©2010 Joshua Stark
I haven't tied flies in a long time.
I have a great setup: a perfectly functional kitchen spice desk, a good vice, enough materials for what I need, and enough hooks. Heck, my wife even let me put it all in the living room (don't you wish your girlfriend was swass like her?). But, until this week, I hadn't tied a fly in over two years, maybe even three.
Sometimes, life gets you going on other things, and the things you'd once felt so important doing get put aside. For me, tying was the victim of moving, getting laid off, family loss, but also new happy things like raising my (now) three-year-old, raising ducks for the first time, hunting ducks a lot more, and blogging.
But, as any fly fisherman who has trimmed every Chrismas tree and willow along their favorite stream knows, at some point you open your fly box and grimace. All that remains are those flies you bought because the guy at the shop said they were all hitting that new flashy fly that more closely resembles an 80's girl's lip gloss than any living thing, and flies you tied, spent maybe an hour on, and didn't have the heart to just cut all that lumpy, fluffy crap off and start over.
I'm not original when I say that every cast in fly fishing is like a prayer, and do you really want to pray with profanity? So, you beg flies from your pal on the river that day (usually my wife), and you make a mental note that you need to tie more flies (especially because you supply your pal, and you don't want to ruin your own fishing).
Also, I enjoy tying flies, and hunting and raising ducks have provided me with some great, beautiful feathers. But, having been out of practice so long, I was concerned with what I would come up with, and so I didn't start with a cinnamon teal-and-snipe salmon fly, but instead broke out my book, and went back to basics. I'm glad I did, not because I was so bad, but because it provided a refresher for the techniques and routines.
I'm also happy to report that I still enjoy it. It's a good, simple, calm hobby that lets me still interact with family, and when it's done right, we get to eat fish.
Wood and water and moving earth.
4 months ago