By: Don Corey
I have been told that admitting you have a problem is the first step towards developing a recovery plan for many with addiction problems. I, like many others before me, have tried to avoid it, but to no avail. My efforts to deny it have failed. I admit it; I have a problem. The person who has done this to me also suffers from the same addiction. He knows the pitfalls and effects of this terrible affliction. He doesn’t try to disguise his techniques to get folks to drink the Kool-Aid he serves. One sip and they are hooked. It is hazardous if your spouse finds out about it.
If you thought I was getting ready to admit myself to the nearest
methadone clinic or getting prepared to attend my first AA
meeting, guess again, the terrible thing I am addicted to is
tying full-dress Atlantic salmon flies. I know, I know, how could
I let this happen to me? I am a reasonably intelligent person.
However, I found myself helpless, unable to resist.
It started innocently enough. I foolishly told myself I wanted
to see how those big, beautiful flies were tied. I don’t
want to do it myself. Yeah, right, there I was, sitting in front
of the “drug dealer” himself, watching his every move; the
“deer in the headlight” glaze came over my eyes. He could see it but did not attempt to discourage me. “I think you would enjoy tying these, Don,” he told me. “You ought to come down sometime, and we’ll tie together.” Then I got the devastating e-mail, “having a class in Fairfield, why don’t you come down.”
Fool that I am, I signed up for a class; innocent enough, I thought. Spend the day with a few like-minded people, tying a “pretty” fly on a big hook with no eye. Little did I know how much this one-day event would consume me for years to come. The class day finally arrived, and I headed down I-95 to my destination, the Fly Fishing Only shop in Fairfield, Maine. Seven other “sheep” signed up for the class; they all had the same look, you know, that “deer in the headlight” stare. I had been tying for years, primarily streamers and nymphs. Occasionally a few dries and some Clouser's. So this couldn’t be that much different. But, boy, was I wrong!
Eight hours later, I had tied a married wing, Rosy Dawn. 4/0 Partridge Blind Eye Bartleet Supreme hook, silk gut eye, “real” metal tinsel, Japanese silk floss wrapped wearing silk gloves. I have to keep those rough hands and skin oils from compromising the luster of the floss. Mine didn’t look half bad! He said, “Don, GREAT job!!” My new Sensei had me, hook, line, and sinker. Maybe I WILL pick up a few things and try another one. I can always use more fly-tying materials.
The next thing I knew, I had placed an order that killed the better part of an old “Ben Franklin” that I had neatly tucked in my wallet. Yeah, I need ten colors of Japanese silk and, of course, my pair of silk gloves. Oh yes, both oval and flat tinsel, in extra small, small, and medium sizes. You probably NEED all in both silver and gold. I felt it starting to consume me. I was slowly sinking into the Classic Atlantic Salmon fly-tying rat hole. I needed money for “stuff.” Hmmm, I could eliminate the doughnut with my coffee at work every morning. That will save me 30 cents a day, five days a week; in 5 weeks, I can get those magenta schlappen feathers for throats, maybe a few colors of seal dubbing. If I bring my lunch to work every day, I can save $4.00 a day. In 6 weeks, I can purchase that select jungle cock cape that I seriously NEED. Who knew that there are 24 colors of dyed center turkey tail feathers??? I have to have at least one set. That acquisition is a whole other story.
I found myself experiencing terrible nightmares. I would wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. How do I get those damn Amgold tail fibers to marry with the 22 goose fibers in the wing? That bronze mallard roof, UGH! I close my eyes, and I see a lump in my floss body. I see a tiny gap between the wraps of silver tinsel in the tag. My GAWD, there are six wraps of ribbing on that body instead of 5. I will never get this right.
Then I wake to the soft voice of the person responsible for this dilemma, Sensei Ed Muzeroll. His kind words of encouragement and his slow, deliberate teaching style. One would think he is a wonderful, nurturing mentor. Wrong; he is the “evil” person responsible for this addiction. His extraordinary talent makes it look so easy. Everything is perfect. No bumps and no gaps; everything flows together. I can never forgive him for what he has done to me. I have an idea that I will have to live with this addiction for the rest of my life…. I can only hope.
Hey Ed, you B@$?##$, can you send me a few Partridge 6/0 blind eye Adlington & Hutchinson hooks and some Indian crow feathers? Oh yeah, I need some silk gut too! By the way, when is your next class?