Guest Post: Max DesMarais on ‘My First Fish on a Fly that I Tied’

You can check out Max DesMarais’ Hiking and Fishing site and follow his posts regarding hiking, fishing or both. He also is on Instagram (here). Max is a recent college graduate of the University of New Hampshire and is working for Vital Design in Portsmouth.

Fly fishing is already one of my absolute favorite things to do, but one of my most memorable experiences was catching a fish on my own fly. Now, I’m still no professional fly tier, and I purchase most of my flies, but it is great to know that I can produce some key flies that will work here and there. I would encourage any level of fly fisherman to at least attempt some simple flies.

First success

My first success was quite lucky. I had tied a few days prior with my girlfriend. We put together a few rudimentary olive-green Woolly Buggers and a few Pheasant Tail nymphs. In order to make things a little easier for some of the first flies I tied, I used bigger hooks. I tied one fly on a size eight, one on size 10, and a few others on size 12 hooks.

I went to fish the Lamprey River in Durham, NH, on a beautiful Saturday morning, tossed in my monster-sized Pheasant Tail nymph and proceeded to have the most successful couple hours of fishing in my life. Now I know this was pure luck, but on that day with those conditions, I had three fish within the first 45 minutes on my very own fly!

But, then the stocking truck showed up…which I had never been on a river when such an event was taking place. Fishermen piled in (all in the know about the stocking). Me…well, I was just lucky.

I decided to stay another hour, where I landed at least 15 big fat rainbows, all on my size eight (probably resembled feeding pellets) Pheasant Tail nymph. I’ve never had so many fishermen ask me what I was using as that day…and, I wish I took pictures of their faces when I told them a size eight fly was killing it over their size 18 midges.

More than just fishing

I’m sure most of you are talented fly tiers, but tell your non-tiers that even an untalented fly tier can have success. I recommend that everyone at least try fly tying not only for the feeling when you get a fish on your own fly, but for the experience and fun it can be.

My girlfriend likes to fish, but isn’t the biggest fly fisher in the world. It was a great experience to bring together the art of fly tying, as well as my passion for fly fishing, with her. I believe that this can be a great way to connect others with your fishing experiences.

Tight lines!


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7 thoughts on “Guest Post: Max DesMarais on ‘My First Fish on a Fly that I Tied’

  1. Max, great post and congrats on such a productive outing! Perhaps, you were fishing when big nymphs, such as Hendricksons or March Browns, were in the water? The nice thing about a Pheasant Tail fly is that it mimics so many mayflies. A killer pattern for sure.

  2. Nice way to start. Lots of satisfaction in catching fish on your own creation and having others do the same with flies you give them!

  3. Good job Max! I fished the lamprey in Lee on Saturday before the rain and I caught a six brookies including one 10-12+. Those were also on flies I tied (#18 hare’s ear and #20 tungsten zebra midge. There is no better feeling than this

  4. Well done catching trout on your own fly, Max. Nothing like it. They don’t always have to be micro small as some would believe. I mostly fish larger ones myself, #16 being the smallest and I have some good days. Keep at it!

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