We caught up with Freddy Block to ask about his fly-tying experiences. Thanks for taking some time to chat Freddy!
TH: When did you first begin fly fishing?
FB: At 9 years old, the river we lived near would call my name (quite a bit too) and fishing became a major part of me and my life. I started fly fishing and tying flies at 14 years old but stopped within the first year because I could not get enough traction and material funding was tough at the time. During the years between my first attempt at fly fishing until about 40+ years later, I continued to use spin-casting gear, but the thoughts of fishing flies would never cease. My second go at fly fishing and fly tying was steeped with an incredible amount of traction for throwing at this rekindled passion.
TH: What led to your decision to start tying flies?
FB: Working with my hands and building things, whatever the "thing" happens to be at the time, has always been something I enjoy doing. As a kid it started with car models, electronics projects, and woodworking. I love using tools - especially the tools related to the "things" I like building. As I reflect, I can safely say that I seem to find myself enjoying work that is "smaller" and more "intricate" in nature. That said, it should come as no surprise that tying flies was in my future. Tying opened another venue for me to work with my hands, tools, and materials, but also gave me an opportunity to "fish" with the flies I tied. What could be better? However, when I got back into fly tying, it was a slow start. Even with a great shiny new vise and tools that glistened, I experienced an information overload. I watched more YouTube videos "about" tying flies than getting around to "tying" them myself. Fast forward to late September 2018 when I was looking for winter patterns to tie and happened to find that there was a vast number of incredible tiers and fly images in Instagram. I opened an account and stalked the feeds for about two solid months while finding myself constantly wanting to be at the vise more and more. The amount of inspiration that I was getting from Instagram truly pushed me to dive in deep with the following goal in mind: "To stay inspired with hopes to one day inspire others!" My first IG post was at the very end of Dec 2018.
TH: What was the first fly pattern that you tied?
FB: The "Woolly Bugger"! I purchased a Woolly Bugger tying kit from my local fly shop because at the time I had no clue what I needed in my material arsenal but I wanted to get to tying! Further, I had only heard great things about this pattern and it being perfect for new tiers and fly anglers. Those voices were correct! The buggers were tied were black and the fish ate them... "Heaven!"
TH: What is your favorite fly pattern to tie?
FB: Absolutely, 100%, most definitely, and unequivocally, it's soft hackles! While my goal, always, is to learn more about tying and be diversified in the types of patterns I tie and fish, wrapping soft hackles for me is number still one! There's something about selecting and wrapping that perfect feather and getting those barbules to lay back "just right" that soothes me to no end. This might be because when I was new to tying, these flies were quite a challenge. But like anything, do something enough times and it becomes easier and easier. I always stress "repetition" to new tiers for learning a new technique or pattern style.
TH: Which fly pattern of yours are you most proud of?
FB: It should come as no surprise it's a soft hackle, and a rather simple one to tie at that. I was playing with a new dubbing I had never used before and found its properties quite unique in a cool way and it gave me ideas. As I was tying the fly, everything just "clicked" for me. The dubbing, the shading, the ribbing just peeking through, and the badger hackle - it all just came together. After the fly was tied, the photography session "clicked" too with the lighting and composition that all helped to make this the fly I'm most fond of. As tier that posts a lot of my flies in Instagram, I do tie flies to catch fish, but truth be told, I'm tying for the camera too. The macro lens does not lie! LOL!
TH: What has been your most memorable fly fishing experience?
FB: My first thought brought me to the first fish I'd ever caught on a fly. It was during the dead of winter and I was very excited to try out this "fly fishing" thing. I managed to bring a stocked trout to the net; the fly was a Zug Bug. About 30 minutes later I caught a second trout on a Frenchie nymph. However, that wasn't the "most memorable" experience as awesome as it was. My most memorable trip would be my first time out fishing dry flies on a local river and a section of it I had never fished before. This little adventure was the first time I was out fishing a brand new 3 wt. setup I had just finished putting the line on. The river was teeming with redbreast sunfish on this early fall afternoon and they were smokin' my flies up and down the river. One young smallmouth also added to the fun! I know that trout dominate the popularity charts for fly fishing but it's not that way for me in the rivers and lakes I frequent and I couldn't be happier about it!
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My soft hackle "pick-me-up"! Wrapping a soft hackle feather never gets old for me. This fly was tied to a @fireholeoutdoors Firehole Sticks 633 nymph/wet hook. The body is dubbed with @frankenfly FrankenDub Nymph Dubbing (Teddy Bear Brown) and them palmered with two plumules from an MFC Ostrich Plume (Olive) I picked this up at the IFTS 2019 from @whitewaterflies. I used UTC Wire (Olive) for a counter rib and the hackle is from a Wapsi Soft Hackle Hen Saddle Patch (Olive). . So do you fish soft hackles? . #fireholeoutdoors #fireholesticks #barbless #flytying #flytyingjunkie #flytyingaddict #flytyingnation #flytyingart #flytyer #tyingflies #regalvise #drslick #flytyingphotography #flyfishingphotography #flyfishing #flyfishinglife #flyfishingaddict #flyfishfood #flydressing #flytyingporn #troutflies #troutcandy #troutfood #troutfishing #onthefly #thetugisthedrug #matchthehatch #wetfly #wetflyfishing #macrophotography