I've been tying flies for 20 years. It's something I swore I'd never do. I didn't want to become one of those "fly-fishing snobs."
But whenever I'd walk out of a fly shop, I'd usually have at least $50 worth of assorted flies. I'd look at them and figure there couldn't be more than 15 cents worth of material in each fly.
So, the proverbial lightbulb shined brightly in my head: I could tie them myself and save a whole lot of money.
I went out and bought a vise, several bobbins, head cement, bodkin, whip finisher, bucktails, thread, Krystal Flash, body materials, mylar and whatever else I thought would be of use. And I've added to my collection over the years.
I now have it figured out. The way to tie a 15-cent fly is to go out and buy $2,000 worth of equipment and materials.
I'm an OK fly tyer. I have come up with a couple of patterns that work well for me and others. The Myakka Minnow is my spotlight creation. And I've adapted a adjust other patterns.
My go-to fly for beach snook is the D.T. Special (variation). The original D.T. Special was sent to me by Naples guide Matt Hoover, who told me it's the only fly I'd ever need for beach snook. He was right. I've tweaked it to suit my purposes over the years and that's why I add (variation) label to it. Many people think I created the D.T., but I didn't. I've just tinkered with it a bit.
The fly in the top left is the Myakka Minnow, a creation that has caught thousands of fish over the years. It was orginally designed for panfish, but has caught everything from bluegill to tarpon. It can be tied on any size hook to suit your needs.