Local addicted to fly making – 100 Mile House Free Press

Ray Ford’s handcrafted fishing flies are a technical and artistic marvel.

Carefully researched and designed to fool fish, the flies, dyed in rich hues of red, fuchsia, dark purple, black and yellow, are very realistic.

“There’s a real science to tying flies,” said Ford, who got into the business during the pandemic and finds it suits him because “it brings out the artsy, fart side of me.”

Fly tying is not a new skill for Ford, which 25 years ago tied commercial flies for 10 stores in the Lower Mainland. His largest order for a store was 8,000 flies – he ties around two dozen flies an hour.

He got hooked on the art of fly tying when his old business went bankrupt and his wife encouraged him to start selling flies here in the Cariboo.

It’s not as easy as it seems. Ford said those who want to tie flies need to understand how different colors of the sun penetrate different types of lakes. The composition of the lake is also essential because the idea is to understand what the fish actually see when a fly enters the water.

Ford uses marabou – a special rabbit fur – in the fly’s tail and the complexion itself, creating all of its colors from scratch. The commercial water-soluble dye used by many fly makers begins to lose its color after a few casts, so they use an acid-based dye, which retains its luster.

He showed off his skills last Saturday at the Lone Butte Craft Fair.

Some of the other vendors included Watkins, Epicure, handmade crafts and homewares, artisan candles and an eclectic mix of flea market items.

The next Craft Fair will be June 11 at the Lone Butte-Horse Lake Community Hall.


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Raymond I. Langston