Fly Tying is Art
|Some colorful Arizona Princes|
I grew up in Vernal, UT, which can be described as a big little city in the northeastern extreme of the state. There is a lot of oil and gas influence in the city, and most of the people there enjoy the outdoors, but my parents were nothing of the sort. My dad is a local Vernal kid and was a school teacher and a florist of all things (believe me... there is a LONG story there), and my mom is a hippie transplant from the bay area who has lost her mind due to raising 6 rowdy boys and being a kindergarten teacher for about 100 years. We didn't really camp, hunt, or fish. We didn't have guns to shoot, ATVs to ride, or animals to feed. I really was fueled by sports, mainly soccer, through my younger years but I always had access and drive to create art. In about 5th grade I realized that I couldn't draw anything that was realistic, so I'd draw and create caricatures and abstract stuff (like the flyfishfood logo) that would freak out my teachers. I guess the sculpture of a figure in a hooded robe with his mouth sewn shut was the kicker for her... Anyway, I loved art because it was a good outlet for me to create anything that I wanted. The only thing that pissed me off about my art classes was when the stoners in ceramics class would make bongs that would blow up in the kiln and destroy my
|Some of my tying mascots|
My fly tying career began at a call center of all places. I was the Spanish speaking agent on our team, so I got paid more, but took about 1/10 of the calls the English reps would take so I HAD time. There were a group of us that would go out and hit some of the local bass fishing establishments in the evenings which usually consisted in throwing banjo minnows until we couldn't see anymore (yes they work.) We would view fly fishing as a three headed monster that we might not ever catch, but we would try - unsuccessfully... One day, one of my co-workers brought his grandpa's old tying kit and sat down to
|This is one of the walls in the dungeon.|
Fly tying started to get more serious for me once I started to try to match the hatch more. That is where I realized that every little detail made a difference. I remember getting together with my buddy Aaron to tie flies, and we would challenge ourselves to tie flies that looked as good as the flies in the Orvis catalog. It was about this point that I stopped looking at pattern books for the most part. I regularly referenced the Benchside Reference because it showed techniques instead of flies. These techniques were what fueled the art of tying. From there I tied crazy bass flies out of flip flops, trout streamers out of weed whacker line, and the infamous caddis pupa tied from hair from nether regions tied especially for my buddy who would raid my box and hold the fly in his mouth as he got ready to tie it on... Yeah he was pissed. I had found my art medium. Tying flies had become much more than just fooling fish (which was still really important) - it became a way to express myself. When I was angry I'd crank up Rage Against the Machine and tie big gnarly streamers, and when I just wanted to chill out I'd turn up some Reggae and tie more delicate stuff.
|This IS organized|
creation and imagination when it comes to attaching junk to a hook. Art still lives strong in my basement fly studio/disaster zone, and because of art; many fish have been brought to hand. I'm good with that.