Sunday, March 20, 2011

Some Early flies-some good, some not so good.

I had wanted to originally post some early photos of some of the first flies I tied.  Well, I can't find or don't have any of those first flies I tied.  The earliest photos I can find are from the 2003 time frame and up.  I first started tying with foam around 2004 and I have a few of those photos.  I assume the lack of photos is due to the fact that I didn't own a digital camera until 2001 and that was only 1 mega pixel.  Even if a fly was tied well, it still would look like crap.  The others are from 2005 and later when I got a better camera with macro.  

I like to look at the first foam flies I tied and how crude they were.  I am sure they will catch some fish today, but just the looks of them make me laugh.  There were also some bigger streamer patterns when I used to fish the Animas River in Durango, CO and the Rio Grande and Chama River in NM.

Well take a look and see my progression from some of those flies to today's flies.  Maybe in 5-10 years, I can reflect on how I thought the Hopper Juan was such a cool pattern and how I don't even fish it anymore because of all my new patterns!  

One of my first Bullethead Foam Hoppers

Trying to get the legs right.  There was a lot that I needed to get right!

Some early hi-Viz EHC

This is probably a really good pattern.  And it looks good too.  

Foam bodied EHC

Some more of my first foam flies.  

A lake pattern

I tied a mess of streamers back then.   

Getting crazy with the rubber legs

Some caddis pattern I tied.  

Another view

This looks like it has potential 

Oh, those legs!!!! 

Um, a little skanky looking.  

I am not sure what this was supposed be, but I don't think I got it.  

I fished a lot more lakes back them too.  This one looks pretty good.  


  1. Juan, on your worst day you couldn't tie uglier flies than me.

  2. That must have been fun to see how you have progressed! Granted I have only been tying less than a year I think I am doing pretty good and will always have my first fly tied in a shadow box. Great job

  3. I am blown away with your flies. I can't believe you have only been tying for less than a year. Your flies look like those in the most expensive fly shops.

  4. Thanks guys. Bill--are you talking to Dustin?

  5. Juan
    My bad

    My bad!!
    I was quickly scanning through my blogs last night and saw the flies and thought you had a hand in those flies--sorry for the confusion---I know Dustin's work is outstanding.

  6. Good post. It seems that I am continually switching out the flies that I tied 5-10 years ago for new ones that I tie "better" now. Funny, I caught plenty of fish back then on those flies!

    I went on a trip to an Eastern Sierra creek this past week. In preparation for the trip I tied up 15 #18 Copper Johns. They all looked good except one had the tail quills off to one side by about 25 degrees. I was sure the fish wouldn't care, but it looked bad in my flybox next to all of its correctly tied brothers. When I got to the stream I thought I should use that one to keep maintain the esthetics of my flybox. Sure enough, it caught a nice 'bow on its 3rd cast - and the tail got mashed. Message to me: The fish don't care all that much!

    I've always strived to keep my flies as accuratte to their original pattern as possible. For being so picky about this material or that proportion, I've always thought it was funny that we ignore the fact that there is a big hook sticking out of the fly! If the fish don't care about that, are they really going to care if I tie the legs of my pheasant tails out of hungarian partridge or pheasant tail? I think not!


  7. I wouldn't worry too much. Remember flies are impressionistic. You should see some of Charles Meck's flies. They're messy. (Some on purpose!) I often catch more fish on flies that are chewed up and sort of bird nest looking. Neat, realistic flies generally are for catching fisherman.