I gear fished a lot as a kid, but as I got into high school, sports and girls kind of took over my mind. After high school I met a gal that fished a lot and she got me back into gear fishing. A couple of years after that I was getting bored spin fishing and the same gal said “Why don’t you try fly fishing”…………yeah, I married her.
Tying was something I started almost immediately after I started fly fishing. I thought it was a necessity as I was a completely broke college student. It turns out my art teacher in high school is a phenomenal fly tyer so he kind of took me under his wing and helped me get started…….then I spent a ton more money on materials than I ever dreamed of spending on flies.
The good ol’ Olive Wooly Bugger. It had a dubbed squirrel body that was about as proportional as Shaquille O’Neal on a skateboard.
I guide on the North Fork of the White River in Missouri. Basically, we are the river that is ABOVE the dams on the renowned White River and Norfork River in Arkansas. We are a freestone stream that has wild rainbow trout (not stocked since the mid 60’s) and some awesome streamer-eating brown trout.
I am lucky enough to say that my home river is without a doubt my favorite river.
I am a total streamer freak. I really kind of bounce around with streamers, I will have a favorite for several months and then come across another that I just HAVE to fish. For the last several months though, my go-to has been Rich Strolis’ Hog Snare…..crazy sexy fly.
My one stint as a “commercial tyer” was when the lodge I guide for ordered something like 13 dozen Olive Wooly Buggers. I finished the order and then made a video of my tying an Olive Wooly Bugger — and then I burned it. Haven’t done much since then.
Like I said, I am a total streamer freak. Even though the Hog Snare is my go-to right now, I have to say that Galloup’s Sex Dungeon has hung more big fish for me than any other fly.
I am a huge fan of Kelly Galloup, Mike Schmidt, Nick Granato, Charlie Craven, Brad Bohen, Rich Strolis, and Thomas Harvey. Pretty much anyone that has ever designed an awesome streamer — I like them.
I have messed with some nymphs of my own over the years, and actually have a pretty nice stonefly….but when it comes to streamers, I leave it to the pros on designing them — and then I copy them.
I actually started making some tying videos several years ago. I didn’t want to do the boring voice-over type of step-by-step stuff so I set some videos to Weird Al and Stephen Lynch until I lost the desire to do that at all. Then a Musky fishing trip to Wisconsin and Minnesota with a couple good buddes got me fired back up. We knew we were going to be shooting video while we were up there fishing so I thought I would make a “teaser” video and tied Brad Bohen’s “Hang Time”, sped it up to a 5 minute tie…..that video ended up getting twice as many views as all of the Musky fishing videos did put together (probably because we were blanked). So I thought I would stick with it and see if I could keep it up. I never really liked the usual tying video with someone explaining what I already knew how to do(not that they don’t have their place), I found them boring and ended up speeding them up to get to the parts I wanted to see so I decided to make my videos with a little bit of instruction (be it very little) and some entertainment. Like I said, I don’t design streamers myself, but I also knew that there were a lot of VERY competent tyers out there that kind of wondered how to tie, specifically, the Galloup line of streamers….so I started with a Galloup “Series” of flies, and moved on to Mike Schmidt’s streamers after that. I kind of call myself the “Cover-Band” of fly tying videos. When a cover-band does a show they obviously cover a certain band, with their own flare and I usually do the same with my videos. I tend to add tiny little touches or changes in the flies but still not disrespect the tyer and totally change THEIR pattern.
It’s kind of funny, but I catch hell for the music in my tying videos quite often. Like the comedian Mitch Hedberg said the people either “love it, hate it, or they think it is ok”. When I am driving, running, or anytime I am listening to music it won’t be the dubstep type of music like in my videos. I am more of a grunge guy. Give me Pearl Jam and Nirvana and I am a happy dude.
Stinger hooks are everything I look for in a streamer hook. Specifically the B10s. It is CRAZY sharp and has a bend that has so much holding power and gap that if you hook a fish–you ARE going to land it unless you screw up really bad. I tell people that if you look at a B10s wrong you will bleed.
New fly tyers have so many tools to use for learning how to tie. I just did a quick youtube search of “fly tying” and it pulled up almost 50,000 videos so that is a GREAT resource for new tyers. But I still don’t think there is anything better than being able to sit next to a seasoned fly tyer and have him or her helping. Fly fishing and tying clubs are probably the easiest way to find these people, so go out and join your local fly fishing club for sure.
I honestly think Clear Cure Goo was the biggest game changer I have ever witnessed in fly tying. I wasn’t around when the Beadhead came into play in the tying world (what in the 1600’s?) but in my eyes Clear Cure Goo has had as much impact as the beadhead itself. I am also a big fan of Schlappen, craft fur, and pretty much anything that is involved in tying something gnarly.
I ‘am’ a guide, and although I do get a lot of “hero or zero” style streamer trips the VAST majority of my trips are standard fly fishing trips so I tie a TON of nymphs per year. I always kind of dread sitting down to tie a bunch of nymphs but after the first 1 or 2 it all comes back to me and I start having fun. Having a ballgame on and some good beer helps too.
YES! I am always on the lookout for new streamers to tie in these crazy videos. The list is growing all the time. For now, I want to keep going with featuring different tyers so my next “Series” will be from Rich Strolis and I will be tying the Hog Snare that I have talked so much about. It is triple-articulated, awesome, and THE fly that I have been really, really wanting to do a video on for a while.