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Harold Ray

Southern Council Federation of Fly Fishers, what fun!

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I attended the Southern Council 3 day meeting in Mountain Home, Arkansas this last week:

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Mountain Home is a 10 hour drive from Waco, Texas, but the trip went by pretty quickly, since my friends and I were ready to get on the road.


Once there, people were coming in and the Ramada quickly gained the look of a hangout for wayward adults intent on having fun while playing in the water. I enjoyed a daylong entomology class, something I never thought I could do, but while there I met some interesting folks, one of whom, Earl Stanek, made the whole trip worthwhile. Earl is a lifelong bachelor who worked for 3M. He invented several items that you and I use daily, and in his spare time, he designed some of the fly reel models for Scientific Angler. What whetted my interest most though was his hobby of tying nearly exact replicas of living insects, dragon and damsel flies that appear ready to take wing, along with a multitude of above and below water winged fish food. At 78, Earl told me he fishes less and ties more, using only the materials he buys from a local hardware store. Having told you that and seen and participated in some of the discussions here on just what feather to use, which thread to buy, and the costs of all of these, you may think hardware store handcraft couldn't match what some on the Forum tie; I would tell you quickly to forget that. If anyone can tie as realistically as Earl, I would love to meet them.


Then, I spent 2 days from 8 am to 5:00 pm just observing fly tyers in action. I met and talked with Billy Munn (deer hair flies), Mike George (deer hair flies), and G.S. "Stack" Scoville (classic Salmon flies and a member here). All do beautiful work. I also saw Ken Bohanan (deer hair flies) and met Slim Mitchell (a variety of flies), and Bill Sargeant (a variety of flies), Texas tyers who are active in our state and some others where fly tyers meet. And, there are others I am leaving out because I don't remember their names and will have to dig out their cards to do so. I watched people tie, talked and made friends, and in the process was given between 30 and 40 flies. Starting out. I was getting small ones; the floks would tie and finish and then hand me the fly with their good wishes. Then, they started handing me larger ones! I had bought boxes at the show to put the smaller ones in once I realized what was happening, and I attempted to do the same for the larger ones, but there were none to be had, so I began putting them on my hat. I wear a Tilly, vented at the top. By the time the shows were over, I had about 14 large flies, several of them tightly tied deer hair frogs, a mouse and multiple others, perched above my head.


Saturday night, they had the Southern Council's auction. I had decided to buy, but missed a spectacular crayfish tied by Mike George. Once that passed, I realized that if I wanted the ones I chose I would have to decide just how badly I wanted them, and off we went. I don't know if y'all are interested in auctions or not, but I love them and always have. I grew up going to cattle auctions and began buying for myself at around 14 to 15. I can learn to love just about any auction that comes along but never had bid on fishing flies. I changed that pretty quick!


I was fortunate enough to get a dome done by Earl Stanek that contains probably at least 20 of his realistic flies done in a way that resembles water with bugs in the limbs above and on the water, some on the surface, and others are seen beneath the water surface (glass) either swimming or roaming the bottom. One is even feeding on another insect:


2006 FFF Southern Council Nomination


Fly Tyer of the Year


Earl R. Stanek


I would like to enter the nomination of Earl R. Stanek for FFF-SOC "Fly Tyer of the Year." I have known Earl since he first joined North Arkansas Fly Fishers in 1998. When Earl first came to a club meeting and indicated he was a fly tyer I just said, "yeah, okay." Then I saw what he was tying. Earl is a very innovative fly tyer and loves to share his methods with his fellow tyers and club members. He specialized in flies that the average person wouldn't dare put in water. They are indeed works of art. Earl has been a fixture in the tying arena at the Sowbug Roundup, the FFF-SOC conclave and the FFF National conclave for many years. He has had his flies and patterns published in several different publications including the FFF's Flyfisher.


Most of you have seen examples of Earl's work and probably sat across a tying table from him watching him create. Please consider him when you cast your vote for "Fly Tyer of the Year."


I bought a domed Messenger frog from Billy Munn:

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along with one of his DVDs, and a Legends Plate that has 10 to 12 or a few more spectacular flies by some of the most recognized tyers in the U.S. Last but not least, I was very happy to also get the plate that displayed the fly chosen as the emblem identifying the Southern Council of the Federation of Fly Fishers:

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All money collected at the auction was used to support the Southern Council and its work in developing programs that educate children in the art of fly fishing and tying, all of which guide them to a path away from the many temptations some find irresistible.


The trip to Mountain Home and the conference were great successes as far as I am concerned. I had a wonderful time, helped build my collection of spectacular flies and lures, and allowed me to meet some tremendous people who are going to help me further. I was lucky enough to get commitments from 4 renowned tyers to tie a number of flies each for framing and display. I look at many of these wonderful flies as artwork; we may fish some just like them, but there should be some left just to admire.


Having read, viewed and enjoyed FlyTyingForum, I realize there are tyers here who either already are, or will be in the future, fly tying legends just as some of the tyers I was fortunate enough to meet this last weekend.


If you are not a member of the Federation of Fly Fishers, please consider joining. The dues are not that expensive, and membership has many fascinating benefits, including allowing you to meet, learn from and enjoy the best flyfishermen, women and tyers in the United States.



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a great testimonial to the FFF and the Southern Council Conclave. The conclave is always a good time. Take that billy munn fly and put it away.


AI too was there, taking a stab at master's Casting Instructor Test. I ma working some more on that.


It was good for me to see some old friends that you mentioned and good for both of us to meet some news friends also.


All conclaves provide the fellowship and chances to learn more about fly fishing and tying in a couple of days than you can in a year or two on your own. That fly by Mike George was a great one.


Harold you are right the membership is not that expensive and the conclave is worth the drive. I would add to your post for the FFF hosting the best tyers in the world. charles Jardine was excellent at representing England.


A couple of up comming conclaves close to Texas are the Southeastern Council conclave at Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, GA June 7 - 9, 2006 and the Gulf Coast Council conclave in Lake Charles, LA May 17 - 19, 2007.


All come on down and a good time will be had by all.


Irish Dave Duffy


Member FFF and President SE Council

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You have the date of the Georgia meet as 2006; I'm sure its 2007, right. Al Crise and I are talking about that. Pine Mountain is around 950 miles from Waco, so I would fly. I'm going to see if I can work it out. Lake Charles is only 325 miles; I am definitely going to that one, if no problms arise.


What hotels are the homes for the tying conferences in Pine Mountain and Lake Charles, any idea?








Dang, Dave, I just realized I am asking "The Man"! You are the Prez and you gotta know that info, at least for Georgia. For once I asked exactly the right person.

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I did mean 2007 and the host hotel is the Pine Mountain inn at Callaway Gardens and Atlanta is the best bet for airport although columbas, GA can ba an option.


We have a room rate for Callaway and be sure to mention the FFF when registering. There are other hotels in the area.


I have not heard about the Lake Charles location yet.


I will post when i do.



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