In the fourth installment of my Fly Tyer of the Month series I talk with Tim Savarese aka yea_trout_that on Instagram. He has become a social media rock star due to his incredibly sick stoneflies- but as you’ll see in this interview, his skills extend beyond just the Plecoptera genus.
Where did you grow up and how did you start your journey into the sport of fly fishing? Is it something you found on your own, or did your family get you into the sport?
I grew up in PA. When I was younger I did a lot of spin fishing. I got pretty good at it but it became boring so i bought my first fly rod when I was 17, it was a TICA #6-7. I still use it, great rod for the money. Corks starting to fall off. I used to have terrible nymphing tatics but I still caught fish. I would say fishing was mostly self discovered. My dad definitely got me fishing to begin with but l became obsessed with it after its introduction.
Living in PA, you have access to some of the most consistent fisheries on the east coast with such a rich history. Who were some of your influences as a beginner?
PA has what I would consider world class trout fishing at times. Other times I sit and ponder whether the fish went vegan. Ha ha. Lots of great water if you know where to look for it. I pretty much did my own thing with fly fishing as well. I taught myself so at times I’m unorthodox but it works for me. I always tell that to new comers. You can learn from the best in the world but their way might not work for you. You need to find your style and methods of being successful.
What advice would you give to someone fishing eastern pa for the first time?
Advice for the area would be to bring a few rods. Nymph, dry, streamer. Lots of quality fishing but you may have to work for them.
What is your current nymphing rig, rod, weight, etc?
I like to euro nymph, tight line, czech. What ever it’s called I do it. 10′ cabelas CZN. 4 weight. Sage 2250 reel. 2 fly rig. Its fun. Lots of action.
PA is pretty well known for the fly fishing competitions. What are you thoughts on competitive fly fishing- it is still controversial in many people’s minds. What positives or negatives do you see?
Hahahaha, I guess to each their own. Not my thing.
Any pet peeves you have about other anglers while on river?
I hate when people fish directly across from me in smaller water. Not too many pet peeves, if there’s plenty of good water, give other guys some room.
To the guy beginning to nymph, what advice would you give?
Advice. Hmmm fish are constantly feeding. Just because you didn’t get bit first cast doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Maybe they were munching on a fat craw or gulpin a sculpin when your puny pheasant tail drifted by. Maybe that’s why you should fish size 4 stones and be done with it. Hahaha
As far as fly tying, there seems to be an endless stream of talent out there across the country and the world. Whose work do you find interesting these days?
So many great tiers out there these days. Lots of guys coming out with innovative patterns. I don’t have any particular names that jump out at me, too many good guys to list.
How would you define your style of fly tying? What are a few of your favorite flies to tie? What is your approach when sitting down to tie? What are you hoping to achieve at the end of the fly? Some guys do it for artistic expression, innovation, while Russ Maddin has been quoted that fly tying is simply a means of production.
My style of tying is controlled chaos. My desk is a distaster at all times. Its inevidable. I tie halves of flies get bored and start something else. I cant sit and tie 50 flies. Its just not my style. I really focus on the cocept of functional realism. It’s the premise of most of my bugs. Lots of guys tie flies that look like they could crawl off the vice, and lots of other guys tie bugs that just flat out catch fish. I’m trying to tie a bug that will perform well at both of those. I’m definitely a quality over quantity guy.
Are you tying commercially right now? If so- how is business thus far? If no- is it something you’ve considered doing full time?
I just do small orders. No expansion plans for now. Just moving a few bugs here and there. Not quite sure what the future holds at the moment. I guess we will just have to wait and see.
To those that aren’t familiar, Tim ties some of, no- THE sickest working stoneflies that I’ve ever seen. How did you come up with the concept, and how did it evolve to the absolute jurrassic proportions and sickness that they are at now?
PA has a giant variety of stones as many states do and the trout destroy them. I started tying them and kept adding little features making them more realistic and somehow they ended up looking this way. I like fishing big stones because its usually my anchor fly so i want it down to the fish fast. I also want them to look obnoxious because I feel like the trout just cant help themselves when they see them bouncing along.
What tips can you give to the people trying to tie one of those stoneflies? The rubberlegs have to be the most difficult part on that. Am I right?
Tips. Hmmm just be creative and have fun. Just break flies down to steps. All complicated flies are is a handful of easy steps. If you think about to many at once you’ll mess up. And yes, the legs are never easy, but you just get used to it.
I ran into you back at the January Somerset show tying in the Flymen Fishing Co booth- how was that experience? Will you be a regular on the circuit this year?
The show was fun. I would absolutely tie at more shows if my schedule allows it. Fun meeting everyone, putting names to faces etc. The trout unlimited event was a fun event. A decent showing for a small venue. It was cool to tie and chat with the local guys from my area. Somerset is huge and very . Very different for sure. In the future I want to continue to do shows/presentations.
Many of those flies you conjure up with feature Flymen Fishing Co products- what is it about their materials that you like so much- or put another way- if anyone hasn’t tried their products, what are a few reasons to try them out?
Flymen Fishing Company has some unique awesome products. Obviously I use mostly the realistic stone, mayfly and caddis beads, but they have so much to offer to streamer guys as well. Weighted sculpin helmets, crayfish tails, weightless heads, body tubing. So much potential. The beadheads and helmets are awesome because the paint doesn’t come off. I’ve tried, its really hard. The tungsten aspect is great because they get down fast. Overall just awesome stuff. Martin and the team do a great job.
What are some of your favorite dubbing blends?
I like Arizona mega synthetic a lot. Great product. Dubs really nice and looks super buggy. I’m also a huge fan of Nature’s Spirit Emergence. They have awesome unique colors to chose from and are very easy to use.
A very recent series of flies you’ve been tying are these large buggy grubs with one being dubbed the Advanced Green Weenie- how did the design process go, because it is WAY more technical and impressionistic than the original. What have the fish said?
The advanced green weenie. ha. Yeah the grubs are cool. The fish love them. I’ve gotten lots of good feedback with durability and fishability. The loon UV resin holds up great. All fish love worms.
You have a pretty big following on Instagram these days- who are some of your favorites to follow on their?
I’m very appreciative of all the people that follow me. It’s pretty awesome that people are picking up what im putting down. I have a lot of fun with @bug.wild @wycoflyco @ebbsforce1 and @flyfishfood. We like to joke around a lot. I follow any pages that catch my eye. Lots of good ones.
With quite a large social media response, have you contemplated doing any tying tutorials?
Eventually once I get a few things accomplished with tying I will do tutorials for sure.
You seem to tie all types of flies well- when you go fishing what do you prefer fishing- dry flies, nymphs, or streamers- and why?
I like nymphs best because they look the coolest and I’m mostly a dirty nympher. I actually buy dries from a local shop because i usually never have any or the materials to tie them. Streamers are fun to tie, but nymphs rule my vice.
I saw on their your better half gave you a Regal Revolution as a gift- is that your main vise right now? What are your thoughts on that vise- positives, negatives, etc?
The regal is so sick. She was awesome with that surprise. I love it so much. Its not just my main vice but my only vice. I used to tie on an apex that was given to me. Man, that thing was ugly. Its nice to have a vice that actually holds hooks well. I don’t think there is a single negative aspect about a revolution. Id recommend them to anyone.
Speaking of Kayla, she seems to be a very competent angler herself. When you fish together does it get competitive?
Kayla is killing it right now. Shes learning fast and is really good right now. Yes, she does out fish me sometimes and I’m cool with that. We definitely have friendly competitions. She recently became an ambassador for Riverbum which I’m obviously stoked about.
What plans do you have for 2016 and beyond? Have you considered getting one of your patterns picked up by one of the fly companies? Any upcoming trips you are planning?
Lots of future plans, not going to disclose too much right now, but good things on the way. I will hopefully be tying at symposium and maybe a few more shows. Should be a good year.
Are you working on any new pattern designs right now? Give us a hint on what we can see in the future?
More stoneflies, I want to start working on realistic mayflies and caddis as well.
Any sponsors you would like to mention?
I’m in the Flymen Fishing Company tier program which I am super stoked about. Super thankful to Martin for that opportunity. Such a fun professional relationship.I am also pro staff for Fly Fish Food as well. Cheech and Curtis have been so great to me, and help me grow as a tier. They are such a great addition to the tying community. Websites listed below.
Lastly, what are some parting thoughts you have- about anything. If anything is bugging you about the industry, or local politics effecting the rivers you fish, or you really want to bring awareness to a good cause in the industry etc.
I want the younger generation not to get caught up in the social media stuff to fast. Yes its fun, everyones doing it, but that shouldnt be the reason you fish. Not at all. Fall in love with fishing because you love fishing. Not instagram likes. Don’t worry about “pro staff” or whatever you want to call it. If its meant to be then it will happen. If not then who cares! Just fish, fish a lot. Take care of the fisheries and the fish. Pick up trash, quick releases etc. Most imprtantly just have fun.
What beer you digging right now?
Sour beer is great. Very niche/hard to find but it’s coming around. It’s like the sour candy of beers. Destihl wild sour has to be my favorite at the moment.
If you could fish anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why? And who would you invite with you?
I really want to go to Mongolia for taimen, REALLY BAD. Its a 10 thousand dollar trip though. Mongolia is rustic, and taimem are amazing predators. Fishing giant squirrel patterns is appealing to me. I would take Kayla because she would love that trip.
I would like to thank Tim Savarese for taking the time to complete this interview. I know he’s been incredibly busy with orders. I’m going to post a few more flies of his- I just love his style of fly. Please comment below and let Tim know what you think of his flies, let me know what you think of this interview series so far etc- and I’ll be posting up a way in which you can win your very own stoneflies tied by Tim!
Again- just comment below and let me know what you thought. Next month I’ll also have 2 interviews hitting the website to fully catch up, and then I’ll continue doing 1 a month. If you haven’t yet, check out the web store HERE I’m going to be having a Memorial Day sale starting tomorrow….last but not least-
To see more, up to date work by Tim Savarese- check out his social media pages