About Me

Hello and welcome to Learn Fly Tying .

My name is David Cammiss and I would like to take this opportunity to share with you my passion for tying fishing flies.

At the age of five my family moved to a village in the fells of Durham called Cockfield. By the time I was eleven years old in 1947 I had already fished the local river Gaunless and caught a few trout mainly on worms or caddis grub. One of the local men of the village had helped me out with the odd hook and lots of advice. He had words with my dad, the local policeman,  and suggested I went to the next village called Evenwood to meet a man called Wilf Proud, who besides being the landlord of the Travellers Rest, was also the local expert on fly fishing and tying fishing flies.

By this time I was a day boy at a boarding school and I had Wednesday afternoons free. For over a year at every opportunity I cycled the three miles to Evenwood to have my lessons on fishing, and fishing flies, in the snug with Mr.Proud. It was the era just after the war and many of the things taken for granted now were either unobtainable or in short supply. My first fly rod was an ancient greenheart three piece with a brass reel filled with cuttyhunk. My first lessons on fly casting were with Mr. Proud’s split cane rods with real silk lines, with a book wedged tightly under my casting arm. It was not exactly the same trying to do the same casts with my old greenheart rod but somehow I managed.

The lessons on tying the flies became addictive. Just watching him start with a bare hook usually a size 14, grasped between his finger and thumb. Winding on the Pearsalls Naples silk in tight touching turns, adding a partridge hackle, then winding it on with his home made hackle pliers, and then tying off. It was just like magic and I was hooked. He diligently wrote down all the dressings of the flies, old spider patterns, in an old diary and glued in the appropriate feather.

After about four weeks of lessons I was presented with my own hackle pliers made out of wire. My mother gave me an old pair of sewing scissors. I had already bought some silks and had acquired some wings. Shooting trips for the weekend pot suddenly had a new incentive. Snipe were a ‘must have’ , partridge became more valuable than pheasants and we were always on the lookout for a woodcock. Within three months I had probably acquired more materials than Mr. Proud. It is still growing. The gold rib for the March Brown and Greenwells was a problem until I discovered that the material on the front of the radio speaker had gold threads running through it. My weekly lessons with Mr. Proud lasted about a year. His generosity and patience knew no bounds and to my dying day I will be grateful for his inspiration. I spent all my pocket money buying hooks and ‘must have’ materials. I practised constantly to improve on my skills. As a result over the years a few free flies here and there have opened many doors, and cemented friendship around the world. Now sixty years on my enthusiam is undiminished and I still get pleasure introducing others to this fascinating hobby.

Not only is it fun but it can save you money. Tying your own flies does not have to be expensive. Best of all anybody can do it if they have the patience. Welcome aboard to a community of similar interests.

David Cammiss

Comments on this entry are closed.