J. Stockard Fly Fishing Blog

Welcome to the J. Stockard Fly Fishing Blog. We’re here to share advice, how-to’s, news and inspiration about fly tying and fly fishing.

Visiting Angler’s Bill of Rights

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

Being a lifelong angler and living in SW Montana, it is predictable that one will inevitably be asked to host or fish with visiting anglers. There’s no doubt that the rivers and lakes of SW Montana are a mecca of all sorts for trout fishers across the U.S. It happens two or three times every summer. Someone, a relative, a friend or a client is coming to Montana and wants to fish. I am mostly to blame for these opportunities, invites, impositions, adventures or whatever they might turn into as I freely advertise through pictures, videos and stories the exceptional angling in SW Montana (including Yellowstone National Park). Some of these visits are a direct result of my inviting friends or clients, especially those who I know to be avid anglers. Others come out of the blue. An email-“We’re making a trip to Montana and would like to fish, what do you suggest!” Regardless of how the visits are initiated, every year there are two or three that come to fruition. So, for the visiting angler here’s a Bill of Rights (of sorts from my perspective). more…

The (Lady) Fly Fisher in Winter

Guest Blogger: Mary S. Kuss, Life-long avid angler, licensed PA fishing guide, founder of the Delaware Valley Women’s Fly Fishing Association

All fly fishers have to deal with winter, unless they live in the tropics. I’ve spent my entire life in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where average winters are still severe enough, despite Climate Change, to make winter fishing uncomfortable and low-percentage and sometimes impossible. Even modest destination travel is not in my budget. I must amuse myself with other things during the months when cold weather, ice, and snow are the norm.

Although I tie flies the year around, I do a lot more tying in winter. During the fishing season, my tying is almost exclusively devoted to replenishing depleted stocks of workhorse fly patterns. I occasionally run into a hatch or fishing situation for which I am not prepared, and must to do some ad hoc tying to deal with it. Time spent at my tying bench during the winter is more recreational in nature. I experiment with new materials, and with fly patterns I find in magazines or on-line. I browse the books in my personal fly tying library to find new ideas or rediscover old ones I’d forgotten. more…

Thoughts on the TyWheel

J. Stockard Pro Tyer: Brita Fordice, Find Brita on Instagram

I like to joke when folks look at my tying desk that “there’s creativity in the chaos.” At first glance it looks very comparable to what you would envision as ordering one of every fly tying material ever made, having placed in perfect stacks on the table top, and then promptly allowed a full mosh pit to rock out on top in time to AC/DC.

That said, it’s not pretty….. The biggest issue faced as a fly tyer is that I have too much to really contain in anything less than 40 gallon Rubbermaid bins organized as best I can (or will), yet the little items such as the two spools of thread I’m working with today, and the Lagartun micro braid I plan to use tomorrow end up having to be replaced and then taken out again every other fly. The beads I’m using and hooks as well are equally painful. But if I leave them on my tying desk (which I so often do) it ends in the predicament I found myself in last winter when I had literally locked myself via the pad of my left foot about an inch up off the carpet with a 2/0 Tarpon hook. It required rescuing and a major loss of dignity…

The TyWheel has been the best innovation I’ve found in decades to answer this problem. It’s not so big that it gets in the way, and it’s not so small that you are limited by the amount of material you can store on it. It allows for customization as well, so I find myself removing the shallow trays when I am spinning deer hair and replacing with the trash bin attachment. This makes it so easy to keep the deer hair bits from getting all over the place. My favorite part of all with the TyWheel is the fact that darn near everything is magnetic. The tray being magnetic is genius, as I can throw a bobbin threader at it from 4 feet away and it will grab it and hold it. It also allows me to be uber lazy and use my dying vacuum to vacuum up the micro fuzzies on the tray and not have it suck up the hooks! Granted those with a vacuum that actually works well may have negative results.