Published Mar 30. 2022 - 2 years ago
Updated or edited Oct 16. 2023

Virtual fly tying

During Corona it has become quite common to have social gatherings online - Skype, Zoom, Teams ... you name it. Communal fly tying can be done in the same way

Together far apart
Together far apart
Martin Joergensen

Here in Denmark, where I live, Corona has lost its grip, and things are basically back to normal.
A joint effort from authorities and population, widespread vaccination and quite a bit of common sense during the pandemic brought us through faster than most countries, and it’s not a thing that people spend much time talking about now.
We do see restrictions here and there as well as masks, but it’s essentially only in the health sector – hospitals, doctors’ clinics and such. In the rest of society life is as before, even though a few good habits have remained: distance, sanitizing, being considerate when ill – and of course virtual fly tying!

Yes, virtual fly tying.

When Corona was at worst here, some people took the initiative to replace our previous fly tying evenings with virtual dittos. Before Corona, we had met in someone’s home and enjoyed the company, good coffee and cake and some inspirational fly tying.
Just tying together, nothing fancy, no teaching, talks or presentations. You just brought your vise and materials and tied together with others.

Cinnamon rolls!
Tying get togethers... with food... and cake!
Martin Joergensen

Of course the pandemic spoiled all that, and nobody wanted to mingle too much with people outside their closest circles. Virtual fly tying allowed us to mingle anyway and sit and tie together – although on safe distance.
Almost every Wednesday for a very long time, I have been online tying flies with a bunch of Danes, simply turning on the camera in my laptop or phone and launching Zoom to join a small meeting. We have typically been 6-8-10 people who have been chatting and tying and having a really great time. The sessions last for a couple of hours, and although it’s not like meeting in the flesh, it’s certainly a good motivation for digging out some hooks and some thread and combining that with flash, fur and feathers. And it has also been a great way to make some new fly-tying friends.

Laptop with Zoom
Laptop with Zoom
Martin Joergensen

I know of other groups that have done the same, and have participated in one international group started by Dutch Jay Lee and US based fly tying couple Gretchen and Al Beatty. These gatherings have been a little more streamlined with various people demonstrating a pattern, but still with the opportunity to chat and ask and answer questions.

Now when things are returning to normal, I’m sure we will take up our physical meetings again, and I have already been attending a couple. But the virtual ones will most likely continue, not least because the flock of tyers getting together are so far apart in the country that a physical meeting every week is completely out of the question.

If nothing else, the pandemic has been good for one thing: showing people that working, meeting, chatting via digital channels is a very viable option, and virtual fly tying is certainly better than no fly tying. If you haven’t tried it, do so! Simply arrange a meeting and invite friends from near and far. Google Meet, Zoom, Teams, Skype and many more apps and programs allow for easy setup of such assemblies, and it’s just a question of taking the initiative to get one going.

A Zoom muddler
A Zoom shrimp
A squid
A Zoom baitfish
A Zoom tube fly
A Zoom spider
Some of the many flies I have tied while on Zoom
Martin Joergensen

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