UNI PRODUCTS FLY TIERS CORNER
Mack Bryson of Southeastern Flyworks might be called a true son of fly fishing in the South. Growing up in Martinsville, Virginia, his early years were spent angling with a Zebco 33 rod and reel, but in his early teens he discovered fly fishing. His best friend for the past 30 years, R.J. Maricich introduced him to the long-rod action. “My dad had and old Sage rod and R.J. and I would fish the pond behind my family’s home.”
During more than two decades that have ensued, he has become even more imbedded in the region, having relocated to Leesburg in southwest Georgia.
Mack Bryson believes in putting his patterns to the test on the water.
His transition to the fly was helped along by a pair of mentors. “Mr. Bob Maricich and Blane Chocklett would be who I’d consider my mentors,” Bryson noted. “Mr. Bob is the father of one of my best friends (the previously introduced R.J.). He had a fly-tying desk in his basement and I grew up watching and learning from him.”
His education in both the fishing and tying continued through Blane Chocklett. “I would travel to Roanoke when Blane had his Blue Ridge Fly Fishers shop there and take lessons,” Bryson said. “I bought my first fly rod from Blane in the late 1990s from that shop.”
Thus, Mack’s interest in fly tying went hand-in-hand with getting into the fishing. “I learned the basics from Mr. Bob and Blane,” Mack continued, but added, “I think all tiers figure a few things out on their own. However, those two guys had a huge impact on my fly tying early on”
These days Mack Bryson ties a variety of patterns for the brine, as well as both cold- and warm-water patterns for the freshwater side.
Early on Bryson concentrated on warm water patterns that he used often. “Bass bugs and bream flies,” he said. “The lake behind my house was full of both”. Among those patterns were frogs, poppers, Clouser Minnows and bead-chain-eye nymphs. “The poppers were definitely our ‘go-to’ patterns.”
When it comes to materials Mack has conventional sources, as well as some personal ones. “I collect feathers from ducks I kill during duck season and local pheasant shoots,” he explained. “I do purchase other materials.”
Count of Monte Frisco
Bryson then turns those materials into a number of fly varieties. “I have a few patterns that I like to call mine,” he said. “The Count of Monte Frisco has been a fantastic streamer for me, as well as others. I also have a streamer I tie with Squimpish Hair that has also produce some quality fish.
Bug’s Redfish Tickler
“My Bug’s Redfish Tickler has been a killer on redfish in Georgia and Florida, and my Monk’s Mop Dragon has been a great local river and pond fly,” Mack continued. “We have a unique species of bass here in southwest Georgia – the shoal bass. My streamers and the Mop Dragon have been great patterns for those fish in the Flint River.”
A Flint River Shoals Bass. Photo by Jimmy Jacobs.
Bryson continues the fly-tying legacy he received from his early mentors by teaching fly-tying classes in his region. “I have taught classes at Pretoria Fields Brewery in Albany, Georgia,” he offered. “We tie every Wednesday night there and it’s open to the public. We actually are looking to start a fly-tying program within the local school system.”
Baby Brook Trout
In closing, Mack Bryson had a few words of encouragement for newcomers to tying. “Have fun and get creative,” he emphasized. “Tying flies is ‘arts and crafts’ for adults. The materials are endless and you’re only limited by your imagination. If you have an idea, tie it and fish it.”
For more information or to contact Mack Bryson, visit: