A Few Tips For the Paranoid Fly Tyer

some fine points by Acey Fiveash on the least approached aspect of our craft:
the Dark side of the Force – a prominent moral, philosophical, metaphorical and psychic concept of the Fly-Tying universe, the undarkened Force being a mystical energy which permeates the enlightened tier.


“I’ve tied literally thousands of flies at this point in my life. Sometimes people and fly shops even want to buy some of them from me, which means that I have found myself having to tie multiple dozens of the same pattern all of which should look pretty much look exactly alike. With variations in materials and other more cryptic variables sometimes making two identical flies seem daunting, much less a dozen of them.

If you’re nitpicky and self-critical like me (for your sake I hope you’re not) this can drive you a little crazy when tying a large order of flies. I have learned a few things over the years to help me maintain my sanity though:

Wait at least a few hours to do the final inspection – If you just finished tying a dozen flies for somebody don’t immediately jump into comparing them to one another. Every little tiny, itty-bitty difference will seem glaringly obvious to you and you’ll wonder if you should retie that one with the wing that seems a fraction of a millimeter shorter or just get rid of that one there with the eye that looks like itmight be a little lower than the other eye. Step away from your flies and comeback later. If you’re at least a reasonably competent tyer you’ll find that you won’t be able to tell much of a difference from one fly to the next.

Don’t compare your flies to flies in bins at big box stores like Bass Pro or Cabela’s – These flies come from big companies like Umpqua that have fly “factories” in Asia where people get paid good money (by their standards) to spend eight hours a day, five days a week, tying the exact same fly over and over and over again. Remember, unless you’re willing to spend this kind of time doing the same thing your  flies will never be as perfectly uniform as theirs.

And remember that as a tyer of flies you will always be more critical of the flies you see – This isn’t to say people who don’t tie don’t know what a well tied fly looks like, but as a fly tyer, you’re more likely to notice the finer details, good and bad. To most people, as long as the fly does what it’s supposed to do and doesn’t fall apart after the first three or four fish (sharks, muskie and other big toothy fish not included) they’re going to be pretty happy with it.

Hopefully these tips will help put you at ease if you’re anything like me.”

and just for the record-

Paranoia [ˌpærəˈnɔɪ.ə] (adjective: paranoid [ˈpærə.nɔɪd]) is a thought process believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs, or beliefs of conspiracy concerning a perceived threat towards oneself. (e.g. “Everyone thinks my flies suck !“)
Making false accusations and the general distrust of others also frequently accompany paranoia. For example, an incident where a fly angler might snag trees all day long or loose an enormous fish would just view these as accidents or coincidence,  but a paranoid person might believe was intentional.’

i can see how this fits with Acey’s Agitated Angler / Dadgitated ideas on fly tying…. :mrgreen:

To My Dearest Wife – Happy Eighth Anniversary

one of the sweetest and funniest (and of course about fly fishing :mrgreen: ) declarations of love i’ve come across.

from our friend Acey Fiveash, the fly fishing Agitated Angler known word-wide for his incessant rants on not being able to go fish more often and winner of the highly acclaimed Stupid Cobra Contest.
i hesitated in re-printing the whole piece but cutting it up didn’t do it justice.
do yourself the favor of checking out both of Acey’s blogs by clicking on the links above. enjoy !

My dearest Wife,

I have searched far and wide, and across multiple supermarket card isles for anything that could fully expressed my love for you, on this, our eighth anniversary. Alas, Bi-Lo, Harris Teeter and the super Walmart has let us both down, so instead I am writing  this letter to share with you,  and many strangers on the internet, how deep my love for you flows.

And oh how it flows. Like a mighty river coming down a mountain my love flows for you, rushing over boulders and cascading down cliffs into deep plunge pools where large trout likely live waiting for a well presented streamer,and those plunge pools in turn flows into some nice pocket water that may be kind of hard to navigate but if you’re careful you should be able to fish it down to where the gradient evens out a bit creating a good calf-deep riffle that tails-out into a glassy pool that seems like a great place to find a thick hatch of some kind but it’s often kind of hard to tell with these things when you don’t know how fertile the river is, of course this is my dream river so it can be as fertile as I want it to be…

I’m sorry Sweetie, the river analogy just won’t work, it’s way too distracting for me. So scratch the whole “my love flows deep thing”.

I’m going to start over now…

With a late ninety’s catch phrase popularized by a crazy scientologist.

You complete me. Cliche but true. Without you I would probably be a complete mess, spending my nights in a haze of booze, weed and sex, spending my days bumming around America’s streams and rivers, working odd jobs just long enough to make enough money to get to the next fishable piece of water. I would be constantly drunk on the freedom of the open road…

Wow, this is not going well.


I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in life.

You are possibly the only woman alive who can put up with my particular brand of bullshit.

You are beautiful, smart, kind, a wonderful mother to our children and you like my cooking.

In twenty years when the children are finely out of our house I can’t imagine that we’ll ever have that bleak moment where we look at each other across the table and realize that we have nothing left to talk about, because there will always be television, comic books and science. And jokes about tyrannosaurus rex having short arms.

You are truly my best friend and I would be completely lost without you.

And if something did happen to you, rest assure I would never remarry, because my first move would be to pack up the kids and move to Alaska, where there are no available women. Plus I would be too heart broken after loosing the love of my life.

Happy eighth anniversary, I love you more than you could possibly know.

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the Stupid Cobra contest ! second entry

by Acey Fiveash, USA

“Technically this didn’t happen while fishing but it definitely affected my fishing.

About two weeks before my one and only trip to Alaska I came home from a beer drinking trip where a little bit of fishing went on,  I stumbled in the door my wife looks at me and says “Well if I knew you were just going to get drunk I would have convinced you to stay home today.”
“How, pray tell, would you have done that?” I failed to enunciate clearly in her general direction.
“How do you think,” she asked seductively.
“I would have gone anyway.”
Suddenly her mood changed. “You’re telling me you would rather go fishing than have sex?”
“Well yeah,” the beer in my system stupidly said for me. “I know how sex is going to end and I can get that done all by myself. Fishing is exciting…” That’s when my brain caught up to what the booze was saying. “I mean…”
“No, no, no. I know what you mean. You MEAN you’re going to be getting ‘That Done’ all by yourself from here on out.”
And that’s how, in the form of one of the greatest sacrifices of my life, I went to Alaska without any fly rods.”