Thursday, February 11, 2016
 Fly Tying Group

History of the Fly Tying Group


Article published in the Flyfisher, Autumn 2007

Fly Tying Group Formed

A Fly Tying Group Has Been Formed to Better Represent the Interests of Fly Tiers within the FFF and to Facilitate Interaction with Fly Tiers Worldwide

At the 2007 Conclave the FFF made a major commitment to supporting fly tying by approving the creation of a new fly tying group whose only mission is to advance the art of fly tying. This should benefit tyers at the national as well as the local level in a number of ways. Here is how this idea developed.

The FFF Board of Directors has reaffirmed the policy that fly fishing education as primary goal of the organization. To carry out this policy, R.P. “Van” VanGytenbeek, CEO, and Bob Wiltshire, COO, have identified five areas where the FFF should develop programs for education:

(1) fly casting (started in 1992)
(2) guiding (started in 2006)
(3) fly tying
(4) rod building
(5) literature

The Casting Group started in 1992 and has developed a comprehensive and effective program of teaching fly casting and certification. The Guide’s Association started with an interim, appointed Board in 2006 and is now transitioning to their first elected Board. The Guide’s Association will concentrate on improving professionalism in the guiding. They have decided that, at this time, certification is not desirable for their group.

The formation of a Fly Tying Group has been in the discussion stage for at least a year or two, but began in earnest in the Fall of 2006 when Bob Wiltshire, FFF COO, contacted a “quorum” of Buszek Award winners for advice about forming a Fly Tying Group. These and subsequent discussions led to the formation of a discussion group consisting of a distinguished group of fly tiers: Darwin Atkin (Buszek Award winner and Senior FFF Advisor); Al Beatty (Buszek Award winner, former FFF President, current Editor of the Flyfisher, and three times national Conclave tying chairman); Judy Lehmberg (Buszek Award winner, former FFF VP of Education); Bruce Staples (Buszek Award winner, twice national Conclave tying chairman); Wayne Luallen (Buszek Award winner); Chris Helm (Buszek Award Winner); Herb Kettler (Secretary of the Board of Directors, four times workshop chairman at the national Conclave); Gene Kaczmarek (three times Northern California Council fly tying); Steve Jensen (co-chair of the International Fly Tyer fly plate series and chair of the Legends of Fly Tying fly plate series, and FFF Senior Advisor); and David Nelson (twice national Conclave tying chairman, originator of the FFF’s Patterns of the Masters series of books, and head of the Tier as Teacher Initiative). The group represents well-qualified individuals who come from many different areas of the country and who are respected by the fly tying community. This group discussed the issues by email for several months, and then met with Bob Wiltshire in Livingston on July 31, 2007, during the recent national Conclave, to hear the FFF’s vision for the Fly Tying Group. Judy Lehmberg and Bruce Staples were absent; Wayne Luallen was also absent but was represented by his wife, Donna.

Bob outlined five possible broad areas where the FFF could provide worldwide leadership in fly tying eduction:

(1) tying at the national Conclave
(2) tying at the international, council, and club levels
(3) the Tier as Teacher Initiative
(4) flyplate framing
(5) archiving - an online database of present (in the Museum) and future collections of donated flies

The FFF also expects the Fly Tying Group to develop other programs for fly tying education, defined broadly. The assembled group discussed this vision. Based on this discussion, as well as based on the success of the Casting Group and the Guiding Group, they accepted the challenge to form a FFF Fly Tying Group: of, by, and for tiers. There was a general agreement that fly tying is an art, and that certification of tiers is neither possible nor desirable. Certification was specifically cited as a topic that the group was not interested in, and frankly, something that the group stated that they would work against as they felt it was not in the interests of the fly tying community.

An Interim Board was selected, consisting of Al Beatty, Gene Kazcmarek, Steve Jensen, Judy Lehmberg, Bruce Staples, Herb Kettler, and, as chair, David Nelson. The Interim Board will serve for one year, at which time elections will be held and they will be replaced by an elected Board of Governors. The Interim Board is charged with developing the five program areas identified above, and developing the Fly Tying Group. Any FFF member who is a fly tier is eligible to join the Fly Tying Group and vote in the election of the Board of Governors.

The Interim Board was active during Conclave. A number of Committees were formed. A Conclave Fly Tying Standing Committee (headed by Gene Kaczmarek; this committee is charged with overseeing and providing continuity to the committee that will run tying at Conclave), a 2008 Ad Hoc Conclave Committee (charged with actually running tying at the 2008 Conclave), a Council Fly Tying Chairmen Committee (headed by Jack Neeley, of the Florida Council), a Fly Plate Framing Committee (headed by Steve Jensen), a Tier as Teacher Committee (headed by David Nelson), and an Archiving Committee (headed by Bob Wiltshire). Plans were discussed for reaching out to each Council for recommendations for tiers to tie at national conclaves, to invite more international tiers, and to have a video theater featuring outstanding tiers at the 2008. Two informational meetings were also held to introduce the Fly Tying Group to the 2007 Conclave tiers.

For further information, please see the Fly Tying Group discussion thread on the FFF Forum (see the web address listed above), as well as upcoming Club Newswire, and future editions of the FlyFisher. Suggestions for the Fly Tying Group are actively solicited and should be posted on the Forum, so that all fly tiers can be informed and can join in the discussions. Remember, in a volunteer organization, do not make a recommendation unless you feel strongly enough that you are willing to support the recommendation with time and energy.

Membership enrollment plans are being developed, and membership forms will be available in the near future.

The Fly Tying Group will be of, by, and for fly tiers, and its Board of Governors will be elected by fly tiers. The Interim Board feels that this is a great opportunity for all fly tiers, at the club, council, national, and international levels. We actively solicit your ideas and participation.


Al Beatty
Gene Kaczmarek
Steve Jensen
Judy Lehmberg
Bruce Staples
Herb Kettler
David Nelson, chair
Bob Wiltshire, non-voting liason with the FFF

Although we have a Board of Governors, we actually "govern" nothing. We are just tiers who have volunteered our time to serve the interests of tiers all over the US and internationally, too. The name was chosen by the FFF leadership so that our name is similar to the Board of Governors of the Casting Group. If you are interested in volunteering, visit our projects page on the FFF website's by clicking here.


Bylaws & Meeting Minutes


The following are the bylaws and meeting minutes from the Fly Tying Group.  Please click on the link to access the document you want to review.

   FTG Bylaws   

   FTG Founding Meeting Minutes - July 31, 2007 

   FTG Annual Board Meeting Minutes - August 3, 2007

   FTG Annual Board Meeting Minutes - July 24, 2008

   FTG Annual Board Meeting Minutes July 28, 2009

   FTG Conference Call Minutes November 2, 2009

   FTG Conference Call Minutes March 1, 2010

   FTG Annual Board Meeting Minutes August 25, 2010

   FTG Annual Board Meeting Minutes August 30, 2011

   FTG Annual Board Meeting Minutes July 10, 2012

   FTG Annual Board Meeting Minutes Sept 24, 2013

   FTG Conference Call Minutes July 16, 2015




Questions about the Fly Tying Group may be directed to the National office.


Telephone:  406-222-9369 X0

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