Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fly Tying Adventure, Guest Post - Rodney Smith

A story by good friend, author, publisher and conservationist Caption Rodney Smith of Coastal Angler Magazine -


Rodney kissing his prize catch!
Looking back some twenty years ago to the first fly I tied brings back fond, humbling memories. My first fly was an extremely weird looking thing that didn’t resemble anything I’d seen before or since! It was a colorful combination of deer hair and meager chicken feathers wrapped around the shank of a silver hook. It was loosely wrapped with of a wad of yellow sewing thread.

I can still recall my pride afterwards. Even though I had a long ways to go before I’d show anyone my flies, I knew I was on to something much bigger.

I attended a fly tying class that was being offered by a local fly fishing club, Melbourne’s Backcountry Fishing Association. Not long afterward, under the supervision of master fly tier Tom Lentz, I started getting the hang of it.
In class, we tied simple and effective fly patterns. We learned classics like the Clouser’s deep water minnow, foam spiders, ants, and Lefty’s Deceiver. In no time, I was catching redfish and spotted seatrout in saltwater, and  bream and bass in freshwater on my creations. Learning to tie flies and catch fish with those flies lead me down a more copasetic path with nature with my fishing experience.

Learning to tie and catch fish with my own flies has been very rewarding and fulfilling. Besides learning new skills, first-time tiers become acquainted with the aquatic ecosystem. This brings awareness of important conservation and environmental issues.
Capt. Gabe Nybald with a silver salmon
caught on the Goodnews River in Alaska

Kids who want to learn fly tying need to become familiar with a few basic tools and materials. They’ll need an inexpensive fly tying vise, a bobbin with thread, scissors, hooks, and tying materials. These can be purchased in a beginner’s kit or separately at a retail sporting goods store, fly shop or on-line.

Today learning to tie a fly has become as easy as turning on one’s computer and googling fly tying. But, if you are fortunate enough to have a local fly club in your community contact them to see if they offer classes for beginners. These classes can be a wonderful gateway to an extraordinary adventure.
About Rodney - A Florida native, conservation advocate, and lifetime angler with an in-depth understanding of the economical and environmental impacts of Florida's recreational fishery.

Married thirty years, father of four, and community leader, for fifteen years Rodney has been the publisher of Coastal Angler Magazine, which focuses on fishing, boating and conservation.

Rodney's also a member of the South Atlantic Marine Fisheries Council's Grouper /Snapper Advisory Panel.

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