1. How long have you been tying? I’ve been tying since I was about 10, whether for fun or function, it’s been a huge part of my life for a long time.
2. What was the first fly you tied The first fly I ever tied was a size 14 elk hair caddis. They almost looked like the ones in the shop so fished them, and they worked well. I still have an old metal flybox that was my grandfathers filled with the first wooly buggers I tied up. Wow are they shitty!
3. Where did you learn to tie flies? Royal Gorge Angers in Canon City Colorado is where it all began for me, watching Larry Kingrey spin up his magic patterns that just flat out wrecked fish. It’s a real privilege to be part of Umpqua Feather Merchants Signature Fly Designer alongside Larry.
4. Favorite fly? My favorite fly is the one stuck in the corner pocket! Depending on the river, it could be a variety of flies. I tend to not fish flies that I haven’t tied myself, I refuse to actually. If there’s a tried and true winner, I usually take the time to spin a few up and at some up and add a bit of my flare just to know I tied the fly that was tied to my line. Most of the time I do alright, the salt though, that’s a different story….
5. The fly you hate to tie most? Being a production tyer for so long, any fly that takes me more than a few minutes to tie really frustrates me. On larger or more intricate patterns I tend to break the fly down into specific steps where I can tie off and repeat the process on another hook, that tricks my brain into thinking I’m being as productive as I should be. It’s also a great way for new tyers to really focus on fly proportions, they should all look the same! And anything smaller than a 22 isn’t happening on my bench, that’s as small as I’ll go. If you want something smaller, call Hopper Juan.
6. Most flies tied in one sitting? I’d have to say it’s like cramming for a college test or binge watching the Saprano’s on Netflix. When I prep my materials I’m usually setting up for a few dozen at least, and I never tie anything in odd numbers. What kind of a freak would do that? I want to say ten dozen has been the most in one sitting, I know for a fact it wasn’t eleven.
7. Favorite fly tying material new or old As far as materials go I could go either way. Whether you’re a salt, or a dry fly guy, streamer chucker, or just a dirty nympher, you’re going to know what you like because it works with how you tie. I try to pick up on these things from other tyers at the shows and incorporate that intell on whatever Im tying. I can however, spend a lifetime talking about hook design. That’s where I pretty much geek out.
8. Advise for new tyers To any new tyer, GO BIG. I think fly tying is growing as fast as fly fishing is, and the community and resources with it. I would suggest buying the best equipment you can afford, including hooks obviously. If you have a vise that will work for now, that’s great. Go to your fly shop and test drive the one you’ve really been eying and work up to it. They’re like golf clubs or catchers mitts, it’s all about feel and how it sets up to your eye. Hands down the biggest fly tying resource in the industry is Charlie Craven, I have a list of other bad asses that I don’t come remotely close to, but don’t forget his name. Buy his books, you won’t look back.
9. Who are you’re top three favorite fly tyers My biggest inspiration into tying flys as I do today, has been my wife Mollie. After a few (4) unsuccessful years of submissions into Umpqua Feather Merchants, I was pretty much hanging my head on my abilities as a tyer and the industry as a whole. I won’t share the exact verbiage that was used, but one pretty peppy pep-talk later and I was driving to UFM headquarters in Louisville Colorado to give it one more shot! The ‘Shotglass Baetis’ as a matter of fact, Mollie too gave that fly its name and it’s been raking fish all over the planet ever since.
10. Where do you purchase your fly tying materials? Over the years I’ve had to get relatively creative with sourcing all of my materials, tying thousands of dozens every year, having solid industry relationships is a must! Being a part of the Regal Pro Staff means I’ll never need another vise in multiple lifetimes, my Regal Revolution is an absolute workhorse that will never quit! Most of my hooks are ordered through Umpqua Feather Merchants and I’m overly specific on specs, I only use the best iron on the planet and they’re support has meant everything. Did I mention I’m kind of a hook spazz? My good friend Juan (mentioned above) hooks me up with specialty things like capes and tungsten through his connections at Whiting Farms and MFC, he should probably launch a web store and make millions. My brother in law Taylor, at Royal Gorge Anglers takes care of the rest, he can get his hands on anything. Bill Lewis is coming through with anything I need to keep the ball rolling, from materials it inspiration, he’s always got something new coming in.