Fly fishing enthusiasts join tying event

PARKERSBURG – Dozens of fly fishing enthusiasts filled the small shop of Anglers Xstream in south Parkersburg Saturday for its annual fly tying event.

“It’s something we can do to bring fly fishers together,” said store owner Rich Beckwith. “This allows everyone to tie and talk about fishing.”

Beckwith said he organizes a fly tying event each spring in preparation for the coming fishing season and has done so for at least seven years.

“Really, I can’t remember how long we’ve done it, but it is popular and people seem to enjoy it,” he said.

The event included four fly makers from Charleston, Athens and Gallopolis who make ties for different species of fish.

“It allows those who like to fish for trout, bass and muskies to see what they can do to better catch their preferred fish,” Beckwith added.

One of the participants was Charleston area resident Ed Hayne who demonstrated how to make smaller lures for fish such as trout.

“A lot of people, even avid fly fishermen, don’t have any clue how to tie a fly,” said Hayne. “Really, I’ve been doing it for more than 40 years.”

During his middle school years, Hayne said his father began to teach him how to make his own flies and he has stuck with it ever since, including teaching courses in fly making for more than 20 years in Kanawha County.

“You could say I was bitten by the fly tying bug,” he laughed.

Fly lures are made to look like the type of insects the fish will eat and include a number of different materials to attract the animals in streams and waterways.

“Really, fly tying is all about trying to build a copy of what the fish would eat,” Hayne said. “It is very rewarding when you catch a fish with a fly you’ve made yourself.”

The materials for the flies includes natural pieces such as animal furs, which are blended with manmade pieces to illuminate in the sun and catch the fish’s attention.

“There are a lot of individual perceptions about ties because we all have our own personal likes in what the flies are,” Hayne said.

While the majority of the fishers who attended the event were adults, Hayne said making the implements is something anyone can do.

“This is a hobby that can become life-long,” he said. “It’s also something to tide you over in the winter – it’s a neat hobby that transitions from the last days of fishing season in the fall to a new season in the spring.”

Saturday’s fly event was the first of several for the season at Anglers Xstream, located on Camden Avenue, with a beginners fly fishing class in April.

“It’s an introduction to fishing and casting,” Beckwith said. “We show people it is not as difficult to cast as people think it is; it’s all about timing.”