Fly tying is like a journey; you can go as far as you wish or make as much of it as time and inclination
permit. In other words, you can stop at the gas station in Tyingtown, U.S.A., and continue on your trip, or you can stay a while and learn about the area by visiting the local museum, library or Chamber of Commerce. In either case, you can say you’ve been to Tyingtown; whether you learn much about the community is up to you.
Fly tying is a discipline that allows you to take what you want from it. We have a friend who ties only one fly pattern in a range of sizes for all of his fishing needs. His single fly is a few clumps of muskrat fur tied to the shank. He doesn’t even apply a whip finish; he uses a drop of Krazy Glue to finish the fly’s head. He’s used this fly all over the world, in salt and fresh water, and he is like a vacuum cleaner; he out-fishes almost everyone who fishes with him, including us. Another friend is an incredible fly tier (and fly fisher) who has won tying contests in the United States and beyond. Despite his obvious skills, he doesn’t know how to do a hand whip-finish; he learned to apply that part of a fly using a tool to complete the function and never saw a reason to learn the manual way to do it.
This and 13 other articles can be found in the 2010 Issue of Hatches Magazine(will be published September 1st)