Speaking of fly tying, this is the time of year that I spend a good share of my time focusing on tying and filling my fly boxes so that I am ready to go next time I am on some water and the weather cooperates with me. I, usually, will take some time to "organize" my fly tying bench. Meaning, putting everything back in it's original spot so that I can start to mess it all up again as I do, inevitably, when I set down for a Winter's tying season. I have the usual list of fly patterns that I want to tie up that I fish regularly. I, also, have a few new patterns picked out that I want to try. Maybe they will find a way to become part of my regular stock in my fly boxes. Besides watching videos about fly tying, there are also many fly shops in Northern Colorado that offer free winter tying demonstrations with some of the areas well know fly tyers. These sessions are a lot of fun and there is so much to learn if the fly fisher wants to learn about new patterns or what patterns are the most effective in the area. If you don't tie flies, but would like to learn, the shops also offer fly tying classes for beginners for a reasonable fee. Check out the shops in your area. There is a wealth of information to gain if you take advantage of it.
A number of years ago, I offered a beginning fly tying class through my local fly fishing club. I would like to share a scenario that happened on one of those class nights. I hope you will enjoy this little story. Winter tying season always brings back this memory. I regard it as the "Coming of the Fly Tying Season." Let me introduce you to "The Nasty Nylon Nymph".
I know I still chuckle every time my memory drifts back to the moment in time.
Before I stray off subject, I had better focus on the story I am trying to tell here. One of the things that a die-hard fly fisherman often times does is to learn to tie his own fly for casting to his favorite fish. Over time I became fairly decent at tying my own flies. Enough so that I ended up teaching fly tying at schools and various public settings. This post is about a “funny” incident that occurred one night while teaching fly tying at the local high school. I know your waiting to find out what “Nasty Nylons” has got to do with tying flies and teaching others to tie flies. Well, I am about to tell you.
Let’s first address the nylons. You know those things are everywhere when not being worn by your wife or favorite lady friend. They cling to everything in the laundry if you are not careful. Their rolled up in your gym socks, their knotted around your pants legs, there everywhere except nicely laid out for the next time my wife wants to wear a pair. Now comes my calamity!
I was, once again, teaching fly tying to a group of adults, both male and female at the local high school. These were beginning fly tying students so I had some flexibility with this calamity and I am not sure they ever really caught it at the moment how embarrassed I was.
We were going to tie a basic nymph pattern that night. Students gathered around my desk so as to see the demonstration of what they then would try to duplicate back at their desks in the classroom. In order, the hook was placed in the position in the vise jaws so as to be held sturdy while tying other materials on to the hook. My thread was attached to the hook and the tail material added. Now I was ready for the body material that was supposed to be some pheasant tail fibers. However, as I started to reach into my fly tying box for the pheasant tail fibers, there I saw it!
One of my wife’s nylons coming out the sleeve of my shirt near my tying hand. Oh, No! To this day I still don’t how the brain works and how it works so quickly. In a heart beat, and, without hesitating for a moment, I pulled the nylon from my shirt sleeve and cut a rectangular piece from it with my scissors. I think the students were shocked, but, they looked on anxious to see what I was going to do next. I attached the “nylon strip” to the back of the hook with my thread. I was going to use it to make the body of my fly with. Knowing that nylon is super fragile (you know runs, runs, runs), I knew that I would have to use some wire to reinforce the body of the fly or it would fall apart before it ever hit the water. Thankfully I had intended on using some fine copper wire that evening anyway. So I tied some on to the back of the hook. I proceeded very carefully to wind the “nasty nylon” around the hook up towards the eye of the hook and then reverse wrapped the copper wire so as to reinforce the nylon body material.
In short order, I had a fly body of reinforced nylon from my wife and some basic dubbing wrapped around the front of the hook at the eye. Simple little pattern and easy to tie. Besides I had lots of nylon stocking left for my students to cut up and use that evening as they practiced tying their own “Nasty Nylon Nymph”. Believe it or not, I hear they even fished this fly on our local river and landed some trout with it. It became a common request as I taught other classes to show other how to tie the nylon nymph. I used it to break the ice at several tying classes to create a little humor and help new fly tying students relax.
Fly tying fun is what you make of it!