Martinek original, the Mickey's Ghost clearly demonstrates
Mike's mastery of color and composition.
is very well known for this pattern, Mike's Red Ghost
experienced hands are evident in this wonderfully tied
10-feather style streamer which are so difficult to tie
"Brook Trout" is a wonderful little casting
tribute to one of his major influences Jim
Warner, this casting streamer has all the elements
of a wonderful fish catching fly.
has a whole series of these little "darter"
flies in his second book. They all look terrifically fishy,
but each are challenging ties.
tribute to a lost friend, the Pete Williams is a wonderful
blend of materials.
Sandbar Smelt is one of the first Martinek patterns that
I ever saw, and it caught my eye for it's style and blend
Truly influential fly tyers
are rare. By influential, I mean tyers who make us stop and
think about what we are doing, who have a profound and obvious
impact on what we tie, how we tie it, and often how we fish
it. Their influence extends beyond our bookshelves and is
most visible in our fly boxes, where it matters most. Mike
Martinek, Jr. is certainly such a tyer.
As Bob Skehan's Streamers@ group
began to piece together tributes
to those individuals who contributed to the development of
streamer fly tying, I felt there was a piece missing. The
people we had paid respect to had been very influential, of
course, but for the most part they have passed. Mike Martinek
has unassumingly served as a bridge between the historical
figures of yesterday and the tyers of today.
Through writing and demonstration tying, he was on the fore
of what is now rejuvenation in the realm of streamer fly tying.
He has gone so far as to drive the creation of a series of
hooks modelled after the old Allcock hooks that are no longer
available - his Mike Martinek Rangeley streamer hooks sold
under the Gaelic Supreme brand.
Mike's flies have appeared in
some of the most beautiful fly tying books in print. Flip
through any Schmookler and Sils book and you will certainly
happen across a plate of Mike's streamers. He is one of the
tyers featured in Judith Dunham's book "The Atlantic Salmon
Fly - The Tyers and Their Art", one of my favorite fly tying
books. Any article on the classic New England streamer style
of fly tying in magazines usually draws upon Mike's expertise.
In addition, he has two self-published books filled with beautiful
original streamer patterns and a number of videos under the
"Fly Fishing Video Magazine" label. He is regarded
as the living authority on the techniques, style, and history
of the streamer fly.
Mike has the uncanny ability
to combine aesthetics and functionality in his fly tying.
He produces flies that are at the same time incredibly beautiful
yet completely practical. His art training and natural talent
have obviously given him the ability to combine colors and
materials in such a way that the resulting fly truly is greater
than the sum of its parts. The rainbow smelt, the forage fish
most often imitated with New England style streamers, lends
itself to colorful streamers, and Mike makes use of color
so well that his flies have life beyond their natural materials.
This ability to see with the eyes of both artist and fisherman
is what attracts me to the flies of tyers like Mike Martinek
and Dave Whitlock.
For me personally, Mike has
been a great inspiration. Sitting through one of his slide
shows, the deep felt respect he holds for the founders of
the streamer craft comes shining through. Such respect is
contagious. His love of streamers and fly tying is contagious.
His lack of pretense and ego is refreshing. The endless wise
cracks and one liners serve as a reminder that fly tying is,
if nothing else, about having fun. He is grounded enough to
realize that a well tied fly is supposed to be tossed into
the water and chewed beyond recognition by a fish. It has
come to the point that any trip to one of the big fly fishing
shows centers around Mike's tying table, where I try to listen
and absorb his knowledge and influence. As I alluded to before,
his most profound influence has been at my tying bench and
in my fly boxes.
I have great respect for Mike
Martinek as a fly tyer, but I have even more respect for him
as a person. The heritage of the streamer fly could not have
been placed in better hands.
Allow me to extend a special
thanks to my friend, Chris Del Plato, for supplying scans
of one of his flies as well as those tied by Mike Martinek.
Follow these links to see more
of Mike's contributions to Raske's New England Streamer site
Mike Martinek's Rangeley
Jim Warner, A New England Classic
Also see Chris Del Plato's review
of one of Mike's videotapes.