Published Jan 16. 2024 - 5 months ago
Updated or edited Jan 16. 2024

Smallest Fly Page

Flies from Dutch Hans Weilenmann's 1998/99 project SFP - Smallest Fly Page - with size 32 patterns from all over the world

From Hans' SFP preview page
From Hans' SFP preview page
Hans Weilenmann

Smallest Fly Page a.k.a. the #32 fly madness

This is how the instigator, Dutch Hans Weilemann, described this project in his notes in one of the files that I'm lucky enough to have. You can read the story about the project in The world's smallest shrimp fly, but this is about the Smallest Fly Page (SFP) and how it wound up here on GFF.
Back in the late 90's when this project was running, Hans was very active in the fly tying and fly tying community, both online and out in the real, physical world. He was writing and posting in all sorts of forums, and regularly appeared as a fly tyer in shows in Europe and in the US. He was - and is - a well known profile in the community, but has been very quiet in the last many years, and not active as he used to be.

Fly Tier's Page

One of his activities was to collect flies from people, and he'd typically take pictures of them and add them to his web site Fly Tier's Page, which is still online and alive, but haven't been updated since sometime in 2014. One of the reasons that it's still online in spite of Hans being out of the loop, is that I'm the "caretaker" of it. Back when Hans was active, both our sites were hosted on a server run by Gert Jensen, but when that was shut down, we had to find other solutions, and Hans asked me to port his site to a new server, and in that process I had to make a copy of the site, which I still keep on my home system.
One day when looking through the files, I bumped into a folder called sfp_preview, and that folder contained images and some texts and other flies belonging to the #32 project described in the #32 shrimp article linked above.

Al Beatty

Arthur Greenwood

Adam Gries

August Gudmonson

Hans Weilenmann

The light of day

I have tried to get Hans to allow me to integrate the whole Fly Tier's Page into GFF, but he has been reluctant to let me (or silent), and that's why it's still there in its old form. I'll keep Hans' original running for as long as possible. It's not eating bread as we say here in Denmark, so it's an easy task - and an inexpensive site to host.
But I decided to awaken the SFP. It had some pretty interesting flies and the whole project is bonkers enough to deserve some more exposure. I put my own fly online in early 2023, and decided to put as many as I had information on into this article and publish them.
Unfortunately the images are in a pretty poor quality. Hans took impeccable images, but for the sake of the web site, he scaled most of them down to a very small size before uploading them. The Fly Tier's Page is built totally manually (a colossal work BTW!), and there are no fancy tools to automatically scale the images from larger originals, so that was the only way to do it.
So here is a handful of images from the project. Some of the flies are covered in way more detail in the articles linked below.
You can see some of Hans' mails to the participants below the images.

Andy Lamborne

Bob Kenly

Bill McQuilkin

Byard Miller

Bob Perry

Bob Petti

Bruce Salzburg

Bas Verschoor

Bruce Williamson

Connie Freely

Chuck Gries

Chris Knight

Christian Thalacker

Clyde Watson

D Duran

David Lakin

Don't know

Don Ordes

Dave Rothrock

Fran Friesen

Gretchen Beatty

Greg Bonham

Herman Broers

Hans van Klinken

Henk Verhaar

Hans Weilenmann

Ian Moutter

Jason Borger

Jerry Caruso

Jim Cramer

Jeanne Jenkins

Jack Mickievicz

John Mundinger

J Shorb

Joyce Westphal

Jim Woolacott

Kate Cruickshank

Kieran Frye

Kim Guilinger (Boal)

Keith Wallington

Ken Woodward

Linda Foote

Larry Medina

Lawrence Waldron

Mark McMillan 1

Mark McMillan 2

Mark McMillan 3

Marvin Nolte

Myles TenBroeck

Olav Koster

Patti Magnano Madsen

Paul Marriner

Paul Slaney

Rob Gregorie

Ross Purnell

Richard Ross

Rudi van Duijnhoven

Rick Whorwood

Stephen DiCerbo

Scott Peters

Sheldon Seale

Shane Stalcup

Steve Williams

Tammy DiGristine

Tomaz Modic

Tony Spezio

Hans Weilenmann

Hans' mail to the participants:

From: Hans Weilenmann
To: Smallest Fly Page
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 1998 17:12:48 +0100
Reply-to: flytier@███████████

Dear friend,

Thank you for taking part in the Smallest Fly Page (referred to as SFP in the remainder of this message) venture!

As you will see from the list of participants below, you are in splendid company! I am really excited by the overwhelming response ;-)

Please see end of this message for important information if you have an AOL address!
- For all email correspondence between myself and participants I will include the acronym "SFP" in the subject field. To avoid delays and to streamline the information flow, please use the same SFP convention in your correspondence to me. I have set up my mail filter to handle mail based on this acronym, to minimize mail 'oversight'.

- I will mail one #32 hook to the street mail address you have provided. I am still short of several addresses and will be requesting this info via private mail from the relevant folk.

- My aim is to have the hook delivered to you by 15 November. Please note that I only have a limited number of hooks and we have a full 'flight'. I will not be able to provide a replacement hook, so please guard it well! "One strike and you are out!" in this game ;-)

Included with the hook will be a safe shipping container for returning the finished fly to me. (Containers were provided by Henk Verhaar. Thanks, Henk!) Do not attempt to attach labels, strings, etc. to the actual fly, but _do_ tape a small paper label to the container provided, on it your own name and the name of the pattern you have tied.

Also note that these #32 have a spade end, no eye. For the SFP submission I request you use the hook as is. No need to snell section of tippet to the hook.

- I would appreciate a quick email message to tell me if the hook has reached you ok.

- As only one fly needs to be tied, I would suggest two weeks is a fair amount of time to complete it. This results in a deadline of 1 December 1998 for the fly to be in the mail back to me. Any later and the Christmas mail frenzy will seriously hamper the flow, and increase greatly the risk of the fly not making it back safely.

- Communication is what makes this world go round, so once again I would appreciate a quick message when the fly is in the mail. In this message, please include pattern name of the fly you have tied and materials used.

- Likewise I will inform you via private mail as soon as I receive your fly.

- To add substance to the SFP web presence, I would encourage you to also provide any other information you wish to share on subjects like:
What made you decide on the particular pattern?
If applicable, what substitute materials did you decide to use to cope with the small size of the fly?
What problems, if any, have you encountered and how you overcame them?
Any other SFP related information you would like to share...

Fly should be mailed to this address:

Hans Weilenmann
The Netherlands

My aim is to make this venture a clean&swift one, and I would ask each participant to adhere strictly to the planning and guidelines, PLEASE!

- SFP overall status will be mailed out to all participants on a regular basis, informing you of the progress.

- I intend to photograph/scan flies in batches as they arrive here, and again will keep you updated on progress. And perhaps a sneak preview or two ;-)

AOL subscribers, please note: My ISP has decided to block all AOL originated traffic because of spam problems. I can, however, also be reached via an alternate address. If you are an AOL subscriber, please use: h.weilenmann@███████████
All others, please use my primary address (flytier@███████████) for all your SFP related correspondence.

Phew... I hope I've covered most areas. Still more questions or need for further clarification, please do not hesitate to 'holler'...

Great to have you take part!


A follow up:

From: Hans Weilenmann
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 16:19:27 +0100
Reply-to: flytier@███████████


I'd like to quickly brief you on the current status of the SFP.

To date, four finished flies have arrived in the mail. A couple more have been reported 'in the mail' back to me

By now, all of you should have received the hook and, once recovered from the shock, have started planning your approach and attack the hook-in-vise!

And this is where for some a problem occured. I have had four reports of hooks snapping at the bend.

Old age?
Metal fatigue?
Mountain Men?

Whichever the reason, and remembering the "One strike and you are out!" principle dictated by the limited number of hooks I had available: Proceed with caution when clamping hook in vise. And balance finely the amount of pressure exerted on the hook during the tying process!

Disaster may still strike, but at least you will be able to blame the hook (or me)...

Am impressed with all four flies I've received back, btw, but Marvin Nolte's Green Highlander Atlantic salmon fly can't fail to impress...

Tight threads and whole hooks,

PS Hey, I just _love_ to pile on the pressure! ;-)))

And one more about hooks breaking:

From: Hans Weilenmann
Date: Thu, 19 Nov 1998 12:50:12 +0100
Reply-to: flytier@███████████


I am getting some disturbing news from several of the participants about hooks snapping off at the bend as they are working on their fly. If this keeps going the Smallest Fly Page will be getting considerably smaller than originally envisaged... ;-(

Jim Cramer has come up with a suggestion for tying on these small hooks which makes a lot of sense to me. And his approach should reduce the risk of hook destruction considerably!

[Jim Cramer]
For those that are in this mental and physical exercise with me let me offer a tip that may make your life easier. Since these hooks have a spade instead of an eye, place the hook in the vise by the spade rather than as normally done at the bend.

This gives you more working room and less chance of damaging the hook. Since all of you attempting this exercise must have a higher level of skill than most, tying with the fly in a reverse position should not present a problem.

I would suggest you give Jim’s proposed approach your serious consideration!


And one last one with a status December 1998:

From: Hans Weilenmann
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1998 17:04:58 +0100
Reply-to: flytier@███████████


Even though I have been a little quiet of late, this does not mean there has not been any progress made on the SFP front. Those of you who have been monitoring the SFP status page have seen daily mutations.
Sometimes the additions of another grey box (broken hook or LDR), but fortunately also the blue color indicating the arrival of SFP flies in my mailbox.

I thought it time to give you a formal update:
- Flies completed and safely arrived in Amstelveen - 34
- Broken hooks reported - 17
- LDR of hook/fly - 6

Which leaves 32 (or 31, plus myself) still outstanding. A number of these are reported fly-in-the-mail, some others have agreed a slightly delayed delivery date with me. And finally a number of folk who have not provided me with a status update yet. This latter group will be nudged by me shortly via private email... ;-)

All in all I can say that:
- The SFP venture is running mostly on course
- I am somewhat disappointed with the percentage of broken hooks and LDRs. However, I would venture that the individuals concerned are even more disappointed.

I am therefor happy to report that I _may_ have located some extra hooks. Am not counting the chicks yet until hatched, but hopeful that all of the “failures” may be offered another chance. I will keep you posted on developments.

To be continued...


PS AOL subscribers - please continue to use my alternative address (h.weilenmann@███████████) for any SFP related correspondence!

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