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Fly Fishing in the Southeastern US
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 Post subject: Re: A K Best
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 11:17 pm 
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Brown Trout
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Location: Cary, N.C.
A.K. grew up in that midwestern thrift venue, so most of his tying process is geared to that ideal: buying white feathers and doing the dying himself, stripping quills after the dying, plainly functional bobbin holders, making your own gallows tools, welding a loop on a standard ghinger (ghinker?) scissors, and on and on and on.

His patterns are fairly simple and sparse - Again, the Midwestern function over form mentality, although his flies are attractive in the same way that you'd admire a well-crafted tool rather than a work of art.

His delivery is what kills him as a teacher (which he may have been at one time). His lessons sound and feel more like pronouncements from on high. Somebody used the word "arrogant", and I think that's fairly accurate, although I might suggest that he is convicted and somewhat evangelical.

In the end, I think he's begun to believe his own hype, and he's sold out to sponsorships and self-promotion.

The one valuable lesson I took from his book, Production Fly Tying is once you pick your scissors up, don't put them down until you've completed the fly. That piece of info, however, is not worth $39.95.

Just my $.02 worth..


Yer Pal,
Streamer

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 Post subject: Re: A K Best
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 11:27 pm 
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Brown Trout
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Jule, I've noticed that you never put your scissors down but you and the other masters don't use the Wiss scissors that he recommends. Heck...I bought two pairs of them.... :o . Like I said, I've followed a lot of his recommendations with the best being the use of clorox for stripping peacock herl. I'm very tempted to try some quills but Plumbob lost me on the shoe polish trick.


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 Post subject: Re: A K Best
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 11:52 pm 
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Brown Trout
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Location: Cary, N.C.
River Man wrote:
Jule, I've noticed that you never put your scissors down but you and the other masters don't use the Wiss scissors that he recommends. Heck...I bought two pairs of them.... :o . Like I said, I've followed a lot of his recommendations with the best being the use of clorox for stripping peacock herl. I'm very tempted to try some quills but Plumbob lost me on the shoe polish trick.


Heck, Blake, the last thing I am is a master, but thanks for your kindness.

I don't use the Wiss scissors because I tried 'em and hated 'em.

As for the "shoe polish trick"....well, that's an easy one. Get a can of Kiwi Saddle Soap in Cordovan, and a cute midget hooker. Then you just lather the

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 Post subject: Re: A K Best
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 6:53 am 
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Brown Trout

Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 6:24 pm
Posts: 502
A lot of the old tiers from years ago made use of what they had around the house, just didn't have the money to do some things they may have liked. I was told that one well known catskill tier used shoe polish to get the right color quill for a mahogany dun. Never tryed it but I'll bet the waxy finish helped float them flies pretty good. Think of the polish as a big magic marker.


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 Post subject: Re: A K Best
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 3:11 pm 
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Brown Trout
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Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 7:50 pm
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Location: the metropolis of Wagener
River Man wrote:
I can't get the guy off my mind so I'm gonna ramble a bit and ask for some advice.

I've studied a couple of his books quite extensively. While he seems to be very opinionated, I don't see some of our experts here following some of his advice. I guess there are differents schools of thought when it comes to tieing and I'm not sure where he stands with our Master Tiers. I'd like to point out a few of his recommendations and hopefully get some feedback.

If A.K. Best told ya to jump off a bridge....would ya do it?

Vise...AK Best uses a Dyna-King Pro vise. He says you need a neck that extends at a 45 degree angle so that you can properly position materials to be tied in while giving a place to rest the heel of your hand. Why all the Renzettis ? Any Dyna-King advocates here?

Always have and probably always will recommend the Renzetti traveler....still the best vise for the money!

Bobbins...He says you need the S&K bobbin and give a lot of reasons why. Streamer was nice enough to pass one on to me but I'm not sure I've seen our experts using one.

I like the ones with the ceramic tips....but keep a lot of the cheapies laying out for obnoxious friends who like to play with super glue

Body Material- AK is a big advocate for using quills that he dyes himself. Other than Plumbob, I haven't seen a lot of quill bodied flies.


So he has a fetish for quill body flies???? does that really mean they are gonna work for you?? there are hundreds of materials and I can probably make use of most of them


Varnish....AK uses clear varnish rather than some of the other head cements I've seen you guys using.

If ya wanna get high try weed....does'nt leave ya with a massive headache!

I guess you get my point....I'm very confused and need to get some feedback on AK's methods before I go spending more money needlessly.


There are hundreds if not thousands of great tyers across the country and around the world...they all have good things to offer....as far as A.K, Best is concerned....don't drink the Kool-aid

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 Post subject: Re: A K Best
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:29 pm 
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Brown Trout
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Location: Marshall NC
I guess I came into this around 2000. Never had any trouble finding materials. Two shops close relatively and the Internet sources. I feel spoiled thinking about materials being in-accessible or high priced. You all got me thinking about taking stuff for granted.

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 Post subject: Re: A K Best
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 6:24 pm 
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Brown Trout
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One of my takeaways from reading his books is that he does almost everything from scratch versus buying prepared mixes. Considering the volume of his consumption, I'm sure that he has saved a bunch of money. He's obviously worked hard on his 2 major areas of cost...labor and materials. I'm not sure that the initial cost of dyes, bleaches, materials and waste from experimentation can be justified by the weekend tier....for the commercial tier.... it's more than likely worth it. Oh yeah..his book is about Production Fly Tying :shock: .

I still want to play with bleaching and dying at some point in time...get ready for some questions Mr. David. That could be a project for 2010.

Other questions have popped up in my head. In his Advanced Fly Tying book, he shows his version of the Rs2. He replaced microfibbets with spade fibers and the body is either a biot or quill. Rim Chung on the other hand, attributes a lot of the success of this pattern to the microfibbetts that make the fly drift properly along with the segmentation that comes from his dubbing methods. I can't wait to play around with both flies to get a comparison check.

Oh well....can't wait for L&T. I have a bunch of questions for the Masters :D


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 Post subject: Re: A K Best
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:37 pm 
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Rainbow Trout
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why do i have to be a disciple of ak best or anybody else to tie flies?? i tie flies for me and not to be someone else.

his biggest claim to fame is a quill body and a failed line of tying tools. OK, he's mortal.


Last edited by flytire on Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: A K Best
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:46 pm 
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Rainbow Trout
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Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2008 7:32 pm
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River Man wrote:
Other questions have popped up in my head. In his Advanced Fly Tying book, he shows his version of the Rs2. He replaced microfibbets with spade fibers and the body is either a biot or quill. Rim Chung on the other hand, attributes a lot of the success of this pattern to the microfibbetts that make the fly drift properly along with the segmentation that comes from his dubbing methods. I can't wait to play around with both flies to get a comparison check.


before the day of microfibetts, rim chung tied them with moose body hair for the tail


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 Post subject: Re: A K Best
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 1:04 pm 
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Brown Trout
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OOps...my mistake on the microfibbetts,,,should have done my homework better. I guess the point I was trying to make was that the split tail helped trigger bites.

Thanks for the correction and input Norm.


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