I am not normal…..
If you are Mrs. Brownliner you can attest to this with certainty. If you are the Carp Whisperer, you can echo that sentiment as well. In fact, if you have ever read this blog it was probably fairly apparent rather quickly.
Most fly fishers begin with trout. From there they branch out into the salt or other warm water predatory species. Some never branch out at all. As a life long bass and still water fisherman, streams and trout just didn’t speak to me for a very long time. I was used to big water, big hardware, and big boats. So it was logical that my greenhorn years as a fly fisherman were spent chasing bass and stripers in the salt. Double hauling a 1/0 Clouser into the wind made much more sense to me than a reach cast and three mends to float an elk hair caddis with no drag did.
I was living in the DC area at the time and chucking lead in Baltimore for schoolies was big fun. This was also when I began to tie flies. I took a class at the Orvis store in Tyson’s Corner, VA and I was hooked. The idea of creating was absolutely fascinating to me. I went out and bought (on VHS!) Lefty Kreh’s fly tying series as well and I began a journey that has been near and dear to my heart for the past 15 years.
I recently was going through some fly boxes as I was prepping for my annual trip to Presque Isle with CW and I found some flies that I had tied back when I had first began. I recall at the time being very proud of some of my ties and even more so when they yielded a take. Evolution is a funny thing…. My hackle turns were sloppy, my heads were not finished well… in general, they looked like they had been tied by a child. In many ways they had.
So as I sat down to the vise to tie for my trip, I couldn’t help but to notice the attention to detail that only comes with years and mistakes. It took me ages before I was comfortable tying flies for trout. I don’t think I even owned hooks smaller than a size 2!
So as I sat down and began to tie, my mind started to wander down amnesia lane. I had vivid memories of pulling specific patterns from the jaws of specific fish. I remember driving a chartreuse over white 1/0 Clouser Minnow into the back of my head while fishing some bridge pilings at night in Virginia Beach…. I think I still have a small lump from that one a decade later.
Tying meat is just different. Big hooks, big profiles, big dumbells, big popper heads, big weed guards, etc…. Hopefully yielding big fish! The truth is I have enough flies tied to last for years yet I still tie more. At times I wonder if it is a sickness or some kind of compulsion? I give flies to friends…. hell I give them to complete strangers as well. (good karma)
So just for the record….. this is the first fly I ever tied. I landed a massive 12″ grunt on it and promptly retired it to the top of my desk where it remains!
Where has your tying journey taken you? Fond memories? Crazy stories? Love to hear them if you care to share. And if you have never tied meat…. go for it! It will give you a good excuse to go buy that 8 or 9 weight rod you had your eye on.
Good Luck, Tight Lines, and Lots of Beef Jerkey,