What kind of fly tyer are you?

I've been tyin' flies fer a hundred years...

Curtis demonstrating how to tie with hot dog fingers.

In reading various internet bulletin boards and working in a fly shop I always heard about the number of "years" someone had tied flies, or how many "years" someone has fished.  Of course this is important information to know so we can assess the ever important fly tying and fishing virtual resume that we all MUST have... (<--- that comment was a joke.  Queue rolling of eyes here.)  If years are so critical, I'm an expert at lawn care, motocross, sculpture, and sword fighting.  Regardless of how many years one has been doing something, it is all about how invested they become, or how passionate they are about it.  

The floor after two days of demo tying

For example, In fishing, there are people who have done it for 25 years, but only get out 3 or 4 times per year.  In contrast, there are people who have fished for 3 years, but put 150 days on the water every year.  Who has fished more?  I have a dear friend who (hopefully he doesn't read this blog...) "loves" to fly fish.  We typically go out once a year, and I'm convinced that he only fishes when we fish together, which is totally fine!  I know that when we head out, I'll give him a handful of bead head buggers and he will inevitably say "dry flies?"  Yep...  Just the kind that sink.  I know that I'll look over to see a huge rat's nest at the end of his leader with that "can you help me with this," look on his face.  I know that he might catch a fish or two in a lake that should produce many more.  I also know that he loves being out there, and those trips fulfill his fishing itch every year.  Fine by me.

Curtis' NOOB tying station

Tying is kind of the same type of thing, although within tying there are many types of tyer, and different reasons why they do it.  

  1. Tyer who does it out of necessity.  "I only tie flies because I don't want to buy them." I know guys who HATE tying, but do it anyway because its the only way to have the "secret" fly.
  2. Tyer who gets a wild hair about tying a bunch of flies about once per year, and after 6 buggers, heads to the fly shop to buy the rest.  
  3. Tyer who loves to tie, but only uses exact recipes and patterns of well established patterns.  "Uh, do you have that dubbing in #458596 mottled brown sunshine?"  "This pattern won't work without it."  "Will that pattern work if you tied it in olive instead of black?"
  4. Tyer who loves to tie, and creates custom flies either from collecting bugs or from ideas in a whacked out brain (ding ding ding...  that's me).  Still ties some of the old classics, but perhaps with a twist.  Loves the art of tying.  Yes it is an art.
  5. Tyers who love to tie due to the artistic nature of it, but don't fish at all (yes...  I know several of these people).  Some of the most beautiful flies I have seen tied never will be fished by the tyer thereof...   
  6. The pattern hoarders.  "I'd show you what I'm fishing but then I'd have to kill you."  People who have the top secret FBI flies that can't be shown to civilians.
  7. Material purists.  Tyers who only use natural materials to tie, or people who won't use foam at all.  "Wait, is that crystal flash in there somewhere?"  I actually think these guys have mad skills...
  8. Uncle Ken tyers.  Tyers who have been doing it a year longer than you, can spin deer hair on 8/0 thread, have invented "secret" flies that he won't tell you about, only to find out that they are old classics that have been around for a long time.  "Hey son, do you know if you can patent a fly...  I got this'n here that catches fish were ever there is water."

Some classics with a twist.

Production mode with Low Fat Minnows

All of the categories are fine with me.  There are no rules to tying, and as long as you have fun doing it, you are doing it right.  Truth be told, the number of years you have been tying is not indicative of how well you tie, or how much fun you have doing it.