They’re Always For Me

Pam, one of my best friends, is marrying Nate, an Idaho Game Warden.  She wanted something that would include him in their wedding, so she asked me to tie flies for table favors.  That was about nine months ago.  The wedding is in three weeks, and I’ve tied about twenty-five flies–I’m shooting for a little over thirty.

I started out thinking that I would just tie flies that I would actually use.  I favor small flies. Size 18 Parachute Adams. Size 22 Pheasant Tails.  I envisioned these gnat-sized flies impaled on fingertips (and began to mash down the barbs with a little more vigor). Eventually, I changed things up.  Every time I tied, I would tie a handful for myself, then increase the size of whatever I was tying and throw some in the wedding pile. This worked, but some of them are still a little too subtle, too small. They eventually migrated into my fly box.

“Tie something frilly,” my wife suggested.

“I don’t fish with frilly flies.”

“They’re not for you.”

“But there’s going to be gamey people there. People who know how to fly fish. Game wardens. Sportsmen.”

“There will be like three of those.”

Pam confirmed this–so I changed again.  I bought a 50 pack of size 6 Mustad hooks. The shanks are fat and twice as long as regular hooks.  Some of the flies that I’ve tied are bigger than fish I’ve caught.  And they are frilly.  I went to the fly shop today and, as I thumbed through brass beads, I had the thought, “these white beads would really make my chartreuse Woolly Buggers pop.”

As I checked out with my purple marabou and hunter’s-orange antron, the guy at the till chuckled. “Damn. What the hell are you tying?”

“It’s not for me, man.”

I had to change the way I thought about flies.  I had to stop thinking about what appeals to fish and start thinking about what appeals to a bride.  And the bride? She digs chartreuse.

But even the flies I tie for fish aren’t really for fish.  They’re for me. They are for whatever superstition I’m currently buying. I’ve lifted rocks and looked at what crawls out. They look a bit like my Pheasant Tails but nothing like my Purple Hazes.

Every Day In May graphic.

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11 thoughts on “They’re Always For Me

  1. paracaddis says:

    Ha Ha, I had flies as table favours for my own wedding years back, all neatly put in little glass bottles with waxed corks. I thought they were the biscuit at the time, dainty little winged dries of Catskill style and probably my first venture towards production tying. Now I know that they weren’t quite so hot, but then turned out neither was the marriage.. 🙂

  2. Great blog, in fact you can tie one of those Chartreues flies with the white bead and post if off to me if you like I’m sure that will catch fish! I’ve seen trout sit under trees and grab small green catapillars when they fall.

  3. g0ne fishin9 says:

    tying for the bride, that’s a cute problem. and I’ve seen bows hitting on flies making much less sense.

  4. Miss M says:

    How perfect…beautiful

  5. stefherder says:

    I remember my dad spending hours down in his “gun room” tying flies. Quite the art form. A little too tedious for my taste but I appreciate the skill and the finished product. Love the pics and the idea of flies for wedding favors/decor. Really cool!

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