Fly Tying//My Passion
My first experience with the fly rod was May 30,
1973. The gentelman that put it into my hand was
Roy Rexrode. Roy lived in Franklin which is about
fifty miles upstream from Romney on the South
Branch (trout water).  Roy didn't have a lot to say
but when he spoke it had meaning. Roy and his son
Ken invited me to fish a well known native brook
trout stream near Franklin. It was a beautiful
stream with huge springs pouring from its banks.
Roy fished "old timey" wet flies. The "Peacock
Body and Gray Hackle" was the fly of the day. I
marveled at Roy's smoothness in the stream. He
caught fish all evening and I primarily watched. The
experience never left me and I gained expertise
with the fly rod as the years passed. It wasn't until
years later that I tied my first fly.
The Christmas was 1991: I was not really in the mood for
joyous celebration. You see, my little girl was dying of a
terrible, mostly overlooked disease-Anorexia Nervosa. She
was starving herself to death. The doctors gave her a 50-50
chance. The present that Jackie gave her daddy  was a
Cabela's Fly Tying Kit. It had a vise, bobbin, bodkin and a
few other things. I told her that I loved it but it was she
that I only loved. Jackie recovered and has moved on to
become a Graphics Designer and married a great guy. She
has two sons  and a happy life. A year or two after that
Christmas, I found that little kit buried on my workbench.
I looked at it again and all the memories came back. I
really didn't know anything about all these objects, but I
spent a Saturday figuring them out. I had no idea how to
tie a fly even though I loved to fly fish. I borrowed some thread from my wife and some hair from a fox
squirrel tail and lashed the hair to a plasiic worm hook and hurried to the South Branch. I loaded the leader
with split shot and cast it into the river. On the second or third try I hooked, landed and released a
smallmouth. On my own fly! Needless to say, I was hooked at fly tying and have been ever since. "Thanks
Jackie, I love you".
I have always had the desire to become an artist of some sort. I tried drawing but recognized that my sister got
all those genes. Then came the banjo but after six months of trying to play "John Henry" I gave it up, knowing
it was coming too hard. I have always loved to fish and tying flies seems to blend with that love as well as
satisfying my artistic itch. My nature is that of a
perfectionist and as the years pass; my flies look a lot
better than my first fly pictured above. Not perfect, but
with help from pro tiers like Kent Bartley, the first
person to give me encouragement and subtle hints on
ways to improve, they are getting better. More recently
people like Hans Weilenmann (Netherlands) and Bruce
Salzburg (Wyoming) and many more have helped me to
continuely improve. I have found that fly tiers are a very
friendly and helpful group.
Then there is all the paraphernalia that goes along
with the art. The vise, furs and feathers of all kinds
add to the excitement of fly tying. Many of these
are gathered by my friends and I. Hunting and
trapping are a way of life in the Mountain State.
The artificial materials, that are becoming more
prevalent in fly tying, allows the finished product to
take on striking appearances. Photographing my
flies has also brought me enjoyment. To properly
display my wares to you on this web page has given
me great pleasure. I'll save that topic for another time. What I'm trying to say in my rambling way is that
"Fly Tying" is getting me through my fifties and has become "My Passion".  From my first fly (above) to my
last fly (below), this great field has given me many  pleasures and has allowed me to meet many wonderful
people. If you have a love for fishing, give fly fishing a try. Sooner or later that will lead to fly tying. If you're
interested give me a call or drop me an email. I'll be glad to help.
Photographs by: Carl D. DeFazio