I started tying flies as a kid. Maybe the 3rd or 4th grade. I was a rabid little fisherman, and when I learned of fly fishing/tying I wanted in bad. Lucky for me my parents believed in fostering interests and letting my sister in I find our way and find the things that caused us joy. Sometimes that lead to bumps, and some of the things did not last. But today, about 4 months from my 41st birth day, tying and fly fishing sure have stuck!
They have always been a bit of relief from the world. They have always been time to process life, to simplify life, and simply enjoy being in the out doors.
I've always loved endurance sports too... and in a weird way, fly fishing is an endurance activity. Sustained levels of focus for hours - takes it's own unique endurance for sure!
It's also highly meditative. You repeat a simple motion with focus - very much like some of the meditative approaches to Buddhism. Focus is the key. it's focus that brings you to the simple, open and clear mind which, despite it's attention to one thing, seems so much better at absorbing the world around us.
The snag for me, is that I don't have lots of time to fish. I get out, but I'm not always able to make it a real consistent thing regrettably.
Tying on the other hand, I can do any time with about 15' at hand. It connects me to the outdoors - as soon as you hold the materials or consider the fly you are creating it's use is a sharp focus. And that brings back floods of memories about good times in the outdoors. Ahhhhh.
Tying is also creative. Even if you are repeating a pattern created by others, we all have our own style or flow. Some guys tend to tie very neat flies, others bushy as a simple example. Because of that creative aspect of tying, it scratches an artistic itch of mine. I have always enjoyed sketching - and often "new" flies I create start on a pad with pencil in my hand... But there is just something about sitting down, looking at that vice and wondering what the excess of materials I've collected over the years could lead too.
The other night I was tying, and had not had time to in several weeks. For some reason, I always tie midges or small micro nymphs after a lay off. It reminds me that you dont need to make a lot of thread wraps, and it reminds me to keep things simple. While I'm sure others have created similar flies... I just was not motivated to tie some pumpkin head midges (a great pattern I learned about on Matt Grobert's blog) which I'd been planning on - they are good little flies for sure! But a simpler variation just jumped out to me. An orange bead, 4-6 bit's of coc de leon and open spirals of peacock eye up the hook... Using the peacock to create "rib" through it's wide flat stem. This is a little #22 scud hook, and brings a lot of good things to the table. I'm excited to try this out on the swift some time this winter (a tail water about an hour from here that was in mind tying this up).
That simple little fly is a good example of why I tie and why I brought it up, it worked off good memories of a beautiful and fun place to fish, it got me playing with materials and trying to create my own twist on a fly that's really good (pumpkin head midge). Creative, flowing with my energy level, and inspiring ("I wonder if this will work?")...
I realize that this is some what a surface scratcher for why I tie - or fish. But it helps clarify it a bit, or at least point at the direction that things tend to go for me. We are all very different and have many different reasons... Which makes me wonder about others. Why do you wave a rod or wrap thread to a hook?
In short... How about you?
PS - HAPPY NEW YEAR!