"Sometimes, you just need to go downstairs and waggle a rod..."

Monday, March 20, 2017

Expo

The 2017 Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo ended yesterday, and I think it is safe to say it was the best one yet. I was there doing tying demonstrations all three days, and I had loads of fun. I met all sorts of interesting characters, tied lots of flies, and gave away most of them. It was great!
My work area for the Expo this year.

Friday was a little slow, but not as slow as the Fridays of some past years' Expos. When I arrived at the arena on Saturday afternoon for my scheduled tying time,though, I couldn't believe how many people were there. There was a sea of people. Way more people than I would have ever expected to have been interested in fly fishing! It was fun to see so many people there, but I momentarily imagined them all figuring out my secret trout fishing spots...That was scary!

Sundays at Expos like this can be fun, and this year's sure was. There wasn't the multitude of people that there was on Saturday, but there seemed to be a lot more kids, whom I had fun teasing, and a fair number of the aforementioned interesting characters, whom I had fun listening to. Sometimes I feel like my life doesn't have enough interesting characters in it, and then I go and spend three days at a fly fishing expo and I realize I have plenty...

So, I spent a total of about 13.5 hours tying dozens of flies, but when it was all said and done I only came home with 3 of them. I gave all the rest away, mostly to kids, and also to some of the characters. I started out tying Hippie Stompers, and then spent a majority of the time tying dozens of Stimulators. I tied so many that I used all the bleached elk hair on the patch that I brought with, and had to switch to tying them with black wings and tails. People still liked them!

Stimulator

Empty patch of elk hair
If you're in the Twin Cities next March, make sure you head over to the Great Waters Expo. I'm sure I'll be there, so stop by and say Hi!
 

Friday, March 10, 2017

In Print

I have seen my name in print a bunch of times, and let me tell you, it hasn't gotten old. Granted, most of the times that my name has been in print, I put it there. You see, I have been an Editor of two different publications in my life, and in both of those roles, it was oftentimes much easier for me to sit down and write whatever article needed writing than it was to find someone else who had the time or urge to write it.

RipRap
My first foray as an Editor was when I took over the publishing of my local Trout Unlimited Chapter's monthly newsletter, RipRap. I think that was around 2007, and I did it for about 6 years. In those 6 years, I wrote many articles and took many photographs, and got better and better at laying out a publication. It was fun. It won the Bollinger Award for best TU Newsletter in the country. And I got to see my name in print a lot.

I also had the opportunity to see my name in a now-defunct regional golf magazine called North Country Golf that I launched back in 2010. I put out a total of 8 issues over two years, I wrote about 95% of the content, took about 95% of the photos, did 100% of the layout, ad sales, marketing, and distribution, which is probably why it is now defunct. To be honest, I almost went defunct trying to get it all done, not to mention the fact that I still had a full-time job, a part-time job, and two kids under the age of 2 at the time. What was I thinking?!?! It was fun to see my name in print, though...
Every issue of North Country Golf. If you'd like to check it out, let me know. I can hook you up!

Which brings me to my latest endeavor. I recently found out that Fly Tyer magazine was going to run another of my articles. This one is titled Highly Adequate Parachute Flies, and it is in the Spring 2017 issue which is on news stands now. My first article for Fly Tyer ran in the Autumn 2014 issue, and that was about CDC-Enhanced Nymphs. I suppose, since I am tooting my own horn here, I should mention that I also had an article in The Drake a few years ago. You can read that one in its entirety HERE.

So, if you have a chance, check out Fly Tyer in the next couple of months. Perhaps I will have another article in a future issue. I might as well try, it's fun to see my name in print!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Finished!

I finished my big fly order a few days ago, and it feels rather strange. I had been spending almost every night for the past several months down in my basement office tying flies, after the Wife and kids were in bed. But now, I don't need to do that. It's weird. This past Saturday I actually got to sit next to the aforementioned Wife while we watched a movie, instead of down on the floor, tying flies while sitting in front of the coffee table. It was nice, but odd. I don't know how else to describe it. Thankfully, I am sure I will get back into the swing of not having to tie flies, at least until next fall, when hopefully I will get another order.
All the flies in my order. It was 18 dozen, but they are small, so to me it feels like it should look more impressive. Oh well...
All the Size 18 BWO KlinkHansons
Aside from the oddness I feel, I am also very happy that a fly I designed, the KlinkHanson, will again be available for people to buy. We used to sell them at the shop I used to work at, but since I stopped working there, the KlinkHanson hasn't been available anywhere. But, I am happy to report that Lund's Fly Shop ordered 6 dozen of them, so now you can get them in a size 18 BWO version, and a size 16 in an Adams color scheme. If you are in western Wisconsin, make sure you swing through River Falls and pick some up at Lund's. You can even tell them Scott sent you, although that probably won't make any difference...
Size 18 BWO KlinkHanson, close up.
Size 16 Adams KlinkHanson, close up.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Faux Pas

I made a major faux pas the other night, and I'm still not too happy about it.

It happened like this: I was getting ready to teach a one-night Dry Fly Tying class at one of my local fly shops. I think it was the 5th or 6th time I had taught the class over the past several years, so I felt as though I was ready. I had tweaked the syllabus since the last time I taught it, removing a fly and putting a new one in its place. The added fly isn't as popular as the one it replaced, but I thought the differing materials and techniques would add to the class. I had practiced the new fly the night before class, and it looked good, if I do say so myself, so my confidence was high as I arrived at the shop.

Then I unpacked my tying bag. It was soon very evident that something was missing: my beloved Regal rotary vise! I was sure that I had packed it, along with all of my other tools and materials for class. But it wasn't there. Oh the horror!

Oh sure, the shop I was teaching at had several different vise options that I could use, and I picked another Regal, but it wasn't my Rotary, and it threw my game off for the entire evening. I tried to persevere, but my flies just seemed a little off, and in my head I was sure that my students could tell. I imagined them all thinking "Who is this fool that is supposed to be teaching us? He doesn't seem to know a grizzly hackle from a hole in his head! His flies are mediocre at best!" Thankfully I imagined their thoughts to be not all that mean...

I wondered if someone had stolen my vise out of my bag when I wasn't looking. I wondered if maybe I had taken it out while I was at work earlier that day and left in on the conference room table. I wondered if maybe one of my fiendish kids had hidden it in the black hole that presides under their bed. I wondered who could be so mean that they would steal a man's beloved fly tying vise and leave an empty place in his heart for the rest of eternity. I wondered a lot of things....

Then I went home after class and found my vise folded neatly on my fly tying desk where it always is. I guess I had set it there whilst packing my tying bag the night before, and forgotten to pack it with the rest of my stuff. Now I wonder if I'll ever do that again...I sure hope not!
There it was, right on my desk like it always is...



Tuesday, February 7, 2017

8 Minutes of Fame

I think it was Andy Warhol, or was it Andy Griffith?, who said that everyone would be world famous for 15 minutes at some point in their life. Well, if that's true, I've got about 7 minutes left...

I was unexpectedly asked to be on a segment of the local cable access news show, New Brighton Now! a few weeks ago. I guess the host, a very nice woman named Lynn, noticed that I teach fly tying classes through the Parks & Rec department. She must have been having an extremely slow time of finding guests, because she emailed me and asked if I would want to come on the show and talk about my classes. She even said I could tie a fly if I wanted to. Any time I get the chance to potentially embarrass myself in front of dozens of people, I jump at the chance, so I said I would do it.

The show taped a couple of Thursdays ago, and although I had been nervous leading up to it, I thought the interview and the tying demonstration went well. I knew I would only have about 3 or 4 minutes to tie, so I chose a simple pattern, a beadhead wooly bugger, and I got all of the materials ready before we started taping. I even pre-beaded the hook, which is something I hate doing. The camera didn't get quite as close to my vise as I had hoped it would, but I think the viewers could get a pretty good sense of what was happening. Take a look and see what you think...
Now that I only have 7 minutes of fame left, I suppose I better figure out how to use it. If you have any ideas for me, let me know.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Production Tying

I have done some production tying over the years. Quite a bit, in fact. And after all that time, I can definitely say that I have come to a concise, and somewhat well thought out opinion on production tying, and that is: I am not a huge fan of it.

Not to say that I despise it or anything like that. It's just that my preferred style of tying is too haphazard to be a good production tyer. I like to have something playing on the TV in the background, like sports or whatever TV show I happen to be hooked on at the moment. And that TV viewing has a tendency to take my focus away from the fly for minutes or hours at a time. Good production tyers need to stay focused on the task at hand. I don't do that.

I also like to get up and move around, not necessarily for any actual reason. I just can't sit still for hours on end. I need to get up and move. Good production tyers can sit for weeks on end, if need be.

My fly tying desk can get totally disorganized in a matter of seconds when I am tying. I don't like to prepare things in advance. Put 8 dozen beads on hooks before I tie a single fly? No thanks. Go through all my necks and saddles and divide up all the feathers by size? I would rather watch paint dry. I don't even like to keep my scissors in my tool hand while tying, which is something one of my fly tying mentors said was an essential part of being a proficient tyer. I'll gladly set my scissors down and pick them up every time I have to cut something.
I would rather match up all of my kids' socks than pre-bead a bunch of hooks!

Despite all these things that make me a bad production tyer, I have done quite bit of it. One summer, when I still worked at Bob Mitchell's Fly Shop back when it was in Lake Elmo, MN, I tied something like 70, or 80, or a billion dozen Kinni Sulphur parachutes for the bins of the shop. I still don't know why all of our customers chose that summer, when our two other part-timers, Gabe and Ron, were off gallivanting around the globe, to buy so many Kinni Sulphurs, but since I was the only henchman around, it was my job to tie them.

I haven't tied that many flies since, but this winter I did get an order for several dozen from Lund's Fly Shop, and I am very happy to announce that I am almost done with the order. I did some self-reflection, looking back at my history of production tying, and came to the conclusion that, since I am such a bad production tyer, I better get started on this order early. And I did, starting back in December, or maybe even November.... The flies don't look too bad, either, which is the most important thing.

Maybe I don't dislike all this production tying stuff all that much, after all...just don't ask me to tie another billion dozen like I did that one year!



The above three flies are what I have been tying for Lund's this winter. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

News, Classes, and News About Classes

I don't know what other people think of me and all of the things that wander around inside my brain, but I tend to think I know what I am talking about. Which can be very dangerous in certain situations. It's so dangerous that I even feel compelled to try to teach other people some of my knowledge. What they do with that knowledge is up to them. It would be optimal if they used their new knowledge for good. If they would prefer to use it for evil, I guess that's their prerogative. Really, it just makes me happy that they think I know enough to teach them something. A little ego boost like that is always fun.

I guess I should get down to business and clarify what that first, rambling paragraph is all about. I have fly tying and fishing classes coming up in the near future, and you should sign up for them, if you want to... First up is a one-night Dry Fly Tying class at Bob Mitchell's Fly Shop in St. Paul, MN, on Thursday, February 23rd at 7PM. This class is for those of you who already have some fly tying under your belt. Getting your dry flies to look good can be tricky, so we will learn the techniques to tie three standard patterns that should help you with any dries you might be tying. Contact Robert and get more info at www.bobmitchellsflyshop.com.

Next up is a Beginning Fly Tying class I am teaching through the City of Fridley's Community Ed Department. That runs for three Tuesdays in March, the 14th, 21st and 28th, from 7PM to 9PM. I provide all the tools and materials, you just have to show up. Head over to the Fridley website at https://fridley.ce.feepay.com/  and search for the class "The Joy of Fly Tying".

I have some fly fishing classes later in the Spring and early Summer, which I will write about later. I do have some other news though. I live in a suburb on the northern side of both St. Paul and Minneapolis, and that suburb is the home to a local cable access TV show called New Brighton NOW!! For some reason, the host of that show asked me to come on and talk about my fly tying classes and demonstrate how to tie a fly. I will be on the episode that tapes on Thursday, January 26th, and apparently it will re-air pretty much every day for the next month or so. If you are in the area, check out channel 15 or 16, depending on your city, and you will be able to see my mug on TV as much as you can stand.  I will try not to make a fool out of myself, but can not guarantee anything.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot that I will be tying at two separate fly fishing events this Spring, as well. First up is the Fly Fishing Film Tour event in River Falls, WI on the evening of Friday, March 3rd. Go to http://flyfilmtour.com to get more info and buy tickets.

I will also be tying at the Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo which runs from March 17th through the 19th. I am not sure when I will be there during those times, but when I find out I will post it here. This year's Expo will be at a new location, the Walker Fieldhouse on the campus of Hamline University in St. Paul. Get more info at http://greatwatersflyexpo.com/.

Alright, enough shameless self-promotion. We should all probably get back to work now, any way. Hope to see you at one of the aforementioned classes/events.