I’m all for getting out and doing some fishing in the offseason, but this winter of the polar vortex has made me glad I know how to tie flies.
It’s a way to push back against the nasty weather. You can sit at your vise and craft the coming season’s worth of flies, as if to tell the season of darkness and cold, “By June you’ll be gone, and I’ll be using these babies to connect with rising trout in the Green Drake hatch.”
Fly-tying can be almost as much fun as fly-fishing, and it’s a useful hobby on multiple levels.
The obvious benefit is that you can restock your own fly box, replacing flies that have gotten stuck in trees, been broken off by big fish or just become worn out and droopy.
Less obvious, but just as important, is that tying flies makes you a better angler. You’ll look at natural baits and aquatic insects more knowledgably once you’ve made a few imitations of them — their size, their shape and the way they move in the water. It makes a difference.
And finally, fly-tying is just a fun way to pass the time in the dreary months and keep cabin fever at bay.
That brings us to the 13th annual Goldstock’s Sporting Goods Cabin Fever Fly Tying Expo, Feb. 22 and 23 at the shop on Freeman’s Bridge Road. The Capital Region’s best fly-tiers — some of whom are nationally known — will be tying flies side-by-side with the less distinguished, including yours truly on Feb. 22, and sharing their knowledge with anyone who cares to drop by.
The expo is a chance to see how everything from classic Catskill-style dry flies (tied by Dave Brandt of Oneonta) to remarkably realistic patterns (by Bob Mead of Glenville) to innovative new patterns from the modern streamer school (by Pat Cohen of Cobleskill).
The roster of tiers also includes Bill Donato, Bill Wemple, George Kass, Glenn Kuhles, John Morrette, John Prokorym, Mark Franze, Paul Sinicki, Bob Streeter, Robin Hill, Rodney Priddle, Ron Boutin and Richard Atkinson.
There’s no charge for the event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday at Goldstock’s, 98 Freeman’s Bridge Road. The store’s fishing department will have some items on sale. Visit its website at www.goldstockssportinggoods for more information.
If you’re an experienced fly-tier, you’ll enjoy the company of others who share your interest. If you’re thinking of taking it up, the expo is the perfect opportunity to see how it works. It’s a great way to spend a winter afternoon.
Tables are available for the Clearwater Trout Unlimited chapter’s annual flea market, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 12 at the Albany Plaza Ramada Hotel, 3 Watervliet Ave.
This well-attended event is a good opportunity to sell gear, books, videos, fly-tying material and other items. The cost is $20 per table and $15 for each additional table, plus 10 percent of sales.
For more information contact Bob Mead at 399-9000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.