I came to fly fishing two ways: back packing into wilderness areas in the Eagle Cap Wilderness area (N.E Oregon) and chasing Steelhead on the Sandy River above the Revenue Bridge over thirty five years ago. I borrowed flies from friends that tied. I came from a ‘gear’ background (mostly spinners, spoons and corkies/yarn). Fly tying was something my long departed uncle had done, but nothing I had ever witnessed.
I learned from others about patterns and presentation for Steelhead and ‘bows and Brookies. I had come from a backgound of exciting/inciting/provoking hits with ‘hardware’. It worked. Now, I fished with men that focused on location, presentation and the color/movement in their fly patterns. In many ways it was the same, but different. Fly fishing seemed/was harder….for awhile. I took fly tying classes some 30 years ago and have never gone long without tying something every year.
Suddenly mayflies, stoneflies, caddis, hoppers, ants and midges entered the vocabulary. Tying demanded ‘why’s’ and, low and behold the answers were there. Suddenly, I had to learn about what, where, when and how in the insect’s and fish’s world and accordingly tie patterns to match those questions and answers.
Thirty five + years later, I still tie. It is pretty much seasonal now. I tie in the Winter, catching up with depleted patterns and tying patterns that just seem fresh, unique, innovative to entice the fish.
Tying is creative and presents multiple paths: the established route, the tried and true patterns that by virtue of actual worth or hyped worth are tied after others tell you they are worthy OR, the innovative/creative path…experimental, unique or stretched derivations of established patterns.
Whether because I am rebellious or suffer from ADD/PTSD or am truly creative (I doubt the latter), I do tend to tie a few established patterns, at least for awhile, and then venture off into the creative side. I love it! Flies that are truly experimental. Flies that are failures or epic…part of the fun of experimentation. I am an average tier, at best, but I derive so much pleasure from the whole creative process.
Tying offers me a buzz of ‘maybe’s’ & ‘what if’s’ during the doldrums of Winter and a sparkle of anticipation on a warm Summer evening. Pick your palette. Grab the bobbin and create. Tying (fly tying) is the icing on the Fly Fishing cake.