I have been accumulating flies for many years, but I have never seen it as a “collection”. I stashed them in fly jacket pockets, corners of old fly boxes, in the brim of fishing hats and the drawers of my fly tying desk. When I come across them they usually get tossed into an old wooden box that once contained a fly tying kit.
Some old flies and bits-n-pieces collected over the years
Some flies I asked for as references for future use others because they were just plain pretty or displayed an unusual tying technique and many for no clear reason. Then there were whole fly boxes from long lost family members in Scotland and even some exciting historical stuff – including an original Mark Mackereth Maribou Spider and Theo van Niekerk’s TVN with cut strips of gold paper from a cigarette box for the ribbing. The flies came in all manner of containers like old tobacco tins, 35mm film canisters and spectacle cases – others through the post as gifts from flyfishers – doctors, accountants, farmers, actors, carpenters, a few trout bums and others I hardly know or never shared a beer or leaky tent with – even a few from well-know flyfishers from other parts of the world with letters from the tiers like Mike Valla and Oliver Edwards. A set of Frank Saywer’s flies tied by his grandson Nick Saywer – a PTN, Bow-Tie Buzzer, Grey Goose and Killer Bug. And, then the many flies nicked from friends fly boxes while their backs were turned – no names mentioned because I’d like to break the news to them first and offer my apologies … of course I have no intention of returning the flies and in any event I have it on sound advice that by the laws of prescription there is a presumption of the legal right of possession based on long-term exercise of property rights.
The flies arrived in all manner of containers
Even whole fly boxes
Original RAB’s tied by Tony Biggs
A selection of Oliver Edwards flies
Catskill flies – a quill Gordon and two varieties of the Hendricksons tied my Mike Valla
Recently I brought it closer to what could be described as a ‘collection’, by sorting, placing in suitable containers and scribbling down details of how I came by most of them and from whom. I don’t see the collection as having any financial worth and that doesn’t bother me, but the flies do have sentimental value. They’re fun to just scratch through, study as examples for my own tying or as a talking point when the guys come around and conversation drifts to flies and the art of fly tying.
I guess I do have a collection ……
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