Under The Influence

I think its safe to say that all modern day fly tiers have influences.  Similar to a band.  We have people that taught us how to tie our first fly, and we have people that help us push the limits of the flies we tie.  I still remember when my older brother, Eric, got a small fly tying kit when we were kids.  Back in the pre-interweb days, it was much harder to find info.  Especially for some youngsters.  I remember watching Eric try to tie flies and ice fishing jigs.  Occasionally he would let me have a go at it.  I’m pretty sure the masterpieces we thought we tied up, would be funny to look at today.  They caught bluegills though.  Then again, what doesn’t? I also remember the first time I learned some real techniques that I still apply today.  I had knee surgery as the result of a basketball injury, and I had a lot of free time on my hand.  My buddy, Steve, came over and showed me how to tie a stonefly.  It was the first time I learned some of the basics.  That one fly would launch me into the obsession I have today.  I guess the blown ACL was a blessing in disguise.   I remember tying flies almost daily as my activity level was pretty limited.  Things didn’t start out so pretty, but by the time I was able to get back on the water, I was tying fishable flies.  Steve is one of the guys I don’t get to fish with nearly as much these days, but I’ll never forget that first stonefly. There are a number of tiers today that can influence what I tie, or give me inspiration.  Guys like Nick Granato, Eli Berant, Brad Bohen, Chris Willen, Thomas Harvey, Mike Schmidt, Jeff Hubbard, Kevin Feenstra, Kelly Galloup, Bob Braendle, and numerous others I forgot to name.  I recently came across Rich Strolis’ work, and some of it is like looking in a mirror.  Its cool to see guys that follow a similar thought process.  I have no shame in looking to others for inspiration.  If I ever stop trying to expand my tying abilities and thought process, it will be time for me to step away from the vise.  I have a bad habit of not fishing patterns that have been successful.  I need the challenge of finding something else.  Just how my brain works.  Many times its the result of my time on the water.  Thinking of a certain action, a certain color, a certain imitation, or certain size.  How will it cast?  How will it move?  How durable will it be?  How will the materials mesh?  It all plays a role.  But when I come across a killer fly by another tier, it usually gets my wheels turning.  Nothing wrong with that.

5 Responses to “Under The Influence”

  1. Brian Wise says:

    ” I have a bad habit of not fishing patterns that have been successful. I need the challenge of finding something else. Just how my brain works.”

    It’s both a blessing and a curse to have your brain work that way……I feel you man. REALLY well put.

  2. Ian says:

    I totally agree with you on the comment Brian highlights. I don’t know if I’m more of a fly fisherman or a fly tyer half the time, because I love fishing and I love creating art.

  3. Paul Sasser says:

    I have been tying seriously now for about 5 years. I am in this fever right now of tying at least 4-5 flies per night, religiously. I am trying to NOT look at others work and come up with my own patterns.

    I will say that I actually LIKE about one out of every 10 flies that I tie, but the ones I like – I really like a lot! The creative process is getting me excited about my tying. The only down side is that I’m going through lots of material in the process. Hopefully, in the end it will be worth it. I feel like I am really refining and expanding my ability. Thanks for being there for those of us also on the verge of obsession.

    Paul Sasser
    founder, GoFishSC
    President, Long Bay Fly Fishers

  4. Ben says:

    ” I have a bad habit of not fishing patterns that have been successful. I need the challenge of finding something else. Just how my brain works.”

    Cant help but comment on this as well. It speaks to a lot of fly tyers. Well put!!

    Great site my friend, you have been an influence for me as well as all those you mentioned. I have used your SBS’s to tie many flies. Of course not quite your quality but fun nonetheless!

  5. Kev says:

    I wish I had the same obsession. I mainly tie flies now because I can’t find what I want online and shops are too pricey. I usually end up buying materials then I have a bag full of stuff that I’m not sure what to do with. I’m going to post my app idea that would make a fortune. Imagine an app where you could just plug in the materials you have and it would list all the flies you could tie. With links or instructions on how to tie them. How cool would that be?

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