Nothing sets your weekend off right like a heart-warming story, and I’ve got you covered. Just last week, the Charleston Gazette posted a great piece about Ellie May Dean, an 11-year-old girl living in Randolph County, WV, who (get this) is such an accomplished fly tyer, she gives seminars and has scored guest spots on national fly fishing shows. She started tying at the ripe old age of six. I’ve been tying flies for years now and still don’t think I’d have the confidence or skill to put on a tying seminar.
From the story: Not long after Ellie May started tying flies, Deron and Lisa (her mom and dad) developed the Elk Springs Resort, a fly fishing lodge, restaurant and fly shop along the Elk River in Randolph County. It was there that Ellie May learned to tie flies that might actually catch fish.
“Bill Harkness – he was one of the guides at Elk Springs – showed me how to tie a streamer pattern. After that, I started concentrating on tying real trout flies,” she said.
Lisa allowed Ellie May to set up a fly tying station in the corner of the resort’s short-order restaurant. She showed her flies to anglers who gathered there each day to have lunch and discuss the morning’s fishing.
“People started offering to buy her flies, and they’d come back in and tell her about the fish they’d caught on them,” Lisa said.
If you’re wondering if Ellie May can fish the patterns she creates, the answer is yes. According to the story, she caught her first trout on a fly she tied at age 8. Do you remember the first fish you caught on one of your own patterns? I do. It was a bluegill that slurped the ugly mess of feathers and thread I concocted. And it came unraveled immediately after. Have a great weekend.