One of the many benefits of fly tying groups, whether they are loose collectives like our Whippet Wednesday crowd, or Whatsapp Groups, get togethers like the CPS Vice Squad Meetings,or FB groups even is the shit ton of new stuff you get to learn. Some of it deals with new patterns, new materials, new techniques, or just a little trick that helps you with a technique or material you’ve been struggling with. Other times, it’s just nice to have the inspiration from seeing what others are tying which gets you amped up to tie more, or try something different.
We’re fortunate to also have some premier tyers in our loose bunch of feather binding friends… guys like MC Coetzer, who every now and again graces us with his presence at Whippet Wednesdays and chucks out a few platinum coated nuggets of wisdom in between glasses of red wine and Styvie Blues to us lesser mortals who are actually tying flies at Whippet.
Another treasure is Jimmy “The Shark Man” Eagleton. Jimmy is probably the most “Left field” fly angler and tyer I’ve met, probably because he does the bulk of his fishing in areas where most folks don’t even think of throwing a bait, never mind a fly, and chasing and figuring out species that the rest of us don’t even consider. Jimmy came round to Whippet a few weeks back on one of his stints back home to show us his new Fly Hangers which he is busy working on. These things are the tits, the shit, the ducks nuts, the dogs bollocks, as is pretty much everything Jimmy comes up with and sells under his Retro Fly Studio brand ( RetroFlyStudio – Facebook ).
What struck me that evening, was listening to Jimmy’s explanations for how he does certain things, and why, whether that be designing tools for fly tying, or flies themselves, or techniques, it all stems from a deep well of experience and trial and error from someone who absorbs information everywhere they go, thinks about it from every angle, and then applies their own “left field” thinking to it.
Watching Jimmy tie his “simple” Silicone baitfish, a pattern I’d tied a dozen of not long ago, and which I was pretty happy with, I learnt more watching Jimmy tie that one fly and listening to why he did things certain ways, than I would have tying 100 of them myself. It also made me realise that those dozen versions I tied were pretty damn shit in comparison.
So, where am I going with this? MC mentioned a Fly tyer on Youtube that he was really impressed by and when MC mentions a tyer he is impressed by, you listen up.
There are literally 1000’s of channels on Youtube with some truly exceptional tyers. Some teach you specific patterns, some teach you basic fundementals. I’ve watched hundreds of them, and some I’ve really enjoyed, others are boring and poorly filmed or the sound sucks. But few of them I find myself returning to, SO when MC mentioned that this guy is worth checking out, I dived in.
The tyer in question is a young fella in the US, I think in Minnesota, by the name of Gunnar Bremmer (Gunnar Brammer Custom Flies – Youtube Channel ).
A couple things drew me to his videos once I checked his page out straight off the bat. He ties a lot of big flies, big predator patterns, which suits my current obsession with BEAST flies and large Streamers and bucktail based patterns. His videos are long, but after I started watching the first one I couldn’t stop. 5 hours of Youtube later I had watched another 7 of his videos and learnt more about tying, techniques and materials and how to use them than I had in the last 3 years of tying. Gunnar is one of those freakishly clever dudes who the fly tying community should be thankful is interested in fly tying instead of something like Orchid pruning or Radio Control cars. He’s applied that brain to fly tying techniques and fly design in incredible ways, on top of which he has an amazing way of teaching and translating his ideas and techniques on camera to the viewer.
“Gunnar is one of those freakishly clever dudes who the fly tying community should be thankful is interested in fly tying instead of something like Orchid pruning or Radio Control cars.”
I’ve spent a large amount of time messing around with Bucktail over the last 18 months. In fact most of my buddies seem to think that BEASTS are all I tie anymore, which is not quite true but it’s close. So I’ve spent a ton of time working with bucktail, and thought I’d figured out most things about how to make it work.
But watching Gunnar’s videos, I learnt more in an hour than I had in dozens of hours previously of actual tying.
So, if you’re interested in predator fly tying, like large baitfish patterns, working with bucktail (as well as a bunch of other materials ) or simply just the science behind why some patterns work the way they do, check out Gunnars videos.
He’s got a great series called: Beginner Predator Series (Gunnar Bremmer – Beginner Predator Series Playlist ) which is a superb starting point…
Another series being his “Tie like a Pro Series ( Gunnar Bremmer – Tie Like a Pro Series Playlist )
Check them out if you get a chance. I have no doubt you will not only learn a shit load, but be inspired along the way too.