Podcast episode appears at the end of this short article.
In Podcast Episode 136 we WadeOutThere with Rich Strolis from Simsbury Connecticut. Rich always had a love of fishing, but became a more devoted fly angler shortly after starting his career as a state trooper.
He started fly fishing after working the night shift to help him decompress, and eventually was getting over a hundred days a year on the Farmington River. Rich began guiding and tying flies as a second career, until deciding he needed more time with family. Now that he has retired from his job as a trooper, Rich is selling flies and fishing more for himself.
We discuss techniques for tying more durable flies, the Housatonic River, and streamer tactics centered around patterns for reading and fishing different waters.
“You’re more apt to tie what you’re comfortable fishing.”Rich Strolis
Yesterday, I sat down with my son at the vise, and happily awaited a familiar and important question.
“What should we tie Pop?”
I didn’t think it over long, and my son didn’t take much convincing. I was just about out of scuds in every color, (I like gray and orange) and the scud is fully and unabashedly a top shelf confidence fly of mine. It produces for me, it’s easy to tie, and there’s a solid supply of these little critters in the trout stream down the road from our house. My eight year old boy finds them under almost every rock he turns over. I think that’s why he simply nodded his brown haired head in agreement, thinking: Of course. Scuds. That makes sense.
I’m a little proud that he’s starting to put these things together.
I tie scuds because I know I’ll fish them. And I fish them because I “know” I’ll catch fish with them. There’s some comfort in that, but comfort isn’t too far off from complacency, and it’s a fine line between knowing what works and being stubborn.
“It’s just like angling. How do you get better at something? Take yourself out of your comfort zone.”Rich Strolis
For many of us, tying flies comes after the fishing part. It’s the next step, or at least, another step. If we enjoy it, embrace it, and continue tying, fly tying becomes just another aspect of fly fishing. Like learning how to tight line or chasing a new species. Tying, then, becomes part of the progress we seek, and as we learn new tactics and techniques for fishing, our tying evolves as well.
Rich reminds us of that connection between tying and fishing. If we’re willing to try new things in fly fishing, it makes sense that our tying should follow along.
For someone like me who is looking to up my streamer game, this means getting a little uncomfortable at the vise. And that’s okay. There are simple patterns out there to experiment with and I’ve tied enough to know that once you start catching fish with the flies you tie, tying flies doesn’t seem so hard.
Through my conversation with Rich, it became obvious I was in the presence of a man who knows how to grind. Someone who put in the time on the water (and the vise) because he loves it, and maybe even needs it a little. I deeply relate to and respect Rich’s commitment to what he loves, and I truly enjoyed the passion he shared for his favorite aspects of fly fishing. I hope you do as well.
Find out more about Rich, pick up some flies for your next fly fishing adventure, or purchase his book “Catching Shadows” at his website: