Technique Tuesday - Be creative!
photos by Andrew Von Lossow, @avl206
Fly tying offers endless variation for the angler, with material availability at an all time high and tons of media to help someone learn. What cannot be mimicked by new materials and flashy media productions is trial and error. When I was a little scrapper, years before going fishing actually happened, my grandfather taught me, "how to tie flies." The patterns he liked to tie and use were the ones my great grandfather tied and used for the bass of Wisconsin and the trout of Montana. (seen above) During holiday trips, it was ceremony for us to stumble down into the dank and dark basement where the shop was in my grandparents house in Minnesota. Out came the film canisters, coffee cans, and endless envelopes containing all the feathers, furs, and random other scrap that eventually turned into a fly. A fly that caught a fish. We also built and painted bass plugs, which were fun to paint but fairly primitive compared to a well tied fly. A couple generations apart, it still seemed like creativity had spiked to all time highs for both of us.
Nearly a decade later, as my mind was engulfed in fly fishing, my Dad and I started visiting local fly shops in the Seattle area. When tying came up, I had this all-in-one tying kit thing and I was bound and determined to use it. Early on, we had been taken in by Rob and the crew Orvis store out in the trendy east side neighborhood Bellevue. To try trout fishing the streams of the Cascade Mountains, Rob recommended tying up elk hair caddis. Without really asking how to do it, we purchased the materials needed to fill the recipe. Home we went. I went to town on the elk hair caddis, however I did not understand any of the concepts or how to properly utilize the materials. The results were very successful[ going off their knack for 4-7" rainbow trout. They looked nothing like an elk hair caddis, and more like a spent caddis one might find on the Missouri River that had been hit by a passerby vehicle and dumped onto your windshield. Nonetheless, we captured. On flies that I had tied. From there it snowballed; foam, beads, cones, superglue, and lots of hooks.
Many more seasons later, I am continuing on where my great grandfather left off. My own flies now have over a decade of experience, and they even have their very own retirement post. One of the main attributes to fly fishing and fly tying in particular, is that you can do whatever you want with whatever you want. Success dependent. For new anglers, or anglers who are "set in their ways," try getting creative and learn a method by going through the motions yourself rather than a book or youtube video. Great anglers, no matter level of experience, are those refuse to give in and are always keeping an eye out for a new hint or clue towards what is actually going on below the waters surface. No one really knows whats going on down there, so it is best to entertain that creative side of your mind and see just what might catch a fish.
Back to the basics, people!
-Dirty Water Dan