A couple weeks back word got around that Pig Farm Ink, and Iron Fly would be making their way to the Chicagoland area. As the fly fishing and tying scene in Chicago continues to grow, with tying groups like Chi Tie and Dave Kuntzelman introducing tying in the city, and Stuart's group out at Coren's Rod and Reel to the classes and open tying session's Jeremy is hosting at DuPage Fly in the 'burbs, more and more people are meeting up, sharing patterns and knocking back a few beers getting to know each other. It's been fun to watch things grow over the last five to eight years or so.
The Mrs. and I decided to meet up there for a bite to eat and check things out. I brought along the vice and a new camera I was trying out and connected with Bill Katzenberger, who wanted to see how things stacked up with what went down at the Hardly Strictly Musky stop earlier this year.
Justin Carfagnini and Dave Kuntzelman worked to bring this event here and ran a great event. There were familiar faces from TU events, guys I've bumped in to at Chi Fly and DuPage Fly and other local events and new tiers like my wife and a few others. Justin had extra vices for everyone and everything a new tier needed to get started.
As things got warmed up, we all tied a few different flies, judged for speed, or quality, even blind folded. Working our way up to the Iron Fly competition, everyone bounced around checking out each others work and creativity, clinking beers and cocktail glasses while scarfing down some food. Bill seemed to be the big winner, taking home a few hats and a sweet permit t-shirt. Before we knew it, all the preliminary flies had been tied, new rounds delivered and it was time for the Iron Fly.
With remnants scattered across the table, the seconds began to tick off the thirty minute time limit we were given, and we all scurried to see what was available and develop game plans. The thirty minutes went fast, but I was amazed at the variety of patterns that were developed and all the creativity that was shown. Everyone had their own take on the materials available, and most all the flies tied looked like they'd get eaten. From freshwater to saltwater, I was impressed with all the competitors flies. But only one would be crowned as the winner. The big winner for the inaugural Pink Farm Ink, Iron Fly challenge went to PJ Smith. PJ's fly was definitely a hunter and looked very fishy. Everyone loves PJ and we couldn't have been happier to see him take home the victory.