I never saw John Prine live and I never tied Ed Shenk’s flies, save maybe a couple Letort hoppers when I first started out. I moved on to other, more complicated ties, with beadheads and eyeballs, rubber legs and plastic wingcases, upright divided wings and parachute hackles.
We lost Ed the other day, and I wanted to revisit some of his patterns. In an age where “innovation” is currency, his flies are…ragged. Homespun. Even a little ugly. But in a time where life is so heavy, it’s nice to spend an hour at the vise and not worry whether heads or tails or eyes are proportionate.
It leaves more time for fishing.