Hi everyone, my name is Don Williams. You might say I am a late bloomer when it comes to fly fishing and fly tying. I actually began tying before I became a fly fisherman. I was introduced to fly fishing in 1968 while on a backpack trip in the high Series. In 1968 there wasn’t much I could find on the subject of fly-fishing and after spending a few bucks on a spinning/fly combination rod and having no idea what a leader and a tippet were I eventually gave up the idea of becoming a fly fisherman.
Fly fishing still held some fascination for me and after spending some time in the US Air Force I returned home to Bakersfield, California. While in the service a fly shop had opened up in town and there I purchased my first $26 fly tying kit. I eagerly took it home and proceeded to borrow some thread from my wife and tie my first fly. What a joke. Soon the tying kit was in the top of the closet and they’re forgotten for almost 10 years.
At some point in time through word of mouth I was able to locate a fly shop in the L.A. area where I made my first trip into the realm of fantasy. There were more things to tie with than I could count. I walked in well to do and walked out broke. I immediately returned home and proceeded to tie my first decent fly. With my old combo rod in hand I headed for the upper Kern River where on my first outing I caught an eight inch rainbow on a fly I had tied. I was hooked. That was over 10 years ago and I have loved both fly tying and fly-fishing ever since. I updated my fly-fishing equipment and ended up giving away all my spinning gear, even the combo rod, to my dad.
I became what I would consider a pretty good tier over the years until I saw my first Classic Salmon fly tied by Ken Rasmussen from Denmark at the fly shop in L.A. for sell in 1997. I was fascinated at the idea of creating what I considered a work of art on a hook. I proceeded to pursue any and all material I could get on the subject. My first book on tying salmon flies was a book by Ron Alcott. I read it from cover to cover again and again.
Eventually I set down and with great anticipation and tied my first salmon fly, the Lady Lillian, a fly designed by Ron Alcott himself. It wasn’t that bad but it wasn’t that good either. I still have that first fly in a frame in my office. After tying a few more salmon flies I wasn’t pleased with my results and slowly slipped back into tying just for fishing and forgot about any idea of becoming a salmon fly tier.
In the spring of 2001 the bug to tie salmon flies bit again and I was off on another quest for information and instruction on the subject. I added more books and this time videos about tying salmon flies to my fly tying library, which today is quite massive. I began a search of the Internet where I found people like Ronn Lucas, Sr. and Wolfgang Von Malottke were more than willing to share their experience and knowledge on the subject. After researching the different type of materials needed to tie these beautiful flies and finding suppliers who handled the required material I began again to delve into the art of the Classic Salmon Fly again and this time it stuck.
This time my research and contacts paid off and with the help of those mentioned above I can now tie what I consider a decent salmon fly. I also have a web site that like Ronn’s is dedicated to the Classic Salmon Fly. You can visit it at www.bestclassicsalmonflies.com.
Thanks Ronn for letting me share my joy of the Classic Salmon Fly with you and those that visit your site.