Category Archives: Mike Cline, Bozeman MT

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

In 1966, the year I graduated from high school, the Academy Award for best musical score went to a farcical musical film named: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Staring Zero Mostel and among others, Buster Keaton, the film was an adaptation of the successful Broadway play by the same name. It is a classic tale of a Roman slave seeking his freedom by helping a young noble woo a young Roman maiden. Funny as hell but having nothing to do with fly fishing. Much like Buster Keaton’s character—Erronius (A befuddled old man who is partially blind and always confused). A bit of trivia, this was Keaton’s last film in an acting career that spanned 49 years from 1917-1966. But the title did spur some thought about forums, particularly forums related to fly fishing.

In lay terms, a forum can be described as: a gathering place of great social significance, and often the scene of diverse activities, including political discussions and debates, rendezvous, meetings, markets, etc. Forums supplemented the function of a conciliabulum. That would be a great name for a trout fly if you could just figure out what it looked like. Angler to fly shop clerk, “I need a dozen #12 Olive Conciliabulums.” more…

Random Tying Tips and Assorted Advice – Part 2

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

Mini-Hackle Pliers Make Good Drying Stations

Spring loaded mini-hackle pliers are easily adapted to drying stations for flies under production. Using an old plastic hotel key, loyalty card or in the case of the photo, an expired Florida fishing license, mini pliers are epoxied or super glued to the card to make a drying station. A bit of coarse sand paper can rough up the bottom of the pliers and a spot on the card. A drop of super glue or 5-minute epoxy will hold nicely. They are also useful for fly photography. more…

Random Tying Tips and Assorted Advice – Part 1

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

Oscar Wilde once wrote “I always pass on good advice. It’s the only thing to do with it. It is never any use to oneself.” (1895).

I must admit that most of what I practice at the tying bench was learned from someone else. I either read about it in a magazine or book, saw it on YouTube or witnessed it at a tying demonstration. Over the years, specific techniques became routine when the hook was in the vice. Here are some I can remember. Also, if I can remember, I’ll attribute the tip to its rightful genius.

Don’t Throw Away Those Hackle Tips.

Applying some form of cement to the thread wraps of a finished fly is something we all do. It is essential for securing thread heads, regardless of the size of the fly. For all kinds of reasons, many times the cement will migrate into the hook eye and if allowed to dry there will cause problems streamside when you go to tie the fly on a tippet. To solve that issue, I save all my hackle tips, including peacock herl ends in a container on my tying desk. When I cement a head and the cement migrates into the hook eye, a hackle tip is used to clear it before it dries. The hackle fibers do a good job of soaking up excess cement and the stiff hackle stem is easy to push/pull through the hook eye. This technique has an added benefit that allows you to apply a liberal amount of cement to the thread wraps without fear of clogging the hook eye. more…