Oskar Hagelin is a fly tyer from Sweden who is known for designing and tying some kick ass streamers. If you follow any of the social media channels you will recognize his work, and the big streamer revolution going on in Sweden right now. I was familiar with Oskar’s work as it has been featured on Paul Beel’s website Franken Fly among several others. I was excited when I got a chance to ask Oskar a few questions about his fly tying, and his thoughts on the current streamer Renaissance going on in America and now abroad.
Seeing as I won’t be fly fishing Sweden anytime soon- although I would love to, tell me a little about the fisheries. Do you fish primarily big rivers, or smaller streams?
Both big and small rivers. It’s a small country as you know but there are some waters up north which are very healthy. Actually there is an extremely healthy stream about 3 hours from my house- pretty hard to get a license there. I got two new friends from whom I have had the chance to get a guest license from, last year. This year- they both have promised me at least four trips in 2016. Nymphing has been the case the last couple of times, but I’m totally going for streamer fishing this year.
When did you start tying flies? Who were your influences then and who are you biggest influences now?
I started tying flies when I was about twenty, its now 22 years ago and my first influence was the master of imitations: Lennart Bergquist and his book “Flugbindning pa mitt satt”. An epic fly tying book and a legendary fly tyer. At the same time, I have to say that I haven’t been all that interested in what others do but that has changed over the years, thankfully.
Oh, I almost forgot my old fishing buddy’s Andreas Mattson and Jonas Farsén…the competition between us, never spoken of, has been a huge contribution to my development as both a fly fisherman and a fly tyer.
Ever since I discovered the articulated streamer, a couple of years ago, my approach changed a whole lot. I read and learned everything I could get my hands on. I started a Swedish streamer group on Facebook (and it turned out that articulated streamers were practically unheard of). I started my own blog, mostly for my own sake -to have a place to save the material that I found – but also to spread the word. In this way I got to know a whole lot of people interested in the same stuff, inspiring me to go on with this “streamer addiction”.
If I would have to mention one person that has been my biggest influence the last couple of years the answer has to be Mike Schmidt of Anglers Choice Flies. He is truly my mentor and the fact that his fly – The Grumpy Muppet – is responsible for hooking my biggest trout to this day, an 11 pound hog, is really something.
Of all the flies you have designed and tied, what is your favorite?
The “Dive, Kickass, Repeat” or DKR Sculpin because it really looks like a sculpin in the water and trout hit it hard.
What is your favorite, and least favorite fly to tie?
Favorite: My Beef Jerky streamer because its easy to tie and that the color combinations you can create, are endless.
Least favorite: “Dive, Kickass, Repeat”…to hide the deer hair ends under the sculpin head can be a…
I know you love to tie streamers- your website showcases that passion. Is there a hidden side of you that likes to tie size 24 midges or traditional Catskill style dry flies that we haven’t seen yet?
I love to tie streamers.…I need to tie nymphs…dry flies I buy.
Describe your design process- I know some other big name tyers have said in previous interviews that they are looking to solve a riddle. Some tyers even sketch out the basic size and profile before they begin tying. What works for you?
Of course one of the main reasons for me to create a pattern is that I want a streamer to swim a certain way, or how I want it to look in the water but I also have to admit that I love to play around with materials, new and old, just for fun. That what fly tying is all about, isn’t it?
Speaking of that Beef Jerky streamer, what was the reason for putting a conehead up front and behind the 3d eyes? It’s the first time I’ve seen that technique.
With a little added weight it will start to “fish” directly as it hits the water. This idea just came to me because I’ve always had a hard time believing in totally unweighted streamers. You know when you have a certain spot…and you want to present a bait right there….and not something that looks like nothing… a tiny little weight will straighten the materials and a bait is presented properly.
What advice would you give to young or new fly tyers?
Have fun, obey no rules
Are you the type of tyer that stages out a dozen or more of the same fly when you sit down to tie, or do you switch between tying different patterns?
I would say that I’m the opposite of what one would call a production fly tyer. My best results as far as articulated streamers go, is five flies of the same color…then I’m bored and have to tie another pattern…
Do you have any favorite materials?
My favorite material is the rabbit strip. You can get it in all the colors of the rainbow, it has tons of movement and its easy to work with. You can simply tie one on a streamer hook and then head out to the stream. Can’t say that there is a fly tying material that I don’t like…well deer hair can be a struggle…but I still love it.
If you were designing a box of pure confidence flies, what would make the cut?
Two years ago, when I still used a vest, just before a trip to the Swedish North, I felt that my vest was pretty heavy…it weighed in at just over seven pounds!…so: Did you say just one box?
here are 6 flies I would never leave home without:
Beef Jerky in different weights an sizes
Dive Kickass Repeat Sculpin
Gold headed Pheasant Tail size 16
Tungsten Beaded Caddis Pupa
but still, this list is very short for me.…
Are you working on any new fly designs right now?
There are a few patterns for the searun seatrout on the Swedish west coast that I have been thinking of developing…
Are there any fly fishing or fly tying New Year’s resolutions you have for 2016?
I need to get more organized. You see, I really want to tie some of my patterns for those who want to buy them.
If you could go fish anywhere right now, where would it be and why?
Pere Marquette with Tommy Lynch as my guide. Why? The answer is: Tommy Lynch.
For those that don’t know- Tommy Lynch is the creator of the Drunk and Disorderly streamer and Lynch’s White Bellied Mouse, both of which are available through the Orvis catalog. He is also a full time guide for The Fish Whisperer Guide Service. You can find more about his flies and guide service HERE
What are you favorites?
Vise: Renzetti Master Special Edition
Bobbin: Dr. Slick Ceramic
Thread: UTC 140
Glue/UV: Deer Creek
Fly Box: Panaro M50E
Oskar- I thank you kindly for taking time out of your day to answer these. I know you had reservations with English not being your first language- but there were no issues at all. I hope more people get to see exactly how talented you are behind the vise.
Fly Fishing Companies- Oskar is not a member of any pro teams. Contact him to change that: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit Oskar’s website , Time Flies by Oskar HERE
Check out his Instagram page HERE
Let’s just enjoy some more flies by Oskar…