UNI Products Fly Tiers Corner
From Bass Tournaments to Fly Tying
Glen “Catch” Cormier developed a bit of a split personality when it came to discovering his fishing passion. At the heart of that dichotomy lay the fact his father was recognized as one of the top bass anglers in Louisiana. On the other hand, his maternal grandfather was an avid fly fisher and tier. The result was Catch earned his nickname as a successful tournament bass angler, but that was followed by an infatuation with the long-rod fishing.
“Pawpaw passed away when I was only 12 and I inherited his fly tackle and tying stuff,” Catch said. “It wasn’t until a few years after college that the fly tackle was put to use. It was an instant addiction.”
After growing up on the edge of the scenic paradise of the Atchafalaya River basin, with its world-class warmwater fishery, Cormier eventually found his way to the Baton Rouge area. “Back then in the mid-1980s, there were no fly shops, clubs or other learning opportunities in the Baton Rouge area,” he explained. “On a business trip to Atlanta, I picked up a VHS tape by 3M featuring Gary Borger, Fly Fishing for Trout. Despite the title, that video was a gold mine of info applicable to all fishing, from casting principles to presentation tactics.”
Pretty much by necessity, Cormier then fell into tying. “Most of the locally sold flies back then were not very effective,” Catch pointed out. “So, I bought another video by Borger, titled Tying Trout Flies, and broke out Pawpaw’s tying kit. The first fly I learned – an Antron Shrimp featured in the video – caught untold numbers of bream on local waters.”
In the decade of the ‘90s leading up to the millennium, Catch developed a self-described obsession with tying. He signed up at various events for a number workshops with legends of the art, such as George Harvey, Gary LaFontaine, Dave Whitlock, Lefty Kreh, Polly Rosborough and Chris Helms.
“The tiers who impacted me most were Ted Cabali, an innovative master of synthetics and Polly Rosborough, the author of The Fuzzy Nymphs,” Catch recounted. “Most of my patterns developed back then reflect their antithetical style. For example, the Coma Cocaho and Sanibel Special were based on successful lures and composed entirely of synthetics. Others, like the Coma Crawfish and Ville Platte Special are impressionistic flies composed mostly of fur and feathers.”
Looking at Cormier’s tying career and the creations it has produced makes it clear that he is an innovator. .”Most of the flies that I started tying in the late 1990s were traditional flies, with a little ‘lagniappe,’” he offered. “For example, the SR71 Seaducer and SR71 Wooly Bugger both use schapplen rather than hackle. A more recent example is the Countach Plus, a variation of Clark Pierce’s Countach Jig Nymph, which I enhanced with the addition of a marabou tail and a spun haretron abdomen.”
His inclination to tinker with patterns has proven very successful. “My most famous fly has been the Coma Spoon. My buddy Kirk Dietrich had simplified Jon Cave’s Shrimp Wobbler, by epoxying flattened mylar tubing to a Mustad 34007 hook and forming it into a tear drop shape. In no time, it became the fly for redfish.”
At that point Catch added his own touch. “Being a former physicist, it occurred to me that the principle of corkscrew impellers might make for a very different, but highly effective, spoon fly,” he continued. “The Coma Spoon is an elongated mylar fly with ‘twist,’ tied on a 4x long hook. It rotates rather than wobbles. To date, I’ve landed over 1,400 redfish on this fly alone. The Coma Spoon has been featured in various magazine articles, as well as Gary Borger’s book Long Flies.
“Another innovation of mine is the Vertically Oriented Strike Indicator or VOSI. It is a fly angler’s popping cork. It’s basically a Styrofoam perch float cut in half, with a concave face on the wide end. Suspend a weighted minnow or shrimp pattern a couple of feed below the VOSI, give it a hard popping strip on the water and watch as it calls the speckled trout and redfish to dinner!
To see more of Catch Cormier’s fly patterns, you can visit his website at laflyfishing.com. Several of his patterns also are in the book Flies of the Southeastern and Atlantic Coast by Angelo Peluso, Other can be found on the Louisiana Sportsman magazine website, under the archives for the Fly Lines column, which he authored for 20 years.
In conclusion, Catch offers a bit of advice to newcomers to fly tying. “The key to efficient tying is organization,” he began. ”Many years ago, I selected about two dozen patterns – some fresh, some salt – to focus most of my tying efforts on. All the materials needed to tie each fly, including hooks, were then packaged into ziplock bags. Each bag was then labeled with the fly name. This greatly helped my inventory management.
“Each new fly I tie, whether my creation or not, I pool test first and if I’m impressed, it is put to real world testing on the fish,” he continued. “If it passes both tests dandily, it’s added to the collection.”