Charles Dickson Jr. Flies
My Grandfathers were the ones that introduced me to the sport of fishing. They were gear fisherman and knew little about fly fishing. One of them left me an old unused fiberglass fly rod when he died. But this sat unused by me for a long time. My parents didn’t much care for fishing in any form even though they were supportive of that and most other hobbies I had. This is kind of ironic when you consider the fact that they are actually the ones partly responsible for me being a fly fisherman and especially for me being a fly tier. Not knowing much about fishing but knowing that flies and fly tying were used in the sport they bought me a fly tying kit some time when I was in grammar school. I eagerly pulled the cheap, stamped metal vise from the package and proceeded to clamp it to the table facing in the wrong direction. You see, I am right handed but a faced the vise to the left when I set it up. I tie that way to this day.
I destroyed that vise in a few months, but it had already done its damage. I replaced that vise with a Thompson model A that I purchased with my meager allowance and continued down the road to addiction. I tied flies constantly back then; flies of all varieties, dries, nymphs, streamers, bass flies, saltwater flies and of course salmon and steelhead flies. Each trip to the local fly shop was like a pilgrimage for me. I was hooked deeply.
I would store these early flies in boxes, and I don’t mean fly boxes, we are talking the “shoe” variety. Some, the really crappy ones, I would cut apart to re-use the hooks. Since I was not yet a fly fisherman, didn’t have a fly rod, didn’t have someone to teach me and had very little prospects of becoming a fly fisherman in the near future, these flies sat in their boxes.
It was not until collage that I took up fly fishing. Some friends and I would go bait fishing for trout, sometimes just to catch the fish and sometimes to eat. On one of these trips, a rather fruitless one, we observed trout happily eating bugs on the surface while we caught nothing on our worms and minnows. One of my friends asked casually “Don’t you have an old fly rod and some flies at home”. We brought the rod and flies with us on the next trip and to our astonishment, actually caught fish with it. Thus began another phase of my addiction.
From that point on fly fishing and fly tying has been a big part of my life. I have taught fly tying and given demonstrations at various fly shops and organizations such as trout unlimited and the Federation of Fly Fishers as well as some fly fishing shows. I have worked as a production tier, from time to time, and have decided it is a job I truly do not like. I would rather tie flies for my-self or friends at my own pace.
Charles Dickson Jr.
It is with great pleasure that we introduce Charles Dickson Jr. to the distinguished list of Salmonfly.Net contributors. It is after all, not too often that we are the recipients of such exceptional fly tying instructions. I believe we will all benefit greatly from his tying expertise, fantastic photography and, easy to follow instructions. If you want to see more of his flies and instructions, visit his pages on the Oak Orchard Fly Shop. I asked Charles to write something about himself by way of an introduction. Please read on before visiting his step-by-step instruction for tying the Gray Heron (below).