UNI Products Fly Tiers Corner
Fly fisherman, book author and fly tier Steve Hudson has made a bit of a name for himself throughout northern Georgia. From his home in the Atlanta suburb of Roswell he ventures out to toss flies in both warm, cold and even salt waters. He also is a frequent speaker to angling groups in the region. His writing covers guide books to regional waters, as well as how-to texts for fishing and fly tying.
Like many of us, he finds the roots of his fishing career in his family. “My earliest memories are of fishing,” Hudson said. “Mom and dad loved to fish. Dad was in no sense a fly-fishing snob, and we caught untold numbers of fish on spinning and casting gear. But, if given the choice, dad would always pick up the fly rod. That rubbed off on me and is what set me on this fly-fishing journey.”
The start of that journey began at a young age. “I learned it early,” he confirmed, “probably around age 8 or 9. Eventually dad gave me my own rig – a then state-of-the-art Shakespeare glass Wonderod and a classic Pflueger reel. I still have both and I’ll fish with them now and thenfor old time’s sake.”
Thus, with his dad as mentor, they did a lot of casting in warm water. “We fished primarily for warmwater species in lakes, ponds and streams,” Steve recounted. “One that comes to mind is Lake Chatuge, where we passed uncounted hours casting poppers for bass and bream.” Chatuge is a 7,000-acre Tennessee Valley Authority impoundment on the Hiwassee River on the Georgia – North Carolina border.
“Growing up we always had a pond, too, and many was the day when I’d get off the school bus, run home, drop my books on the table and grab my fly rod to head to the pond,” Hudson mused. “The math homework could and usually did wait till after the sun had set and it was too dark to fish.”
Hudson’s endeavors in fly tying also originated from his father. “Dad had a book published by Herter’s called How To Tie Flies.” He explained. ”It was a skinny little hardback that I just about wore out reading it over and over.
“One day I decided I wanted to be a fly tyer too. So, I took some cricket hooks out of the family tackle box and scavenged up some bits of yarn or feathers or who-know-what. I tied them to a hook, using the bench vise in the garage as fly-tying vise.
“Then came the fateful moment,” he continued. “I walked down to the pond, tied one on the leader, made a cast and, lo and behold, I got a strike. That did it. I was hooked.”
The early portion of his tying career was a solo adventure. “Early on that book from Herter’s was my main source of instruction, so I suppose you could say that in the beginning I was self-taught,” Hudson said. “Over the years, however, I do believe I have learned something from every fly tyer I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. In that sense, I’ve had lots of mentors, and I always welcome the help. That’s one neat thing about fly tiers – most are eager to share what they know, and there is always something new to learn.”
Some of the patterns that Hudson ties most frequently these days are warm-water flies, such as small foam- or cork-bodied popping bugs, foam spiders or ant imitations. “I also enjoy crafting larger imitations of frogs and minnows,” he added. “For trout, I always seem to enjoy tying Elk Hair Caddis, Stimulators, various Soft-Hackle Emergers and midges, such as Blue Assassins and Zebra Midges.”
One of his specialties is tying larger streamer and saltwater patterns. “Streamers are a favorite of mine,” he confirmed. “For saltwater or bass, I love tying Clousers, Gurglers and Seaducers. For trout, I have a pattern that my friends call the Hudson Streamer, a flank-wing streamer.”
Steve does tie commercially for some fly shops and individuals, especially the Hudson Streamer. “But, more often I just tie some up and give them away!’ he said. You can check out his fly-tying and fly-fishing books by visiting FlyKits.net on line, as well as his Tie It & Try It fly tying kits.
Hudson also hosts a weekly on-line Zoom program call The Tying Bench. It takes place on Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. in the eastern time zone. “Each week we focus on learning a specific pattern,” Steve said. “Each session lasts an hour to an hour and a half, and the focus is on interactive teaching. Details, materials lists and log-in info for each week’s session can be found on the web at FlyKits.net.”
In closing, Steve Hudson offered some tips to newcomers to fly tying. “When you start thinking about fly tying, it’s easy to be put off by the spectacular fly photos you find in magazines and books,” he offered. “You many find yourself thinking, ‘my flies will never look like that, so I may as well not even try.’ Don’t worry if your first flies don’t look exactly like the ones you see there. The fish are often not nearly as picky as we are. As you practice, they’ll get better and better.”
You can contact Steve Hudson via email at AA4BW@comcast.net.