The Art and History of Fly Tying
In his most recent blog post, Pro-Team member Fred Klein discusses the Art and History of fly tying and lends his insights into tying historic fishing flies.
My journey in pursuit of trout with the fly began 45 years
ago with a new fly rod and instructions to cast and drift a
fly. What a gift that was. The woods and waters of
Pennsylvania, the Appalachian Mountains and beyond
have brought a life of admiration for the wilderness,
forests, wildlife, and a thirst for “what lies beyond the next
bend in the stream and over the mountain.”
Fly Tying and Fly Fishing
The history of fly fishing is a rich and romantic culmination of woodsmen, artists and literature which lies at the heart of early American history. The flies from the 1800s and early 1900s tell a story of their originators: the men and women in pursuit of wild trout and salmon. Their names are recorded in the annals of history along with their flies and stories.
They fished the waters of Maine, New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania and the Rocky Mountains, to name just a few places where these pioneers made their mark. Many of the patterns from the early years of fly fishing in the US (and elsewhere) were elaborate, colorful and artistically designed. They were flies tied on large hooks. Many were tied in hand with no vise, and often on the river banks where the authors fished.
Several exhaustive books were published with descriptions and painted plate illustrations of the most popular fly patterns of their era, giving us a glimpse into the details of the flies and techniques used. The first was Charles F. Orvis’s Fishing with the Fly then Mary Orvis Marbury’s Favorite Flies and Their Histories.
Charles F. Orvis of Manchester Vermont, the originator of the lightweight perforated fly reel as well as the first mail order catalog company in America set out to categorize and name the flies being used by fishermen all over America, writing a book Fishing with the Fly (1883) and a decade later his daughter Mary Orvis Marbury who took over the fly tying operations of the Orvis company wrote another book, Favorite Flies and their histories in (1892) both books with painted plate illustrations and descriptions of 382 flies common during the mid to late 1800’s in America. Both books are brilliant works of literature including fly fishing stories and poetry giving us a glimpse into the methods and techniques of the era.
Ray Bergman, born in 1911, was an intelligent and passionate fisherman, publishing his most influential book, Trout, in 1938, just before World War II.
He fished extensively throughout the United States and Canada, becoming the editor of Outdoor Life for three decades. A brilliant work of art and literature, Trout included painted color plates of 440 wet flies, streamers and dry flies. It displays a remarkably extensive collection of flies, including many patterns dating back to early America and many originally from England, Scotland and Ireland.
There are a number of talented contemporary fly tiers who have pursued the classical tradition. Our endeavor is to continue the traditional methods and pass them on to the next generation. I hope you might tie a few old flies, and perhaps cast them downstream.
Partridge of Redditch Ambassador
Fred is a fly-fishing historian, author and speaker. Professional fly tyer and fisher of early traditional flies and tackle.
"My journey in the pursuit of trout with the fly began over 40 years ago with a new fly rod and instructions to cast and drift a fly. What a gift it was. The woods and waters of Pennsylvania, the Appalachian Mountains and beyond have brought a life of admiration for the wildernessm forestsm wildlife and a thirst for what lies beyond the next bend in the stream and over the mountain".
Every day I find myself involved in fly fishing, trapping and hunting.
My endeavor is to pass on the techniques of traditional fly angling and dressings to the generations to come.
For tutorials, articles, video and classic fly galleries visit:
More Posts from Fred:
Words and images from Partridge Ambassador Fred Klein. In this blog post, Fred Klein discusses vintage fly tackle and the evolution and innovations that have brought us to today. The evolution of fly rods from early Great Britain to modern times is an...
Words and images from Partridge Ambassador Fred KleinPartridge of Redditch Ambassador Fred Klein provides the recipe to a fantastic adaptation of a classic fly. The Grizzly Jay Wet Fly. The Grizzly Jay Wet Fly, tied by Partridge Ambassador Fred Klein. The Grizzly Jay...
Words and images from Partridge Ambassador Fred KleinPartridge of Redditch Ambassador Fred Klein discusses four classic Trout streamer patterns that have stood the test of time. Mickey Finn Black Nose Dace Black Ghost Grey Ghost A Long Hook...