Last March I attended the Northwest Fly Tyer Expo in Albany, Oregon. One of the demonstration tiers was Paul Wolflick, a member of the Umpqua Valley Fly Fishers. I stopped to visit with Paul and the conversation got around to the lack of youngsters in the outdoor sports and fly fishing in particular. I told him I needed a story for the IFFF blog about getting youngsters into our sport. He said I have one and he is right over there. Paul also said He is 15 years old and is a very good tier. I went over and introduced myself to Bryson and his parents. Check out the pictures below.
Here is Bryson’s story in his own words. This is from emails that were put together and slightly edited. Tom Collett, Blogger
Coming from a family that taught me at a young age how to fish, I just wanted to do something different, something that my family has never done before or knew anything about. I have always loved fishing as long as I could remember. I just wanted to beat my brothers at fishing. The reason I wanted to learn how to fly fish was because I would tie a fly and then have to put it on a spinning rod and fish that way. After a couple of weeks attending Paul’s fly tying class, one of the men asked me if I would be interested in learning how to cast a fly rod. I took him up on the opportunity and the rest is history. These guys have taught me so much not just how to fly fish and to tie flies but life lessons every week.
When I started to tie flies, I went to one of the local fly tying meetings here in Roseburg to see if there was anyone I could meet to show me how to tie. . As I walked in the room, I realized that there were a lot of older men and women. In fact there was no one there that was my age. After talking to a few people, they were shocked and excited that I was interested in tying flies. They would constantly say that we needed younger kids interested in tying and that I was the future in tying flies and fly-fishing. Looking back now I understand what they meant. When I go to fly tying class at Paul Wolflick’s house, they are all retired gentlemen. When I go to the fly tying expos to tie, many older women and men walk up to me and start talking to me. When I walk around the fly tying shows there are very few kids, interested in tying flies.
Honestly, I enjoy listening to the older folks as they have years and years of experience. Not just in fly tying but in life. Each week after fly tying I learn something more about the life of someone in the group. They are constantly giving me advice, and tips about fly tying and fly-fishing. I have learned at a young age to not take people for granted. About a year and a half ago I lost a dear friend and fellow fly tier, Les Ferguson. After losing him, it really changed my point of view of life and in fly tying, and every single time I spend with these older fly tiers, I cherish. Before I started tying I was not doing that well in school I couldn’t stay focused and I just didn’t feel like doing my schoolwork. However, since I have been tying flies I have learned to be patient and it has helped me to stay focused. I learned that you need to stay focused in tying a fly and I have seen a big improvement in my schoolwork and my grades.
When I first started to tie I was horrible, just flat terrible at it. However, after attending a few meetings, and fly tying classes at Paul’s, I have gotten much better. After a few weeks of going to Paul’s house, I have learned to tie different patterns, he has taught me new techniques, and most importantly he taught me how to be a fly tier and fly fishermen.
I see myself in the future as an instructor to others. I would like to carry Paul’s legacy as attending classes at my house (when I get older). I don’t see fly tying as a career for me however I see it as a hobby for me that I will continue to do and teach, just like all the older men and women I see doing.