TH: When did you first begin fly fishing?
TM: I don't recall the very first time I fished with a fly rod. I know I had fished with a spinning rod, casting bubble and a fly a few times as a young kid and done well. As far as with a flyrod... I believe my first trout was on the Crooked River in Central Oregon around the age of 5. My dad had left me to my own devices near the camp and remembers hearing me yelling for them when I got hooked up. I don't remember the exact moment but it has left me with one heck of a bug that has yet to leave me and I doubt ever will. It also made for an awesome photo.
TH: What led to your decision to start tying flies?
TM: I got my start in fly tying at a very early age. My dad, Gary, has been an avid fly fisherman and tyer for the last 60 or so years. He always had a tying room or tying area when I was growing up. He had me in front of a vise before I could remember. I am just now seeing the magnitude of what he has given me and am very grateful. While many folks have played a key role in my development as a man, fly tyer and fisherman, my dad has played the biggest. I hope to pass on the gift of fly fishing and fly tying to my daughters as well. It has given me a lifelong obsession and a community that has always supported me and pushed me to grow and become better. I will always be a "student of the vise" and strive to keep the excitement alive that I have had since I was a little boy. This lifestyle is about the only thing that has kept me interested for this long. I have tied at several fly tying shows here in the Pacific NW from the age of 9-10 and continue to do so. I would like to start traveling to more around the country as I am able to. I am currently a member of Team Norvise and a Pro Team member of Ahrex Hooks.
View this post on Instagram
I wouldn't be here today sharing my passions with you all if it weren't for this man right here. . This is one of my favorite pictures of my dad in his tying room in the early 1990s. Notice the @theflyfishersplace sticker and @regal_vise clamped to the bench. . I am very appreciative of my dad's willingness to pass his knowledge and love for a lifestyle he has always enjoyed. . Be sure to check out his blog at https://swittersb.wordpress.com/
TH: What was the first fly pattern that you tied?
TM: I do not know what the first fly pattern I tied was, to be honest. I would assume a Woolly Bugger or one of the classic trout nymphs. My dad tied a lot of trout and steelhead flies back then so it would make sense that it was along those lines. I do know that when I was a toddler he would put me in a barstool next to him in his tying room and let me wrap yarn around a large hook without a point. That must have been just enough for me to catch the bug. I will have to ask my dad if he can recall my first "fly".
TH: What is your favorite fly pattern to tie?
TM: This is a very hard question for me to answer. I enjoy tying all kinds of flies for several species of fish. If I were to pick just one fly it would be a Woolly Bugger. I try to have fun with that classic and use it as a reminder to all that we can never be too good to revert back to the classics. It is a challenge of mine to tie the "perfect" Woolly Bugger and I have yet to accomplish this. It is a pattern that most people learned to tie in the beginning and it is also one of the most versatile patterns ever created. It should truly be a staple in everyone's boxes and a fly they tie often. With the number of ways you can tie and play with it, the Woolly Bugger can be used for so many species of fish and tied in a multitude of color combinations. If I had to pick a style of fly that I most enjoy tying it would have to be trout streamers. Anything "streamerish" is right up my alley. Big or small... one hook or two there is just something about tying streamers and the kind of reaction they get from fish that I love. They bring out that predatory and aggressive side that I crave as an angler. Plus, there are endless possibilities and inspirations when it comes to streamers. Social media has done nothing but feed this obsession of mine.
TH: Which fly pattern of yours are you most proud of?
TM: That is a hard one for me. I really find my fly tying to be a constant evolution. I may be happy with a pattern I designed or a fly I tied one minute and looking to improve or alter it the next. I would say that I am most proud of some of the Woolly Bugger variants I spoke about above and my Spruce Intruder steelhead fly. That said, I am probably most proud of any pattern that I can envision in my head, create on the vise and have myself or someone else catch a solid fish with. It just makes it all come full circle for me.
TH: What has been your most memorable fly fishing experience?
TM: I don't really have one specific memory that stands out above all others. Each one is special for it's own reasons. I think any with my dad are the most memorable and special to me just because of our relationship and how infrequently we both get to fish together these days. He has been witness to my first fish, first fish on a fly rod and many other firsts so I would attribute most of these memories to him. Also, I find that trips or experiences in different parts of my lift have value or stand out more than others because of where I was in that particular place in life. There have been years when I could fish all the time and others where I may get out once a year. That tends to change your perspective on any given trip and value it accordingly. May of 2019 was the last trip I made. My dad and I ventured over to the Deschutes River (OR) for the day to fish the big Salmonfly hatch. It was very memorable because my dad and I hadn't been fishing together in awhile. While we saw very few fish and the hatch wasn't in full force, it was memorable because we were able to talk and catch up in a way that we are unable to with how busy we both are these days. I am hoping for a few of those trips this year.
View this post on Instagram
A good all-around streamer that is easy to tie and produces. Give it a shot and let me know what you think! Video in newest post. . All materials and flash colors can be substituted for anything you like. This is just a good color combo for myself. . Hook: @moonlitflyfishing ML057 #2 Bead: Gold Cone Thread: Veevus Olive 6/0 Lead: .030 Tail: Fly Tyers Dungeon Olive/Black "Northern Lights" Tail/Back: Olive Zonker Body: Lg. Olive Chenille Hackle: 2x Olive Chinese Hackle Feathers Wire Ribbing: UTC Sm. Olive Throat: FTD Pink/Red NL Collar: 1x Lg. Olive Schlappen Feather