The Fine Art of Fly Tying

shane fly The Fine Art of Fly Tying

15-year-old Shane Krajnik continues his family tradition of tying flies.

By Alisa Star

Civilizations have been constructing and utilizing artificial flies for centuries. Fly fishing in Macedonia dates back to 200 A.D. Next, came iron hooks that were made during the 13th century, but didn’t become extremely popular until the 17th century when blacksmithing techniques improved and increased the durability of the metal.

As the years went on, new inventions benefited the fabrication of flies, thus causing new styles of flies to emerge and a more active fly-tying community. Shane Krajnik began tying flies at a very young age with his father as teacher and mentor. His father Mike Krajnik passed on techniques and tricks that he learned from his grandfather.

“I am so proud to be a part of this unique art and family tradition” said Shane Krajnik. “My father taught me how to craft freshwater ones specifically for fly fishing. However, I developed ones more suited for saltwater due to my constant exposure to the saltwater life. I tried different hooks, strings, feathers, styles, and weights. All of this led to me having the perfect recipe for the perfect saltwater fly,” said Krajnik.

“There’s a certain serenity that overwhelms you when you sit in a quiet place and start making these beautiful pieces of fine art. The relaxation and the absence of stress appears when you start wrapping the thin thread around the feathers and hairs of numerous species of animals.”

Young Krajnik enjoys not only tying flies for the relaxation, but also the results of how they catch fish. The quality flies created by this craftsman and fisherman having been used to catch reds, flounder, and speckled trout. Every feather and string addition changes the frequency of the fish you catch as well as the type. One enormous benefit of fishing with flies is none of those pesky hardheads! These catfish rarely strike plastics and the same goes for the flies as well. That’s a great benefit of using artificial bait and flies.

shanefly2 The Fine Art of Fly Tying

Hand tied fly by Shane Krajnik.

Needless to say, there is a learning curve that goes along with using flies. From the tying station to casting it out, you can modify and create characteristics of how the fly reacts in the water and during the retrieve. Another tip for fishing with saltwater flies is to use one with a little heft on the shank of the hook.

“Fishing with the slightly heavier flies that I create, I prefer to reel in slow to create a repeating V shape in the water with the fly. This motion seems to really catch the eye of surrounding fish, thus making them hit hard and run fast, “ Krajnik said.

Finally, one of the most important pieces of advice is to not go out and buy any new equipment except for a few different flies to fish with because you don’t really need anything new and complicated to test out the waters. These flies can even be used on traditional baitcasting or spinning gear by using a stationary weight about two and a half feet above the fly. Bottom line, fly making is a fine art and fishing with one is a unique experience worth trying.

If you are interested in purchasing custom made flies or a combination box of flies, please contact

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