‘It’s a fun thing to do’
Bemidji man reflects on fly-fishing and fly-tying
by Maggi Stivers, staff writer
Bob Wagner has been fishing all of his life, but 15 years ago a Christmas gift changed everything he knew about it. His son gave him a fly-rod knowing his dad always wanted to fish for steelhead trout on the North Shore.
“It was designed to catch bigger fish such as steelhead,” Wagner explained.
About the same time, Wagner began to learn how to tie his own flies.
“The term fly is misleading, it could be called frog-tying, mouse-tying or fish-tying. Most of these flies that we tie represent fish,” he said.
Each fly has a specific purpose and are used to hopefully catch a specific fish. Making your own fly ties allows an angler the ability to create exactly what he wants.
“If you want to make a pike fly that rattles and is weedless, you can do it,” Wagner said.
The patterns and variations of fly ties are endless. There are always more to learn and several ways to complete them.
“I’ve got a small library but there’s all kinds of resources: magazines, books, videos and tons of stuff on the Internet,” Wagner said.
Wagner, like most fly fishers, ties most of his flies during the winter because the summers are spent in the water. He spends between six and eight hours each week tying in the winter. Wagner enjoys the art of fly-tying but also the satisfaction that comes later.
“It’s a fun thing to do because it’s a feeling of accomplishment, you actually make something that you’re going to be able to use and catch a fish, and it’s a little extra treat, you might say, when you catch a fish with a fly that you’ve tied,” he said.
He dismissed a common misconception that fly-fishing can only be done in certain bodies of water or in chasing a specific type of fish.
“You can fly-fish in any water for any fish,” Wagner said.
Types of flies
Bob Wagner was featured in the Summer 2015 issue of inMagazine.