Tag Archives: hank of hair fly

Beautiful Flies vs. Ugly Flies

Hank of Hair Fly

Hank of Hair Fly

Guest Blogger: Clay Cunningham, Cody WY, former National Park Superintendent
Do you have to be able to tie flies that look like the perfect flies tied by professionals to catch fish? Absolutely not. One of the finest fly fishermen I know who fished the waters of the world from Scotland to the Rockies and Alaska is one of the worst fly tiers I have ever known. The flies that come off his fly tying vise look like one of your most productive flies that have been chewed on by dozens of trout. This expert fisherman catches fish regularly in spite of the fact his flies look like they had been chewed on for a week by a goat. He refers to those ugly tied flies as “hanks of hair.” What are his secrets? They are his combination of knowledge of where trout hang out, his ability to read the water, and his casting presentation and line management ability. He was a seasonal park ranger for more than twenty-five years. This college English professor produced a film on fly fishing for his PhD dissertation. He worked for me at the Madison Sub-district in Yellowstone National Park and later at Denali National Park. As a recently trained “Buck” ranger right out of the three month academy I was assigned to the Madison Sub-district of Yellowstone in the summer of 1968, because Jack Anderson, the park superintendent, discovered I was a fly tier. Jack was one of the legendary superintendents of the National Park Service. more…