In and Around the First Catskill Fly Tyer's Rendezvous

By Mike Hogue

Last weekend we had the first ( of which I hope will become an annual event ) Catskill Fly Tyer's Guild, Fly Tyer's Rendezvous. Tyers came from across the northeast for a one day tying event. We had tyers from NY, CT, VT, PA, NJ, MD. Some of our guests travelled from as far as Japan, Indiana and Michigan to attend the show! ( Okay, these folks were in town to do some fishing but just the same I think these were the furthest away guests we had. )

Some of the highlights were Justin Krul's hummingbird fly, in which Justin made a very nice likeness of a hummingbird which he claims to be a great bass fly. Tristin Hall brought some nice bug sculptures he made out of silverware. I was sucker for the ant which matches the really ugly green metal hopper I have on my desk. I asked Tristin if his school had any spoons left after he got done making the crawdad, he just grinned from ear to ear. ( I should mention that Tristin is one of our younger members that is in high school. So if his school is missing spoons on chocolate pudding day I suspect we all know who to call. )

Ed Engelman managed to surprise us again with his hubcap lamp which had a real hubcap he used as a display for his flies. Ed also brought along his newest creation the bowling ball vise which uses you guessed it a bowling ball for the pedestal base. I am not sure what is next but I can't wait.

We had several noted tyers present which was great fun. Ralph Graves made some very nice classic Catskill patterns and they were very well done. Dave Brandt showed how to tie flies without a vise as Lee Wulff showed him how to do. Poul Jorgenson was on hand to show some salmon flies and to trade some stories. I also had the chance to visit with both Leon Chandler and Eric Leiser which came for the day to visit with many of the folks on hand. Author Roger Mernard was there to sign copies of his new book, "My Side of the River, Reflections of a Catskill Fly Fisherman". Bob Petti and Chris Del Plato from the Global Fly Fisher also came to tie flies and answer questions about the web site.

Bill Skilton and Frank Thompson came up from Pa and Md. Bill showed off his many new patterns and newest materials. Bill was also there to sign copies of his new book, " My Patterns, Materials and Techniques " which features all of Bill's flies in it. Frank told stories about some of his other fishing pals which have included Jimmy Carter and Vince Marinaro. Wow! All in all it was great fun for both those tying and for those attending. Best of all was the price.......FREE! Yeap. I talked the whole bunch into coming out for the day.

Thanks go out to all the tyers that attended. Judy DV Smith put in a ton of time both organizing, recruiting and planning. Without her help I don't think we could have done this. Hank Rope ( our leader ) also put in much time in helping to keep things running and in planning the event. Allan Podell also helped a great deal in asking folks to attend and in promoting the event.

I'd also like to thank Mark Romero for spending the time to help set up, getting the room together and then taking everything down again. Special thanks to all of the folks at the Rockland House for letting us use their place and take it over for the day. Also thanks to all of the members which keep track of the Guild booth, helped to set up and take down. I think that about covers it.......Opps. My wife, Laura, thanks for coming and helping also! We actually did manage to fish on the Beaverkill and the Willowemoc.

We did collect flies from all the tyers. I will be taking pictures of the flies for my web site some time in the future and posting those flies on my page. All of the flies will eventually end up in a shadow box which we will display and possibly raffle or sell off at some point in the future. The Guild is a little uncertain what the plans for the box are, when we have something more definite, we will be letting you know.


I see that my box of lost maps brought in $150 for my old club the Hawkeye Fly Fishing Association. Thanks to Walt Stidwell of Ames for making the purchase. The money when to a good cause and I hope Walt finds the material useful, please don't blame me if it wasn't up to the billing, I was simply cleaning house. I am not sure what I can sell next year, maybe I can buy that stupid chicken of McCough's and send it to the landfill for a final resting. For those not in the loop, my old club has a chartreuse chicken award which is sort of a white elephant prize. It is actually an olive dyed stuffed chicken that has a very unusual expression to his face. In any case it is ugly and you are not missing anything.


Fishing Reports:

I have gotten some reports that Hendricksons are starting to come off. As far as I can tell this is spotty at best right now. The Catskill rivers are still about 50 some degrees and still it is early for this hatch. Water temps should go up this weekend with the warm weather and some action might start. I would try smaller water and creeks first because it is likely to warm up soonest. Also the smaller streams are not very brushy right now and it is a good time to hit those places which turn into a jungle in a month. I would also look for a lot of caddis about 11am-3pm . We hit a really heavy hatch about 4 days ago but not single fish acted like it mattered! Imagine that!

Some rains have colored a few of the streamers, in a pinch try yellow. They see it better, and big bushy dries are sometimes just the ticket to get the fish to react.


New Stuff:

Baby Elk ( AKA Yearling Elk): This is fine short elk which is ideal for caddis, comparaduns. Nice short hair with good tips. Premo patch , ex-large; $8.50

Porcupine Quills: This is a hot item which can be used for extended bodies for large flies. Nice texture, choose from bleached, dyed gray, olive, black or orange. $1.50 a pack.

Porcupine Hair: Fine textured hair used for wrapping as a body. Natural only; $2.50 a pack.

Bleached Beaver Patch: Giant beaver patch, perfect for cahills and as a cream colored dubbing. Long fine fibers. $2.50/patch

Bleached Muskrat: Somewhat finer texture than beaver, a bid more brown in the tips. Useful for Hendrickson Invaria hatches. $2.50/patch

Badger Patch: Cream with brown, the tips are often used in nymphs, the guard hairs are stacked as a wing. $1.00 a patch.

Electra Holographic Braid. Ouch! This one is loud, about 1/4" or so wide. Fine braided holographic stuff made into a flat braid. Wind as a streamer body or use in flashbacks. Colors: gold, silver, pearl, copper, black, purple. Very cool and super new! You will be hearing a lot about this one! Elsewhere spend up to $5 a pack for this! $2.50 a card.

Lazer Flash: Fine 1/100 of an inch very highly reflective stuff which has a prism effect. Each strand is over 24' long and can be used for trout, bass, steelhead or saltwater flies. Featured in the latest issue of Fly Fisherman in Sanchez's new stuff pages. $4.00

Mirror Flash: 1/100" wide, very narrow, prism material, transparent, similar to Mirage, much finer. Will change colors in different colors of light, 24" long! Use for any fly or streamer or as a rib. Colors: Orange, Chartreuse, Olive or Pearl. $4.50 a pack.

T-base: I get a bunch of questions about this. Best calls turkey flats t-base, why I have no idea, I suppose it sounds like free-base or some such thing. In any case I have T-Base or as I like to call them Turkey Flats. Use them for thorax duns, spinners or as a parachute post. Colors; Tan, dark Dun, Light Dun and White. $1.50 each

Micro Flecked Turkey Flats: Hand selected , favored by Harrop for use in many of his flies. Each is hand marketed to create a mottled effect. Choose from wooduck, white, light dun, dark dun, olive. $2.50 a pack.

Arctic Fox Masks: Contains entire mask dyed several colors. Blue Dun, Black, Purple, Red, Natural Silver/Black ( Salt & Pepper colors), Blue and Hot Pink. $2.50 each

Wasatch Tools New Cocobolla Stackers: Very nice, solid cocobolla wood with a brass coin for weight. Sizes: small, medium and large. $10 for the small and $12 for the other sizes. Also: Wasatch tools new bobbins. Brass with cocobolla insert and steel frames. Stout or Standard each has a ceramic tip. $15 for either style. Wasatch's new dubbing tools are cool! Shepherd's crook or Bird style tool have cocobolla with brass handles. Neat and $15 each.

Bill Skilton's new book is the best I have seen in ages! Wow! If you are looking for cutting edge trout flies and bass stuff, don't miss this one. Bill Skilton has been an Orvis contract tyer for years and his early mentors are no less than fishing legends like Vince Marinaro and Ed Koch. My Patterns, Materials and Techniques by Bill Skilton: Contains 28 step by step color fly patterns with over 250 color photos to describe how to make Bill's flies using his foam materials. Very innovative. $29.95 Spiral Bound

New Stuff from Bill used in making his patterns:

Cress Bug Yarn: Used to make Bill's cress bug. Olive or tan. $1.75

Foam Inch Worm Bodies: Small 3/32 foam in chartreuse to make the famous PA inch worm. $2.50

Hard Shell Strechy Foam: Black hard shell foam that streches! New material which changes sizes. 3" x 6" sheet. $2.00

Maribou Chenille: Very soft chenille which gives you a marabou effect when wrapped. Use for tails or extended body nymphs. Makes cool leeches too. Olive, Black, Brown, Claret, Bronze Olive. Laura loves this for making the " Not Your Mama's Wooly Bugger". $1.50

Nymph Gill Yarn: Used to make bellies of nymphs, nymph gills or on stoneflies and crawdads. Beige or Pale Olive: $1.50

Flyfisher's Guide to New York by Eric Newman. From the fabled Beaverkill and Willowemoc and Delaware rivers in the Catskills and the great fly fishing waters of the Adirondacks to the outstanding fly fishing in the Great Lakes, Eric Newman covers all of the many fishing opportunities in the great state of New York. 130 maps, hatch charts. $26.95 PB


As usual if you want to be deleted from this list for any reason, let me know. Hope you enjoyed this! Contact: Mike Hogue, Badger Creek Fly Tying, 1408 Hanshaw Road, Ithaca, NY 14850. 607-266-0736. Email:, Web Site: