Fly tying is a favourite hobby for many, especially during the colder months here in Nova Scotia. As our season runs from April 1 to October 31, the winter months are the perfect time to relive past adventures and plan for the season to come. Gear is cleaned and organized, journal entries updated and fly boxes restocked. There is nothing more satisfying then tying that last fly to complete a box. Such projects are welcome distractions, while you anxiously await wetting a line. I know I am not the only one who feels this way, as it is not uncommon for house parties here to centre around this rewarding craft. With a vise in one hand and case of brews in the other, there’s no shortage of good times to be had in the Maritimes.
Like many anglers, the first fly I learned to tie was the Woolly Worm. My Fiancé passed down this teaching tradition from his late Father. It was the first fly he and his Brother tied 30 odd years ago. Those firsts, along with mine, were saved as mementoes for years to come. They are safely tucked away with a simple bread tag affixed, noting the date tied and their initials. Today, when I teach someone to tie their first fly, I am sure to always give them a bread tag. A keepsake, if you wish, to mark the beginning of an ever-evolving endeavour.
Sitting beside my Fiancé, I followed along carefully as he broke that first fly down step by step. As I got the feel for the bobbin and securing materials to the hook, it wasn’t hard to imagine his Father there. Two young sons sitting close by, studying his hands and copying every move. It was then, during our first lesson, that it struck me. This art of fly tying, while often a solitary pursuit, can also serve to bond families and friends together. It’s a quiet hobby, free of distractions, where you feel fulfilled as both the teacher or the student.
Life today can be hectic and rushed. It’s not easy to make the time to unwind or to connect with those we love most. But when we do these things, how rich we feel. That is why fly tying nights have become my favourite nights. A similar peace washes over you at the vise as when you are on the water. Your thoughts slow, you are relaxed and fully present in that moment. What better time to reconnect with those you care for most.
Even as my fly tying has evolved, I always come back to the Woolly Worm when teaching first time tiers. It’s a feel good fly. Everyone leaves with a successful finished product that will easily hook a fish. Popular and effective, the Woolly Worm can be found in most any angler’s fly box. It is a simple and forgiving pattern that can quickly be tied in a variety of styles and colours. And most importantly, it’s fun!
Happy tying and happy connecting! Whether it be with a fish, your loved ones or yourself.
Woolly Worm Pattern: Sizes: 6-12, Thread: Black 6/0, Tail: Short Red Yarn, Body: Black Chenille, Ribbing: Gold wire (optional), Hackle: Black/Grizzly Saddle, Head: Black thread.