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Sow Bug 2005

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa
We left last Thursday for our annual trip to Mt. Home, Arkansas for the Sow Bug roundup. Tony Spezio got me on this a few years ago and I have come to the point where this is a necessity for every year. It is about a seven hour drive for us to get there. My wife likes to go along to see the people and to see what people are tying. She also likes to go around some of the lakes and hike on the trials that are there.

Being early risers, we got on the road about 7:00 am and then made it into Mt. Home about 2:30 pm. We went to our motel first and got signed in. Then we decided to find the new location for the meeting. It had gotten too large to hold in the Ramada Inn. We finally did find the Family Life Center, after missing one of the signs they had out for directions.

We went in and I did the registration that needed to be done and then decided to look and see what was going on. The tying time had expanded to be Thursday afternoon and then Friday and Saturday. There were a fair number of folks tying there already Thursday afternoon.

There was also a special presentation being done by Gordon Mackenzie, from England, using hair for his flies. I decided to watch this and my wife told me she would wander around as she knew I was lost already. Gordon is a very gracious gentleman and did a wonderful job of demonstrating his technique and explaining why he did things the way that he did.

He spins hair in a dubbing loop, at the bend, and then splits the hair evenly and forms legs that can be for a crawdad or for a frog. These legs are in tight, I know, because I got a chance to try to pull one of them apart. I must report that I could not pull the legs off. I did talk to Gordon about showing this as the Fly of the Week and he said that he was interested in doing this. I have passed on the information to LadyFisher, so look for this sometime in the future.

By the time this got done there was not much tying time left. I did get to visit with a few friends and then we headed out to get dinner. When we got back to the room I looked at my brown bag. Wapsi gives each tyer a brown paper sack with various materials in it. Each tyer is to tie a fly from this and turn it in. They are then put up for judging, in a case, by the public on Saturday. After that the case is auctioned off. I think the winning fly gets the tyer a certificate. There are some beautiful flies created for this. This year we also received a sack from Gudbrod with some thread and dubbing rope in it.

We headed over Friday morning so I could get set up to tie. I was told to bring a short extension cord and I did that. It was about three feet long. I think it would be better to bring one about 12 feet long. When I saw how the cords were, I picked the first spot I saw that was empty with the plug right under the table. This was right next to the table where Gordon was sitting. I had stuff to tie four different patterns.

I decided to get started and get a few of each of the patterns tied. That way I could talk to folks about them and show how they are tied. As soon as I started there were folks asking what I was doing. They wanted to know why I did various things and where the ideas came from. The tables were set up so the tyers are on the inside and the other folks are around the outside. They have chairs to sit in and there were folks in the chairs most of the time. This was true for all the tyers that I could see.

About 10:30 I had to take a break and find the restrooms. I also took a chance to walk around for a few minutes and see what other folks were tying. I did set down at one place and watch Brenda tie a hummingbird. It is gorgeous, and I think I would be able to tie it now. Found out she learned to tie at SowBug 2003.

Things stayed busy until the evening time and then the club had us clean everything out of the room. They have a bar-b-que meal for the tyers and companions on Friday night. They treat us like royalty while we are there tying.

Saturday morning we headed back to get there when the building opened up. I wanted to get a place where I could plug my lamp in. Ended up being next to Gordon again. Several other folks had the same idea and had taken many of the places where the plug ins were. They all brought short cords like I did.

I tied almost as many flies Saturday as I did on Friday. Meet several folks from FAOL on both days. It was nice to meet them, but I don't remember all the names. I did meet Allan Crise but got too busy and did not get him to correct my casting this time. Guess I will have to do that next year.

I did spend a little more time wandering around and got some nice flies. I did break down and buy one saddle. It is the prettiest yellow-orange that you ever saw. It just called my name and I had to do it. I did come home with more than I took down there by far. Most of them are memories and some good new ideas.

I did spend some time talking to Dennis Conrad. He had been fishing some and catching fish. He had some beautiful necks and saddles there. I have got to use some of mine up so I can get some more from him. Dennis said that on the way home he would see his son and then post an update about him when he gets home.

I also got Dave Whitlock to autograph a couple of his books for me. He did some quick illustrations in them and then signed them for me. I also gave him a couple of the weird flies that I do and he was gracious enough to think the were nice creations. He was a joy to talk to for a few minutes and very popular with the group there.

Had great fun being there. Learned some new tricks, meet some great folks, and saw some good friends. If any of you are anywhere close to this event you should think about coming to it. I had a few folks tell me this was the best tyers meeting they go to.

Hope to see you there next year. Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick ziegeria@grm.net

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