I’ll tell you a little bit about myself, I’m thirty four years old, living in the Chicagoland area. I work in the Telecommunications field installing telephone switching systems and optical networks.
I began tying flies when I was in the seventh grade after seeing flies a friend had shown me on the bus ride to school. I went to his house after school and he gave me a crash course in fly tying. He was nice enough to send me home with a beginner’s vise, bobbin , scissors and some material. I got home and went to work!! I think I spent all of my free time learning to tie on my own. I started to buy some magazines and check out the REAL flies in the pages and soon realized I had a long road ahead of me. A few years later I got a summer job and spent every penny on new tools and materials, oh yea, tackle also! By the middle of high school I was tying “commercially” for a shop my brother worked for. The order was for something like a hundred and twenty dozen flies!! That was a lot for me given my limited tying skills. Come to think of it I don’t think I ever finished the entire order. For Christmas around the same time I was given Keith Fulsher and Charlie Krom’s book on Hairwing Atlantic Salmon flies, that was my first exposure to the Atlantics. I got down to business working on those patterns; shortly after I gave up. I guess I saw no practical reason for tying them. That was it for the Atlantic Salmon fly for me for a long while!
Later I landed a job tying for a local Orvis dealer. I hit the big time. At least I thought so then. I did mostly Alaska patterns and it was boring. You can only do so many egg-sucking leeches before you have a breakdown.
After a ten year break, this brings me into the year 2000. I came back into the craft and sport full on. I had to re-acquire all the lost tackle, materials and tools and now I’m back up to speed. Why or how I got the bug for tying full dress patterns probably came from seeing Michael Radencich’s book at a shop and it just blew my mind, I had to pursue this. I really love working on these patterns although I can get a little frustrated and want to throw my vise out the window I sit next to, but I just calm down and walk away.
These are some of the things I’ve found important in the last ten months of tying these flies: Read all of the books you can get. Talk to other tiers and get their input, advice, criticism and anything else they have to offer. Going to the “Flytying Summit” in Cleveland, Ohio and watching the “masters” speak and tie flies was a great learning experience for me.
Do try to locate and purchase the BEST materials available. The quality of your materials will make a huge difference. As Wayne Luallen teaches, WASH your materials. You’ll be surprised at their “performance” when they’re clean. Last but not least, practice, practice, practice!!! The flies I’ve posted here are my best efforts thus far. Thank you for looking into who I am and my flies. Please feel free to e-mail me with any comment or questions. Lastly, I would like to say thanks to friend who is very patient with my endless barrage of phone calls and e-mails. He’s a brutally honest critic who has given me a lot of tips, tricks and a lot of encouragement. Thanks Ed!!
A nice Brian Ebert caught Sheboygan River steelhead comes to the net.