Adventures at My Local Fly Shop

By: Jason Metz

I fancy myself as somewhat of a fly tier. The main reason I do this is that I haven’t quite come across anyone else who would, on any given river agree with this assertion. But that’s okay. You see, the beauty of this craft is that you only need to please the fish and not the fisherman. Pretty flies catch fish. Elegant flies catch fish. Classic flies catch fish. But do you know what else catches fish? Ugly flies! Ugly flies catch fish. 

I have one of the greatest local fly shops here in Montana. Every time I go in and head to their overwhelming selection of fly-tying materials, I am always met with the same sincere question, “What are you tying up?”

Oh, what a question! These five words open the road in front of me to the possibilities that only fly tying can afford. This is the ever-present adventure that a trip to the fly shop always holds. Which in some cases, this seemingly simple question echoes in my head and I have to ask myself, “What am I tying up? In fact, what am I even doing here?” 

All I know is that my wife asked me to run to the store for some milk and butter and somehow I realize instinctually I’m at the fly shop. No matter, I’m sure there is something I need and it would be financially wrong of me to waste a trip.

Shocked back to reality by this question, my mind is flooded with images of all the different patterns I’ve been working on. Unfortunately, I don’t always remember the names of those said patterns. But that’s fine. Once on the river, someone asked what I was using. I explained I didn’t remember the name and as I showed it to him, he said unamused, “That’s okay, that thing is beyond any words.”

I often get these same types of compliments from family and friends when showing off my latest works of art. 

With a gleam in my eye and confidence in my voice, I say, “So what am I tying up huh? Well, let me tell you, this pattern has been pretty hot lately. It’s a little doozy I like to call the Dirty Blunder.”

Like always, I can tell they are holding their excitement back as best they can. They are always really interested in my new patterns. I know this because the response is usually something along these lines…

“Hmmmmm, is that anything like your Confucius Confusion or your Miscommunication?”

Trying to keep my ego in check, I can’t help but feel a sense of recognition in that they know some of my most famous patterns.

“Similar in some aspects, yet subtly different in others. It’s closer to a Bewilderment in its emerging streamer phase.” I humbly quip.

“Great, you know we still offer a beginner fly-tying class every couple of months.”

How can I forget? These guys are always reminding me of their beginner class and I’m pretty sure it is a subtle way of inviting me to share some of my techniques with the less experienced crowd. I know I should pass some of my knowledge along to others, but honestly, freestyling without a recipe is more of a God-given talent than something that can be learned.

“Well, regardless of the details, what materials are you looking for?”

I just love the customer service here. They are always more than willing to help a concept become a reality for the betterment of every angler out there.

How often I hear myself say these same words, “Well, I’m not quite sure what it’s called, but…” and every time they know just what I’m talking about. I seem to find everything I need, even when I didn’t even know I needed it.Usually, two things happen when I return home. First, with a shocked and stern tone in her voice, my wife asks, “Where are the milk and butter?”To which I respond, “I haven’t had time to tie one up yet, but give me a few minutes and I’ll get right on it.” 

The second thing that usually happens is upon returning to my tying desk I notice that while I was gone, someone has already bought the exact same items I just purchased and left them right here in plain sight. No matter, you can never have too many tying materials. Now, let’s get tied on this mysterious Milk and Butter pattern I’ve been hearing so much about.

Bio:  I’m just a simple man trying to fish as much as possible. Living in Montana not only opens up many opportunities to fish, it also helps me gain a better understanding of our wonderful sport we call fly fishing. Tying flies and the ongoing adventure that this form of art provides is also a hobby I am fully invested in. Literally, the investment has been huge, but as far as my wife knows, tying my own flies is saving me so much money. Find me on Facebook.

Leave a Reply