Tying flies for one person can mean adding a level to their fly fishing passion. The joy they receive in creating, and fishing their own flies over a store bought one makes the experience that much more meaningful. They can prep for fishing trips and build even more anticipation.
Another person may see the need to produce flies that can be used with clients. Some call them “dude” flies. These are simple, easy to tie, fish catching patterns that guides rely on to get them through their season.
Another may tie flies to sell. This hobby turned job is all about the numbers. Producing a certain amount every day to help make ends meet. Every move counts. Pre-sorting materials and hooks, very much like a lone, assembly line.
Another ties for the sheer art of it. They often seek out rare, expensive, materials and create masterpieces out of them. These can be framed and hung on a wall to be admired by anyone.
Peter Knox of the Sage R&D getting artsy.
There are probably other categories in which a fly tier can fall and most likely others are some combination of these. No matter where they are in their reason to tie flies, we can probably all agree that it’s fun.
To emphasize the fun, there are fly tying contests happening all over. These contests happen at trade shows, fly shops, and bars. They are usually based after cooking show contests, like Iron Chef, or Chopped. The premise being around a “Secret Ingredient” that make the process potentially more challenging.
There are several folks here at Sage who also happen to love tying flies. They come from R&D, Sales and Warranty to name a few and take over the conference room. This group meets regularly after hours to eat pizza, watch/quote Seinfeld and tie flies. They decided that they needed to have their own contest and so it was born. The Far Bank Iron Fly.
Some tools of the trade. Our conference table has never looked better!
The tiers here created a slightly different version where the person who was presenting the “secret ingredient” was also the judge for that round. The material is presented to the group and the timer is started: 20 minutes. This seems like a long time to tie one fly, but when the first 5-7 minutes are spent planning the fly you want to tie, then seeking hooks and materials to make this happen, the reality is you only have about 14 minutes to tie the fly, name it and have it on a display plate one room over.
Secret Material = Candy Cane Hooks
Once all submissions are before the judge, the laughter begins. Each contestant gets to pitch their creation. They explain the usage of the materials, why the fly came to be, possible uses, and of course the name. Speaking of names, Wile E Faux-yote, Sponge Bob Sparkle Pants, Grinch Worm, Reintruder, Cream of the Carp, and Christmas Speycation, were just some of the fly names that were born from this event. Most of what’s said is BS, meant to entertain and sway the judge.
The judge gets fed a good line.
It would be easy to classify each submission into one of the categories above, Art, Dude, Hobbyist, or Production as they definitely produce a wide variety of stuff. From flies tied on Candy Canes as hooks that went straight to the trash afterwards to a fly that used $10 worth of pricey feathers. Some are fishable and give us a reason to purchase more of that secret material
Would you fish any of these?
The tiers are competing for a couple things…bragging rights and a killer hand-made trophy of an Iron Fly.
The trophy is made by another staff member using bits of metal parts to create a one of a kind buggy beast.
Sage staffer and local artist, Jim Millican, with another killer creation
Awesome companies like Hareline Dubbin, Inc and Loon Outdoors help make the annual event that much better by supplying the participants with some of their products.
Please remember to tie responsibly!
A big thank you to all who help contribute to a work culture that not only allows, but encourages activities such as this to take place.
Patrick Kilby Warranty Supervisor