Thursday, January 3, 2019

The History & Tying the Borchers Special

Back in the mid-1990's, I spent a lot of time in Grayling, Michigan and one day while driving my Ford Escort around town (another story, but I paid $100 for it from a family friend and it took me everywhere for several years before the engine blew), I noticed a sign affixed beside a garage door at a house on Michigan Avenue with "Bob's Fly & Hackle Shop" on it.  I was a teenage kid and kinda nervous about pulling just into someone's driveway uninvited but did so anyways.  I walked up to the door beside the sign and looked in to see Bob Smock Sr. sitting at his desk hunched over his vise.  After knocking on the door, he invited me in with a wave and that visit was the first of many through that summer and most every time I was in town for the next several years.

Bob Smock Sr. and I in his garage shop sometime around 1996.

I was too young to understand his history but did know that he tied commercially for all the shops in town.  Hundreds and hundreds of dozens of classic Michigan patterns came from his hands each year and I'll never forget him saying that the Borchers Special was one of just a couple patterns that you could fill your fly box in a mix of sizes and you'd be able to cover all your needs for the dark colored mayflies found on the northern Michigan streams.

I'll never forget how gracious Bob was to someone young and new to fly fishing and Ray Schmidt's latest videos on Classic Great Lakes Fly Patterns tripped a lot of memories.  I need to go through some of my old fly boxes to see how many of Bob's flies I still have.     

The first couple videos that I am going to share cover the history and then the step by step on how to tied the Borchers Special.  This should be tied in both the spent wing and also the parachute.

Subscribe to the Ray Schmidt YouTube channel for other fly tying tutorials and I plan on highlighting a couple more in the coming weeks. 

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