Getting fascinated with fly fishing is a gateway drug to fly tying, an addiction for which there is no cure, but no one has ever been interested in seeking treatment
By Skip Clement
In the 1960s, nobody was yet famous for fly fishing saltwater. Stu Apt, Bill Curtis, Norman Duncan, George Hommell, Jimmy Albright, and many other South Florida and Florida Keys Guides were still busy inventing it. However, there were already lists of long ago deceased fly fishers with creds on fly fishing in freshwater. Several celebrated fly fishers were famous for their coldwater fly inventions that catch trout, Atlantic salmon, and grayling.
In 1990, after retiring, I became more seriously interested in tying flies after spending much of the Southern Hemisphere’s summer months in New Zealand with the legendary fly fisherman Hughie McDowell. He was [passed away May 16, 2014] a famous Irish tournament angler, author of fly tying books, could catch trout in a street puddle; and was singularly able to tie small flies from caddis’ to midge’s by hand – without a tool.
If he did not have the size or color bug in his fly box coming off the water where we were fishing, I was fishing with and catching with that new, hand-tied whatchamacallit in minutes.
Every enthusiastic tyer thinks [secretly] they will come up with the new Deceiver or Russell Blessing Wooly Bugger
Modifications to a fly are acceptable, and it is done all the time – my favorite pastime. Some changes even YouTube-worthy, but calling adaptations a new named fly because one added something shiny to an existing and already named fly is not Kosher.
There are always lists of the best freshwater flies and saltwater flies. The latter much more difficult because so many species and saltwater flies do not do away games that well, which is not valid with freshwater flies. Freshwater flies are limited in most people’s minds to salmon and trouts.
All the files listed below have been catching fish just as readily today in Patagonia and New Zealand as the Appalachian Mountain Ranges and Slovenia, or Scotland and Alaska as they have for decades past.
List compiled Cinda Howard, a guide with Fly Fishing and Beyond
Grasshopper, Parachute Ant, Caddis, Parachute Adams, PMX, Prince Nymph, Copper John, Hare’s Ear, Wooly Bugger, Pheasant Tail Nymph, Zebra Midge, Simi Seal Leech
Can you think of more? Of course, but you would not starve anywhere with Howard’s list.
NOTE: This video was produced by the Information Branch of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Producer: David Majure.
NOTE 2: Contact Cinda Howard