Collecting Fly Tyer's Flies
By Mike Hogue
One of the joys of fly tying often is some of the other things which sort evolve from the sport and hobby. In fly tying being a pack rat is almost a given and over the many years I have been tying and attending sport shows, I developed a new sort of sub hobby, collecting flies. I had forgotten that I did this more or less until I put together a holiday gift for my wife. Some years ago, I meet Mary Dette and I asked her to tie some collectable flies up for me. I had to wait several months for those and when I got them I jealously guarded them. For about 2-3 years. I kept promising Barry Mills with Sawdust and Stiches that I would bring him the flies for him to mount. At the NJ show in November I finally remembered to bring the flies, a few weeks later in the mail I recieved a beautiful shadow box with Mary's flies nicely mounted. I remembered how much I liked collecting these. Looking at the flies reminds me of the person, place or event and that becomes special. More than anything it brings back some fond memories of meeting the tier, exchanging letters or even a few calls.
I am going to write a bit in this newsletter about how to start collecting, some tips on shadow boxes and mounting and such. First off, I am not one of those really serious collectors. I am in fact pretty cheap. I don't much care for buying some really expensive stuff just to say that I own it. I have been shown some pretty impressive stuff that makes me catch my breath but for the most part I am pretty conservative when comes to buying these sorts of things. For example I had to step hard on my toes to keep from buying a handful of Steenrod light cahills. ( Roy Steenrod was a Catskill tyer and inventor of the light cahill and the Hendrickson dry fly. ) I had about a dozen in my hand once with a value of about $100/each. I also bit my tongue at an auction to keep from bidding on a Poul Jorgenson married wing salmon fly after it got priced out of my league. I now wish I would have bought that.
First off, I think that tyers should be paid for flies that are collected. If a fly is offered to me, I usually swap one back or trade for something. I also don't really believe in dickering over a price. If an artist feels that is work is worth "x" either I take or leave it. If it is something I am interested in, that I like I buy it. Some stuff is too rich for my blood. I also don't collect antique things which are often very high priced, that is something that is not affordable to me. I could kick myself for avoiding a few of these like stuff from Jennings, Defoe, Cross and such. Bringing home some of these what put me in the serious dog house with the boss.
To begin collecting, I swap or trade stuff. Swap a neck or book or reel or even a rod for an item. If I see something I like, I will trade in a heart beat. Also take a hunch on some newer tyers and they may surprise you. For example, I have deer hair bugs from Chris Helms and Mike George. Mike won the Mustad tying contest for deer hair this year and Chris won the Bus Buzick award this summer through the FFF as outstanding tyer. I had fun collecting those and meeting those fellows. I also collected them before they won any of that stuff.
I often meet tyers at shows, I read about people and see them various places or I often come in contact with them through the internet, web sites or often as customers. If I am given some flies, I try to respond by swapping some stuff back. I traded Floyd Franke a partridge skin and I have swapped other stuff. Sometimes I buy some flies to support a tyer that is travelling also. I tend to collect flies from domestic tyers and folks that are popular and well known today. Down the road some tyers may become more famous or well known.
When you do get nice flies there are several ways to mount them. The easiest is a Riker or a mineral box. These are cotton lined black leather cases with glas covers, you lay the fly inside and then pin the cover shut. Some inventive types discovered baseball card plastic cases to mount flies in. These boxes are both best for flies that are flat like salmon flies. Shadow boxes are ideal to mount flies in. You can buy shadow boxes at craft stores like Michaels or AC Moore. I watch the ads and sometimes get them at 50% off.
One usual method to mount flies is to use clear plastic floral sticks, florists use these to arrange flowers with. You can cut and glue the sticks and then attach flies with hot melt glue. I use matt board and mount flies to them. I hand ink a label or a name in. If there is a card I might mount that in the back or as part of the display.
You can also buy test tube corks and push flies into those. Cork can be found at science supply firms like Ward's. I cut small corks and attach flies to those. You can mount a picture in a set of flies for example. I did a shadow box with some cut outs of fish. I mounted the picture to foam core board and then glued that into the box. You can use small dome displays also. The domes are used for watch displays and they make a nice 3 d display. I have seen displays made out of jewel boxes and other items as well.
For example, Brad Wilson made me a set of wasps with a stick and a small nest in a dome. Fishy Fullum uses a brass and glass small jewel box which is lined with a stick and epoxy. Lance Zook makes a complete di-a-rama out of epoxy and a plastic car model box. His set shows the entire life cycle of the damsel ( which he never would sell to me after repeated tries to buy it.) If you can't figure out how to matt and display the fly, Barry Mills at Sawdust and Stiches does a nice job.
The coolest displays are the Darwin Atkin's shadow boxes. I never could afford one of those. There is a whole history of these boxes along with the start of the Phozen Phatoms. ( If you ever see Larry Duckwall ask him about that.) Darwin did the boxes for the FFF to raise money. I think he sold several thousand dollars worth of them over the years. The most expensive one I ever seen was Darwin's collection of Buzsick award winners, it had flies from each winner and was in a thick framed box, it sold at auction for $10,000, this box is in the FFF museum in Livingston, MT. It is very impressive, if you get to MT be sure to see this, it alone is worth the trip to the museum.
Well there you go, have fun collecting flies. Be sure you get a signed card and have some fun meeting different tyers. You might be surprised who's flies you have over time. You might meet a bunch of new folks at shows this winter don't be afraid to start collecting but also be sure that people are paid for their work. I like to be paid and I suspect you like to as well.
Shows: I will again be doing some shows this winter. Please note: As of today, I am planning on NOT going to the Danbury show and College Park this year. Sorry I can't make this year due to some scheduling issues like my new job.
Here are shows I am going to:
The Fly Fishing Show, The Royal Plaza Trade Center Marlboro, MA,. Jan 21, 22, 23, 2005. This is the first time I have done this show. Marlboro is the largest fly fishing show in the Boston area. Speakers include: Barry and Cathy Beck, Jack Gartside, Fishy Fullum, Mike Martinek, Ed Mitchell, Joe Humphreys. Very large show with lots of great speakers and demos. I will have a special promo with Reagl Engineering at this show. For more info, click on: www.flyfishingshow.com
The Fly Fishing Show, Garden State Exhibit Center, Somerset, NJ, Jan 28, 29, 30, 2005. The world's largest fly fishing only show. Don't miss this one! My partner at this show will again be Dean Childs from Wasatch Custom Angling and I will also give my annual, "What's New in Fly Tying." talk. Special show promo with Mustad Hooks and Regal Engineering. Speakers include: AK Best, Ed Engle, Bob Jacklin, Simon Gawesworth, Roman Moser, Dick Talleur and many more. www.flyfishingshow.com
The Annual HFFA Meeting and Fly Fishing Show: February 18-20, 2005, Altoona, IA. I will be one of the guest speakers at the annual Hawkeye Fly Fishing Association's Annual Meeting. My partner in crime for the show is none other than Jack Gartside and Kelly Gallop will be the bonus speaker. I will be giving talks on Fly Fishing in the Finger Lakes of New York, The Flies, Fly Tyers and Fly Fishers of the Catskills, some tying demos and talks on hooks and hackle. For more info click on : www.hawkeyeflyfishing.com
The Fly Fishing Show, Charlotte Convention Center, Charlotte, NC, Feb 26, 27, 2005. Speakers include: David Boyle, Dave Brandt, Mac Brown, Jim Casada,Jamie Dickinson and Fishy Fullum. This is one of my favorite shows and I will again get a chance to see my family, with a little luck maybe my Mom and Dad will show up again. For more info click on: www.flyfishingshow.com
Cabin Fever, Penn West Trout Unlimited, Pittsburgh, PA, March 5, 2005. This is a smaller one day show I did last year. When I get more info on the location, times and speakers I will post the info. Last year, this was a great show.
The Fly Fair, Ft. Washington, PA, March 12-13, 2005. This is the second year for this show. Speakers and programs to be announced. Last year this was a great show and the only show in the Philadelphia area. For more info, click on: www.flyfishingshow.com
The Catskill Fly Tyer's Guild Fly Tyer's Rendezvous, April 16, Rockland House, Roscoe, NY, 10-3pm. This is the 4th year for this great event. Tyers from across the NE will gather for a one day event that is free and open to the public. Special guests include: Fishy Fullum, Dick Talluer, Joh Likaks and Jack Pangburn. Over 40 tyers expected to come, we will have a mix of the known, unknown and unexpected tyers present at this show. TOTALLY FREE!
Collectable Flies : All flies designed by Mike Hogue, mounting done be me also.
Shadow box: Oak or barn wood/dyed olive. Set of 3 flies. Maynard Reese pictures, scanned and mounted. Brown, Rainbow or landlocked salmon. $75 each. Back has signed card. Complete set of 4: $300
Dome Flies: Mounted fly in glass dome. Oak base with small glass cover. Choose from sculpin or crayfish. $35 each or get 2 for $60.
Mount yer own. Mount yer own flies, 5 original patterns with signed card. My new card features a special design made by Fishy Fullum with offset raised press letter on linen stock paper. Take fishin or swap with a buddy. Very rare since I don't make many to sell. One fly is the soon to be released " Go To Flies" by Tony Lolli and was in his column in a VT newspaper. $15 for a set of 5. Regular flies made by Dumpqua are sold for at least $2.50 now. \
Golden Plover Pelts. I haven't had these for 5 years. New shippment. Full pelt. Very rare , prime skins. Use for soft hackle flies. Wings/head/body/tail. Due the sinking dollar vs the pound, these are $50.00
Snipe: Got some of these also. Very rare also. Use for snipe and purple. Full skin/ $35.00., price up to our dollar in the tank.
Kingfishers: Flo blue feathers used on salmon flies. I haven't had any of these for 2 years now. $25.00 each
Micro spawn yarn: Narrow egg yarn. Use for sucker spawn type flies. Colors: Chartreuse, Cheese, Off-white, Orange Roe. Very popular for sucker spawn.......wrap 2-3 strands in and lash down. That's about it. Dangerous for steelhead and winter browns. $1.75 each
Hi_Vis( AKA krinkle zelon). Use this for sparkle duns, x caddis , spinners, parapost. Colors: Light dun, Dark Dun, Wooduck/tan, white. $3.00 each.
Bill's Tiger Stripe Beetle Material. 3 stripe of black-color-black. Very visable beetles. Use for one the hottest flies sold out West. Colors: Black/Orange, Black/Green, Black/Orange. $2.50 a pack.
Ice Yarn: Twisted mylar ( nope this is one of those hot New Year's Eve acts from the city). Twisted fiber can be split into wings. Colors: Black, Tan, Olive, Golden Olive, Orange, Purple. $2.50
Springo Whip Finisher: Terra tool's latest. Spring flex head allows extra flex in whip finish. Matarelli design. Very nice. $7.50
Terra Bodkin w/base. Brushed aluminum base, stick bodkin in and twist, removes gunk. $9.00
EZ Thread Bobbin: Remake of old design from original Dorrin design. Slip in thread, no threaders and no mess. $15.00
Terra Bent Handle scissors: Handle bent 10-15 degrees for extra clearance. Fine tip with arrow points and gold handles. Bargin prices $6.00.
New colors pheasant tails: Bleached or dyed black. The bleached turns ginger, use for a ginger colored p-tail. Black has green mixed with some blue to it. Very cool. Use both for hot styled Teeny nymphs. $4.50 full clump.
Caribou: Makes the best darn mice around. Nice patches: $2.50
It's Back: the once popular Woodstock fly foam. Use for making gurglers, foam backed bugs and more. Colors: Clown Barf ( looks like one of the guys was partying way late), Plywood ( tan w/brown woodgrain), Plywood on Acid: Purple/Blue and Dark Blue. Makes some sick looking damsels. $1.50
More Neat Stuff:
Jumbo extra large Saltwater Holographic Flashabou: Wide strips, use for pike bugs, bodies or strips. All material is krinkled for scale effect. Purple Holographic, Silver Holographic and Pearl Krinkled. $2.50
Mike's Body Fibers: Zelon woven on one side of a yarn. About 1/2" long. Use for making minnows, use as a hackle sub. Unlimited uses. Gold, Gray, Lime, Black, Hot Pink, White, Cream, Purple, Hot Orange. $1.50 each or all of them for $9.00
I always stock the hottest fly boxes, this year is no exception:
Daiwa Jelly Gasket box: 3 windows with gaskets, bottom is a jelly mint green with gray insert. Very cool. 3 compartment or 6 compartment. $13.50
Water baby: Meiho box with a gasket and foam insert. Inserts pop out. Olive with place for a neck cord. $16.50
Meiho Pizza Box: 6 compartment box. Use for flies, eyes, and such. Has individual doors that pop open. Off white clear plastic: $5.00
Folding box: Similar to the hot green Meiho boxes I had last year. Hinged in the middle and folds open. Top folds and locks, with individual doors that open. About 4" by 8" and 1" or so thick. $7.50
Turtle Box: Box splits and folds open w/ door locking latch. Back is green and has turtle shell marks. Green with gray windows. Great for the kids. $6.00
Screw up at the factory: Dyed Coq De Leon Hens: Very nice soft hackle stuff. They dye job was kind of not quite right so I got a deal. Olive dark, brown dark and bright yellow. Was $12 each, now 20% off/ $10 each
Bag o dyed bucktail pieces: Pieces of bucktail. Use for clousers, streamers or saltwater. Big bag. $4.00 contains many colors: olive, yellow, blue, red, chartreuse ect.
Deer face; I have carried this everywhere/ was $20 now $10. use for compara duns and small deer wing flies. Full face, looks like a pizza.
Bag o deer hair: Mixed piece of deer, elk, moose. $4.00
Teal Green single strand floss. Danville screwed up and sent wrong color. Not really hunter green. More like teal. WAS $1.00, Now $.50 or get 2 for a $1.00
That's it for now. Mike. As usual, if you wish to be deleted for any reason, let me know.
For more Info Contact:
Mike Hogue / Badger Creek Fly Tying / 622 West Dryden Road, Freeville, NY 13068