Fly Tie Saturdays With The Club
Every Saturday the Saltwater Fly Anglers of Delaware Club meets at Lewes Harbor marina to tie flies, tell lies and eat donuts. They gather about nine in the morning rain or shine and set up on tables around the room. Everyone brings their tying gear, and set ups their vices to tie flies. You never know who is going to be there and there is always a good story or two to be heard around the room. The stories over the years have gotten better and better. At any given time there is over a hundred years of fishing knowledge in this room, and they are all willing to teach and share knowledge. They will help you learn to tie flies, even cast a fly rod. They are truly wizards of the long wands. I have been impressed with this club since the day I first walked into these tie meetings.
Last Saturday was not unlike any other Saturday, the boys were set up, the coffee was hot and donuts were a plenty. Every Saturday I attend, I learn something new, or see something different. When I first arrived Steve Halstead was setting up on the table just in front of the door. He had two pieces of wood with him that were once a bamboo cutting board that he cut in half. He had a hole drilled on one end and a lot of small holes on one side with a piece of cork glued to the top. Once he had his vice set up he put the bag on it that catches all the trash from tying. The little pieces of feather, hair and what not that comes off these flies while making them. Fly tying can be messy. The large hole on the board fit the stem to the vice. He placed that above the clamp for the bag and now he had a table or deck to hold his scissors, bobbins and other tying tools. It was really neat to see something that simple used to create a nicely organized tie station. Some of these boys have large wooden boxes or tie stations they have made. You want to hold everything you need sometimes yo have to create what is needed.
After chatting with Steve about his tie station I grabbed a donut and hit the coffee machine because it’s good to be fired up on sugar and caffeine when you are trying to sit still and talk to people. Joe Schmoyer was in his usual spot in the back tying a few shrimp flies. The rest of the of the regulars were at a fly fishing show up north buying more stuff they probably don’t need but have to have for their tying stations. Walt Clark had a picture of a shrimp fly from a magazine in front of him and he was trying to duplicate it. There are many magazines and books with all kinds of fly patterns you can use to make the flies I the picture.
Walt was shooting from the hip with a picture. Sometimes that is all you have to go on, other times all of the steps are laid out for you. He had the body down and the eyes all set up he was just trying to figure out how to get the mono-filament line he was using to make the legs straight. The memory of the line was curling, making curved legs. “Usually I use stick leader but today I decided to try mono-filament, it’s not working like I hoped, but that is all part of it.” a few days later I saw Walt at a fishing class in Long Neck at the elementary school. He showed me the finished product, it looked like he got the legs as straight as he could, and it looked like a shrimp to me. He used sharpies to color the body of the shrimp and to mark the legs with the stripes. it is amazing how lifelike some flies can look. I have seen flies tied that next to the real thing you would have hard time telling the difference, until one moves.
Dan O’Brien, a new club member, was tying a “twitchie” fly. this is a bladed or spoon fly. This fly can be made as heavy as you want and the blades can even be painted with enamels. There are copper blades, diamond patterns, and smooth to choose form as well. The blade is on the curve of the hook below the barb with a bead to hold it in place. he tied the fly section on the hook shaft in yellow. It was an impressive fly. he learned about this particular fly from David Revis from Newark, Delaware. These work great on bass and of course pickerel who always love to hit shiny objects. I love catching pickerel so I will have to check out this fly when I figure out this new rod set up I just got, time to get back into fly fishing. Looking forward to the spring and catching some fish and get a little practice in, you probably don’t want to stand anywhere near me. Worst place to be is in a fly anglers back cast, been there done that, don’t ask.
Last week Chuck Kozel showed us a mantis shrimp or crawfish fly he tied up. It could have passed for either. The color pattern was that of a mantis shrimp but the size was like a crawfish. It was made out of Naugahyde. You know that cheap plastic leather the couches were made of in the seventies. He used some sharpies to add the color pattern and then a clear glue to coat it and protect the colors while give it a nice shine or patina. This is one wild looking fly,and he said he has fished it a couple of times but mostly he enjoys making flies. he like I have yet to really get back into fly fishing.
Mac was making stalked eyes for his crab flies with mono-filament and glass beads. He would put the bead on a small piece of twenty pound mon-filament,then burn the end with a lighter and push the bead into the burned end. That made some killer stalked eyes. The video below shows the process.
Hands down the Saltwater Fly Anglers of Delaware club is the best fishing club in Delaware. If you get the chance check them out on a Saturday sometime until the end of March at Lewes Harbor Marina, or go to a Wednesday meeting, and join the club, you will not be sorry. Even if you don’t fly fish you will learn a great deal and meet a lot of folks that just love to fish. they meet some nights at Cape Henlopen State park and fish the flats. So if you ever see a group of guys fly fishing the flats at Cape Henlopen near the fishing pier, odds are they are club members.