Saturday Alan and I headed to Lewes for the fly tie session. There was huge dog there, and all I could think of was don’t let those boys get near her with scissors. Now that Alan is a member of the Saltwater Fly Anglers of Delaware, he brought a box full of gear to tie flies, and tell lies. He set up with the boys in the back and went right to work. It was neat to watch the boys take a shine to Alan. They were impressed with his tying skills for his age. That is something our sport is lacking these days, kids interested in fishing. Alan certainly has some talent, and he will be able to refine that with help from the club. Once in a while one of the boys would assist Alan with some advice, but for the most part I think they were just ecstatic seeing a young man tie flies with some skill. There were a few new members checking out the club’s Saturday sessions. This week the boys have a “field trip” planned to visit Cabellas, but a few will still be at Lewes Harbor Marina on Saturday. While Alan was tying, I visited with the boys, and checked out some of things they brought with them, of course that included inspecting the donuts … approved.
Mac had an interesting contraption with him. It looked like a Bobby pin, but was looped on both ends with a split in the wire on the side near one end. He said he first saw these in England. No one knew the name and I have yet to look them up. This was used to make lures. Mac put a treble hook on the end opposite the split, and then slipped a body over the rest of the wire or pin. He tied the body on, and added a little flash. Wallah, a small lure. This is neat system, an angler could make their own combinations for colors and flash. Matching the bait in any area fished. I could see using different tube bodies that could be easily changed out or colored while in the field. This is a rather versatile system for making lures. I will try to get some more information on them this weekend for anyone interested. Mac had a few that had lead heads added to them for weight. I can already see a ton of color combinations and weights. Alan was tying away with the boys, the stories were flying around the room as usual. I am bouncing around the tables talking fishing. One of the boys starts talking about fishing near Mulberry bushes for carp, they said a mulberry fly would be interesting. It is times like these I do not know whether to believe these boys or hike up my waders. Some days it gets deep in there, which is directly proportional to the volume in the room, the louder it gets, the deeper it gets.
Randy had some really cool fly eyes he made, out of soda cans. he uses leather punches to make the eyes in varying sizes. He paints a black dot in the center for the eye with nail polish, and any color can be used. He used green, gold, and red cans for the eye’s color, or you could flip them over for a silver eye. He would push the pieces onto a tab of Duct tape to keep them organized. These boys creativity never cease to amaze. About this time Joe pulled out a flashlight with big piece of foam attached to a post coming out of the flashlight’s top. He hit the button and time stood still … no I am kidding the foam started spinning. Actually that would be kind of cool, I could get more things done in one day. He uses his “dryer” to help form the shrimp flies he ties, so the clear coating dries evenly, and doesn’t build up in one spot. Again these boys can come up with some great tricks to help them tie. Frank was tying a Yank’s Assassin out of Ostrich plume and bucktail. The ostrich plume moves like marabou but holds its shape better when wet, and creates better action. He had a few different versions he tied up, and they looked deadly.
Saturday I learned a new term CDC (Cul de Canard) feathers … ducks preen their feather with oil from the preen gland and these feathers surround that gland. They are very small,oily, and great for tying the tiny dry flies Roy was working. He was tying caddis flies, and mimicking the pupae stage and the dry adult stage. Caddis flies are one of the 3 most prevalent insects in trout streams. I learned there are certain hooks for dry flies and wet flies. Roy likes to use these flies in tandem with a sinking fly following a dry fly. This mimics a caddis pupae emerging. He was tying the sinking fly so it would purposely sit between the water’s surface and column. Watching Roy tie a fly is a real pleasure, he is rather meticulous when it comes to what he is tying, and he takes it very serious. Until someone mentioned that CDC feathers are basically duck butt feathers. That is when he nearly fell out laughing, and yes it was hysterical. Especially the jokes about ducks swimming without their butt feathers. Honestly I don’t think I can bring up 99% of the jokes or smack we were all talking. It was hysterical. Last night at their monthly meeting I was asked when this was going to be posted. Everyone was dying to know how I was going to “handle” the duck butt feathers. (no, that does not sound right at all) Roy tied up some teeny tiny sweet looking flies. Now I know why these guys wear magnifying glasses when they are fishing. That is a seriously small hook, covered in Duck butt.
Wednesday night Alan and I dropped by for the club’s monthly meeting. The boys had Captain Jim Stephens show them how to tie the winning fly. Jim won the tie contest at the annual dinner, and he received a plaque for this fly. The fly mimics a ballyhoo, and is an involved tie. He had some neat tricks the boys were glad to learn. Removing static electricity from tying material, use a dryer sheet, the room was stunned … what a great idea!! He used clothes pins too help keep the material out of his way when he was tying. This kept the material organized as he wrapped his thread. He spent time explaining each step, and some of the boys were taking serious notes. He added eyes, used the clothes pin to hold them in place and proceeded to build the head. He would use multiple layers of different liquids to form up the head. This was an interesting process to watch. I just hope a 10 inch bluefish doesn’t see that fly, because it will get shredded. There was also a presentation by George Pearson about the Healing Waters Fly Fishing Project. I will tell you more about this great project soon that involves helping wounded warriors.
When we first arrived I noticed a big banner on the wall … Saltwater Fly Anglers of Delaware Honors Don Avondolio. Don is the founder of the club, and he is retiring from the board. Paul Jiminez and John Lupinetti each gave speeches thanking Don for all he has done getting these misfits into fly fishing. They presented him with a plaque, making him a life time honorary member. Paul read a letter sent by Lefty Kreh, acknowledging Don’s achievements. When Don first moved to Delaware he started the club in hopes of increasing an interest in fly fishing saltwater. He never knew the club would become as popular as it has, and he is very proud. An avid fly angler, he has been published several times, written a book, and many of his flies have been featured in magazines and books. He is well known and respected in the industry of his craft. That is why when Don compliments me on my horrible writing, I take it to heart. It means a great deal to hear another author tell me they like my writing. More than you will ever know, and Don, I thank you for all of your compliments and encouraging words. You sir are a true angler and inspiration to many, I am proud to know you. What you boys don’t know, I filmed your speeches, and I too was kind of hoping this would be in a roast style. These folks have nothing but respect and love for their founder, and they showed that last night with true class.