Fishing Fly tying

Fly tying: The RS2

I was in Denver a couple of weeks for a family thing, and I got to spend some time with my aunt and uncle in the city’s suburbs. My uncle is an avid fly fisher—he and I went to northern Saskatchewan this past summer and spent four days on a boat together chasing pike. We had a blast.

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He’s getting more serious about his fly tying. He’s a big nympher in Colorado and Wyoming, and he gave me a list of fly patterns that he wanted some help with. I’m no fly-tying expert— I’m reasonably competent at the vise, but my tying is strictly done for my own fishing. I’m not confident enough in my own work to really tie flies for others—I’d rather have my flies let me down, not other anglers. Nevertheless, I figured I could help my uncle with a couple of basics.

And then I looked at the list. Pheasant Tail. Check. Hare’s Ear. Check. I kept reading down the list of some of the more popular patterns he wanted to start tying for himself. Then my eyes caught on a particular fly pattern.

RS2. Oh, hell no.

“You’re on your own on that one, Cowboy,” I said. Then I grabbed my laptop and dialed up Tim Flagler’s Tightline Productions YouTube page, called up the video for tying the RS2—embedded above—and hit “play.” When a tier of Flagler’s pedigree readily admits that even he struggles tying the RS2, and turns the pattern over to fellow renowned tier Matt Grobert, I know I’m out of my league.

As I told my uncle, spend a few hours at the vise and then say, “To hell with it,” and wander down the fly shop any buy a couple dozen.

The RS2 is great emerger—it might be the best emerger ever tied. It’s a great Blue-winged Olive emerger pattern during these blustery fall days, and again in the spring before the weather really warms up. But it’s a beast to tie—I refuse to defame the fly by even trying anymore.

After watching Tim’s video of Matt tying the fly, I think my uncle agrees.

— Chris Hunt

By Chris Hunt.