Pennsylvania Fly Tier Has Tied Over One Million Flies

News, People — By on June 9, 2010 9:14 am

Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life. There is no better example of that approach to life than the case of 85 year old Stanley Cooper Jr., of Tunkhannock, PA.

After graduating from high school in 1942, Cooper was drafted into the military and then served his country until 1946. At the time, his father was entering the fly tying business, and asked his son to join him after he was discharged from the armed services. His father then taught him everything he knows about fly tying.

Business was steady for the father/son team, but really picked up after they began tying flies for Abercrombie & Fitch, known at the time for strictly fishing and hunting related items, as well as Orvis.


Cooper, who has tied well over one million flies over five decades as a commercial tier now only ties around seven dozen flies each day. A drop in the bucket compared to the 10 to 12 dozen flies he tied daily in the past. In order to pay the bills, “you’ve got to tie at least 10 to 12 dozen per day. Years ago, we tied a fly that was called Jassid, a very, very easy fly to tie. I tied 20 dozen of those a day.”

Said Cooper on continuing to tie commercially well into his 80s, ‘When it gets to be work, I’m going to retire.’”

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Pennsylvania Fly Tier Has Tied Over One Million Flies, 10.0 out of 10 based on 5 ratings

17 Comments

  1. Tom Deschaine says:

    Dear Mr. Cooper,

    I have never heard of you — but I am deeply impressed. I can’t imagine anyone tying so many flies in his life time. God Bless you, and I wish you many more year of tying great flies!

    Tom Deschaine

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  2. Kirill says:

    I really respect someone who follows his passion and sticks with it through thick and thin. I think too many people these days are concerned about money and not the enjoyment they’re supposed to get out of life. Thanks for the story.

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  3. Josh says:

    we’re not worthy, we’re not worthy.

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  4. Bob Tubesing says:

    Sir:
    I hope you got to fish some of those flies.

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  5. steve shaffer says:

    wow, i would love to have an opportunity to learn some of your tricks, i love tying my own flies, but would it be an honor to learn something from a master such as yourself

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  6. Jason says:

    Hello Mr.Cooper sounds like youve tied quite a load of flies. I’m 13 and I’ve tied 158 in about the 5 months I’ve new how to do it

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  7. Jack Williams says:

    Hi Stan:
    Nice to see you still be recognized for your excellent work. I was just a kid when I first met you at a little fly shop in Larksville, PA. I think you taught me how to tie my first fly about 40 years ago. From what I remember you were one of the best (if not the best) way back then. Glad you’re still tying. Let’s get that second million done. It’s a pleasure and a treat having known you.
    Thanx!
    Jack williams,
    Lee Park

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  8. John Maceiunas, Weatherly, Pa. says:

    I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Cooper on a couple of occasions, one of those being an Atlantic salmon fishing trip to New Brunswick, and another at my brother-in-laws 50th birthday. I can honestly say that Mr. Stan Cooper is not only a GREAT fly tyer, but one heck of a fly-fisherman and a wonderful human being. 100 is right around the corner Stan, maybe another trip to New Brunswick???? John Maceiunaas

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  9. Dave Grow says:

    Hi Stan,

    Happy to see that you are still at the vice or should I say vise? I always have happy memories of you and your Dad. I am still pounding the Delaware. Dave

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  10. Byron Thiel says:

    Hello Stanley. Where I lived in eastern South Dakotra back in the mid 50s no one ever tied their own flies and little fly fishing was done except for bass and panfish and any flies were bought in hardware shops so I decided to teach myself how. Bought the Family Circle book on trout flies and though there wasn’t any illustrations-only the recipe I tried to tie as close to the recipes as I could, but had to make do with lots of substitute materials. I eventually got pretty good at it and though I only sell a few flies to friends and members of the forum I belong to these days I love tying flies and now I’m retired try to go out fly fishing as often as possible though it’s a far different sort of fishing here in northwest england. I doubt I’ve tied anywhere as many as you, but I’m keeping my hand in. God Bless and “Tight Lines”!

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  11. tom donnelly says:

    Hi Stan,

    Nancy and I were delighted when we saw the article and picture. It was wonderful spending the day with you and watching you tie at the museum a few weeks ago. Hope to see you soon and give our best to Mary.

    Tight Lines,
    Tom and Nancy

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  12. Tom Lyons says:

    I lived in Tunkhannock from the summer of 1973 to the fall of 1979 and in Retta Corners for three years prior to that. I can’t believe I never heard of you or that I never met you. Like most other folks I have missed a lot of opportunities in my life but missing getting to benefit from knowing you ranks up near the top of all my misses.

    I started tying and fishing while living there and have stayed in the sport since. I am handicapped now but I can still tie and Id do so quite often. Please remember me to all the fly tyers and fly fishers in the old town. I hope someday to get back there and meet you and learn some new ties!

    Tom

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  13. Rich says:

    Dear Mr. Cooper-

    Over one million flies is astounding! Congratulations on an epic career and hope you have many more great years to come.

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  14. Rich says:

    Hi Stan,

    This is Rich, we went to Harrisburg Flyfishers’ banquet several times (with Wayne and Jack). It is great your still tying and doing well.

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  15. Joseph says:

    Hi Im 14 and my name is Joseph. I think you have the best job ever
    and I wish I were you. I have been fly tieing for about 2 years now and
    I’ve only tied about 2500 flys. Tie on

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  16. Stan is an inspiration to anyone who knows him. He is one of the leaders in our great sport!

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  17. Dan Kruk says:

    Mr Cooper I have used a few of your flies as my uncle, Ray Blockus, has purchased and given me some. I sure would like to purchase a couple of dozen fly’s. Wolly Buggers, bead head ants, etc. How can I go about doing this. Do you have an address in Tunkhannock, PA. that I can send a check to? I am formally from Nanticoke, Pa. but have lived in Virginia since 1965. The quality of your work is great. Congratulations on the amount you have tied over the years.
    Regards, Dan

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