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Salmonfly.Net Salmon and Steelhead Fly Tying Guide  In Memory of Yuri Shumakov 

Contributing Fly Tyers Series

The Flies of Bob Kenly

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Bob Kenly tying at the FFF show in Mountain Home Arkansas.You would never know from seeing what Bob Kenly can do with his vise, that he was a Brooklyn and New Jersey kid. If he made the trip North to Roscoe, he certainly wasn't using the flies he ties now. Actually, Bob moved west and has extensive experience with tying and fishing Tube and Epoxy flies. His association with men like Jurij (Yuri) Shumakov , and recent work with Mark Mandell on a new Tube Fly book, makes him one of the premier "experts" in his field. His goal is to promote and influence Tube Fly Tying, and I hope we can help a little with that at Salmonfly.Net.

I started tying tube flies in a vacuum; the only reference on tube flies I found was a reference on the subject in a book by Poul Jorgensen. Having nothing to compare my offerings to I just tied what I thought would work, which some did and some didn't. My first Alaska trip in 1995 opened my eyes to the possibilities of what a tube fly could do under difficult conditions, from then on I was hooked and never looked back.

I was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1935 but moved to Eastern New Jersey in 1940 which then was a perfect place for a "wild kid" who was a risk taker to grow up. I tried everything I could think of including ski jumping and hockey but being a miserable failure at this my parents persuaded me to try something less dangerous and I drifted to fly-fishing. To further influence this "sanity" period of my life my parents bought me a rudimentary fly tying kit, which started my tying, flies. At that time Eastern New Jersey wasn't a hotbed of tying so again I stumbled along tying what I thought would work. After graduating high school in 1953 and not knowing what to do with my life I joined the Army (Artillery) thus entering another "insane" period. Life from then was factored by marriage, an airline career and raising children, which effectively put an end to my fly tying career. In 1995 totally fed up with the corporate world, I retired, moved to Southwestern Missouri and my wife and I reinvented ourselves, she as a watercolor artist and me as a fly tier.

The original Foxbat, tied in an Atlantic salmon profile.Several years ago I was approached by Mark Mandell (co-author of the first tube fly book in 1995) asking if I would consider doing another book with him on tube flies. It took several years of research just to root out the type of tiers who would fill the basic concept of what we had envisioned as what the final product would look like. Each contributor opened my eyes to ideas I never even thought about, not that I'm unique in my thinking but an affirmation that no matter how strange an idea may seem at first someone else probably is struggling along similar lines of thought. Working with Mark on this project has opened my mind to new ways of thinking and has inspired many new forms of tying, when the book is published the goal I had envisioned to influence tying on tubes will be realized.

So, what else do I do, I cook that's what I do for relaxation. My cooking is like my tying, what ever I can dream up or see done I try. Some awesome, some terrible, a sort of mixture of my life long philosophy, "Hey, if so and so can do it, so can I."

Being invited to show my work on this website is a real honor considering the wonderful offerings from so many talented tiers around the World. Thank you for looking at my flies.

Bob Kenly

The Foxbat Shrimp

Foxbat Shrimp

Category: Pacific Salmon and Steelhead
Tube: HMH plastic 3/32-inch clear plastic
Thread: Flat waxed in the desired color
Eyes: Made from clear mono, tiny glass beads and epoxy
Beard and topping: Yak hair in the desired color
Cones: Any material but I prefer brass, drilled to fit on tube
Hackle: Chinese Cock dyed to achieve desired color.

Designing the FOXBAT came to me after my friend, Jurij (Yuri) Shumakov , introduced me to his "Russian Bullet" method of tying flies. I had been looking for a shrimp pattern to take to Alaska, not just any shrimp but something "bomb proof" that could withstand the rigors of that wild and wonderful place. In my life I must have tied thousands of shrimp patterns and although effective they lacked the longevity I was aiming for.

This was my answer, a relatively easy fly to tie, either large or small in any color imaginable or combination of colors. Since the concept is Russian I felt it only right the name should have some connection with its origins. The name Foxbat is the NATO designation for the Mig-25.

More Bob Kenly Flies

Belly Gunner Shrimp Homer Squid Irish Squid Larionov Mouse Go Go Girl Linda's Shrimp Wadington Shrimp


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