I have been fly fishing and fly dressing for almost 40 years. I remember so well that Christmas morning when I unwrapped a Veniard’s No 1A Trout fly tying kit in a plywood box, without a doubt one of the best presents I have ever received; it started me off on journey of discovery that has lasted for almost 40 years.
As a novice fly dresser, I read everything I could on the subject, pestered my local librarian to source books, I tried to absorb as much information as possible on the subject. Pre -internet, I was almost tying in a vacuum with little to influence my style, technique or technical ability at the vice other than the information I gleaned from books and magazines. I was happy with my flies but I had no benchmark to compare my fly dressing to.
When I attended my first Partridge Fly Tying Day at Bridge of Allen, I was introduced to the work of some amazing fly dressers including Oliver Edwards and Davy Wotton, what a revelation.
After the inspirational Partridge Fly Tying Day learning about new techniques and materials I was desperate to learn more, I plucked up enough courage to join the Aberdeen branch of the Fly Dressers Guild.
Joining a fly tying club was very important in my development as a fly dresser, the experienced fly dressers shared their knowledge freely, my fly dressing improved but more importantly I was learning new techniques and using new and more varied materials. Being a member of a fly tying club also allowed me to attend many fly dressing workshops with some amazing fly dressers with an astonishing level of technical ability, receiving one to one tuition from Oliver Edwards, Paul Little, Marvin Nolte, Wayne Lauellen, Brian Burnett and the late Peter Scott. Being able to attend hands on workshops more than anything else has allowed my fly dressing to improve far quicker than it had before.
My passion is wild trout fishing but also like the challenge of saltwater fly fishing; it is just so different from trout fishing.
To some fly tying is a means to an end, a way of stocking up fly boxes for the next season or saving some money by tying your own (that well known lie), for me it is much more than that, discovering new patterns and techniques while making some great friends adds to the pleasure of spending time dressing flies.
In the last few years I qualified as a Scottish Game Anglers Instructor (SGAIC) in single handed fly casting and fly dressing, something I found challenging but very rewarding.
I look forward to sharing my approach to working with Snowshoe Rabbit and Deer Hair, tying traditional and modern trout flies at the BFFI.