Fly Tying

by Fly Fisherman

I NEVER did take a great deal of interest in fly tying until I was almost ten years of age. Before that, however, as far back as memory serves me, I have fished for trout. In this phase of my youth, a vivid imagination and a faith in the reality
that water meant fish, I diligently pursued the piscatorial occupation in sump holes, open wells and ditches. The fact that when I was fishing with my father and had a mild degree of success never struck me as strange. Even now when fishing a stream, invariably I work all the water, that which is not completely out of reason, and it doesn’t affect me as odd that so many times, in pockets that would hardly seem to shelter a hiding chub, I have hooked into satisfyingly sizable trout.

Since my first cast I have fished quite an expanse of water. I have experimented with just about every lure, both natural and artificial. I have, however, never used live minnows or dynamite, not because they aren’t effective or perhaps illegal, but I just never could bring myself to it. Neither do I like salmon eggs or cheese, but where it is legal some of my most conscientious fishing friends use them on occasion.
I have the firm conviction that where fish, and I’m referring principally to the trout and char families, can be caught at all, they can be caught on either wet or dry flies. I could be prejudiced but a forty-year avocation endeavoring to deceive
crafty trout into tasting my offerings has not given me the slightest evidence that I have been wrong.

I have studiously read, I believe, every published book on the subject of flies and fly tying. I have read, also, hundreds of essays, sagas of instruction and revelation stories on the same subject in periodicals over the last quarter century. In fact my scrap book of selected, clipped items and complete articles would, if baled, bring joy to the heart of a waste paper dealer. Throughout the entire perusal of this reading matter the one definite conclusion I reached is that the varying opinions and conflictions in methods, materials, etc., is all but explosive. Many of the writers are or were nationally known fly tiers and some of them I know were entirely sincere in their presentations, while others MUST have advanced their theories with tongue in cheek.

Seeking further knowledge, I purchased dozens of patterns tied by or supervised by noted fly tiers. These I carefully untied to discover methods. Here, too, the conflictions were evident but not so alarming as in the published expositions. Some of these flies were honestly tied and well worth the fee. Others produced by just as noted tiers and presenting an equally excellent outward appearance would, as soon as the finish knot was loosened, spring apart completely right down to the bare hook in many instances.

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