The Art of the Fly



Tying flies is a somewhat intrinsic element of the fishing process. It’s a decision-making process not dissimilar to crafting a work of art or piece of design.

You consider your user or client and establish their core values – what are they going to want from this product? What must you ensure that you include? What features must simply not be omitted?

A good friend and fisherman once described a salmon as ‘humanistically inquisitive’ to me. He questioned: “if you saw something intriguing dance in front of your face, or flash across your periphery, but you had no limbs, how would you engage with that stimuli?”

The answer to me seemed so simple – you would, of course, bite at it.

Thus, the almost romantic concept of not simply luring in a fish, but rather seducing them toward a product of such beauty and intrigue completely floored me. Not merely that a fish could experience intrigue, but more that I had the chance of playing my part in that enticing. As with the creation of a piece of sculpture, the maker has to establish what they want the work to say, the different layerings of texture and form, the introduction of colour and how those colours may function in harmony to satisfy the overall aesthetic. Now, this entrusts one with a multitude of different options – yet, luckily for me, there have been some immense fly-tyers (Megan Boyd is certainly one to recognise) who have already tried, tested and established beautiful formula’s for creating the perfect fly.

The above is a Blue Elver, a remarkable beauty of a fly, predominantly structured around the feathers of a┬áVulturine Guineafowl and a Junglecock cape (that’s the small black and orange feather in the centre).

As with any customer, buyer or spectator, the recipient will cease to be impressed and engaged if the craftsmanship of the piece is inaccurate and shoddy.

Ergo, you only catch a fish on a well-tied fly.