Fly tying class offers new hobby for the new year
What: High Country Fly Fishers beginning fly tying classes
When: 9 a.m. to noon, every Saturday from Jan. 5 to Jan. 26
Where: Red Rock Brewery, 1640 Redstone Center Drive
The new year is a time when some people decide to start a new hobby, or participate in an activity they never have before.
This is one of the reasons why High Country Fly Fishers, the Park City chapter of conservation nonprofit Trout Unlimited offers its beginning fly tying classes.
The three-hour classes, which will start at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 5, are held each week through Jan. 26, in the back room of Red Rock Brewery, 1640 Redstone Center Drive, said High Country Fly Fishers President Dave Allison.
The total cost for the series is $75.
“We will provide bagels and coffee,” Allison said. “We also supply all the equipment – the vices, thread, tools and material, the whole nine yards.”
Each week the class will work on different categories of flies – streamers, which include the wooly booger; nymphs, dry flies and soft hackles, according to Allison.
“Streamers have different types of patterns, and the nymphs look like the pupa stage of aquatic bugs,” he said. “Dry flies float on the water, and the soft hackle is a wet fly that looks like an insect that lives underwater.”
The class will learn about dubbing, which is the fuzzy material used in making flies, and thread control, Allison said. Each of the 10 students will have their own personal tutor who will sit across from them during the class.
“I will stand at the front of the room, set a video camera on me, and begin to talk and tie,” he said. “After I’m done, the students will start to tie, and the tyers who are sitting in front of them will help them out.”
The video camera will project Allison’s instruction in real time on screens set up in the room.
“We also give students a video they can take home for practice,” Allison said.
The format is the result of trial and error over the years, Allison said.
“We used to have one instructor sit at the front of the room, before we even thought about recording video,” he said. “So everyone had to sit really close to him just to see what he was doing.”
A few years ago, Allison began working with the video camera and screens.
“We found that the participants could sit anywhere in the room and see the fly being tied,” he said. “However, since only one person taught the class, he would spend a lot of time answering questions and demonstrating the tying over and over again, the class would be lucky to get one fly tied.”
The class format changed again three years ago after one of Allison’s friends suggested he get High Country Fly Fishers members to work with each student.
“They’ll sit across from each student and help them tie the flies, and we found that seating arrangement works best, rather than us sitting next to the student,” Allison said. “When we started doing that, lo and behold, 45 minutes later, the students began to get three or four flies tied per class.”
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