Fishing | Fly tying

Fly tying: The Rusty Rat

When I first started tying my own flies, I became infatuated with Atlatic salmon flies, even though, in the heart of Colorado’s Arkansas Valley, there wasn’t an Atlantic salmon within 2,000 miles that wasn’t lyling flat on ice in a grocery store.

There was just something about the art of it all. The colors. The sleek profile. These things were—and remain today—the work of true craftspeople.

Above, as Tim Flagler films Matt Grobert tying The Rusty Rat Atlantic salmon fly, you’ll gain an appreciation for the detail that goes into these flies. They requre great attention to the little things (like spinning the bobbin to keep your thread flat), careful, precise wraps and, above all else, patience. Tim does a great job describing the process and Matt masterfully ties this creation, something he’s probably done hundreds, if not thousands of times before.

The final product is simply stunning, and reminded me of long winter days spent hunched over a vise trying like hell to create something half as appealing. I never did, but I did cast my best attempt into the Arkansas, and I was rewarded with a foot-long brown trout. I’ve still never fished for ocean-going Atlantics, but one day I will. Maybe those early mistakes will help me finally craft an acceptible salmon fly when the time does come.

— Chris Hunt