Is it December or February? The early snowpack throughout much of Maine might have you wondering the same thing. As good New Englanders we all can find reasons to play outside no matter the weather or season, but something special does happen this time of year indoors… the annual dust off the vise.
Of course, you might tie flies throughout the fishing season, but for many of us when fall starts to turn into winter we know it is time to turn to the desk, table, or what-have-you, pull out the boxes or totes of furs and feathers, hooks and threads and flashes and flosses in varying states of disarray, pull up a chair, and settle in for the first tying session of the season. Whether it’s your first time at the vise or your 10,000th, you can’t help but smile and think of all the fish that have been and all the fish that will be.
Anyone can catch a fish with a worm and a hook—the fish naturally wants to eat a worm. But there is something poetic about getting a fish to nibble on a piece of metal with perhaps a little hair and little feather, all held together with a little string. There’s no good reason for a fish to want to eat those things individually, but if you put them together in a passable way, show them to the fish in a passable way, have a little luck in a passable way, it’ll all come together. It’s magic that you make happen. And it can all start at your kitchen table.
This is your time to dream, to be artistic; to tie that full dress salmon fly you might spend all day on (and then be too afraid to ever fish!) or to tie that two minute caddis nymph that you catch all your fish on next spring. Fly tying can be fun, cathartic, inspirational, fanciful, or make you dream and reminisce, all at once. In short, it’s the perfect hobby to keep you “fishing” through the winter!
Whether you are new to fly tying and want some pointers or are an old hat and just want the learn some new patterns, you are welcome to join us at the Gray Ghosts Fly Tying, hosted by Sebago Trout Unlimited. We generally meet on the second and fourth Tuesdays on the month, November through March. Our meeting place is The First Parish Congregational Church, 116 Main Street in Yarmouth, Maine. Our sessions run from 6:30 to 8:30 pm and you should bring the tools and equipment you use for your fly tying. We will provide the hooks and materials for the flies that our lead tier will be sharing with us that evening. You can expect to be asked to contribute $5 to cover the costs for the material and hooks, the raffle we provide, and a chip in for hall rental. Please contact Facilitator and Program Director Aaron Lockwood (firstname.lastname@example.org; 207-318-0491) or me (email@example.com; 207-615-6882) for program resources, questions, and comments. Updates will go on the Sebago Trout Unlimited Facebook page, as well. We hope to see you there!
Zach Whitener, Vice President of Sebago Trout Unlimited