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Fly Tying or Art?

What constitutes a fly? The answer should be a no brainer but with tiers pushing the envelope of fly tying it really isn’t. All you have to do is look on your favorite social media platform to see flies that look more like pieces of art. Honestly I would be afraid to use them for the sake of loosing them or them not holding up over time.

I was raised that a fly was tied on a hook that was being held by the jaws of the vise. We attached natural and or synthetic materials to imitate a specific bug or baitfish pattern. Our goal was simple, tie an affective pattern that will last for a long time or at least until you break it off on a fish.

Let me say that I have no problem with anyone applying UV Resins or other adhesives allowing them to get the perfect profile of a specific pattern. Some streamer patterns call for Tear Mender to shape the head to get a specific profile and swimming action while retrieving the fly. Bob Popovic and Gunnar Brammer do a great job of explaining these techniques. I urge you to take a look at their work if you are not familiar with it already. But the point is that they using resigns and silicone after tying the fly pattern.

My argument is that when the vast majority of the fly is being constructed while not in the vise it should fall under another category. I have the utmost respect for the patterns that people are tuning out today but I do question the motive for taking so long to create a pattern just for show. Come on do you really think they are fishing some of these patterns. I would love to see them used in a guiding situation to test durability. I will be the first to admit I’m wrong but until someone proves me wrong I will stand my ground on this. Judging by a lot of conversations I have had with other tiers they agree with me.

Let’s take a crustacean pattern such as a crab or crawfish pattern. Take a look at Jesse Males of Backwater Fly Fishing or Svend Diesel of Svend Flies. Both these dudes have some creative patterns that rock and most importantly they are tied in the jaws of the vise. I’m not talking hours of epoxy work and painting but good ole fly tying.

The point I am making is that some flies are for fishing and some are for show! Man I am amazed at how realistic some of these patterns are but seriously you know they are not tied flies. If you are tying these lifelike impersonations you owe it to yourself to have the pattern placed in another category. By judging the numbers of these types of patterns it would be easy to establish the artistic category.

This may not be the opinion of Tuckaseegee Fly Shop but it is mine. I look forward to your thoughts. I am going out on a limb here but I think that most of you will agree with me.

Shannon Messer


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