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The Fly Fishing Show – Denver

It was truly an honor to be invited as a tier at the Denver show. It was even a greater honor to tie next to Tim Flagler from Tight Lines Fly Fishing!

First of all, the Denver show is huge! Probably 5 times bigger than the the NJ show. And, it was crowded. I don’t think a minute went by without someone at my table. I talked to countless anglers and tiers – definitely talked more than tied! You hear from all kinds of folks at these shows and hear all kinds of comments. The most memorable comment was from a guy who was admiring my stonefly imitations, especially my stoned mop jigs. After admiring them for a minute, he says, “Too bad we don’t have stoneflies here in Colorado.” What?!?!

Anyway, let’s get back to Tim Flagler. Tim is a true celebrity at the shows, or at least his voice and fingers are famous as that’s about all you see of Tim on his videos. Fortunately, none of the show goers were put off by his appearance – kind of a mash up of The Dude from The Big Lebowski, with Gandalf. In fact, I think most of us excepted this look. Anyway, it’s amazing how many anglers of all skill levels depend on his videos in order to learn and develop as fly anglers.

Check out Tim Flagler’s fly tying videos at tightlinevideo!

His flies are fantastic, but his tying tricks, or “cheats” as he calls them, are really impressive and useful. He also shares some interesting observations about how flies and natural insects behave in the water. You may be surprised and/or disappointed to learn that your nymph flies will drift vertically through the water and that even soft hackle

I think Tim appreciated the fish catching ability of my flies. He took a look at my Stoned Mop Jig, gave a sly smile and joked, “Man, you’re a dirty fisherman.”

Amen to that!

I also was tying in close proximity to one of my favorite tiers – Tom Baltz of Pennsylvania. He ties some incredible parachute flies, and his para-nymph might be the best suggestive dry fly I’ve used. He’s also an excellent guide in high demand. I gotta find a way to get him to take me fishing on one of those challenging PA spring creeks!

I was hoping to garner more interest in my realistic green drake nymphs, but oh well. Apparently some people assumed these bugs were assembled using those realistic bug bodies like the ones from Hemingway’s Fly Tying Materials. But, let me assure you, these are flies I tie with standard tying materials such as pheasant tail and with a little UV flex resin.

In all, it was a great show! I sold a bunch of flies, talked to a bunch of fly guys of all ages and abilities, and picked up some tips from the masters

Tie Fest & My Stoned Mop Jig

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My Stoned Mop Jig was a hit at the show!

Read my article about my Stoned Mop Jig: The Stoned Mop Jig

This is my first time participating in Left Kreh’s Tie Fest, and I’m so glad I did! I’ve never seen so many legendary tiers in such a small space! Within a 5 yard radius of me was Bob Clouser and Chuck Kraft. How many times will I get the chance to sit next to these legends and annoy them with questions and praise as I tie flies? Not many I expect! The truth is that I only had a few minutes to talk to Bob Clouser. His table was right next to mine, but the guy is Bob Clouser so he’s not about to sit quietly at a table and tie flies. He’s doing casting lessons, making rounds talking to people, and just being the legend he is.

I told him how a customer at the show was surprised that I use big Clouser Minnows for river smallmouth, and that I told the customer I’m pretty certain that Bob Clouser first developed the fly for smallies. Bob confirmed what I told the guy, took a look at my  versions of his iconic pattern, looked up at me sternly in the eyes and said plainly, “Those will catch fish.”

Nice! My Clouser Minnows passed the scrutiny of Mr. Clouser himself!

But, it wasn’t my Clouser Minnows that garnered the most attention from the show goers. It was my Stoned Mop Jigs. I knew that most people at the show would be interested in Rockfish (Striped Bass) patterns since the show was in Annapolis, but I stayed true to my trout fishing roots and spent my time tying soft hackle sulphur patterns and Stoned Mop Jigs.

FB0559DB-749B-42EE-BE14-386BB13B330BThe Stoned Mop Jig is a fly I came up with while tying bigger Jiggy Bugs for steelhead. I was about to tie some articulated nymph patterns until I had a genius idea! I could use the notorious mop fly material to create an extended body stonefly.

Read the article about the Stoned Mop Jig: The Stoned Mop Jig

 

The Fly Fishing Show: Edison, NJ

With a fresh oil change and a new EZ Pass account, I was ready for the trek to Edison, NJ where I would spend 3 days tying flies at one of the biggest and best fly fishing shows in the US. The drive was relatively painless – gotta love breezing through those tolls with the EZ Pass! And, I arrived at the convention center early Friday morning with just enough time to set up my table and to prepare for the hoards of passionate anglers wanting to observe the many fly tying styles and techniques on display. I had a blast talking to all kinds of folks about all kinds of fly fishing and fly tying techniques, and it was an awesome opportunity to help people get started tying their own flies.

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My table was situated between 2 of the best fly tiers I have ever seen. To my left was Jason Taylor, a young guy from the Philadelphia area (Fly Eagles Fly!) whose saltwater patterns are truly amazing! Utilizing some of latest saltwater tying techniques, such as Bob Popovics’ hollow tying method, and incorporating his own, original methods of preparing and wrapping materials, Jason creates large saltwater flies that are beautiful and functional.  WhileJason Taylor Fly most of the saltwater guys are playing around with piles of synthetic materials and UV resins, Jason relies mostly on natural bucktail, ostrich, fox, and other furs that move seductively through the water. His patterns contain just the right touch of synthetics to give them the perfect amount of flash, and he does like using Steve Farrar’s synthetic blend ( as do I!), but his flies are mostly natural. When the great Bob Popovics came over to Jason’s table and began asking Jason questions about how to tie like that, I knew I was sitting next to one of the best! I was very impressed to say the least! Check out Jason Taylor’s instagram page: Flyonby

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To my right was Joe Ackourey, a fly tier and guide from NE Pennsylvania. This guy is truly amazing! Essentially born and raised in a fly shop, he started tying Catskill patterns for Orvis back in the 60’s – back when Orvis used real fly fishermen to tie their flies, and they would only accept flies tied to the exact dimensions that these classic dry fly patterns demand. The thing is that Joe is a young guy; well, maybe not as young as Jason, but he’s definitely a young 50. That means he was already tying some of the best patterns when he was like 6 years old! His experience and expertise is obvious when you watch him go to work on the vise. His flies are simple, effective and perfectly tied! Just as impressive as his flies and his fly tying techniques are his knowledge, passion, and enthusiasm.  Whether he was showing people his method for tying comparaduns, demonstrating his nymphing methods, or sharing stories about catching big PA browns, Joe was one of the first tiers each day to get a crowd, and he was the last guy tying flies all 3 nights. I pretty much had to order him to go take a break, get something to eat & drink, and go to the bathroom for crying out loud! They poor guy was starting to squirm like a 10 year old holding in his pee! Oh yeah, Joe also makes the best natural fur dubbing blends I have ever seen!

Anyway, Joe is a true gem. He’s everything you want in a guide, his flies are an inspiration, and it was a true honor to tie next to him. Check out his website: Joe Ackourey Fly Fishing Adventures 

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This is my first year getting involved in the shows, and I am having a blast. I don’t have the celebrity tier status like some of these other guys, but I always seemed to have someone at my table interested in learning how to tie or wanting to buy my flies. I thought that my sulphur Klinkhammer patterns would draw the most attention, but I was wrong. People were drawn to my table by the Game Changers I had on display. I know that the game changer catches fish, but what I really learned at the show is that game changers catch a lot of

img_2871fishermen! This large baitfish pattern developed by Blane Chocklett is probably the hottest pattern of the last 2 years, and everyone loves checking them out. More than a couple people told me that my game changers were the best ones they saw at the show, so that’s cool! Clearly, they didn’t see Jason’s feather game changers; those things kick butt! Most tiers at the shows tie big colorful saltwater and bass patterns, and most of the trout guys tie larger, delicate and/or realistic patterns, which I do not think are nearly as effective at catching fish as the smaller, more impressionistic patterns that I tie.  Another awesome fly is one that Joe ties – a little, impressionistic hare’s ear pattern that I’m sure slays trout everywhere! My jiggy bugs are also true fish catchers, and a number of people at the show wanted to get their hands on my awesome little nymph patterns.

People at the show also noticed that I have no problem tying these patterns on a size 20 jig hook. One person who took notice of my little jiggy bugs was Misako Ishimura, captain of Japan’s national fly fishing team and master Tenkara angler.

img_0761She appreciated my passion for tenkara and really liked my sakasa kebari patterns, which are designed for tenkara fishing. But, she loved my jiggy bugs and ordered a dozen in size 18 and size 20. I’m sure these will be as effective for her and Team Japan as they are for me!

I probably tied about 30 flies over the course of 3 days, but I expected to tie many more. It was tough to tie when I always seemed to be getting into discussions with fellow fly guys or when I caught myself staring at the artful handiwork of Jason Taylor and Joe Ackourey tying to my left and right.

I really had a great time, and I can’t wait for Tie Fest on February 24-25 and for The Fly Fishing Show in Lancaster March 3-4. Thanks to Ben Furimsky for accepting me to the Fly Fishing Show and thanks to all the other tiers who made me feel right at home and who offered to help in any way they could. I need to give a huge shout out to Safet Nikocevic who ties amazing, realistic nymph patterns. When I used to come to the shows as a customer, I always stopped at his table, and Safet always gave me great advice on tying nymphs. He let me use one of his bobbins designed for smaller flies for a majority of Sunday’s show, and I can’t thank him enough. He’s a great guy, and an incredible tier.safet If you ever want to truly match the hatch with realistic nymph patterns, he is definitely your go-to guy.

See ya’ at the shows! – Adam Wilner

 

Fly Fishing / Fly Tying Shows: 2017-2018

iFTS-300x271The International Fly Tying Symposium was on November 11-12 in Lancaster, PA. It was a blast! I was fortunate enough to tie next to Gordy Chesney who artfully creates some of the most beautiful Atlantic Salmon patterns i have ever seen!

I spent most of my time tying flies that I had lost over the course of the fall – mainly Jiggy Bugs & Green Weenies. And, I tied a bunch of size 22 midge and baetis patterns to get ready for the winter season. Getting tired of tying the small stuff, I also tied a handful of my weedless smallie streamers tied on an Ahrex worm hook (PR380). Of course I also tied up a few Sakasa Kebari flies for tenkara fishing.

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This year I will be demonstrating at The Fly Fishing Show in Edison, NJ Friday 1/26-1/28 and then again in Lancaster 3/4 – 3/5. Most likely I’ll be focusing on small parachute patterns, tenkara flies and jig nymphs.

On February 24 & 25 I will be in Annapolis demonstrating at Lefty Ktie fest logoreh’s Tie Fest. Apparently I’m tying next to Bob Popovics. I’m psyched to talk to him about modifying his flex flye for all the summer smallie fishing I do on the Potomac and Patuxent rivers.

 

Edison Fly Fishing Show: 1/26-1/28 Link to Fly Fishing Show in Edison

Tie Fest: 2/24 – 2/25 Link to Baltimore Sun article about Tie fest

Lancaster Fly Fishing Show: 3/4 – 3/5 Link to Fly Fishing Show in Lancaster