Dakota Angler & Outfitter
Rapid City, South Dakota
Western fly anglers, head's up! Here's five video tutorials from a gold mine of guide-tested patterns. Hans Stephenson of South Dakota has created YouTube tying videos since 2009 and is about to go over the 100 video mark.
The videos chosen for the Foundry section are heavy with CDC tying techniques. Especially good for new tiers, the Bubbleback Midge and the CDC Mayfly Dun are simple and productive flies. Stephenson's patterns and choices are first-rate and deserve a place in the fly box. Take a look at his collection, and see if you agree.
The videos have good technical quality, but what is winning, is Stephenson's easy going presentation. You get the feeling you are watching him tying across the kitchen table, or throwing together some flies in his Dakota Angler & Outfitter shop in Rapid City.
The videos aren't laboriously filmed and slickly edited. Most are disarmingly straightforward, and Hans leaves mistakes and do-overs in some clips. In one video I was reviewing, he clips off the feather too soon, and simply, just ties it back on and continues. In another, he has trouble finding a tool, and says his tying bench looks like a bomb hit it. A lot of tiers can relate to that one!
Stephenson worked at a fly shop through high school and college, then guided for Dakota Angler & Outfitter, making the leap to purchase the shop in 2006. He notes that the Web and YouTube have made marketing Dakota Angler & Outfitter much easier, helping him stay in touch with his customer base. And it's easier than ever, for customers to stay in touch with the shop.
Hans started his fly tying addiction in the early 1990s, fishing for bluegills and bass at Ellsworth Air Force Base, where his father was stationed. "It didn't take long for me to decide to give up all other forms of fishing. After a year or so of fly fishing, I began to tie my own flies. By the time I reached high school I was a fly fishing addict. Now half of my garage is full of Rubbermaid tubs full of fur and feathers."
"The best advice I can give for anybody who wants to tie better is to tie flies - lots of them. When my addiction was at its worst I was tying 2-3 dozen flies a night."
Hans talks about how fly fishing and tying feed off one another. "Anytime I am out on the stream fishing or guiding, I think of small tweaks to make to common patterns. When I get back to the tying bench I start making those adjustments. Conversely, I will tie a fly with some new materials and the anticipation of how it will work gets me fired up, to get back on the water."
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