Wet Elk by Mark Usyk
When I started tying I began with nothing but a few different colors of marabou and some black hackles. But if you tie your own flies then you already know where this is going so we’ll just skip ahead. Once you start tying you never look at anything the same again. And more importantly, you’re always looking. And your friends know it too. And your wife.
Tying Stonefly Looking Things by Mark Usyk
Few words have the impact when spoken that steelhead does. See? You just felt something when you read it. Steelhead. Don’t believe me? Do you remember the scene in Stand by Me, (if you don’t know the movie then stop reading. Just stop. You’re probably too young to have seen it, because everyone else in the world that’s old enough has. Find it, watch it, and then come back to this later) the scene where Ace says to Eyeball and Charlie “You guys are like my grandmother having a conniption fit. I don't see your problem. We brought a whole bunch of fishing gear, and if a cop asks us what we're doing here, we're just here to take a couple steelhead out of the river, and look what we found!” That one line set a tone of extreme maturity and coolness at that moment in the film. Suddenly, a punk, a thug named Ace became a very cool guy for a few seconds. It was a line that would have never worked, never been so powerful had steelhead been replaced by bass, or even trout. Because of the use of steelhead, the line was pure Hollywood gold. I’ve never gone for steelhead, always avoided it because of people, but even I recognize the power in the emotions the name evokes. There’s only one other word in fly fishing that comes close to grabbing the attention of fly anglers by tender regions and making their eyebrows raise, their heads tilt to one side or the other like a dog, listening to the conversation with a feeling of importance. It also happens to be connected to steelhead…Stonefly.
Beer and Bugs by Mark Usyk
I’ll never admit defeat because of the seasons or the weather. But I will concede to the fact that come fall, the fishing does slow down a bit up here. It’s a fact of life living in the north east. We all deal with it in our own personal ways, but the one way most of us use the time to take our minds off the details that the sun has gone down before we even eat dinner and that we aren’t on the water is to tie flies. You might tie during the slow fishing season to refill fly boxes that slowly gained empty spaces during the busy fishing season. You might tie just because it still connects you to fly fishing. The idea that you might not be casting a fly rod everyday now but that you’re still supporting the act in other ways has its own way of keeping one’s sanity in check. Or, if you’re JP, you suggest tying with a group at a local establishment that has room for a few people to set up vices in an area off to the side somewhere… and serves beer.