My wife and I live in Springfield, Missouri. I retired three years ago, at age 64, from Missouri State University where I spent 33 years as a professor of Biology, serving the last seven years as Head of the Biology Department. My specialty was aquatic entomology (specifically, mayflies). (Steve is being modest here: he holds a PhD in mayflies! - David Nelson)
I have been a life member of the Federation since 1985 and have served as an officer at the club, council, and national level. Specifically, I was the founding president of the Southwest Missouri Fly Fishers (and have held that office five different times). I have served in the Southern Council as treasurer (8 years), vice president (2 years) and president (2 years). I also served as a National Director (when they had such a position) and I am currently a Senior Advisor at the national level.
I enjoy fly tying and tie trout, warm water, and salt water patterns. So far I have successfully resisted getting involved in tying classic salmon flies. I get tremendous enjoyment in planning trips, tying the desired patterns, and building leaders and rods for each trip. I have recently fished New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, as well as a variety of localities within the United States (including Alaska). This year I have trips scheduled to Mexico, Canada, and Alaska (isn’t retirement grand?).
Relative to demonstration fly tying, I have tied at local clubs, regional shows (most recently the Smallmouth Rendezvous in Oklahoma), Southern and Southeastern Council conclaves, as well as the International Fly Show and Conclave. I very much enjoy talking to tiers, especially those to whom I can contribute new ideas. However, I usually find that I am the greatest benefactor during such exchange of knowledge.
In 1994, having the desire to become more involved in fly plates and fly plate construction, I attended a two-day workshop conducted by Darwin Atkin held in Livingston, Montana. I came out of that workshop with a strong fundamental understanding of fly plate construction and with a desire to begin building plates for display. In 1990, Darwin had initiated a new fly plate project for the Federation entitled the International Fly Tyers Fly Plate Project. From its inception in 1992 until 1996, Darwin was solely responsible for all aspects of the project: soliciting flies from tiers throughout the world, designing and constructing about 14 plates annually, shipping the plates, and keeping records. At the 1996 Board of Directors meeting of the Federation of Fly Fishers, Darwin announced that he wanted to step down, and was seeking a volunteer to chair the program. After some serious negotiations, Darwin agreed to remain on the project as co-chair provided there was a reduction in his responsibilities. For the next four years, Darwin solicited the flies and handled all correspondence while I constructed and shipped the plates. At the end of 2000, Darwin completely retired from the project.
Beginning in 2001, I initiated a new fly plate project entitled the Legends of Fly Tying. Like the earlier project, this project was approved by the Federation’s Board of Directors, giving it official FFF status. The Legends of Fly Tying project is in many respects similar to the International Fly Tyers Fly Plate Project, and is essentially a continuation of that very successful project, The Legends of Fly Tying fly plate project was scheduled to end in 2006, but because of demand I have agreed to continue the project on a limited basis indefinitely. Darwin and I are proud of the fact that the two projects combined have raised over $150,000 in support of Federation of Fly Fishers programs.
One of the objectives of the Fly Tying Group is to foster the design and construction of fly plates, and I am the head of the committee on fly plates. Through workshops and presentations, it is our goal to involve more tiers in this rewarding activity. I would welcome your contributions to this committee.
I have a number of other hobbies, some of which are related to fly fishing (I carve fly tying bobbins from various woods) while others aren’t even distantly related (I spend a lot of my time hacking my way around a golf course). I am blessed with a very full and happy life.
Steve Jensen (you may reach me at fly-framer followed by the "at" sign followed by att.net)