Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Missoulian Angler

Made a quick stop today at the Missoulian Angler in Missoula, MT. This is the finest fly shop in Missoula and owner Russ Parks is a top notch purveyor of a super range of angling and tying paraphernalia. Check them out at

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Snow, Snow, Snowman

Nephew, Paul, with his latest creation: Snowrabbit.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Swan River In Winter

This is my favorite place to fish, but mother nature has it sealed up for the winter.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Montana Is Beautiful

I think Montana is just as wonderful in the winter as it is in the summer. No fishing, but lots of fun in a winter wonderland.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Montana For Christmas

Off to Montana to celebrate Christmas with family and do a little skiing. Ice fishing anyone?

Monday, December 22, 2008


This is a friend, Cholo, who is a fine fly tyer in Spain. Check out his web site at

Sunday, December 21, 2008

When It Snows...

...I tye flies. Now I will try to fly out to Montana on the 23rd.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Let It Snow

My flight out to Montana for Christmas was cancelled due to the snow storm in New England. Ugh! Now I have to re-book. Joy to the world.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Iridescent Feathers

Iridescence on feathers is wonderful. Birds...gotta love 'em.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cig Fly

I always enjoy a good smoke.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I Want To Go Fishing

All I have to say is, "I want to go fishing." It is going to be a long winter.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Flies By Ralph Graves

A nice partridge and orange tyed by Ralph Graves of Roscoe, New York.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Hey Charles

Shouting out to Charles Barton. Get well.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Painting Jig Heads

Painting jig heads can be a drag, but this contraption makes it easier. Take two strips of 1x3" pine or other inexpensive lumber. Cut both sections to the same length. Next take some thin cork and glue it to one side of each board. The cork should be the size of each board, otherwise the jig clamp will not work properly. I used bulletin board cork (purchased in a big box hardware store) and cut to size. Now, sandwich the boards together and hold with clamps. Depending on the length of your sections, drill two or three holes, equally spaced, along the length of the wood through the sides of both pieces. Now you will need two bolts, two matching wing nuts and four washers that will fit the boards. If you made three holes in the wood you will need three sets of hardware. To finish, place the wood strips together with the cork sides facing each other and attach with washers, bolt and wing nut. Essentially you end up with a cork sandwich held together with hardware.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hubless Fly Reel?

What is this I hear? There is a new reel in the neighborhood. The spool rotates inside the housing on bearings with no need for an internal hub. Looks like a cool concept. The Psaros Trout II is made in Sweden. I am very proud of my Swedish ancestry so I decided to pass this item along. Check out the reel at

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Slippery When Wet

It is really raining. A good day to tye some flies.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Don't Mess With Him

This little fella can be found hanging out at the Wapsi facility in Mountain Home, Arkansas. I'm not kidding-took the snap myself.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Crabby Amy

This fly is called the Crabby Amy. I came up with this last Spring, but I have been tinkering with it recently. Photo compliments of Hans Weilennman.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Whiting Farms

Just heard that I will be joining the Whiting Farms Pro Team. It is very exciting to belong to such a fine group of fly tyers. I am looking forward to bringing my customers flies tyed with Whiting's vast array of superb feathers.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Crescent Moon Salmon Fly

This fly is called the Crescent Moon. My own design.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Bow River, Calgary

Shouting out to Jason Baxter of Calgary, Alberta. Jason is a premier guide on the Bow River. Look him up if you are in the neighborhood and want to get into some big 'bows on the Bow.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Make Flies Look Like Fish Food

This is an article from the NEC/FFF newsletter, Backcasts. I thought I would share it with the blogosphere as well.


In the August/September issue of Backcasts I explored what properties of the fly make it look like a good meal for the fish. As I said before, the fly must look like a food source in color, shape, silhouette and texture. The eyes on the fly are also an important feature in making the fish attracted to the fly.

At this point I will also add the concept of size to our equation. This is a materials issue in terms of choosing the most appropriate hook for the job. The hook must put the fly into the proper size range to make it look like a normal food. Hooks come in different shapes and styles. Different types of bends and shank shapes impart different looks on a fly. One must pick the proper hook for the fly to be tyed. Does your fly look better on a natural 3-extra long curved hook, standard nymph hook or a scud hook? As an example I offer the idea that you may want to tye a pheasant tail nymph on a scud hook instead of a nymph hook. The scud hook actually gives the fly body a curvature that is more like the natural food. Just because a recipe asks you to use a certain size and model hook does not mean that that is the only hook that will make an attractive fly.

Hands down, I say prismatic eyes are the best eye on any fly. I am particularly fond of the domed prismatic eyes. The eye actually is a type of prism that reflects and refracts light. The best solution to the question of which eyes to use is a “no-brainer.” Other types of eyes leave the fly looking flat and lifeless.

Color is another issue that is easy to address. Our fly tying materials, both natural and synthetic, are available in a cornucopia of colors. If fish are feeding on tan caddis, it stands to reason that I want to tye a tan caddis imitation. It is really hard to justify any other color. Tye your flies in colors that will match the hatch not just the recipe.

Now, without going through a treatise on every fly tying material, let's look, in general terms, at texture. There are a number of materials to use which add scale-like effects to a bait fish imitation. Try lateral scale or crystal flash to add the crinkly look of scales. Shine and shimmer are also found in the vast array of metallic and mylar tinsels that can be found on the walls of any decent fly shop. Synthetic hair has come a long way since the time when we just had craft fur. Check out what is available from a number of manufacturers. It is also important to determine if you want a stiffer or more limp material as this will effect different types of movement and the silhouette when the fly glides through the water. I suggest you use good judgment and follow your intuition about what looks edible and good (to you and the fish) as the recipe may not necessarily be recommending the best available material in this day and age.

Finally I must comment on the feathers that Mother Nature has given us. By way of example I will bring up mallard. When tying a slip-style wing on a wet fly, would you want to use the reflective and iridescent blue feather on the mallard wing, or the plainer-looking gray ones? Ask yourself which would make a more enticing fly.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Charles DeFeo

This is a fly I tyed about 4 years ago. The pattern is Jungle Stone #1 from Charles DeFeo. Cool use of jungle cock. DeFeo (1891-1978) was a painter and creator of exquisite salmon flies. His paintings were frequently found on the cover of Field and Stream.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Now that is a set of feathers.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Vest Or Chest Pack?

There seems to be tons of fly fishing chest packs on the market. I have tried several and mostly found them to by annoying. They are bulky and stick out too much, often catching line and leader at the worst times. I end up feeling like I am trying to shove my Christmas tree through the front door, across the living room and into the stand. Just too much struggling for my liking. My solution was to go back to my tried and true regular old vest. There are pockets for tools, fly boxes and supplies and I don't have all kinds of tools dangling off of me. There is plenty of storage in my vest. A word of wisdom; you do not have to cram your vest with everything you own. Keep it light and keep it simple.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing one and all a happy Thanksgiving. There should be a glut of turkey feathers on the fly tying materials market next week.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wild Salmon At Walmart

News travels quickly. I just heard that Walmart is selling wild sockeye salmon. The fish comes from Bristol Bay in Alaska. Maybe consumers will lose their appetite for farm-raised Franken-Fish and realize that wild is better to eat and better for the environment.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fly Fishing Christmas Gifts

So, the countdown is on for Christmas. One month to go. Are you looking for the gift of flies for that angler on your list? Perhaps a box filled with flies that fish will jump for or a Destination Selection would be in order. Are you or someone you know going to the Bahamas to hunt bonefish, for example? This boxed set of flies may be the perfect idea and it ships immediately. Flies tyed on brooch pins are a nice idea and are ready to ship. Why not give yourself a gift of flies? Tired of getting or giving sweaters and stuff you don't need...go with flies! Be unique and select a gift that is made in America by an American. Check out my website at and give me a shout. I need two weeks lead time to fill orders, so don't hesitate and be left with a can of worms as your option. Sorry about the solicitous advertising, but a girl has to make a living.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fly Tying Feathers Available

If you are in need of feathers for fly tying let me know. I have a friend with lots of pheasant, turkey, grouse, goose and duck. Shoot me an email. The feathers are all legal and contain no pests.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

International Fly Tying Symposium

The International Fly Tying Symposium went off with flying colors. Despite the dismal economic situation, there was a brisk showing of attendees coming in to see a wide variety of amazing tyers. A host of international tyers from the UK, Spain and elsewhere in Europe joined in with US Tyers. Every type of fly was tyed from amazing ultra realistics to giant shark flies. My version of the Vladi worm was very popular with tyers and spectators alike. The Saturday night banquet was loads of fun with good food (yes really), good company and splendid entertainment. Chuck played a video documentary film about George Harvey and his legacy of teaching fishing and tying. Dick Talleur revealed his humorous side as did Ted Patlin in each of their stand up routines.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Paul Ptalis Passed Away

Sadly, I report the news of the death of Paul Ptalis. The author of Century End: A Fly Tying Journey and highly accomplished tyer of classic Atlantic salmon flies, Paul died Monday, November 17 of cancer.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Greenwells Olive Wet

I just got this picture from Hans Weilennman. The fly was tyed by his 12-year-old daughter. I think fly tying talent runs in this family. Hats off to a fine young tyer.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

International Fly Tying Symposium

The International Fly Tying Symposium will be this weekend in Somerset, NJ. Don't miss this one as it is the largest collection of fly tyers and vendors ever. The event will be November 22 and 23 at the Doubletree Hotel and is always a big show. Don't miss it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

More Changes In The Industry

I have it from a very reputable source that several changes are occurring in the market for fly tying-related products. Apparently Wasatch, maker of fine tying tools, is being sold by Dean Childs to an unknown purchaser. The details are yet to be finalized, so we do not know who will be taking over at Wasatch. My guess is that Dean is retiring.

Oasis, maker of wooden tying benches and other "bench top accessories," will no longer be making their products.

McKenzie will no longer be making vise lights. That's too bad as they make very good vice lights. Mine has worked like a trooper for many years.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Great Show

Having returned from The Arts of the Angler show, I have to report that it was a great weekend. Jim Krul and the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum put on a very nice weekend in Danbury. It was great to have time to spend with friends and make new friends at this intimate show. I had a chance to spend some time with Andrea and Glenn Van Benschoten, Peggy Brenner, Ralph Graves, Bob Mead, Dave Brandt, Stan Fudala, Bill Newcomb, Mike Hogue and others. Popular items at my table were the Vladi Worms, Bahamas Destination Selection and Brooches. I also taught a class, European Flies for America Trout.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Arts Of The Angler Show

This Saturday and Sunday I will be in Danbury, CT tying at the Arts of the Angler Show. This, smaller, more intimate, show is put on by The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum. There will be classes, seminars, vendors, tying demonstrations, antique fly fishing tackle appraisals and a dinner followed by a live auction. Last year's auction was a real hoot. The show will be at the Danbury Plaza Hotel located just off Exit 2, Route I84 in Danbury, CT. Hope to see you there.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hardy North America

Hardy, maker of premium rods, reels, lines and some alluring advertisements, will establish its own distribution center in the United States. Hardy North America has been created due to increased sales on this side of the Atlantic. After a seven-year distribution partnership with Cortland Line Company, Hardy has assumed its own North American distribution. The new facility opened October 22 in Lancaster, PA. With the recent plunge of the American economy, Hardy may regret this new plan. I predict, with a fair amount of certainty, that the adverts will still be popular, however.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Nymph-Head Tungsten Beads

Industry newsflash: Beginning in 2009, Orvis will add the full line of Nymph-Head Tungsten Beads to their fly tying catalogue. Nice work for company president Martin Bawden. These are the beads that look back at you while you tye...they have eyes that can be colored for a little extra realism. The eyes also add about 12% more weight than traditional tungsten beads. Check out the Nymph-Head website at:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

United Fly Tyers Celebrates 50 Years

United Fly Tyers will be holding a gala 50th anniversary dinner and live auction on Saturday, March 21, 2009. The event will take place at the Holiday Inn Select in Woburn, MA and promises to be a big party filled with lively personalities and a few trips down memory lane. Save the date now and be there to celebrate 50 years of fly tying with one of the finest and oldest fly tying club in the US.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fish & Fly Magazine

News update from the fly fishing publication world: Fish and Fly magazine will resume publishing with the January 2009 issue. The magazine has been purchased by the British group Fish and Fly, Limited.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Crabs aplenty at the tying bench. These are size 4 Puglisi-Style weighted crabs getting ready to head to the Caribbean in your fly box. These ankle-biters are also available in size 6. Of course, they can be tyed on many sizes of hooks to suit your needs, as well.

Friday, November 7, 2008


Dog? Cat? Who knows? I say dubbing. Check out those baby blues.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Jack Gartside Has Been Ill

Jack Gartside has been ill recently and is in the hospital having some tests. If you are so inclined send him a card:

Jack Gartside
14 Beach Road
Winthrop, MA 02152

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Michelle Obama Fly

I was inspired by the dress Michelle Obama had on last night and I crafted up this fly.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I have been experimenting with the new colors of tungsten Nymph-Head Beads and brass Real Fly Color Beads that are put out by This fly, Peacock, is sporting a Caddis Green brass bead. I selected the brass bead because the brass wire already gave the fly some weight and I think tungsten would have made this small fly too heavy. The beads are available in some other nice colors such as Baetis Green-Olive, Stonefly Black-Nickle and Mayfly Brown in addition to the usual cast of characters, gold, silver and copper.

Monday, November 3, 2008

George Grant Dies

On November 2 the fly angling world saw the passing of George F. Grant. He was 102 years old and lived his life in Butte, MT. The Butte chapter of Trout Unlimited is the George Grant Chapter. Mr. Grant was the winner of many awards including the Federation of Fly Fishers' Buz Buszeck Award for fly tying in 1973. He was a well-known tyer at FFF Conclaves, having shared the bench with other luminaries such as Polly Rosborough, Doug Swisher, Carl Richards, Art Flick and Dave Whitlock. He was known for his stonefly patterns, most notably the Black Creeper (1937). He was a kind, generous man and an outspoken conservationist. Mr. Grant was the author of two books: Montana Trout Flies and The Master Fly Weaver.

While traveling in Montana last summer, I came upon a a shop in Butte called Fran Johnson's Sport Shop. The store has quite an extensive collection of George Grant flies and memorabilia. The Fort Missoula Museum also has a collection of his flies.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Catskill Fly Tyers Guild Rendezvous

The Catskill Fly Tyers Guild Annual Fly Tying Rendezvous will be held Saturday, April 18, 2009. It will be from 10am to 3pm at the Rockland House in Roscoe, NY. We invite tyers of all types of flies. If you have tyed in the past please join us again. If you would like to tye email me at More details to follow later in the month.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Fly Tying Shows

November marks the beginning of the show season. This month I will be in Danbury, CT (Plaza Hotel) on November 15 & 16 for the Arts of The Angler Show. This is the second annual event presented by The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum. On hand will be an array of fly tyers as well as vendors, guides and a nice collection of classic tackle, books, antiques and fine bamboo rods. For more information go to

The following weekend, November 22 &23, I will be in Somerset, NJ (Doubletree Hotel) to tye at the International Fly Tyers' Symposium. This is the mother of fly tying shows. The theme this year is "The British Invasion." If you are a fly tyer, this is the show to go to. Information is available at

Friday, October 31, 2008

Homer Goes Fishing

I think this will be my Halloween costume. D'oh

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fly Tying Materials On The Roam

A few months ago I wrote about using porcupine hair for quill bodies. Check out this gargantuan porcupine. I also use a lot of rooster and squirrel.