We thought it would be neat to officially end the 2010 contest by giving everyone a closer look at the winners of the 2010 Feather-Craft Fly Tying Contest. We asked the guys to send us a bio and some photos (or we simply stole their photos from Facebook) for you to get to know the winners a little better.
Grand Prize Winner Dean Myers, originator of the Chain Gang Stone and several other flies hails from Pennsylvania and was introduced to fishing by his father at an early age. Becoming an avid fly tier is easy when you get to fish some of the most famous trout streams in the state (Tulpehocken Creek, Spring Creek (Belefont, PA), Yellow Breeches, Big Fishing Creek, Clarks Creek, Pine Creek).
In 2007, Dean began to tie flies commercially, his skill at the vise has lead to Dean having his own distinct voice in fly design and customers have been listening. His flies can be found in the fly boxes of many satisfied anglers within the lower 48 who regularly call upon him when their supplies begin to run low. His patterns are successful in spring creeks, freestone rivers and tailwaters. These waters greatly influence his fly design and tying. Dean’s creations are well thought out, effective, and easy on the eyes. You can find Dean’s flies at his MyFlies site HERE
2nd place winner Sam Potts, originator of the Big Muddy is a 4th generation Highlands, NC native and still lives there today. Like many, he began fishing by drowning worms for trout with his father. Growing bored with this, he took up pond fishing for bass and as another means of doing that, took up fly fishing at 13. He began fly fishing in earnest in his late 20’s, falling in love with the Chattooga River and its population of wild brown trout. Within a couple of years he was an avid fly fisherman and working for 3 local fly shops as a part-time guide. Sam worked 7 seasons guiding and through guiding was introduced to river smallmouth fishing. While floating his local smallmouth river for the first time, not long after he was on the water he caught a feisty 15” smallmouth on a streamer. He was hooked for life and well on his way to becoming the smallmouth fanatic he is today. He started fly tying when his father gave him a tying kit as Christmas present, and even though he quickly learned to tie streamers and nymphs for trout, didn’t become an avid fly tier until his smallmouth pursuits made tying necessary. At the time, the local outfitters didn’t carry many bass flies and those they did didn’t match the forage the river bass fed on or were too small and better suited for trout. In the process, he learned that he gained a great deal of satisfaction in designing a fly and then catching a nice fish with it. Tying bass flies seemed to lend itself more readily to breaking away from the traditional techniques and materials used for tying trout flies, allowing more design freedom and thinking outside of the box. He also found fly tying a means of artistic expression, which suits his nature since Sam is both a part-time musician and trained in graphic arts. His design of the Big Muddy, is a culmination of the techniques learned designing its predecessors and several years of trial and error. Other interests in the sport involve the techniques of watercraft and floating for river bass on the fly. He currently fishes from a solo canoe that he customized to fit the needs of floating for the fish he pursues. With his intimate knowledge of his local smallmouth flow, the Little Tennessee River, Sam has been consulting with the NCWRC since last year in regards to their plans to make NC rivers more accessible to smallmouth anglers and to improve the management of its smallmouth streams. Sam is a regular contributor to the fishing forums at www.georgiariverfishing.com and www.southeastflyfishingforum.com . He currently serves as moderator for http://americanriverfishing.com/northcarolina/NCindex1.htm and as a NC State Representative at www.Riverbassin.com .
John Larson, originator of the Hydro-Psycho Larva grew up around fishing and easily connect to the movie A River Runs Through It. As a minister’s son, fishing was how his family connected.
Much of the year was spent in Iowa fishing for warm water species such as bass, bluegill, crappie, walleye, northerns, & muskie. His family would go to Colorado (Boulder) during the summers where his Great Aunt & Uncle had a cabin in Left Hand Canyon. His Great Uncle Homer Pennock was a well known fly fisherman and tier, and many of his fishing buddies were also well known.
It’s around Left Hand Creek and the Beaver Ponds with beautiful Greenback Cutthroat Trout, Boulder Creek, St. Vrain Creek, Big Thompson, the Poudre etc., that he learned to fly fish. He was instantly drawn to the split bamboo fly rod with silk line on an old Heddon automatic reel. John didn’t have the patience to sit on his butt & wait for the trout to bite while bait fishing. At first he drifted a grasshopper, and later fished a pair of wet flies, and still has a fondness for well tied classic wet flies, such as Bergman and others, and still believe they catch the big ones, although it’s a lost art.
Fly tying started as a hobby. John did not take it seriously until he moved to Colorado after college. While living in Colorado, people would tell him how much they liked his patterns and that he should sell them. This led to his side business, Alpine Custom Flies, selling flies to tackle shops as well as to his professors in graduate school. This provided spending money while being a poor graduate student.
One of Johns professors helped him land a job as a Park Ranger in Yellowstone the summer of 1988. He spent all his free time fly fishing and creating new patterns. In 1995 he moved to Arizona. At first he seemed lost but quickly found a fantastic variety of fly fishing for Bass, Striper, walleye, northerns, trout, and saltwater fly fishing on the Baja & Rockypoint, Mexico. Yes there is a vast variety of trout there also. Not just Lee’s Ferry Grand Canyon, but also White Mountains with all its streams & high mountain lakes, Oak Creek, Verde & Tonto Creek, and much more. With even have Rose Lake 20 miles away on Mount Lemmon. Trout include Rainbow, browns, cutthroat, lakers, Apache cutthroat, Gila trout, and grayling . Winter days in the mid to low 70’s; and yes… Charlie Meck wasn’t kidding about Blue-Winged Olive & Trico hatches in mid-winter.
One day he, his wife, and kids hope to return to the Rocky Mountain country (Montana, Wyoming, or Colorado) where he hopes to continue teaching music, guiding fly fishing, and share his love of fly tying. He feels blessed to have had the opportunity to fish so many beautiful waters.
So with that the 2010 Fly Tying Contest has come to an end. We want to thank everyone who submitted a fly, watched a video, or simply just browsed the site to see what was new. Without you this contest could have never happend, much less been such a success. Stay tuned for some news on the 2011 Fly Tying Contest, we have some new things to show you about the site and possibly some new little “sub-contests” as we go through 2011….exciting stuff!