If you haven’t followed Thomas Harvey’s fly tying, maybe you should start. He posts very clear, professional images on his Facebook page that chronicle his fly tying journey. His style and skill are in a word, slick. Thomas is very humble and I found this to be a nice quote to share.
I am blessed with a number of friends who are willing to share their knowledge and skill with me. Everyday I hit the water with them I watch, listen, learn. I come off the water, fish or no fish, a better angler. To those who have taken me, talked to me, taught me … and those who will in the future … Thank you. You know who you are …
You will also find his fly tying featured in the e-magazine, Southern Culture on the Fly. You should check out the back issues to see some nice step-by-steps. Thomas has been working on a new step-by-step for the next issue, so I’m looking forward to that.
It was extremely nice of him to take the time to do this interview for FrankenFly. I know he has been busy, plus congratulations are in order, because Thomas just got married. I wish him and his new bride all the best.
Hi Thomas, how did you get started fly fishing and fly tying?
I grew up fishing with conventional tackle. Eventually I grew bored and started to look for the next logical progression. I guess I just sort of stumbled into it …
Did you have anyone that inspired you when you began fly tying?
Too many to name.
Are there still fly tyers that inspire you? If so, who?
There are so many talented tyers, many of which I am lucky enough to call friends. I can’t name them all but a few that stick out right away are Brad Bohen, Nick Granato, Pat Cohen, Matt Grajewski, Michael Schmidt… the list goes on and on.
What was the first fly you tied?
Either a PT nymph or a Wooly Bugger. I think those are the two standard beginner flies, right?
What was the first vise you owned?
A Bass Pro Shop special. A felt lined wooden box that smelled of China. I think I still have it lying around somewhere in the office …
How many patterns have you designed and how many do you call your own right now?
Maybe 1. 2? I don’t know. A lot of what I do are variations, interpretations, or evolutions of other patterns I’ve seen or styles that inspire me. I find it hard to call them my own. Plus the majority of stuff I tie is “one-off” style for friends.
What are some of your favorite fly patterns?
Oh, there are a bunch.
Do you have a favorite type of thread?
I recently started using Veevus thread and I dig it.
Do you use a specific brand of hook? What type of hooks do you use in your baitfish patterns and your poppers?
I’ll use whatever hook shake fits the pattern best but I do prefer tying on Gama or Owner hooks. Most of my baitfish stuff and streamers are one those two brands. Some of my classic popper stuff is done on kinked shanked Mustads.
I read about the Wedding Veil in an issue of Southern Culture on the Fly. Word is that your Trophy Wife pattern is similar, but I haven’t seen a recipe for it. Would you be willing to share the recipe?
It’s pretty much the same but way different. The tail is Ice Wing and Craft Fur. The body is UV Polar Chenille. The wing is Magnum Zonker. The head is Senyo’s Laser Dub veiled between Tungsten dumbbell eyes. Ya dig?
What species of fish do these two patterns work the best for?
I’ve had guys catch anything from stripers to brown trout. It’s a pretty meaty pattern.
Do you have any new patterns that you are working on?
Not any real pattern just a few ideas floating around.
Do you follow any specific process when designing your flies?
Nope. Just kind of sit down at the vise and go for it. What is the worst that can happen right?
I know you are a believer in Clear Cure Goo products and you are on their pro staff. What has their products meant to you and your tying?
CCG is one of those products that has really changed the game. It seems to find its way into all of my flies one way or another. Remember… the Goo is the Poo!
What is your favorite water to fish?
Favorite is a dirty word.
What is your favorite species to fish for?
All of the above. I’m not proud …
How did you come to know the guys at Southern Culture on the Fly and get started displaying your flies in their magazine?
They e-mailed me when the magazine was first getting started and we did a sort of pseudo-interview. We clicked and now I am a proud part of the SCOF team.
Your fly photography is excellent. What camera do you use and do you have any advice for others that want to take good shots of their flies?
Most of the time I use my iPhone. Magazine stuff is shot with a Cannon DSLR. My advice, don’t overlook lighting. Followed by, build a lightbox.
An artist painted one of your flies, is that correct? I think it was a baitfish pattern that was wet, wasn’t it?
An artist out of SC does some amazing computer renderings. He has done a few of my flies. Custom Fly Art: Look him up!
Do you have any advice for fly tying beginners out there?
Have fun. That’s what this is all about, right?
If people wanted to purchase your flies, how can they do that and what do you offer?
Sadly, my “real-job” limits my vise time and I can barely keep my own box stocked. The plan is to get a few patterns picked up and tied commercially. That’s the plan anyway …
Is there anything at all you would like to add?