ORVIS Fly Fishing News: How to tie a fly

Video and Story: The Art of a Deer-Hair Master

Written by: Phil Monahan

For many of us, our first attempt to tie a Muddler Minnow was when we came
face-to-face with the frustration of trying to spin deer hair on a slippery
hook shank. For a novice tier, or even someone who has been at the vise
awhile, it can be difficult to get the hair to spin evenly on the hook,
to lock it into place, to pack it firmly enough without jabbing a thumb
on the hook point, and then trim it into shape. When you see a beautifully
made Muddler, Irresistible, Dahlberg Diver, or mouse pattern, it’s
hard not to marvel at the craftsman who could achieve such perfection
with deer hair.

In my early days as editor of
American Angler, I was lucky enough to share offices with Art Scheck (editor of
Fly Tier) and John Likakis (editor of
Warmwater Fly Fishing), who were both superior deer-hair artists. They offered me countless
tips and strategies that upped my skills from pathetic to merely adequate,
which is where they remain to this day.

But I think that even Art and John would be impressed by the creations
of Upstate New York tier Pat Cohen, whose flies demonstrate a level of
mastery and artistry that sometimes beggars belief. I have admired Cohen’s
patterns for quite awhile, so it was exciting to see that he is the subject
of a great short documentary on Bloomberg Business, part of their “Made”
series. Watch the short trailer above, and then click over to see the
entire video, which clocks in at just under nine minutes long and shows
how he creates a Duckling pattern that would surely bring the biggest
bass or pike to the surface.

Click here for the full story and full-length video. The website layout is a little confusing, so make sure you scroll down
after you watch the video.

Pat Cohen’s deer-hair patterns, such as this duckling imitation,
mix art and fishability.

Photo by Zach Goldstein/Bloomberg