Flies tied by CHARLIE CRAVEN
I have tied flies since I was eight years old. I began tying commercially for local shops at the age of twelve and to this day I still can’t get through a day without tying at least a few flies. Fly tying is a consuming endeavor to me, and I enjoy every minute of it.
Growing up in Colorado, I have had the chance to work and fish with some of the most innovative tiers and fisherman in the world. Guys like John Barr, Ross Bartholomay, Dennis Collier and a host of others have influenced my tying and designs. While I owe a lot of my success to people like these I have also learned that I am always my own worst critic and find that I’m forever looking for a better way of doing things. So many “new” patterns these days are beautiful to look at but haven’t been water tested. A truly great pattern has to catch fish, be reasonably durable, and solve a problem. That is, achieve through the tying design or process, a result that was previously unavailable.
My own Charlie Boy Hopper is another successful design. The one-piece foam body provides superior flotation and durability while creating a realistic profile. The rubber legs provide fish attracting action, and the deer hair over wing makes the fly highly visible to the angler. The problem this fly solves is its ease of tying. Again, it all seems like such an obvious way of doing it once you see it, but I assure you, it took quite a while to figure out.
One of my favorite patterns is the Jujubee Midge. I developed this one years ago while guiding in Cheesman Canyon on Colorado’s South Platte River. The two-color Super Hair abdomen creates a striking ribbed effect with excellent durability and the Flouro-Fiber wing case produces an attractive halo around the thorax. A simple fly for sure, but with a definite edge.
My Ragin’ Craven pattern was developed as a permit fly that could be fished on the drop or with a retrieve. Many conventional permit flies are effective as they sink from the surface to the bottom, but once pinned down by the fish, they lack the action to entice a pick up. The non-descript Ragin’ has the ability to ‘morph’ from a crab into a shrimp as dictated by the attitude of the fish and the retrieve imparted by the angler. It has proven incredibly effective on bass, bonefish, permit, redfish and even stripers.
I hope that other anglers/tyers can appreciate the effort I’ve put into my patterns and hope that they can get half as much fun out of fishing them as I have out of developing them.
Many of these flies are commercially available through Umpqua Feather Merchants