Fly Tying

The Feathered Wizardry of Dr. Tom

  • By: Darrel Martin
  • Photography by: Darrel Martin
Dr. Tom Whiting

Tom Whiting was born and spent much of his childhood in Denver, Colorado. The Whiting clan admits that Dr. Tom must be some strange agrarian throwback. From youth he was fascinated by fowls, and their variety. When Tom was about 10 years old, a lucky break: His family moved to the suburbs, where he raised a few chickens, peddled eggs in the neighborhood and worked on a game-bird farm. Although he spent hours dreaming up breeding programs, there were no plans to become a feather merchant; when it was time to go to college he delved into music, political science and literature at Colorado State University. One day his older brother asked him what he really wanted to do. Tom replied that he often thought about quail. Avian science was the answer. After getting a bachelor’s degree in avian science at Colorado State and completing genetics internships with two poultry producers, he knew he wanted more.

Brown Stone Nymph

  • By: A. K. Best
  • Photography by: A. K. Best
Brown Stone Nymph Fly

When there is no hatch coming off the water, none is predicted, there hasn’t been one in days and I have the chance to do a little fishing, my favorite go-to fly is the Brown Stone Nymph. I always look for a stretch of water that is boulder-strewn with fast-running water between the rocks. It’s usually the place where some big brown trout are hanging out near the bottom just waiting for a fat, juicy mouthful. The thought process here is: “They have to eat, don’t they?”

Feather Facets

  • By: Darrel Martin
  • Photography by: Darrel Martin
Adams Fly

“There is an expression in wine tasting that a fine wine must ‘blossom in the mouth and spread out its peacock tail.’ The metaphor that connects feather with wine is not all hyperbole. The finest feather is the rich, full-bodied and mature feather. The feather connoisseur recognizes the sweet, rich mahogany of coachman brown and the cool, dry flavor of a light Cahill. A warm and subtle bouquet of light explodes as it passes through a fine hackle. After all, the birth of a fly begins with a delicious hackle.”

Spring Bonus: More Tying Tools Tested

  • By: Ted Leeson

More from Ted Leeson's latest Field Test: "Fly-tying is all about building better mousetraps, so tiers are forever on the lookout for new patterns and materials, and tools..."

Table-top Tools

  • By: Ted Leeson

While it’s true that the best tools in fly-tying are our 10 fingers, most of us find them a necessary, but not sufficient, condition.