I live in Northwest Oregon and have been tying salmon flies for half of my life (I’m 32). I currently tie most of my salmon flies without a vice, enjoying the challenges and freedoms that it provides.
I try to achieve a vintage look with most of my current flies, but still try to achieve a sort of “flow” to them. Sometimes that means changing a pattern a bit, or omitting or adding materials as needed. Bud Guidry said it best, “I guess you’d be a Classic Freestyler.”
I enjoy seeing others work on the internet and in person. I find inspiration in other’s work. One of the things I have been trying to do lately is to meet or talk to as many salmon fly tiers as I can. I used to mostly tie flies in a social “vaccum”, but I find now when I meet other tiers I make a better connection between the person’s flies and they’re personality. It’s amazing really, how one’s personality show’s through they’re flies!
I also enjoy making and sourcing a lot of my materials. Recently, I have been making hooks from scratch (Sorry Ronn, but I’ve got a long way to go before I can even compare to yours) and have been experimenting with dyes. I rarely tie with rare or expensive feathers, and find that I am not hindered one bit by it. I have found that flow really makes a fly regardless of the materials used to achieve it.
I also believe that we are at one of the greatest times in modern salmon fly tying. Beginners are learning at such a quick pace, that it is amazing. We have such great resources now, especially through the internet. Also, peoples mentality has changed quite a bit, and there is a much greater willingness to share information and techniques. I am greatful to be a part of it!