UNI Products Fly Tiers Corner
Tying for the Smokies
Jimmy Jones is a veteran fly tier who was born and reared in central Tennessee, about 55 miles southwest of Nashville in Centerville. He and his wife Vicky eventually moved east, ending up in Maryville, very near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It also was a pivotal move in his fly-tying career.
“My interest in tying flies began in 1976, when my wife and I first moved to East Tennessee,” he explained. “One afternoon I was browsing in a local sporting goods store and saw a beginner’s fly tying kit. I bought it and have been tying flies ever since.”
Jones’ interest in fly fishing was already well established by that time. “I’d have to say that both of my grandfathers were key in my fondness for fishing. “(One) grandfather was an avid fisherman and with him I learned to fly fish with popping bugs for warm water species, primarily bluegill and bass.
“During college,” he added. “I began fishing for trout in a small stream near where I grew up.”
His main waters in those days were the Tennessee River and Mill Creek.
More recently and in his present location, most of his fishing now is the pursuit of trout with his brother and son for wild fish in the Tremont, West Prong and Abrams Creek areas of the Great Smoky Mountains. As a result, most of the fly patterns he produces are designed for that region. Still, they have also proven successful in other parts of the country.
Regarding his tying, “I would say I am self-taught with the help of a few how-to books,” Jones said. “I purchase a variety of commercially sold tying products, and I have acquaintances who from time-to-time surprise me with materials from their hunting successes.”
When it comes to the flies he most often ties, the Beadhead Pheasant Tail Nymph is one favorite, along with a couple of patterns that he developed. Those are the Improved Neversink Caddis he created back in 2017 and a yet to be named pattern that is a pink beadhead nymph he developed in 2022. The Neversink pattern is Jones’ signature pattern.
Jimmy doesn’t tie commercially or enter in competitions. Rather, his is more an educational vent, often participating in demonstrations and assisting in fly-tying classes. Most of those are in conjunction with the Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited, as well as the Little River Outfitters shop in Townsend, Tennessee.
In closing, Jimmy Jones offered a few words for newcomers to fly tying. “I would say the first and foremost thing is to have fun and don’t be afraid to try,” he offered. “Secondly, the more you tie, the better you will be. Lastly, it is guaranteed that everything will not go as you planned, so do not get upset. Just think about what didn’t go to suit you and give it another try!”
Jimmy Jones can be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com.