Iím a flyfisherman/tier now living in Truro, Nova Scotia Canada (Nova Scotia is Gaelic for New Scotland). Iíve lived in all three Maritime Provinces, which has afforded me some great fishing over the years. Within an hour of my doorstep is some of the best fishing you can find anywhere. Atlantic Salmon (sea-run and landlocked), browns, brook (speckled) and true steelhead trout, shad, smallmouth & striped bass, as well as chain pickerel are all close by. Within a three- hour drive, one can be in either New Brunswickís famed Miramichi, or our own Margaree River.
I started flyfishing in 1985 after moving to PEI. My tying started the next spring out of necessity. The owner of a local sports shop tied/sold flies. He balked at an order of specific flies I placed, so I bought my own tying gear, and proceeded to tie my first rudimentary creations. A few years later, I moved back to NS, and started scouting out the flytying resource pool. I found a couple of shops within an hour of home, and scoped out the available materials. One shop, in particular, had a glass display case of extremely beautiful (and expensive) feathers. The owner explained that they were used for "classic" salmon flies, and showed me the books he had on the subject. The seed was planted, and I was well on my way to tying full-dress Atlantic Salmon Flies.
The first full dress fly I tied is still my favorite pattern, the Durham Ranger. I look back on this first attempt, and look at one Iíve tied recently, and am amazed at the progression Iíve made in seven years. Iíve studied the books I have closely, and developed my own style from this- part imitation and part innovation. Iím also not afraid to use a substitute material in a pattern if I have to. Well over a hundred years has passed since some of the "Gaudy" flies were first invented, and the birds/animals first used are now protected or endangered. Iíd rather endure the wrath of a tying purist than the fine of a pursuing government ,or eradication of an animal.
My influences vary from contemporary masters to legendary tiers in their own rights. They include Ron Alcott, Poul Jorgensen, Marvin Nolte, Paul Schmookler, Carrie Stevens, George Kelson, Major J.P. Traherne, and Hans Weillenmann. Hans is THE flytiersí flytier. If you ask Hans a tying question, he will either answer you straightforwardly, or refer you to the person who would know the answer. Heís surely brought me along the path towards enlightenment.
On the lighter side, have you ever heard of a flytier who is allergic to feathers? It can be a bit trying at times, but a good sneeze usually clears the ďchaffĒ from my tying table. After a few hours at the vise, I usually take a break, get some air or an antihistimine. What doesnít kill you can only make you stronger, right?
I hope you enjoy looking at my flies as much as Iíve enjoyed tying them.
Tight Lines & Big Smiles