Classic Video and Story: The Art of a Deer-Hair Master

Teaser: How to Tie a Fly

Tomorrow the latest episode of MADE will go live on This one features Pat Cohen ( of Super Fly (, a master at tying flies.

Posted by Bloomberg Pursuits on Monday, November 16, 2015

For many of us, our first attempt to tie a Muddler Minnow was when we came face-to-face with the frustration of trying to spin deer hair on a slippery hook shank. For a novice tier, or even someone who has been at the vise awhile, it can be difficult to get the hair to spin evenly on the hook, to lock it into place, to pack it firmly enough without jabbing a thumb on the hook point, and then trim it into shape. When you see a beautifully made Muddler, Irresistible, Dahlberg Diver, or mouse pattern, it’s hard not to marvel at the craftsman who could achieve such perfection with deer hair.

In my early days as editor of American Angler, I was lucky enough to share offices with Art Scheck (editor of Fly Tier) and John Likakis (editor of Warmwater Fly Fishing), who were both superior deer-hair artists. They offered me countless tips and strategies that upped my skills from pathetic to merely adequate, which is where they remain to this day.

But I think that even Art and John would be impressed by the creations of Upstate New York tier Pat Cohen, whose flies demonstrate a level of mastery and artistry that sometimes beggars belief. I have admired Cohen’s patterns for quite awhile, so it was exciting to see that he is the subject of a great short documentary on Bloomberg Business, part of their “Made” series. Watch the short trailer above, and then click over to see the entire video, which clocks in at just under nine minutes long and shows how he creates a Duckling pattern that would surely bring the biggest bass or pike to the surface.

Click here for the full story and full-length video. The website layout is a little confusing, so make sure you scroll down after you watch the video.

Pat Cohen’s deer-hair patterns, such as this duckling imitation, mix art and fishability.
Photo by Zach Goldstein/Bloomberg

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