Henry Hoffman, Chickabou & Tinker Toys

I was researching chickabou because I was going to tie up a chickabou fly and post it. I thought I might as well have some basic info to incorporate. Then I saw this blog sight for Mr. Hoffman and I thought it better to tell you my experiences with Henry Hoffman. First, he doesn’t know me I am sure. He might say I look familiar from fly tying expos, but I have only been near him a dozen times over the years.

However, I have been pleased to observe the following about the man. He is ever pleasant. He does not exhibit the pomposity and bafoonery of too many self important men in the fly fishing arena.

He talks straight and shares what he knows. He reminds me of my dad: a bit unkempt,  blue collar, gentlemanly and even a bit shy at times. I don’t imagine Henry suffers fools very well, but I don’t think he would say so to the average know it all.

His fly tying station is quaint for sure, but watch him tie and you see it is functional even if partly of tinker toys. His flies are perfectly suitable for lake fishing as well as rivers. His novelty flies interest me little, but they do show a mischievious side to a man that has no doubt worked his tail off in life.

He is a NW phenom but his influence has spread far. I always look to see if Henry Hoffman is in attendance at any show I visit. It is refreshing to be in his presence and witness simplicity and pure functionality. Thank you, Henry.


The above fly is nothing exceptional: a size 8 hook, two chickabou feathers. Tie in one to create the tail then spin the secured feather by the butt and then form a fuzzy rope and wrap. I could have incorporated a rib but in this instance I didn’t. Then tie in another feather and wrap a hackle collar. Henry would make it smaller. I am still learning how to use the various sized feathers on a chickabou cape. The bead is a glass bead. Henry said sometimes experiment and forget the typical metal beads of gold, silver, black, brass and try an odd colored bead. Also, it will aid the fly in riding more horizontal in the retrieve rather than the up then dive down retrieve. It is worth an experiment.

Don’t judge Henry Hoffman by my poor imitation of his flies.  See him for yourself…better yet sit down across from him and listen to him, even visit a bit. He will make you smile as you walk away…saying he’s a nice guy.   


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