Published Jun 1. 2017 - 6 months ago
Updated or edited Jun 3. 2017

Why tying with others is great

Meeting up with a bunch of people and tying flies together doesn't just provide good company, but also education - and an easy shortcut to new fly names

Happy faces
Concentration
Activity
A tying session
Martin Joergensen

A handful of Danish fly anglers and tyers have been kind enough to arrange some fly tying sessions during the last couple of years. The concept is quite simple: they book room for a handful of tyers, typically in the 25-40 people range, and make sure that good food and a glass of beer is served.
The rest of us pay (150 DKK or about 25 USD), simply turn up on the date and enjoy a great meal followed by a relaxed tying session. It isn't a class or a workshop as such, but a couple of tyers will typically have a fly or two that they show how to tie to those interested. There will be some materials and hooks available, typically sponsored by a generous company (kudos up to Ahrex and FlyCo), and if you want to join in and tie along you do, but you can also just tie whatever you fancy.
The crowd consists of newcomers, seasoned tyers and some real experts. After a usually great dinner accompanied by some locally brewed beer, the vises are unpacked and a couple of hours are spent tying, chatting, joking, telling anecdotes and just having a great time.

Lots of tyers
Sponsored materials
Food, beer, tying
A room full
Buzzing with activity
Martin Joergensen
Kern leo Lund
Rune Westphal
Men at work
Martin Joergensen

This isn't a club, members only or even a regular crowd, but simply an open invitation. Some people – like myself – come almost every time while others just come once or twice. It's not a regular event either, but done whenever there's a suitable occasion, time to arrange it and some facilities available.
I can warmly recommend trying to set up something similar if you want to meet new tyers. I'm not a member of any club and the friends I used to tie with on a regular basis have all moved, died (really!) or simply stopped coming to such events. So for me personally it's a great way to meet up with people that share my interest in tying and get some new inspiration. I meet people I didn't know, people I knew indirectly and people that I have met before, but don't see on a regular basis.
Sure it takes some work and a bit of logistics to arrange such an event, but in these modern times all advertizing, signups and payments can be handled online, and no one has to put up money of their own and hope that the participants pay what they owe. Participants simply pay in advance.

Maybe you should try setting up such a session in your area? You'd be surprised how many great fly tyers are just sitting at home, tying alone, waiting for an event like this to take place.

The latest session

The Sick Lemming
A mess
The Sick Lemming
Martin Joergensen

Our latest session here was held in a small inn and microbrewery in the northern part of the island where I live, about an hour in car from my home. After having said hello and being bid welcome by the arrangers, we had a great meal – fish, what else? - and then tied flies. Danish fly tyer Rune Westphal demonstrated a great night fly to those interested, and I personally enjoyed his demo – even though I didn't tie along, but was cranking out muddlers. Across from me sat the master of shrimps, Kern Leo Lund, and quite a few passed by him, seeing him tie one of his amazing shrimp imitations.
My flies disappeared almost as soon as they came off the vise. OK, I did give them away of free will. But in exchange I got a name for the pattern, a simple muddler tied with a bit of flash, a deer hair zonker strip and a classic spun and trimmed deer hair head.
I give you “The Sick Lemming”!
So named because a couple of the folks looking at the fly noticed that the zonker strips weren't straight cut, and mused themselves and the rest of us by imagining how the fly would swim... yup, you guessed it... like a sick lemming. A great name, and easily another great thing to take home from a really successful arrangement.


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