One thing that stands out with James Barker's flies is his presentation and meticulous attention to detail. Jim Dandy, his first submission to Salmonfly.Net was an impressive fly, but the detailed description, history, materials list, and methods for fishing that he provided was even more impressive. Jim, it seems, has an inclination to teach us, not just show us, and he provides us with the tools to learn. That makes him a valuable partner to Salmonfly.Net. We can only hope he is as detailed with his future submissions.
I am a freelance business systems analyst and technical writer. My father introduced me to fishing in the early 1950s when I was six or seven. In those days, we used bait-casting rods and big lures for pike and bass. Gradually, we progressed to spinning gear. For my thirteenth birthday I bought my first fly rod, a Shakespeare, and a Pfleuger Medalist reel, which I continued to use off and on for many years. Although spin fishing remained my main method until the late 1970s, I felt that there was little challenge to it and gradually taught myself the basics of fly fishing through books and constant practice. Often I was initially frustrated by my inability to catch many fish, until I began to realize that it was necessary to tie my own flies as commercial patterns did not seem to work.
Over the past twenty plus years I have therefore created patterns specific to the regions in which I was fishing and increasingly from synthetic materials. In Canada at least, many natural materials are becoming harder and more expensive to obtain, and in many cases, such as bucktail, I find the quality is in decline. Today, most of my flies are created using the newer synthetic hairs, such as Craft Fur and Fish Fuzz, which I find are superior in movement and durability to bucktail, calf tail, or marabou. I constantly test all my patterns on familiar rivers and streams in southern and south-western Ontario, such as the lower Grand River and the Maitland River.