Outdoor Writers Association of America
Northwest Outdoor Writers Association
This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

August 2nd, 1999


If you are a fly tier, can you imagine tying every day? Maybe you really do! But I think the number of folks who do that is pretty slim - unless you are a professional tier and do it for a living. But there are some who read and participate in this website who really do that. Some have their vise set up so they can monitor the Chat Room while they are tying. (And maybe add a comment occasionally when their fingers aren't glued to something.)

Others make tying part of their daily ritual, sort of staying in touch with the fish while they can't be there. Makes sense to me. It does allow for some of the 'unplug' we get when we fish. A little serenity in an otherwise mad and rude world.

So let's say you sit down to tie a few flies every day. How many flies do you think you might have at the end of a year? Do a little quick math? If you tied 6, and only tied 350 days a year, the figure is 2,100 flies.

I'm a bit in awe of the folks who frequent this website. Getting to meet some at the FAOL Fish-In was terrific, great fun. But it goes beyond that. I got to meet someone who probably ties more flies than that in a year.

Old Rupe

The interesting part was what he did with those flies. Most were tied especially for the Fish-In. I was with some of the folks fishing Ditch Creek one afternoon. Old Rupe had stuffed several flat, sectioned large plastic boxes behind the seat and when we were ready to fish, out came the boxes. Folks were invited to take some. Most were hesitant and not wanting to appear greedy, took one or two.

"Take some for patterns - and some to fish." Rupe encouraged!

And he meant it. These were beautifully tied flies. We all were appreciative. But it didn't end there.

Old Rupe took a couple of the group under his wing and did some teaching. More flies were handed out. I have no idea how many flies he gave away, but Castwell's guess is he had 10,000 flies with him.

Rupe was not the only one passing out flies. Al Campbell who organized this year's Fish-In, handed out some too. I didn't fish my Shwapft, eventually it will find it's way into a fly plate. Al is one busy guy, between his 'day-job' at Scheels AllSports in Rapid City, working on the book, writing articles for other magazines and doing the tying instruction series for FAOL and getting some fishing time in for himself (which often is spent teaching new folks the intricacies of fly fishing) I felt guilty even taking a couple of flies from him!

Al teaching But it didn't end there either. Al spent an evening tying, and teaching the methods while we were all at the Fish-In. All of those flies were given away too. (There are more photos of the tying session in Fish-In 1999.)

What a wonderful thing for these men to do. As Old Rupe would say, "It's a class act!" It is the kind of sharing of knowledge which makes me very proud to be part of FAOL. To know folks who wish to share their information and knowledge with others.

Maybe all of them - and you - have been out there all the time, it just took a place where we could all meet to see it so clearly.

We are fast approaching the anniversary of our second year here. Couldn't have done it without you. Thanks so much. Glad to know you! ~ LadyFisher

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