One of my resolutions this year was to tie flies. To be honest, as much as I love being outdoors and flyfishing, I used to love tying flies almost more. Maybe it’s the sense of anticipation in tying, thinking about the fishing trips to come. Before The Boy came along, I fish and tied a lot. More than I realized, and now that I’m 10 years older, I’m realizing the changes in my eyesight mean more to my tying than my fishing.
I’ve always enjoyed tying bass flies more than trout flies. My bass flies look better, and I just think they’re more fun to tie. Part of that is while you can tie pretty dry flies all day long, they’re not what catches trout in Arkansas for 95% of your flyfishing here. So, they’re less potential-packed than nymphs or streamers. Scuds, sowbugs, midge pupae — those are your bread and butter Arkansas trout flies. And they’re small, especially the midges. By the time I hit 40 a few years ago, I hadn’t tied trout flies much in several years, and I hadn’t realized how much my close-up detail vision had suffered in the meantime.
Despite the bifocals I’ve been wearing for the last 18 months, the itty-bitty stuff (and by “itty-bitty” I mean only size 18 and smaller) is really hard to see. I’ve tried wearing reading glasses over my regular glasses, but I get a nasty headache after about six flies when I do that. I may invest in a magnifying lamp. Though, the better idea may be to just stick to the bass flies and let The Boy’s younger eyes tie the itty-bitty stuff from now on. I’m afraid he’ll prefer the bass flies, too, though. There are worse things that can happen.
In the meantime, we’re going trout fishing tomorrow, and I need some midge pupae. At least they tie fast.