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Life of a Fly

Many wonder what guides do on their days off. One thing that consumes a great deal of our downtime is keeping the fly boxes full.

March 19, 2013
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One thing that consumes a great deal of our downtime is keeping the fly boxes full — and, of course, testing our creations.
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The Tools: All craftsmen need an elaborate arsenal of instruments to complete their tasks.
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The Time: Spending hours at the vise is a necessary evil that becomes worthwhile once the box is full.
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Birth of a Fly: Everyone and everything in this world has a story, and the flies we cast to fish are no different. And, it is safe to say that the creation of a fly starts at the fly shop, where the walls are covered with packages of brightly colored fur and feathers that beckon and inspire. So we stock up and wait for the wind to blow and the rains to come so that we can sit behind the vise and make a mess that would annoy 99 percent of the women in this world. Then, with a stiff adult beverage and tools within easy reach, we carefully choose the ingredients for our recipe and tie and trim until content — or until we’re empty. Once finished, we inspect and admire our art before ­selecting a spot in the fly box to store them until needed.
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It’s in the jaws of your vise where every single fly begins.
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Bodkins make the final steps of creating a fly simple.
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Remember, your bobbin is your friend; you cannot create without it.
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When a fly leaves the vise, thinning sheers help round out the desired shape.
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A good pair of scissors makes mediocre tiers great tiers.
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Thread — the medium that keeps it all together.
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The Prize: We are seldom rewarded for the time spent at the bench, but every now and again, our head hits the pillow with no place to be the following morning, and we wake to calm winds and clear skies and can’t help going fishing. Of course days like these are few and far between, so when they do happen, we make a mad dash for the nearest ramp. Before long, the skiff is on plane heading for the flats and the anticipation of a great day starts to build. Upon arriving at a promising location and after a cursory assessment of the conditions, we select a fly and carefully tie it onto the leader. Stepping onto the bow with push pole in hand, the search begins until a target is spotted. The first cast is far from good and we think to ourselves, “Didn’t I just yell at one of my customers for that last week?” We gain our composure and the next cast is made, and a crisp, tight loop carries the creation to its final destiny, making a gentle splash that gets noticed immediately. The fish surges on the fly and the line comes tight. The fish is quickly and tactfully brought to hand and then carefully released. Inspecting the fly before the next cast, we realize why we love our job.
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The Hunt: Stalking builds anticipation that breaks once your freshly tied offering is delivered.
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The Reward: The follow, the feed, the catch — these are the moments we live for.
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A crisp, tight loop carries the creation to its final destiny, making a gentle splash that gets noticed immediately. The fish surges on the fly and the line comes tight. The fish is quickly brought to hand and carefully released.
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