I have mentioned in a number of videos this winter, as well as posts, that I will be attending a Tie-A-Thon this spring in Elkhart Indiana. A number of people have asked “just what is a Tie-A-Thon”? The concept is simple, it is kind of like a Skate-A-Thon or a Walk-A-Thon but for fly tying/fishing. Just like a marathon of biking, walking dancing or ice skating, people get together to engage in some activity that will benefit some person(s) or organization in need. In this case it is tying flies and donating them to the Trout Unlimited Youth camps all across the U.S. of A. I have participated in a number of Tie-A-Thons over the years and even host one or two when I was working at FlyMasters of Indianapolis. They are great fun and it is always interesting to see what other people are tying (and how) as well as catch up with familiar faces.
This particular event is being hosted by the St. Joseph River Valley Fly Fishers and it will be in Elkhart Indiana on May 22nd (that’s 2021). When these events started many years ago the thought was to bring a bunch of tiers together for the day and tie as many flies as they could. At the end of the day all of the flies would be donated to the hosting organization to be pass along to the charitable cause and the fun was to see how many flies could be tied in a day. These days, the events of the day still proceed in this manner but flies from non-participants are usually accepted as well. After all, the focus it to provide as many flies as can be collected to some one or group that needs them. In this case, the next generation of up and coming fly fishers! The events usually have certain patterns and sizes they are looking for and this Tie-A-Thon is no different. Most of these youth camps with Trout Unlimited are focused on Trout fishing and therefore the flies they are requesting follow suit. I very much enjoy soft hackle flies and that is why I chose to tie these at the event. However, because I am doing videos on all of the soft hackle flies I am tying I will have a bunch of other flies to donate that day.
Which brings me to my third point (if you are counting). I have mentioned in the videos that you do not need to attend the Tie-A-Thon on May 22 in order to contribute. Maybe you want to attend but have other obligations. Maybe you think it would be great fun but you live in Montana and can’t justify the trip for just one day in Indiana (especially if you are not fishing). Maybe you are from another country and REALLY can’t rationalize the expense. It doesn’t matter. Pick a fly or fly type and start tying. Whatever you get done, one dozen, five dozen, twenty dozen, it doesn’t matter, send them on in. With all of the ups and downs in the past year, all of the lockdowns, cancelled trips, cancelled classes and basically life turned on it’s head this might be a way to anchor yourself for a while. Do something concrete, simple and finite that you can smile at and know you “did good”!
I happen to be only a couple hours away and that area of Indiana is my old stomping grounds so it will be fun to spend the day walking down memory lane a little. As long as certain memories don’t find me! Anyway, that is a little more info on the Tie-A-Thon, what it is about and how you can participate if you have a mind too. Click on the various links in this article to get to the St. Joseph River Valley Fly Fishers site as well as to download the PDF that has all the info you need to get involved at whatever level suits you. Hope to see you there and just as important I hope to see your flies there. We need to always take care of the next generation!