Tuesday, December 18, 2018

FAVORITE FLIES - The Classic Wet Flies of Alec M. Stansell

When I joined the Fiberglass Flyrodders forum over a dozen years ago, I soon learned that Alec M. Stansell, also known by screen name "Flytackle", had started the group to cultivate conversations about vintage fiberglass fly rods.  He has a thing for tying classic styled wet flies, Valentine fly reels and fishing with fiberglass fly rods that are likely older than I am.

Since 2012, Alec has been working on a website called Favorite Flies which chronicles his time behind the vice and on the water using his flies.  I asked him if he'd mind writing a few thoughts on what has drawn him to tying classic flies along with sharing a few of his flies tied.  These flies are eye-catching and proof that what's old can be new all over again with variants tied off a yesteryear recipe.

Alec wrote...  "The wet flies of the 19th and early 20th century have always appealed to me. Mary Orvis Marbury’s book “Favorite Flies” has been my delight since I first opened it; the colorful and creative wet flies of that era really thrill me. 

In 1993 I read Jack Ellis’s book, “The Sunfishes” wherein he suggested that the reader replace the word “sunfish” for “trout” in Dave Hugh’s book “Strategies For Stillwater”. This was really a watershed moment for me; I figured that cross-species applicability in techniques probably applied to patterns as well. I had been confining myself as to what constituted a bass fly, a trout fly, a salmon fly, etc. The scales really fell from my eyes thanks to Jack. 

The wonderful wet flies depicted in Ray Bergman’s “Trout” began filling my panfish box; I fished hair wing salmon flies for smallmouth and later took saltwater patterns like Ken Abrame’s Flatwing streamers to ponds. 

I enjoy real freedom in tying my own patterns and take influence wherever I can find it. I’m a wet fly man that prefers feathers and fur to synthetics, takes delight in our rich angling and fly tying history and consider it a privilege to keep old patterns from falling into the oblivion of a library by tying and fishing them. 

In the end, I hold to the notion that, at least in warm waters, getting the fly to the fish is more important than the pattern and that gives me great freedom and ultimately, more enjoyment."


If you would like to see more, please visit the Favorite Flies website.  

No comments: