We left last Thursday for our annual trip
to Mt. Home, Arkansas for the Sow Bug roundup.
Tony Spezio got me on this a few years ago
and I have come to the point where this is
a necessity for every year. It is about a
seven hour drive for us to get there. My
wife likes to go along to see the people
and to see what people are tying. She also
likes to go around some of the lakes and hike on
the trials that are there.
Being early risers, we got on the road about
7:00 am and then made it into Mt. Home about
2:30 pm. We went to our motel first and got
signed in. Then we decided to find the new
location for the meeting. It had gotten too
large to hold in the Ramada Inn. We finally
did find the Family Life Center, after
missing one of the signs they had out for
We went in and I did the registration that needed
to be done and then decided to look and see what
was going on. The tying time had expanded to
be Thursday afternoon and then Friday and Saturday.
There were a fair number of folks tying there
already Thursday afternoon.
There was also a special presentation being done
by Gordon Mackenzie, from England, using hair for
his flies. I decided to watch this and my wife told
me she would wander around as she knew I was lost
already. Gordon is a very gracious gentleman and
did a wonderful job of demonstrating his technique
and explaining why he did things the way that he did.
He spins hair in a dubbing loop, at the bend, and
then splits the hair evenly and forms legs that
can be for a crawdad or for a frog. These legs
are in tight, I know, because I got a chance to
try to pull one of them apart. I must report that
I could not pull the legs off. I did talk to
Gordon about showing this as the Fly of the Week
and he said that he was interested in doing this.
I have passed on the information to LadyFisher,
so look for this sometime in the future.
By the time this got done there was not much
tying time left. I did get to visit with a
few friends and then we headed out to get dinner.
When we got back to the room I looked at my
brown bag. Wapsi gives each tyer a brown
paper sack with various materials in it. Each
tyer is to tie a fly from this and turn it in.
They are then put up for judging, in a case,
by the public on Saturday. After that the case
is auctioned off. I think the winning fly gets
the tyer a certificate. There are some beautiful flies
created for this. This year we also received a
sack from Gudbrod with some thread and dubbing
rope in it.
We headed over Friday morning so I could get
set up to tie. I was told to bring a short
extension cord and I did that. It was about
three feet long. I think it would be better
to bring one about 12 feet long. When I saw how
the cords were, I picked the first spot I saw
that was empty with the plug right under the
table. This was right next to the table where
Gordon was sitting. I had stuff to tie four
I decided to get started and get a few of each
of the patterns tied. That way I could talk to
folks about them and show how they are tied. As
soon as I started there were folks asking what I
was doing. They wanted to know why I did various
things and where the ideas came from. The tables
were set up so the tyers are on the inside and the
other folks are around the outside. They have
chairs to sit in and there were folks in the chairs
most of the time. This was true for all the tyers
that I could see.
About 10:30 I had to take a break and find the
restrooms. I also took a chance to walk around
for a few minutes and see what other folks were
tying. I did set down at one place and watch
Brenda tie a hummingbird. It is gorgeous, and
I think I would be able to tie it now. Found
out she learned to tie at SowBug 2003.
Things stayed busy until the evening time and
then the club had us clean everything out of
the room. They have a bar-b-que meal for the
tyers and companions on Friday night. They
treat us like royalty while we are there
Saturday morning we headed back to get there
when the building opened up. I wanted to get
a place where I could plug my lamp in. Ended
up being next to Gordon again. Several other
folks had the same idea and had taken many of
the places where the plug ins were. They all
brought short cords like I did.
I tied almost as many flies Saturday as I did
on Friday. Meet several folks from FAOL on both
days. It was nice to meet them, but I don't
remember all the names. I did meet Allan Crise
but got too busy and did not get him to correct
my casting this time. Guess I will have to do
that next year.
I did spend a little more time wandering around
and got some nice flies. I did break down and
buy one saddle. It is the prettiest yellow-orange
that you ever saw. It just called my name and I
had to do it. I did come home with more than I
took down there by far. Most of them are memories
and some good new ideas.
I did spend some time talking to Dennis Conrad.
He had been fishing some and catching fish. He
had some beautiful necks and saddles there. I
have got to use some of mine up so I can get some
more from him. Dennis said that on the way home
he would see his son and then post an update about him
when he gets home.
I also got Dave Whitlock to autograph a couple
of his books for me. He did some quick illustrations
in them and then signed them for me. I also gave
him a couple of the weird flies that I do and he
was gracious enough to think the were nice creations.
He was a joy to talk to for a few minutes
and very popular with the group there.
Had great fun being there. Learned some new
tricks, meet some great folks, and saw some
good friends. If any of you are anywhere close
to this event you should think about coming to it.
I had a few folks tell me this was the best tyers
meeting they go to.
Hope to see you there next year. Hope you can
get out on the water. ~ Rick email@example.com