Friday Night (tying) Lights

by Ryan M

After taking advantage of my company’s “Summer Friday” policy of being able to sneak out the door a few hours early on Fridays during the summer, I met up with Jinny and we headed over the Orvis Store in the city.  Rob Ceccarini, the store manager, had given a fun little presentation on something that I’m really eager to try – carp fishing!  I didn’t make the presentation on this particular Friday but had seen the same one a week previous.  It seems that free magazines were given to those who attended this week’s presentation, but not last – what the hell, Rob?

Rob, last week, not giving out magazines, and using a $900 Helios II fly rod as a pointer stick.

Rob, last week, not giving out magazines, and using a $900 Helios II fly rod as a pointer stick.

After harassing Rob for a while, I bought a couple of his preferred carp flies, and the materials needed to replicate them (because no matter how much fly tying material you have, you never have exactly what you need.)  We then headed to Casa Jinny in Brooklyn and were met by Luis, aka El Guía, and got some quality tying in over pizza and beers.

We decided to tie some hoppers, so the first thing I had to do was to coat one of my large turkey feathers with some flex-cement.  This makes it possible to cut it into strips to use as the wing for the hopper.



While the feather was drying, I began to have a go at imitating the first of the two carp patterns that I bought – the Jan’s Draggin:


It didn’t turn out exactly like the store-bought version, I need to figure out a better way to build up the body and get a little more dubbing worked into it to make it as buggy as the store-bought version.  Also, my soft-hackle skills could use some sharpening.  And apparently, so could my photography.  (Time to start thinking about getting an actual camera and not just relying on my phone.)

I wish I’d taken a few more photos of the process, these flies were really fun to tie and not terribly difficult either.


El Guía, concentrating hard…


Me, clearly concentrating just as hard.

All in all I think my flies turned out pretty well:


My Jan’s Draggin left, Orvis’ version right.


The fleet! Carp Ticklers in the rear, Jans Draggins in the middle, and a big juicy hopper leading the charge!

Tying is a hell of a lot of fun.  You definitely don’t save money by tying your own flies, in fact, you probably spend 3-4 times as much on materials (at least when you screw up as many flies as I do) than you would if you were to buy all your flies, but you learn so much more about the different patterns by making them yourself.  A handful of flies that you see only when you go fishing are a lot easier to forget than a handful of ones that you painstakingly tied, cursed at, untied, and then tied again over the course of several hours.

And best of all it’s a great excuse to hang out with people and talk about fishing.

Tight lines, folks.