Penobscot Fly Fishers can teach you to tie flies

When I began fly fishing more than a decade ago, I did so with more than a trace of trepidation.

Fly fishing, I had been told, was much more complicated that the kind of fishing that I was used to. And I was so new to the game, I wasn’t even sure what questions I should be asking.

So I did what many have done: I bought a book or three and read them all, cover to cover. When I finished, I wasn’t any less confused. I did, however, emerge from the process knowing what questions I should be asking … and knowing who I should visit to ask those questions.

As it happens, one of my co-workers is a longtime member (and sometime officer) of the Penobscot Fly Fishers. Over the course of months (or, perhaps, years) I tromped down to his basement office, sat down, and quizzed him about this new recreational pursuit that I desperately wanted to start figuring out.

And help, he did.

Eventually, he even told me about a class that his club offers every year. “You might like it,” he told me, describing the PFF’s annual basic fly-tying class. “Just don’t expect to save any money by tying your own flies instead of buying them at a store.”

The fact was, he explained, that veteran tiers end up buying all kinds of fly-tying material … far too much of it, to be honest … and quickly stopped assessing their new hobby based on a “money-saved” scale.

Rob Roy ties a fly during a class offered by the Penobscot Fly Fishers. (Photo courtesy of Penobscot Fly Fishers)

I took the class, again with the trepidation that comes when you’re tackling an activity that you suspect you may not have an aptitude for. I may have bled a bit. But my co-worker was right: Fly tying is not rocket science. Almost anyone can learn the basics. Learning those basics, and progressing to tackle more advanced skills, can be a whole lot of fun.

Best of all, the PFF members who taught the course made the process a breeze. All were friendly, expert tiers who really wanted the students to succeed and have fun doing so.

And the end result — a fly that you tied yourself , and later caught a fish with? Well, that’s just really, really cool.

All of which is a long-winded way to tell you that the Penobscot Fly Fishers are registering students for their 2013 basic fly-tying class. What do you have to know? Nothing. What do you have to own? Nothing. How much do you have to pay? Not much — $40 covers the eight-week course, use of tools, and all supplies that you’ll need.

The course will be held each Monday, starting Jan. 7, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the Penobscot County Conservation Association clubhouse on North Main Street in Brewer.

Students will learn about tying tools, techniques and materials, and will gain a solid foundation in the sport. Included in the $40 fee: Each student will take home a fly box, which they can fill with the flies they tie each week.

If you do have your own equipment, you’re welcome to bring it. If not, the club will provide what you need.

The class is limited to just 24 students, and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. If you’re younger than 17, you’ll have to attend the class with an adult. Everyone who attends will have to sign a waiver.

Checks can be made payable to the Penobscot Fly Fishers and mailed to PO Box 651, Brewer, 04412.

For more information, check the PFF website here.


John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.