History & Developemnet of Soft Hackle Flies
John Shaner will do a fly tying demo on Classic Spider Flies (in the US known as Soft Hackles). His presentation will cover from early 19th-century soft hackle flies to the current day. He will show the history of these flies and how they still work today. John is currently the FFI Eastern Waters Council Fly Tying Chair. John has been fly fishing for as long as he can remember. He caught his first trout on a fly he tied himself in 1965. He grew up in the Finger Lakes region of New York and was fishing the Catskill Rivers as soon as he could drive. Over the years John has fished for trout extensively across the US and has made several trips to England to fish the famous Chalk Streams and other rivers. A list of the rivers he has had the good fortune to fish would be fairly long!
He has a special love for Montana and Wyoming and lived in West Yellowstone, MT for a number of years. His favorite rivers are; The Beaverkill and the West Branch of the Delaware in New York, the Firehole and Madison system in Yellowstone National Park, and in England, the Abbots Worthy Beat of the Itchen in Hampshire, and the River Eamont in Cumbria. He has also fished the Bahamas, Belize, and Florida for saltwater species.
He has been in the fly fishing business since 1985 and has managed fly shops, guided, and worked as a sales representative for Orvis, Cortland Line, and since 2008 with Hardy. Currently, he holds the position of Eastern Regional Fly Fishing Manager for Pure Fishing, the parent company of Hardy, Fenwick, and Hodgman. His interest in fly tying goes back to boyhood. He is mostly self-taught but has studied many techniques over the years and has a special interest in reproducing traditional patterns. The Catskill style of dry flies is his first love, but in the past 15 years, his focus has been on British wet flies. He also likes to experiment with new patterns but he is a bit of a traditionalist in his use of materials and seldom incorporates synthetics into his flies, preferring natural silk, fur, and feathers.
John has a special fascination for “Spiders” (Americans call them “Soft Hackles”), and enjoys tying and fishing these simple, elegant, and deadly flies. His other passion is collecting tackle and angling books. His “library” (which is getting out of hand!) is primarily devoted to books detailing the development of flies and tying techniques. John is a member of The Anglers’ Club of New York, The Flyfishers’ Club of London, The Theodore Gordon Fly Fishers, and The DeBruce Fly Fishing Club. Currently, he lives in southern New York State, just a few minutes from the Beaverkill and West Branch of the Delaware.
The meeting is on January 13, 2022 at the Churchville Nature Center, 501 Churchville Lane, Churchville, PA at 7PM.
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