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: 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

 

 

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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…

 

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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.

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Adam Royter Fishing New Creek in New Zealand

 

Adam Royter “New Creek” from In Pursuit of Trout on Vimeo.

If you spend anytime on social media, you are probably familiar with that short 1 minute video of a fly fisherman catching a beautiful brown trout in a shallow, clear New Zealand creek. I reached out to the fly fisherman behind this short video that he has titled, “New Creek”to find out more. These are his words describing that outing and his successful result along with a few extra photos. The video is good by itself, motivation for anyone that picks up a fly rod- but the story makes it great.

Adam Royter:

It all depends on the night before but if you play your cards right, you’ll find New Year’s Day is a pretty quiet time on the water as far as human traffic goes! So armed with Aspirin and fly rods we threw a dart at the map, got in the car and ended up an hour away from home. A place we named New Creek – one) because it was a new year and; two) because we had never seen it before. Exploring is magical. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose but it’s all in the adventure and it makes it so much more rewarding to explore places you’ve discovered yourself.

The first fish, some 200 feet from the car I almost stood on if it wasn’t for my eagle eyed wife and fly fishing partner in crime. Got some good eyes that lady!! I decide to pack a glass rod this trip in case the fish were small and I could have some fun with them. The Hardy glass rod “The Stream” is a very soft 7’ 3 weight that is a delight on small water. This fish looked to be 1 – 1.5 pounds as it darted around in a fast shoot of water feeding. A foam beetle is what I had tied on from the car so that’s what I tossed. It was the world’s tightest spot to cast and eventually a couple of tight roll casts got the fly up, and the fish was all over it. The hook went in and then all hell broke loose! The fish was 3 pounds plus of very angry buck rainbow that obviously lived right there in the stream, because it knew every undercut and proceeded to drag me through them one at a time. After some fancy foot work and the fish leading me around by the nose, it was in the bag and out for a swift release. Time to change rods!”

adam royter rainbow

 

“After grabbing my new favourite, a Hardy Zephrus 9’ 5 weight and meeting back up with the wife and our dog Abel, who had just been given the pectoral fin by a healthy brown after a few fly changes we started working up the creek. A few more fish we cast to with no result and then a big bush camp where it looked like partiers had set up over Christmas – no wonder the fish were a little touchy! Further on up the creek and from the lower position of downstream I could see a fish’s head sticking out of the water every 10 seconds or so – this fish was on point. 

A cunning plan unrolled as we got closer, and the closer we got the harder it all seemed to be. The fish was rising in 1.5 feet of water under the shade of overhanging willow trees. The plan was to slowly make my way up from behind, as the fish was rising in the top end of the pool, while staying low and still, but it swam almost right down next to me feeding in the bottom of the pool. I had a small willow tree to stand behind to block my profile from the fish’s eye, but it was also very much in my way. I knew Murphy’s Law would prevail at some stage if I found myself making too many casts. I had the beetle on that took the rainbow downstream, but as we made our way up I saw the very odd mayfly dun pop and the odd spinner dancing – time for a fly change before the attempt!

The last 30 years of fly fishing has taught me something that I’m constantly being dragged away from because it’s so easy to complicate – keep it simple! Simple is easy, surely we can make it harder for ourselves can’t we!! But simple was the call of the day so I tied on a tail and hackle fly, size 14, black in colour to silhouette against the shadows. I figured I needed two casts – one to get me up into the pool to check for distance and set me up while I wait for a time to present, and the second cast to make the final presentation. All the straight up and down casting practise in the world isn’t going to help you with this type of cast, so if you’re keen, practise in the trees at the local park. You’ll look like a nutter but only to people that don’t fly fish! 

At the time of the first cast layout the fish was against the left bank, but I knew from previous rise patterns that it would soon be on the right side where I plan to make my presentation. Almost as soon as it landed the fish was there, so it was one more cast a little more to the left to get the fly in front of the fish (which was more of an up and under, get around the big dirty branch cast). Cast was placed and the rest is history! 

Sure was a fun fish to catch and as they do, had me wrapped up in all sorts of undercuts and tree branches before hitting the net.”

adam royter brown 1

adam royter brown 2

adam royter dry fly

adam royter brown 3

You can find more of Adam Royter’s photography, videography, and adventures through the following:

Facebook : www.facebook.com/Adam-Royter-Media
Facebook : www.facebook.com/adamroyter
Facebook: www.facebook.com/hardyflyfishingaust
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SheLovesItOutdoors
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/adamroyter/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCquAJbmOy8QJM-SnzDMULyg
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJYylzsxhZXkjBA1ta6yAKA

Adam would also like me to thank his sponsors, you can click on the logo to visit their websites:

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