Raymond Kucharski

The excitement grew as I sorted thru the individual packages contained in the Fly Tying Kit that I received for my birthday. Can’t remember exactly which birthday it was but I know I was still in grammar school.

            I do remember being pretty exited examining the various animal hairs, the brilliant colored feathers, the tinsels and yarns and the tools. Also in the kit was a much abbreviated booklet titled “How to Tie a Fly”.

I attached the vice to the kitchen table and tied a Rainbow Dust Mop (that any self respecting fish would laugh his adipose fin off at). That fly was quickly followed by a Kaleidoscope Puff Ball, a combination of colored furs and feathers beyond imagination. Neither fly resembled anything found in the natural world and came apart after a few casts.

Dad politely admired my creations and suggested I get a lesson. He took me to Paul’s Fishing Shop on Green Street, in Worcester, MA. Paul’s first suggestion was to replace the flimsy vice with one that would properly hold a hook. Dad splurged $3.99 for a D. H. Thompson vice that I am still using today.

            Paul Kukkonen taught me how to handle the thread and to attach materials to the hook without them falling off. He showed me how to tie a few common flies and gave me a book, Family Circle’s Guide to Trout Flies and how to tie them, which I still refer to. I was on my way to becoming a real Fly-Tyer. Paul continued to mentor me all thru High School as his shop was half-way between my home and school.

            Over the years I replaced all the feathers, tails and tools, but once I caught a fish on one of the flies I tied myself, I never again used a store-bought fly.

            Now I find myself in Paul’s place, which is, teaching the next generation the art of fly tying and watching young faces light up when they complete tying their fist fly.



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said on Saturday, April 5th, 2014

Ray, that's a great story! 

said on Monday, April 7th, 2014

I'll never forget looking at my first fly sitting in the vise — I felt like some sort of alchemist. I also can't believe that I caught fish on some of those early flies.

Thanks for sharing, what a great story.

said on Friday, June 13th, 2014

This is great!  Is there an easy FB share button we could get for these pages?


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