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Friday, June 22, 2012

Tying Flies at Missouri's Bennett Spring State Park

I took a fly-tying class with Jim Rogers at Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon, Missouri. I should admit that I know nothing about fly fishing except I l saw the movie, A River Runs Through It, and I love to watch casting fishermen.
Judy Fortner
Luck was with me.  The other five class members knew as little as I. Together we stumbled and fumbled our way through several attempts until Judy Fortner, Director of Tourism in Lebanon, MO, achieved success.

Everett's on the left, mine on the right
Judy listened closely as Jim walked her through the string wrapping, feather fluffing, chenille wrapping, feather wrapping and string tying.

Jim said ties are typically made with the colors of nature to blend with the environment but it's easier to teach someone with the brighter, contrasting colors. However, I'm not sure he thought even neon colors would have helped me.

Once we finished our works of fly-tying art, Jim showed us a tie that won the International Fly-tying Championship. He used deer hide to produce his work of art.
An international champion

We started over, followed directions more closely and produced six totally unique “wooly worm” flies. Believe me, the fish at Bennett Spring would be safe if we cast these flies into their waters.

If you visit Bennett Spring State Park, check if the class is available and sign up. It’s fun. Jim’s a great instructor and you quickly realize it’s not quite as easy as it looks. Check out the website at

We then took a casting lesson, but that's another story...

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