It occurred to me that one or two of you might be interested
in my background. If you aren't one of these few, pardon my
ramblings, it won't take long.
I was born in 1944 in Portland Oregon where I have spent most
of my life. As a child, my mom would drag me along on her shopping
outings downtown. When she wanted to shop in Meier & Frank (an old
department store), she would drop be off in the Sporting Goods
department where a lady by the name of Audrey Joy tied flies at
a card table in the middle of the department. Since my father
was not an outdoors person, I had never fished but I was
mesmerized by what she created out of bits of feathers, fur,
thread and a hook. I watched her for hours and she never complained
or missed a beat with her tying. After I got to know her over a
few visits, Audrey gave me a few hooks, some feathers, a little
chunk of Bucktail and the instructions to tie a few flies and
bring them to show her when they were done. At the time I was
maybe 9 to 11 years old.
I was excited by the prospect that I might create some of the
flies like Audrey tied so, off I went. When I got home, mom gave
me some black thread (just her sewing thread) and, a bit of candle
wax. I had no vise, no bobbin, none of the tools we Tyers are so
fortunate to have these days. In the days that followed, I tied
a couple dozen of the worlds best and most beautiful flies.
Mankind had never seen such beautiful creations.
The next time mom and I went to the store, I took the flies I had
tied. My chest swelled with pride when I dumped the collection
of flies out on the now familiar card table in front of Audrey.
Time has dulled my memories of these days but, I can't recall
her frowning or finding much fault with these humble creations.
Dad was not a fisherman so, the flies went into a drawer and most
were never fished. Of those that later were, the thrill of catching
a fish on them was unbelievable. That was about the extent of my
Through all these years, a couple more than a dozen of these flies
followed me, unused. I now realize how homely and crude these flies
were and how kind Audrey was to claim to like them. I wish I could
thank her now.
As soon as I was big enough to be able to get myself to a body
of water (the usual mode of transportation was my bike), I began
to fish with an outfit I earned by selling magazines and Christmas
cards. I didn't fly fish in those early years, worms and Crawdad
tails were the usual bait.
I think it was in my early twenties that I started to fly fish, but
spin fishing was more likely than not my usual method. Later, fly
fishing became more and more the method of choice and now, I fish
almost exclusively with the fly.
When I started to tie again, I did so pretty much alone and was
for the most part self taught. Later, I read books and magazines
on the topic until it became something of an obsession. I have
been blessed with what I call "good hands." I mean to say that
I can create things with them and have made my living by what
they can produce. I have been a Dental Technician for many years
so doing close precise work is no stranger to me.
Like many Tyers, I tied enough flies to fish with in fairly short
order. I had also collected materials with reckless abandon. Friends
who had birds or hunt gave me wonderful feathers over the years.
I had been saving the really special ones for a day when my skills
in tying would be able to do them justice. So year after year, the
collection grew and I looked at and cared for these little treasures
I had always admired the full dressed classic flies and looked
at them in awe and wonderment. The skilled hands that created
such fantastic things surly must be far and away more creative
than mine I thought. Well, I wasn't getting any younger and the
prospects of finding the fabled fountain of youth seemed unlikely
so I decided to give the tying of the "fancy" flies a try. The
rest as they say, is history.
This is the first fully dressed fly I tied. It certainly has
it's share of faults, but the sense of accomplishment finishing
that fly gave me, started me on a fantastic fly tying journey.
My feather collecting has intensified and I get the same feeling
of accomplishment with every new fly that comes off my vise.
I hope this series will inspire you to start your own tying journey
tying these flies and, that you can learn from my humble ramblings
enough to get you started without too much frustration.
That's about it. I am just a Fly Tyer who does nothing truly remarkable
other than assemble bits of fur & feathers on a hook.
Happy Trails! ~ Ronn
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