Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Fly Tying with Dover England
I’ve resisted the temptation to do many reports on fishing. It’s such a compulsion, that if I didn’t rein it in, the segment would be called John Carlin Goes Fishing, instead of John Carlin’s Virginia.
That said, today was the perfect day to shoot a story on tying flies. (If you’re not familiar with the process, you need to know that tying flies is the same as making lures. Only you make “lures” or artificial baits out of animal hair, feathers and plastic and then present them to the fish with a fly rod.)
Dover England is well known to local fly fishers. A member and former president of Trout Unlimited, he is a master fly tyer and fisherman as well. He is one of those people who just think like a fish. He knows how the weather, water temperature, time of year and sunspots affect the fish’s behavior. (Ok – I made up the part about the sunspots.) He has taught a course on fly fishing at Hollins University, and countless others how to fool a trout.
The plan was to do an indoor story on an outdoor pursuit. And we did. We watched in awe as Dover sat in a room at his South Roanoke home and crafted several flies, which were more like works of art. He even made several of his own, Dover’s Peach flies, which are now sold around the world by major retailers.
The story could have ended there, but Dover said he knew where there were some trout within walking distance, and nothing would do but what we try those very flies in the Roanoke River.
So off we went. Our waders were little match for the cold, but Dover’s creations were more than a match for the trout. We hooked several and landed (and released) two in less than 45 minutes.
Thanks to TU President Bill Bainter for helping me locate Dover, and for coming along to watch the shoot and lend his support. He told me about several other TU projects that may well wind up as topics for this segment in months to come. Trout in the Classroom is a program in which local school kids raise trout and release them into local streams. Another program called Project Healing Waters, is designed to help our veterans by getting them out on the stream.
After all it’s hard to pass up a good fishing story.
Dover is a "retired" fishing guide. But he still takes the occasional client fishing.
to contact him, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. You can call him at 540.525.1991.