material. I think there is elegance in the simplicity of it.My advise to young tyers would be to learn to do an aspect of a fly properly and tidily. Focus on proportions until it’s second nature, then your future experiments with different materials, shapes and colours will be rooted in those fundamentals.

 

 

 

The other big thing that stands out immediately is the clean photography truly highlighting the works of art. What type of camera set up do you have?

 

My camera set up has varied a lot. Some of my favourite images I’ve taken on my old Olympus Tough point and shoot. These days I’m using a Canon 700d with a 100mm F2.8 macro lens.

 

Describe your design process for us. Do you sketch out ideas, or do you sit down and mess with materials? For your realistic ties, do you reference naturalist books?

 

I’m not much of a drawer, and I don’t have the patience to sketch things out. Usually I plan out in my mind, a fly or idea for a component. Sometimes I’ll really just want to tie a specific type of body, or wing style and base the rest of a pattern around that.. Or maybe I’ll have access to a new hook or material, I first try to incorporate it into a pattern I enjoy tying to get a feel for it, then go from there. I’m inspired by the effect of a pattern in the surface tension of water, and try to imagine patterns around the desired effect, rather than the straight out interpretation of an insect.

 

 

What brands are you currently using or your favorite for:

 

Vise: My vise is a trusty old Renzetti Traveller. I’ve had it for ages, and it’s never let me down. I’ve had a hankering for a LAW or Jvise for years, but with two teenaged kids, I’ve never been able to justify it.

Bobbin: My favourite bobbin is my Ekich S-series. I also love the A-series, but the S suits me and feels good in the hand.

Thread: As for thread, my go to is Danvilles Spiderweb. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you have the knack its great. In fact, I believe I once bought every spool in the South Island .

Scissors: I have no preference in scissors. As long as they do the job, and are sharp.

UV Resin: My favourite resin hands down is Deer Creek. It does what its supposed to. It’s durable, non greasy and TACK FREE!! When you’re tying in delicate, fluffy cdc it’s nice when half of it isn’t stuck to your freshly resined body.

Hooks: Hooks are interesting. Tiemco have been my favourite for a decade or so. But recently there have been some great new options. I love Hends Caddis hooks, Moonlit dry fly hooks, and Firehole Emerger hooks. The big consideration for me is whether they’ll cut the mustard if I come across a 10 pound brown on the day.

 

 

Do you ever sell your flies? If so, how can someone get in touch to order them?

 

I do sell some flies. Mostly to established customers, and depending on my time. I’ll always answer an email, and inquiries are welcome. My email is drytyer@gmail.com 

 

 

What are your home fly fishing waters,  and how do you go about catching those giant fish you end up holding?

 

My home river is the mighty Waimakariri and its tributaries. But the beauty of NZ is its size. You could throw a dart at a map and realistically be there within a few hours.

 

 

 

Have you thought about putting together a book or dvd on  fly tying, or realistic fly tying?


I’ve never thought of doing a dvd. A book might be an interesting challenge, if you didn’t fall asleep reading this interview, let me know. Honestly I’d be super interested in contributing to a magazine on a regular basis. perhaps quarterly?? I haven’t approached anyone yet, but it has been on my mind a lot.

 

 

Considering your flies artistic flare,  have you thought about producing prints for sale?

 

I have been asked a fair bit to do a calendar. I think prints would be more aligned with my taste, if there’s enough interest. Perhaps canvas prints? I’ll need to put it out there to gauge interest.

 

What do you have to say about selecting materials? Do you trust some manufacturers for quality and consistency with the natural materials over others? Your quills and hackle look superb!

 

 

For materials, I try to select as much as possible. For example, I don’t want to spend weeks fighting with a patch of deer hair that’s mostly underhair. Some suppliers are wonderful with their products, as they specialize. Stripped peacock quills as you mentioned. I’ve been using Polish Quills for years and have found them to be superb.

Also Hackles as you mentioned, Whiting are my favourite They produce a wide range of colours in exceptional quality. I’m especially fond of their saddles.

 

 

 

 

What advice would you give to anyone heading over to fly fish New Zealand for the first time? Are the fish easy or hard to figure out on a first trip?

 

My advise to someone heading to NZ for the first time is learn to cast. I mean really cast. Cast 15 and 20 foot leaders with dry dropper rigs accurately, on the nose every time. You’ll spend a lot of time and money getting here, hiring a guide, driving or helicoptering into the middle of nowhere and beyond. Don’t spook the fish of a lifetime with a crap cast. 

 

 

Are you attending any fly tying shows/fairs in 2017? Any other projects you have lined up this year or next?

 

At this point, I’m not attending any tying events and so forth. As you can imagine, it’s quite expensive to get anywhere from New Zealand. I’d truly love to attend the BFFI, and Markus Hoffman’s Woodstoort. I’ve made Europe my goal within the next couple years.

 

 

Are there any sponsors or affiliates you would like to shout out?

 

I’d like to take the chance to thank Nickolas Wright at Deer Creek. He’s a great guy and supremely generous. Thanks for having me on board.

Also a big thank you to Whiting Farms. I hope to do some North American tying shows in the next few years. I look forward to meeting many, many people in the flesh!

 

 

 

Of all the flies you have designed and tied, what is your favorite style, and which is your favorite fly specifically? What makes that one special to you?

 

I’d say at this point, of my farourite style would be cripples. There is such a wide interpretation of form. They can be messy, neat, pretty, ugly and so forth. They really open the doors to experimenting for me. 

Having said that though, I’d have to say that my favorite fly I’ve designed is the Rolls Royce. It incorporates elements that most appeal to my eye. Some would say its a little fussy, but that’s part of what appeals to me. I tie it in sizes 16 to 8, and have had great success in the field.

 

 

If you were designing a box of confidence flies, which flies make the cut and why?

 

Designing a box of confidence flies is a difficult one. I try and fish everything I tie, if I haven’t already given them away or sold them. I’m pretty loose with what I carry around, and would be likely to have foam hornets and be out of size 14 Adams’s. My go to box is definitely a mish mash of everything.  Try and have a variety of sizes, and don’t be afraid to trim flies or pull off the hackle, tails or body all together. 

 

 

 

Any thoughts, rants, advice you would like to share?

 

I don’t have any rants per se. One thing I’d advise is to be civil to one another on the water and in general. There’s a lot of attitude out there these days. Looking back, I reckon I’ve made some of my best lifelong friends from a chance meeting on the water. Don’t let that opportunity pass by over a bit of poor etiquette or having wanted to be out there by yourself. We’re here for a good time, not a long time.

 

 

 

 

Every good fisherman has a good fish mobile. Robert’s is called “Her Majesty”. It doesn’t get much better than this.

 

 

Huge thanks to Robert Strahl for taking time out of his busy life to share with us his thoughts on fly tying, and for letting me share with the world some of his absolutely breathtaking fly photography. To answer your question Robert- about the book- I would absolutely buy a copy. Any magazine would be LUCKY to have you contributing on a regular basis, and my tying workshop could use some prints. I encourage you to pursue all of these avenues.

I tried not to just spam this interview with his photography. He has so much up for people to check out, PLEASE, head over to his Instagram page HERE, follow him, and check out the flies and photography that I just couldn’t fit in. If you are drinking your morning coffee, getting ready to fish, and have 10 minutes to kill- it is WELL worth it.

Lastly, Robert has been doing Youtube tutorials of some of his flies, so not only can you look at them- but if you are brave enough, you can tie some of your own. He makes them look RIDICULOUSLY easy…trust me, they are NOT! Nonetheless, I included one here at the end for your viewing pleasure. It is Robert’s favorite fly, and the featured image of this interview. I present to you, the Rolls Royce tying tutorial.

Please share this interview to help spread the word!

Daniel Podobed
In Pursuit of Trout

 

 

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Fly Tyer of the Month: Nacho Heredero

Hey Everyone,

It has been a few months since the last Fly Tyer of the Month, but we are back! Before I drop this great interview, I just wanted to mention that I’ll likely be doing 1-2 interviews per month the next few months to catch up where possible. I have many amazing tyers participating and I know you’ll love it. Sometimes the timing works out…sometimes not. One last thing, come the end of Fall 2017 In Pursuit of Trout will feature a revamped website with many more fly offerings, and a lot more content. There may be down time when this site is unavailable so if you need fly orders email me @ inpursuitoftrout@gmail.com

Fly Tyer of the Month: Nacho Heredero

Nacho is a fly tyer I first came across on Instagram and was absolutely blown away by his versatility and his ability to blend colors and textures into perfectly crafted flies. The diversity of his online catalog is second to none. Nacho has two unique distinctions in this interview series- the first fly tyer from the great nation of Spain, and the first fly tyer to be a saltwater specialist. All of you streamer junkies don’t fret, this guy only ties streamers….for saltwater, freshwater, etc.

I can’t thank Nacho enough, and I think this interview will just prove what a class act he is.

 

IPT: Where do you live and what type of species do you target while fly fishing? Any notable fisheries, seas, or rivers that are your home waters?

 

Nacho: I live in Chiclana (Cádiz) a little city in the south of Spain. Here I use to fish for sea bass (my favorite one) and spotted sea bass in the salt (I live only 5 minutes from the beach), and largemouth bass, carp and barbel in fresh water.

My favorite places for saltwater fly fishing near home are “La Barrosa”, “Zahara”, “Trafalgar”, and “Caños de Meca”. I love to fish trout with streamers too, but for it I must to travel at least 500km from home… so, when I have the opportunity I travel to Tormes river, Miño river, or Asturias chasing them.

 

 

If you could fish anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? What flies would you bring?

 

Baja California!!!!!!… to fish a Roosterfish is my dream!… and flies… “Lomas”, “BF Minnows”, “Darts”,”Scouts”, and “MTM Minnows”.

 

La Loma school.

 

How long have you been tying flies? What first got you into tying flies? Who were some of your earliest influences?

 

I started to tie flies in 1991 (although I made a parenthesis between 1998 and 2004). I started in that year with fly fishing and quickly the possibility to tie my own flies made me to fall in love with it. In that years, here in Spain, the information about fly fishing and tying flies was very little, but I got the huge lucky to obtain a book that marked my beginning and trajectory like tyer: “Fly Patterns of Umpqua Feather Merchants: The World´s 1.100 Best Flies”. Surely I have read that book over one hundred times!… The best fly patterns with its recipes of Bob Clouser, Larry Dahlberg, Kaufmann, Kreh, Whitlock, Popovic, and many more are in that book, so, it has been my bible and lifesaver for tying flies, and of course, they were my strongest influence.

 

 

What keeps you motivated at the tying vise? Is it new materials, is it design elements, is it the end result of fish on the line etc?

 

Really for me tying flies, to keep at the vise, does not need any extra motivation. I love to do it!. I can be hours at the vise, to check the clock hours later, and have the feeling that I only have been tying a minutes. I love all the process; to prove new materials, the final result, try to improve some patterns… all what happen at the vise have sense and motivation for me.

 

 

Lets talk about your design process- what inspires you? Is it an idea about matching the forage, are you looking for a specific movement, do you ever just freestyle with new materials?

 

Really all is in inside my head, there isn´t a specific process… I explain you… I have Asperger syndrome, so, among other things, it makes me a very obsessive person, especially with the things I love to do, my head never stops to tie flies!… hahahaha… I can be at vise, fishing, watching TV, or taking a beer and my head, in a second plane, continues tying flies, so, the majority of them never see the light or really are tied on the vise, but between such flies, sometimes there is a good one!

 

What are some of your favorite tying materials? What makes them special?

Craft Fur and fibers like EP or H2O Sculpting Flash fiber. Combining that materials or tying them separately you can tie a huge number of streamers and minnows able to fish any fish in any place… and of course a little of shine!, adding Ice Wing Fibber or Ripple Ice Fibber for example.

 

 

What are your favorite fly tying hooks at the moment? Why do you prefer them over other hooks?

 

Ahrex hooks, they suite perfect with my flies style and have an exceptional quality. The hook is the most important part of any fly!… Over them we tie our dreams in form of fibbers, saddles, hairs… while thinking in the fish of our lives… if finally it comes, we can afford to lose it by a bad hook!

 

 

All of the flies on your website are streamers of one sort or another- do you tie nymphs, dry flies, etc?

 

Years ago I fished a lot with nymphs and I tied lots of them. It is a very productive fishing!, but it does not suit my way to see fly fishing. Fishing with dries is different, I love it!, but I only practice it in specific scenarios or situations and don´t tie them commercially, only the necessaries fir filling a little fly box.



What is it about streamers that you love so much?

 

To feel the strike!!!… that sensation makes me a crazy streamer junkie!

 

Do you sell your flies on a production level (to other shops etc) or do you just tie custom orders?

All of them!… hahahahaha… All orders are welcome!… hahahahaha… I tie flies for some Spanish shops and of course, custom orders.

 

 

If someone wants to order flies, where should they go to buy them? Do any US shops currently stock your flies? I would love to talk about stocking your flies in my online shop.

He can order through my web site: www.crrflies.com or by Facebook or Instagram message.

No, actually I don´t work with any shop in the US, but it is a frontier that I am crazy for crossing! And of course!… for me would be an honor and I would be very pleased to sell my flies for IPT shop… Big Thanks!!!!

 

Eborsisk

 

What was the thought process behind your fly named “Eborsisk”? It looks outstanding!

 

Many thanks Daniel!. I was organizing a box where I have lots of popper heads, fish masks, sculpin helmets, etc… In a point in time I had in my hands two “Flymen Double Barrel Popper Heads”, one bigger than other, and I thought… “The big fish eats to the small one… why not?”… Some minutes later I had tied both popper heads in a hook, without tail, and I was proving its action in a swimming pool… I liked a lot!, and started to tie it with some tails and colors for testing better. I tied some of them for proving with seabass and largemouth bass, and others for Martin Ellingsen and Kai Finbraten from Loop to prove them with Pikes in Norway… The results of the probes were positive, so, there was the fly, an allien!… hahahahaha… Once time posted in Facebook, when a friend, Cesar de la Hoz, saw it, he posted… “LOL!… it looks the two headed monster from Willow!… hahahahahaha”… so “Eborsisk” had borned…

 

MTM Minnow

 

Looking over your catalog, you have an impressive amount of flies available. What are your 3 top selling flies?

 

Thanks Daniel!… The number one is “La Loma”, I love that fly for what it means!. It was the first fly I tied commercially, and playing with colors, sizes, hooks, and weight, is a fly with a huge adjustment capacity to the environment and wished target, able to fish in the salt or fresh water… And for the other two… “MTM Minnows” and “The Gnome on Steroids”, a little articulated sculpin.

 

 

One of my other favorite flies by you is a fly called the Warlock? How did you design that fly and have you tested it on species other than Pike? (Looks like a great articulated trout fly in different colors)

I know, I am very freak with the names of my flies!… hahahahaha… It is a consequence to play hours of MMORPG games!…hahahahaha… At first I tied “The Shaman”, a simple fly tied with bucktail, ice wing fibers, and Senyo´s laser dub (right now I am tying a second version of this fly adding some materials and replacing others). I liked its action, so, I though, “Why not to tie two Shamans together like an articulated fly?”… I called it “Warlock”…hahahahaha… That fly has given me my biggest largemouth bass ever!, and it works really well with pikes.

For trout?, next time I was at the river, a brownie color “Warlock” tied over a #4 hook will be the first fly I cast!

Warlock

 

 

You tie many saltwater patterns- for younger tyers, what tips would you give to tie effective, durable saltwater flies?

 

Love this question!. Tie easy flies, keep things simple… A fly can be simple, but not for it less effective. Work with their more confidence materials, and when working with them, try to work with the less quantity of it possible, when he takes a bunch of the material, to drop a bit of it. This will help for sure to take the correct proportions of the fly and give it more transparencies and ease.

 

What are your favorites:

Tying Vise: Peak vise and Dyna King Barracuda
Bobbins: Stonfo Elite2 Saltwater Streamer Disc Drag Bobbin and C&F Saltwater Bobbin
UV Resin: Deer Creek UV Fine and Flex Fine
Scissors: Dr Slick Tungsten



Any other favorite pieces of fly tying gear or gadgets?

Cohen´s Fugly Packer and C&F Hackle Piliers.

Have you done any of the fly fishing/tying shows or fairs, are you planning on any demos in 2017 or 2018?

Last to years I have been tying in FlyMad, and I hope to be there next 2018!… hahaha.. It is the only fly fair that there is in Spain at this moment, but for 2018 I have plans (and wishes) for tying in more fairs collaborating with Loop and great tyers and friends.

 

 

Are you an ambassador or on any company pro staffs?

I am Loop Ambassador, member of the International Deer Creek Pro Team, and within the Pro Programs of Ahrex Hooks and Flymen Co… I am a very lucky men!.. hahahahaha…

 

 

 

Have you considered writing a book about your fly tying?

It is said that everybody before they die must:

Have sons: I have two marvelous sons!
To plant a tree: I love gardening
And to write a book, so- why not???… of course I would like to do it!!!… but before I must improve and learn a lot to be able to teach something to the rest.

IPT: Nacho, I thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions and to share your flies and photography. You are a class act, and someone all of us can learn from. I just want to share a few more photos, as the flies are brilliant. True inspiration for fly tyers out there.

 

 

 

 

Lastly- a box of colorful perfection.

 

 

Thank you for checking out my latest Fly Tyer of the Month Interview. Please, check out Nacho’s Facebook HERE, or Instagram HERE but most importantly- do yourself a favor, and check out his website through the link below. Buy some flies, it is money well spent. Hopefully in a few months, you’ll be able to buy some of his patterns right here at IPT as I expand my fly selection.

Nacho’s Website: CRR Flies

Make sure to check out the IPT Instagram page HERE as well because over the next week I’ll be doing a raffle to win some materiarls so you too can tie flies like the ones you’ve seen here!!

If you want to see one of your favorite fly tyers featured, just comment below and I’ll see what I can do!

Daniel Podobed
In Pursuit of Trout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Placing Orders? Sounds good- BUT

Hey Everyone,

I’ll be out of town for the next week at our farm in PA rebuilding a porch and doing some other maintenance. Any orders placed between Today, 7/19/17 and 7/26/17 will not ship until Friday, July 28th.

Still have the 50% off non fly sale going on through July 31st! Use promo code “july17” at checkout.

Changes are coming…

There are going to be a lot of changes coming to IPT over the coming months through November of 2017.

First, I am super excited to announce a partnership with Domenick Swentosky of Trout Bitten to fill orders for his Bread-n-Butter Nymph. It will be available on the website at the beginning of August. You can read more about this great little pattern on the Troutbitten website, HERE

You will see some other changes in the fly selection on the website. At this time I am not taking any orders for my custom flies listed on this site for the near future. The other flies that are listed as in stock are available and will ship next day.

This is for several reasons. The first is that I’ll be preparing samples for several fly shops across the country. I want to get these out the door before summer’s end. A second reason is because I have committed to doing several of the fly tying/fly fishing shows in the Fall and Winter 2017/2018. I have only done the smaller shows, and want to ensure that I have plenty of time to get my brand and my flies prepped in time.

Lastly is that I am having the website completely redesigned at the end of Summer and have been working on several new designs as well as developing more lines of flies for the relaunch. Part of this expansion will include saltwater and warm water flies.

A new site, more flies, some tying shows…it is going to be busy. I”m also going to be bowhunting a ton this year trying to get some deer down.

Orders will be shipped next day in most cases, but I will be out of town July 19th- July 26th.

If you want to order some custom flies, reach out to me first. inpursuitoftrout@gmail.com

I hope everyone has a fun, safe summer and come Fall you’ll see an all new IPT to better serve you.

Bread-n-Butter Nymph

Hey everyone,

I want to introduce you to a new fly called the Bread-n-Butter Nymph. It was originated by Domenick Swentosky, creator and author behind the website “Troutbitten.” It has beautifully written articles, excellent photography, and truly embodies the soul of the fly fisherman.

Domenick describes Troutbitten by saying, “Troutbitten started as a creative framework for documenting the things that I’d like to show my sons someday: a diary of things that happened and of things learned on the water. I soon realized how deep this all would go.”

He was not kidding- this website is filled with thoughtful posts. A few of my favorites include “Two Sides to Every Fisherman“, “I want to, but I don’t want to”, “The Dirty Fisherman” and many many more.

The Bread-n-Butter Nymph  caught my eye immediately. It is simple, almost too simple- and that means it is PERFECT.  I’ve never been that hatch matcher in the classical sense. I don’t have boxes filled with flies realistically imitating fancy Latin insect names. I can appreciate the aesthetic of them and the people who fish them, but when I think back to my youth fishing raw pizza dough on a hook and catching so many trout my arms would tire, I can’t say it is exactly necessary. And if I can spend less money and less time on the vise and gain more time on the water, say no more.

When you see this fly, you will probably think you’ve seen it before. You haven’t, but it SEEMS that way- and that is the point. The trout know the profile,the colors, they know the fly. It might be a mayfly, a caddis, a stonefly- but what it definitely is- is a fly that will occupy space in my boxes.

You can read the rest of the post, with a tutorial on tying the fly HERE

Update: Custom Fly Turnaround Time as of May 4th

Hey Everyone,

I just wanted to give a heads up for all of those placing fly orders, or planning to place fly orders with the current turnaround time. As of right now, I am working on a few larger orders, while also traveling back and forth to care for my recently deceased Grandmother’s estate. This means my time is limited.

Any orders placed after May 4th, will not have a guaranteed ship date until I update this, but I figure to  start shipping again July 1st on incoming fly orders, and they will be tied and shipped in the order they are received. Other orders through the shop (books, materials, etc) will ship normally, typically within 1-2 business days. Also note- some flies are currently in stock. They are designated by the RTS header in the description- this means Ready To Ship and they will be processed within the regular 1-2 business days.

Again-fly orders from today (May 4th) forward, will not begin shipping until July unless updated with another post. This may happen if I get a large order done faster, or if things slow down while clearing up the estate.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Guide Life: 10 Questions with Ben Rogers of Chasing Tails Fly Fishing

Hey Everyone- Debuting a new content series for the website to coincide with my Fly Tyer of the Month Series. Guide Life: 10 Questions will focus on the fishing part of the industry, and some of the guides and their philosophy in the sport. On to the show….

Ben Rogers is a fly fishing guide with a base of operations out of Pennsylvania. He previously served in the US Army and has had several industry jobs before founding his own company, Chasing Tails Fly Fishing which guides all of Pennsylvania and the Mid Atlantic.

 

How did you get your start as a professional in the industry?

I got my start thanks to a man named Sam Rock who had a small Flyshop in Maryland. He took me under his wing and showed me that the lifestyle could pay my bills.

 

At what point did guiding go from dream to reality? And when you finally made the leap, was it different than you expected?

When I first started out, I started working as a “ shop dog” for a flyshop,( shop dog is a term that describes guys that work in the shop all the time and never guide) until I proved I had what it took to start guiding. It was more of a hobby that didn’t quite pay for itself. I never really thought I could make a living at guiding until I managed and guided for an outfitter in Virginia. I realized I needed to make the leap into full time guiding and start up a guide service for my local waters. I had the skills needed, It was now time to make that leap of faith.

 

 

As a guide what is your philosophy? What are you trying to achieve for yourself, and for your clients when out on the water?

Honestly, I feel my success on a trip with clients is when they forget that they paid me. You might not have perfect chemistry with everybody, but to have the skills necessary to interact and entertain. My goal is to give you an experience and perhaps walk away with something that you didn’t have before. Knowledge on different aspects of fly fishing and a little history on the area.

 

 

When I think PA fly fishing- I immediately think brown trout. How did you get into fishing for smallmouth on the fly, and how does the preparation vary from one species to the other? Where should the angler look for a better chance at hooking up with a small jaw?

The owner of the fist fly shop I worked at was very into it. At the time it still wasn’t popular. The preparation is actually not too much different. Sure, the flies are different during certain times of year, a predator is predator.

Structure i.e. Ledges, submergered logs and tree limbs, bolder croppings, seamlines that give rest from current.

 

What’s your favorite piece of gear at the moment?
I have to say My 3TAND pliers. I don’t know how I got along without them.

If you could fish anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Bolivia for Golden Dorado. To throw Streamers in nearly clear water and hook up with something so fierce, is there anything better?

 

What would you say to other fly fishermen out there that are thinking/dreaming of becoming a guide one day? What are some concrete steps to get started?

Well, first, I’d say get to know your water. The in’s and out’s of every stretch. A guide’s main goal is to translate his knowledge and understanding of a watershed to someone else. Learn your knots and equipment. These things seem simple, I can’t tell you how many guide’s I have met that don’t know basic knots. Develop your social skills. Being able to communicate and get along with multiple types of personalities, will set you on a positive path to a great guiding career.

 

A client just booked a trip in 3 months time, how can they best prepare for a better time on the water?

Practice your casting! It amazes me how many people dust off their rod literally the night before and just expect to hit 60 foot targets accurately.

 

What rivers are you currently guiding at via Chasing Tails Fly Fishing? Do you have other guides for hire other than yourself?

We guide on the Susquehanna, Juniata, Upper Delaware, Lehigh, and their many tributaries. I currently have four guides on the roster. Most are local talents including a member of the USA Youth Fly Fishing Team.

 

 

Lastly,  anything you would like to say to prospective clients about your fishing style or operation?

Chasing Tails Fly Fishing is not in the “ 9 to 5 “ business of guiding. We aim to bring you much more than that. We offer an adventure. A trip that is memorable and supersedes you expectations. We want to build a relationship with our clients. I like to say to my guides, we want the clients to forget they even paid for the trip. They are investing in an experience.

To book a trip with Ben or one of his guides at Chasing Tails Fly Fishing,  click HERE !!!!!

Ben Rogers belongs to the following companies as a Pro Staff member or ambassador. Click the links to find out more!

Competitive Angler: HERE

Rep Your Water: HERE

Holly Flies: HERE

Soul River: HERE

Rise Fishing: HERE

3-Tand: HERE

Cortland Line Company: HERE

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Fly Tyer of the Month: Charlie Craven

 

Charlie Craven needs no introduction, but I’m going to introduce him anyway. Charlie is owner of his fly shop Charlie’s Fly Box in Arvada, Colorado which celebrated its 12th Anniversary this year. He is also well known as one of the top selling Umpqua Signature Fly Designers, a long time commercial fly tyer, guide, author, and guest speaker for events around the country.

 

Charlie- Having learned to tie mainly through your early books and website, this interview is a true honor-

CC: All mine, man.

“Tying Nymphs” is your third and newest fly tying book. What was the driving force behind this project, and what do you hope people take away from it?

Jay Nichols, my editor and publisher, is the guy who really keeps on me to keep writing. Jay is fantastic to work with and he and I have a great relationship. He pitches some ideas to me and we hash things out and come up with a plan and honestly, it’s never been anything but great working with him. My tying books have always been, in my mind anyway, about building a tool box of techniques. I’ve taught classes long enough to know that a technique driven curriculum on its own can be pretty boring, but if you “hide” those techniques in compelling fly patterns, you end up making better fly tyers whether they like it or not! Tying Nymphs was a book that needed to be done in a more modern version. There are so many new patterns, materials and techniques these days, the format really needed an upgrade and I love having the opportunity to do it.

 

On Ask About Fly Fishing Radio, you mentioned that “Tying Nymphs” was the first book in a series of future books- including Streamers, Dry Flies, Emergers, Terrestrials, and a Technique book at the end. Will those books also follow suit being more technique oriented than pattern oriented? Also what book will be released next in this series?

I finished the Streamer book this past July and handed it off to Jay Nichols, so yes; it’s the next one in line. Apparently I need to take a few more photos of materials and things like that in the meantime for that book, but I am guessing it’ll come out in the fall or early winter of 2017. All of my books are heavy on the technique and that’s one of the things that makes pattern selection a little tough sometimes; trying not to be redundant, especially with streamers. The Streamer book has got some of the latest stuff in it, but also a couple old classics because the technique is important. Streamers also are so heavily dependent on design. There are so many flies out there these days with a half zonked rabbit hide, lead eyes and a turkey worth of marabou that just aren’t cast-able. I tried to add a fair bit of what makes a good fly design into that book along with the instruction and technique. I’m sure the Dry Fly, Emerger and Terrestrial books will follow suit.

 

 

A.K. Best wrote a pretty interesting book called “Production Fly Tying”- Have you thought about writing your experiences on the subject? (If not- I encourage you).

I haven’t. But maybe now I will 😉 The commercial tying game is very different these days than it was when I was doing it. There aren’t many cheap and quick to tie patterns in high demand these days. Commercial tyers now have to have a niche of supplying something you can’t get from the big fly suppliers. Streamers definitely come to mind here and there are a few guys doing just that. I’ve always been a big fan of doing the math on anything, including tying, and in so many cases, the math just doesn’t work out that well.

Do you ever get the itch to tie 100 dozen of anything anymore? Lol. What kept you sane tying thousands of flies at a time? ?

I can’t say that I do! I don’t really miss commercial tying in bulk to be honest. I love to tie the small special orders that make up the majority of what I am tying for sale these days. Tying has become much more relaxing and thought provoking to me as I get older and I don’t have any desire to go back to sweating over a hot vise for ten hours a day.

You know, as far as what kept me sane, I’d have to say my attitude about it. Rather than approaching commercial tying as a repetitive, boring job, I really tried to think of it as an opportunity to become a better tyer and let my mind run through all the things I could alter or change or tweak in materials and techniques to make the flies better.

Have you considered doing dvds  to better articulate your instruction? Do you prefer book instruction to video?

 

 

I actually have done a whole series of DVD’s with FlyFisherman Magazine. The Flyfisherman Foundation 40 series is a set of 4 DVD’s that start off pretty basic and work through a range of 40 trout flies. When they asked me to come out to Minnesota to shoot the videos a few years back I really expected a guy with some lights and a handy cam, but they have a full on TV studio with a real camera man, sound guy and even a makeup girl. The videos really came out well and part of them became, what I believe, was the first fly tying app. They must have done well because they invited me back a few years ago to shoot a warmwater and saltwater DVD as well.

From a teaching standpoint, it really depends on how a person learns best. I’m married to a pretty smart woman who also happens to be a teacher and in helping her through her Master’s Degree program like a good husband (meaning I proofread a bunch of her work), I learned about the differences in learning styles. Some folks learn from reading about it, some by doing it and some by watching it, so I think all of those genres can be important teaching tools. I am currently right in the middle of learning to edit videos to add them our shop website so, yeah…there’ll be more video coming too.

 

What is the current state of fly tying? What could the industry use more of, what could it use less of? Any politics or general opinions you think should change?

This is a good question, and frankly, I’m glad you asked because I just might go on a bit of a tirade here. Right now fly tying is pretty available to everyone. With so much instruction available on the web, in books and magazines, it’s not hard to find lots of information relatively easily. I’m gonna sound like an old guy right here and I make no bones about my rapid approach to Curmudgeoness, but back in my day you had to figure things out for yourself. You had the same three books to look through that everyone else did and once there you really were on your own as far as getting better. There wasn’t anywhere near the amount of “help” out there that there is today. The catch today is a guy with a bit of passion and manual dexterity can become a B grade tyer in pretty quick order and unfortunately, too many of them think it came from their own talent and brain power rather than from good quality and quantity of instruction. I think this phenomenon also contributes to so many flies looking alike these days. Facebook and Instagram makes it too easy for everyone to copy each other, sometimes without even consciously knowing it! The proliferation of ripped off fly patterns, the social media Bro-Staff nonsense and the advent of the modern day ‘commercial tyer’ working a full time job and twisting up twenty dozen a week for fun money sorta chaps my ass.

I just read an interview today with a friend of mine, Andrew Grillos, where he was asked what advice he’d give a young guide and he said something like “forget about social media and jamming yourself down people’s throats and just put in your best efforts every day, keep your head down and keep grinding”, and I think a lot of tyers out there would do well to heed that same advice. Sit quietly at your desk knocking out the best shit you can all day every day and if you have what it takes, people will notice. And if they don’t, hey, you became a better fly tyer. Rant over, for now.

Dyna King Professional vise image courtesy of Dyna King.

You have been a big DynaKing vise fan- why DynaKing and what did you consider when choosing a vise brand and style? What do you think about rotary vises?

I bought my first Dyna-King Pro vise back in 1989 or 90. Before that I tied on a variety of lower end vises and then had moved slowly up the chain trying several before choosing the Dyna-King. I tied on a Regal for quite some time and finally just got frustrated with the jaws chipping at the absolute most inopportune times. I remember working on an order and having a hook pop out and chip the hell out of the jaws and I literally went out to the garage and got a big bastard file and smoothed the chip out myself. Frankly, that vise held better after I went to work on it than it ever did from the factory. Granted, this was way back in the day when the Regal jaws were pot metal and they had the propensity to chip. They don’t seem to be that way anymore and I would say that they’re now damn fine vises although a bit clunky for my taste.

I also bought a Renzetti vise along this path and tied on it for about a week before deciding it just wasn’t for me. Having always tied on a conventional vise, a rotary style vise is terribly un-intuitive for me. The span from the frame to the jaws is too long for supporting your material hand placement and the whole idea of using the rotary function, to me, seems almost pointless. I have two good hands and wrapping materials around the hook is the easiest move in fly tying; I don’t need the vise to do it for me. I also find the head angle to be in the way more often than not and I realize that this comes from me having tied so much on a conventional frame vise. This is not to say that one couldn’t learn to work around these things, just that it’s too late for me!

I picked the Dyna-King because it was the most well-made vise that I have found. The jaws on this vise, when adjusted correctly will hold everything from a 10/0 to a 30. The large hook holding capability is simply incredible and when placed in the corners of the jaws, small hooks are held tightly with an incredible amount of working room around the gap. I know the jaws look blocky at first glance, but they have right angles at the tips creating a corner that holds small hooks really well and leaves plenty of the hook exposed to work on. I will say that DK’s take some getting used to as the mechanism works differently than all other vises so it’s important to know what you’re doing with the adjustment, but once you figure it out there nothing smoother or more durable that I have yet seen. Back to rotary vises for a minute here, just to be fair…I do actually own a Dyna King Barracuda that I bought several years ago when working on a giant order of Kilowatts for a really good customer. In the case of these larger flies, the bodies being made of Estaz, using the vise to roll the material on in long lengths required was certainly more efficient and being able to easily and quickly flip the hook to tie the alternating top and bottom pieces to the shank made it pretty handy. That being said, I hardly ever use this vise anymore but for large patterns like this. As I said, I owe this more to my own proclivities than any liability with the vise itself. I am just really used to a conventional vise and it works best for me!

Now for a disclaimer; As I mentioned, I bought my first Dyna King way back when and have tied an absolute shit pile of flies on it and I STILL use this vise every day. Its serial number is 1609; that’s really old. I am now on the Dyna King Pro Staff as of about five years ago. Just so no one gets the wrong idea, I can’t be bought. My rule for Pro Staff acceptance is it has to be for something I already have been using and happy with. I can’t be bought off for a free vise or a bunch of stickers and frankly, I don’t want anything in return. The folks at Dyna King have always been wonderful to work with, even before I had any sort of name in fly tying, so when Shannon called and asked me to be on their Pro Staff, frankly, it was my honor.

Let’s talk fly development. From concept to finished fly, what are some changes to consider with the original, and is commercial viability a factor?

I always ask myself if there is a NEED for a new fly pattern rather than just trying to come up with a variation. I think that’s why my patterns have been commercially successful; they fill niches that were empty. The Two Bit Hooker is super heavy and slim so it gets down and stays down. Most people don‘t like using split shot and this fly is heavy enough on its own to get the job done. It solves that problem. A Dirty Hippy is a big fly that doesn‘t cast like a big fly. The Jujubaetis is a perfect baetis (or nearly any mayfly nymph) silhouette and it’s much tougher than other flies and at the time I came up with it, it was unlike anything anyone had seen before. These days there‘s several knock offs that are pretty obvious but that’s a different subject. Flies that solve problems are the ones that catch fish and the ones that catch fish are the ones that sell. As far as commercial viability goes, I always seem to be more concerned with that then Umpqua does. They don’t shy away from complicated flies and I really appreciate that. Some of my stuff can be pretty tricky to tie and they’ve done a wonderful job replicating it.

You are a very well known signature fly designer for Umpqua Feather Merchants. What is your most commercially successful pattern?

I think officially it’s the Jujubaetis, but the Two Bit Hooker is an awfully strong contender. Umpqua does an amazing job with my flies and I am honestly blown away by the success of them. Nearly every pattern I have with them does really, really well. It’s astonishing and humbling when I think about it.

Where did you originally find Super Hair material, and what was the Ah-ha moment that created the JuJu series?

Super Hair has been around for a long time. It was originally used as a synthetic bucktail substitute on saltwater flies. Way back when, I was tying up some barracuda flies for a trip to Belize and had a big chunk of chartreuse Super Hair lashed to a big hook. As I wrapped my thread up the shank to cover the tie down, my bobbin caught a strand of the Super Hair and it wound around the hook. I looked at it and said, “that looks just like a midge”. I shoved all the salt stuff off my desk and started developing what became the Jujubee Midge right then.

 

Do you ever apply UV Resin to the Super Hair bodies? Or isn’t there a need?

The Jujubaetis, Jumbo Juju and a couple new patterns I’m working on all have Super Hair bodies with a dorsal coat of resin. The resin really helps to finish out the shape of the fly, toughens it and adds a bit of weight. The Jujubaetis existed for a long time before I ever put epoxy, then UV resin on it, and the second I did it I knew I was on to something.

 

 

For all of those wannabe/hopeful/seriously delusional commercial fly tyers such as myself- what tips can you summon from your production days to improve speed or efficiency?

The first thing I would say is, don’t ever try to tie fast. Tie at a comfortable rate. Hurrying usually leads to mistakes and anxiousness and speed comes from familiarity. Learn the pattern inside and out at whatever rate or speed it takes to get the job done well. Speed comes from knowing the pattern and not having to re-do steps or struggle with any piece. Prepping materials always seems like a good idea but the folks who do too much of it seem to forget that that time counts too. If you prep for an hour and tie for three hours, you still have four hours in the job.

I do find myself doing a fair bit of stage tying…all the abdomens for Jujubees and Jujubaetis then coming back and doing the thorax separately, or tying the tail section of a Double Gonga then the articulations and eyes, then the front section and finally the heads, all separately but that’s mostly for continuity of tying. Doing a dozen heads in a row makes them much more consistent than doing them fifteen minutes apart.

The hardest part about commercial tying seems to be the discipline to sit down and go to work every day. It all sounds like great fun until you have a hundred dozen to do and a week to do it. It’s real work and needs to be approached as such.

 

How did you decide on the name for your fly shop when you decided to open one?

Every time I’d go to deliver flies to shops back in the day, the shop guys and guides were always asking to look in my fly box. When I guided I could never leave my fly boxes out on the tailgate of the truck while rigging up because the other guides would always grab them and start digging in, so when it came time to open a shop I just thought about where everyone always wanted to be and that was in Charlie’s Fly Box.

 

When a customer walks into Charlie’s Fly Box, what can they expect, what would they be surprised by?

I would hope that people can expect a really well stocked, friendly fly shop with expert advice. The shop is a huge point of pride for me and was a life-long dream and never for a moment do I forget that. I hope it shows. I think most folks are surprised by just how much inventory we have. Our tying selection is twice that of anything else I have ever seen in a shop and it’s fairly unusual to not find what you are looking for. Obviously, I am into tying and I think the shop reflects that.

Another thing some folks are surprised by is that I am actually in the shop. I answer the phone and take orders and help customers and people sometimes talk about my books or articles and me in third person and are then surprised that’ “yes, I know exactly what you are talking about, I wrote the article you’re referencing”. I always get a kick out of that.

 

 

Yeaaaa- paradise.

What type of bench do you keep while tying- clean or messy?

Clean. I always work better in a clean work area. This is not to say that when I really get to hammering some stuff out that my desk doesn’t get out of hand, but I clean it up again right away. I think my flies reflect my work area and vise versa so I try to keep things tight. I am a Type A, Introvert Capricorn and I like things the way I like them, period.

What is the 1 fly pattern you wish you would have thought of?

Copper John, duh. But I’m glad it was JB.

Yea, I agree. Copper John is kick ass.

Are there any tying materials you wish were still around that have gone off of the market?

Christ…I’m like the kiss of death for fly tying materials. Seems like anytime I find something I really, really like it gets discontinued. Tiemco 16/0 thread and TMC Hair Stackers went away shortly after I wrote about them. Gray Flouro Fiber just got discontinued. Lagartun Wire, although I hear that is coming back. Overton’s Wax too, but it’s magically appeared once again recently as well. I am becoming big fan of Veevus 14/0 thread recently so, you might want to stock up given my track record.

What are your biggest fly tying pet peeves?

You’re really trying to stir me up, aren’t you? Pet Peeves…hmmm. I might say the phrase “It’s good enough to catch a fish” might be my biggest pet peeve, or maybe, “the fish don’t care”. Fish eat fucking marshmallows; Tie Nice Flies.

 

What’s the one pattern (or two) that you feel really defines a tyer’s ability and skill set? What would you look for if you were to grade it?

This is a great question and the answer is NOT any single fly. To define a tyer’s ability and skill set, I would ask to see a range of flies. Dries, nymphs, streamers, wet flies, salt stuff, hair bugs; the whole gamut. So many guys today specialize themselves into a corner. They can tie a beautiful hair bug but their Hares Ears look like something your cat coughed up. Streamer Tyer Pro but can’t tie a damn parachute. The measure of a tyer’s ability and skill set is the range of mastery. This one trick pony nonsense…pshhhh. I’d love to see a tying contest where you lined up a bunch of these hot shots and made them tie a Hare’s Ear, an Adams, a quill wing wet and a tarpon fly or something like that.

What are your thoughts on this current streamer-craze the last few years? What is your favorite streamer design- classical or modern and why that particular pattern?

Honestly, I love seeing other folks’ ideas, but I really try to ignore most of it. Let me put it this way. Sometimes I’ll have an idea for a fly and maybe scroll around the web looking at other flies and before I know it, my pure idea has been polluted with what I see other people doing. Rather than working out an original idea and process, it’s really easy to take the most obvious route to get to the end. I try not to dig too much into other folk’s stuff just for that reason. That being said, there are a couple really good streamer concepts out there these days…and a million variations on the theme. I love that guys are getting so into the streamer game and there are a few who are doing truly great, original work. Blane Chocklette comes immediately to mind. Totally out of the box and unique. I love it.

As far as favorite streamer design…I love the old feather wing stuff. It’s just so elegant and beautiful and complicated, it really appeals to me. As far as fishing flies go, my Baby Gonga is, right now, my favorite streamer to throw. While everyone else is going big, big, bigger, this little articulated fly is getting a lot of attention. Those smaller hooks stay stuck a lot better than the big wire stuff and the fly gets eaten way more often than followed like the really big stuff does so much, and it’s also super easy to cast. The Double Dirty Hippy is another fly that I have really come to enjoy fishing as well. It’s meant to be fished slower, jigged and danced rather than ripped and stripped. It’s a different application than a Gonga.

It was nice watching your “Designed to Deceive” youtube clip this year of you out drifting chuckin the Double Gonga. Any consideration to do a fly fishing book or dvd? Maybe a fly fishing dvd compliment to a tying book?

I suppose that’s always a possibility but for me, fishing is pretty close to my heart and when I am out, the last thing on my mind is an audience or instruction. It’s part of my creative process and I keep it pretty close. I don’t fish with a ton of different people anymore; the time is too precious to waste. As I mentioned, I like what I like…lol

 

Do you have any new fly designs you are working on or testing at the moment?

 

I have a list in my phone of new fly ideas (and new fly names too). I keep it there because they pop up at all sorts of different times and rarely when I am sitting at the vise. A lot of them come on the way home from fishing, some just float around in my head and some are things that people ask me for. So yeah, there are always new patterns in the works. Some of them come easily and some have been being developed for a looong time and still aren’t right. But there’s always something to work on and I have sort of been pacing myself to dial them all in over time. I don’t let anything out to Umpqua, the internet or the public in general until I have fished it for a bit and really dialed it in.

As far as the pet peeves you asked about earlier, you can add “guys who come up with a stonefly adult pattern in December and immediately put it out on the web before it’s even had a chance to see water”. No matter how good a fly comes out from an idea, there are almost always some tweaks that need to be done to really dial it in and there’s no way to do that without fishing it.

 

What are the 3 things the casual tyer can do to be more competent behind the vise?

Practice, pay attention and think about it. There is no substitute for flies falling out of the vise, but tying poorly over and over again ain’t gonna make you any better. Pay attention to the details of the flies you are tying and make an effort to make every one perfect. You can be fast later. Be good first. Think about the fly and the dynamics and design behind it, even when you’re not at the bench. I have a long drive in to the shop every day and I use that time to think all kinds of things through at the start of my day, fly patterns included. Some of my best ideas have come to me behind the wheel of my truck. I’ll also add in Don’t Be Afraid to Use Logic and Reason too. If you tie your tails too long consistently, what do you think you ought to do about it?

Jujubeatis, Jujubee Midge, and the Charlie Boy Hopper. What is the 1 thing beginning tyers get wrong with each of those patterns?

On the Juju’s, almost everyone makes the bodies too fat. I try to keep the thread underbody as thin and as flat as I can to match up better with the real thing. Also, people use Fluoro Fiber like it’s going out of style. I use, at most, a dozen strands to make a wingcase. I see a lot of these flies tied with something like thirty strands and it’s just too much. Restraint goes a long way.

On the Charlie Boy, I’d say the number one issue folks have is not butting the foam strip up on top of the hook bend at the end of the binder strip. This causes the foam to fill in the hook gap and creates a straight body that doesn’t lend itself well to the important razor cut to form the shape of the fly. Also, I’ll add that that cut has to be done with a razor, not scissors. Scissors distort the foam by pinching it as you cut it where the razor maintains the shape and slices right through.

I have spent a lot of time writing and photographing really good instructions for all of these flies and I can’t say I don’t find it a bit annoying when people don’t follow them and wonder why things don’t come out right!

What’s the fly you’ve personally tied the most?

Probably Pheasant Tails. Pheasant Tails, RS2’s and Bead Head Prince Nymphs. I’ve seen more than my share of those run through my vise back in the day.

 

What are your thoughts on fly box organization? Do you organize by fly type, by season, or some other criteria?

I carry one big Wheatley swing leaf box for most of my nymphs and it weighs about five pounds. I have several other nymph boxes with more specific stuff in them, but the Wheatley is the one I always make sure I have on me. As for dries, I have a whole box of baetis that I haul around, although I find I almost always use the Mole Fly these days. I have a box for PMD’s, a box for caddis, a box for midges and one for tricos, a couple boxes of hoppers and attractor dries…so I guess I’d say by species of insect and type of fly is how I “organize”. I have a couple of suitcases worth of streamers too. It’s an issue.

How do you organize this?!

 

Charlie figured it out!

Having done so many things in your decades of experience, do you have any goals left to accomplish either as an angler, tyer, or steward of the sport?

There are always goals. There’s always a new place to go, a new species, learning more about the old ones etc. I’ve been trying to branch out and fish more different waters locally here in Colorado as well as in the surrounding states as time allows. I love saltwater fishing and bonefishing is as close to heaven as I think I can get.

I’m not sure if those are goals, but I want to do more of all of that. As a tyer, I don’t per se set goals, but there are accomplishments that come along the way with new patterns and designs that really solve problems. One of my goals over the last several years is to become a better teacher and make more good, thinking fly tyers. I think I am getting there and I still love teaching classes and doing demos.

Are you an ambassador or pro staff member for any companies?

Obviously, Umpqua Feather Merchants, but also Dyna-King and Dr. Slick, and as I mentioned, it’s all stuff I used for years before accepting any pro staff position.

Anything new and exciting happening in 2017?

Head down, work hard, keep grinding.

Any final thoughts? Rants? Universal truths?

Haven’t you had enough yet??

Lol-

Lastly- I just want to encourage all of the beginning tyers, and really anyone purchasing Charlie’s books, to not be so impatient like I was early on where I read or glanced only at the minimum to get the fly tied- rather to slow down read through the pattern, and then tie through the pattern the way it is presented. I was very impatient and just wanted to get the fly done, but ended up disappointed because the fly didn’t match the photo. It was no wonder- I never learned the nuanced technique that went into material placement, selection, etc.

The depth of instruction that goes into your books is unsurpassed. I usually picke one book in fall and I’ll tie through it again just to get ready for the winter tying season. This way my game is sharp, and I’ve practiced some techniques that I might not have used in a few weeks or months. It just clarifies some finer points, and I usually find something neweach year, that I”ve somehow missed previously. It not only helps whatever tying whatever fly is presented in the book, but you can apply it infinitely where it fits in the future. To me, that is why your books will truly stand the test of time as classic- mandatory curriculum so to speak, while some pattern books will fade as the popularity of those flies do.

Thanks man…this is all I can hope for and exactly what I planned.

I hope you guys enjoyed this interview with Charlie. The guy is funny as hell, and the most well rounded fly tyer that I know. Below is his contact information, and where you can find his recent ties plus a link to his pro staff companies to check out.

Lastly, Charlie and I are going to be giving away a copy of his newest book Tying Nymphs to 1 lucky person and there may be another surprise coming. More on this will be posted to my Instagram page @inpursuitoftrout.

Please let me know what you thought of this interview, and check out the links below!

Thanks everyone.

Charlie’s Fly Box: HERE
Charlie’s Fly Box on Facebook: HERE
Charlie’s Instagram: HERE
Dyna King Vises:  HERE
Dr. Slick Tools: HERE
Umpqua Feather Merchants: HERE

Lastly- Can you tie a 2 minute Parachute Adams? Charlie can…

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