Meeting Don Bastian- by Scott Bleiler

Articles, Book Reviews & Excerpts, featured, People — By on November 9, 2011 9:23 pm

If you like wet flies like I do, you will of course have read the ‘fly fishing bible’, Ray Berman’s masterpiece, Trout. The book is a timeless classic, drenched in the lore and nostalgia of fly fishing.

I’m 34 and tied my first wet fly in 2008. I never saw these things for sale in stores, never met someone on the river fishing a brace of wets. But there’s just something about them. They are beautiful little works of art.

If you’re with me so far and share the passion for the traditional bits of fly fishing you will have heard the name Don Bastian. Don is the world’s heavy weight champion when it comes to the classic wet fly. He is the reincarnate of Ray Bergman. I don’t need to say more, you only need to look to the right of the page to see his flies, they speak for themselves.

I didn’t know Don but he basically taught me how to tie flies through his DVDs and his articles. I’ve never had an instructor in fly tying, only what I’ve seen online and in books. So Don was my hero. But I like to look at flies up close so I emailed Don and asked if he’d tie me a shadow box. He said he could tie any of the patterns and quoted me a ridiculously low price. I paid up and got my flies. They were treasures to me.


Not long after I received the flies Don sent me an email saying he had tied the entire series of flies from Trout and was personally delivering them to a local doctor here in Atlanta. He asked if I’d mind putting him up while he was here. To me that was like God saying, ‘hey Scott I’ll be in town, can I come crash?’ You’re damn right you can.
Don Bastian in my house, with the entire collection of Berman’s flies?! Yep.

Don came down and we had a great time. I poured over his flies and took a billion pictures. My local river the Hooch was blown out so we drove up to North Georgia to fish for the day. We didn’t swing wet flies like I had imagined though. Don broke out some unassuming tackle, a sink tip line and happily fished a Wooly Bugger! We ate burgers at IHOP. He’s an actual human being, and a very nice one.

Don is as friendly and helpful as you’d guess from his personality in his DVDs. He’s the man. We need more guys like Don to pass the torch. Enjoy these pictures.

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4 Comments

  1. lykos33 says:

    The man IS truly an artist I have been looking at the series as they are added in the “Hatches” online. You are one lucky son of a gun to meet him and see his work up close and personal….

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  2. Jeff D'Amico says:

    Well, I’m jealous thats for sure! Hopefully someday I will have the pleasure of seeing his flies in person as well. Great story, Thanks!

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  3. Todd Anderson says:

    Has anyone ever seen a collection like this anywhere? I mean seriously!! Wow. Thanks.

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  4. Bill Mitchell says:

    I’ve been tying for a couple of years and am quite aware of the intense concentration on perfection by Bergman and now Bastian. That’s because most of mine look like dust bunnies under the bed. Thanks to Bastian for tying those great flies and “Hatches” for making them available for us dust bunney artists to ponder.

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    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)

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