Thank You to Lindsay Agness Fly Fishing

As you know, I am in Hancock this weekend for the One Bug Tournament sponsored by Project Healing Waters. Lindsay and her girlfriend are competing in the tournament as team Ms.Behaving. She and her husband are supporters of Healing Waters and gave me and possibly my whole New City chapter an invite to Pulaski, NY to fish for Salmon. The salmon, steelhead hatchery is actually opening for a certain amount of vets to get experience catching. 

As you know, when someone is suppo Project Healing Waters, I appreciate them so much because they are supporting me and my disabled veteran brothers and sisters. 

Please check out Lindsay’s web site and patronize her services. LindsayAgnessFlyFishing.com

Arrived With a Warm Welcome 

After being told that I was on the list from my Project Healing Waters group it seemed like forever for this day to come. Starting with dinner tonight, Thanks to Healing Waters and of course donors that make it happen, I am taking part in the annual “Friends of the Upper Delaware One Bug Tournament”.  I’ve been working on my house nonstop and now I’m  finally getting a break. 

In case you wonder why it’s called one bug (as I did), it’s because the tournament is on a points system; and if you get through a day only using one fly, you get an extra 100 points. If you know me, I just want to catch my first fish with a fly rod. I’m not worrying about point. 

I will continue to post on my blog throughout the weekend, but I did want people to know that I received a warm welcome here at the Hancock House Hotel. It is a beautiful building. My room is very clean and comfortable. The staff that I met so far have been extremely nice and helpful as to where the events are taking place. There is a great looking restaurant downstairs, but there is a dinner for the event that I’m going to later. I really think I am going to enjoy this weekend. 

I’ll keep you posted. For now I am going to explore town before the dinner later. 

April 25th “Anzac Day”

Many of you probably have no idea what Anzac Day is. To be honest I didn’t either until hearing about it through a VFW post on Twitter this morning. 

Just 14 years after Australia became an independent nation, Great Britain called on them in cohort with New Zealand to attack the Turks of Constantinople. This campaign ended in a stalemate but the new country lost around 8,000 troops. Australia has been a great Ally ever since. I reverberate serving with several of their troops in Desert Storm. 

If you want to know more, I added this link. What is Anzac? It is a good read. Keep Australia and New Zealanders on your mind and in your prayers today. 

Mr. T

When my friend Rhonda that I met through Facebook while looking for people to send img_0558-2me feathers for my fly tying asked me to make a fly for her soon to be 75 years old Vietnam   veteran friend I was honored. I gave it some thought and that is when I created the Vietnam fly designed after the military service ribbon. This was my first fly that I made of the sort which now as you know if you have been reading my blog posts that I am selling to earn money for Project Healing Waters. Though the fly can’t be zoomed in on clearly, Rhonda’s friend she calls MR. T loves it. I hope that I cannot only get more vets wearing these flies representing their service to our country, but that I can make and sell enough to donate as much as possible to Healing Waters for being such a worthy cause. 

 

PTSD Ribbon

As soon as I get these flies made for the farmer’s market, I will be back to writing regular blog posts. It is not like I have Fly patterns to go by though. I am trying to create them in the likeness of the service ribbons they represent. 

There is no service ribbon for active duty or veterans that develop PTSD while in combat. For those that receive a Purple Heart, their injury is immediately recognized; but mental injury may take years to surface. 

My PTSD was noticeable in my last year of active duty but nothing was done about it except discharging me with honorable but with “unable to perform ” noted so that I couldn’t re-enlist. 

I was denied service related disability for 20 years while things worsened. Finally when I was approved for 40% I had developed other Dissociative disorders related to the PTSD. I was never able to keep a job for more than 6 months to a year but I always found one. I may not have been the family man mentally, but I was not lazy. I found work and I supported them. 

Two years ago I was hospitalized for 45 days. (Residentially, not inpatient) I was free to leave at any time but I needed the help or I would have definitely committed suicide. After that stay, I was declared fully disabled; both through the VA and now through SSDI. 

There are so many forms of therapy that work for people with disabilities. The experience I have found with PHWFF is what is proving to be what works the best for me. That is why I want to raise money and awareness for them with my writing, fly tying and whatever else I can do. 

Sure, I am done working at age 46 and using fly fishing as therapy; how can that not work?

It would be nice if it were that easy. I am stuck on the couch 90% of the time wishing I could be fishing. That’s why I write, tie flies, build rods, etc.  My Dissociative Amnesia has made driving any sort of distance safely, nearly impossible. I jokingly asked my wife if I she’d trust me to get a motorcycle. She replied that she doesn’t trust that I’m safe on a recliner! 😳 I used to ride, but my mind gets worse daily it seems. The thought of getting on a bike terrifies me. 

So to all you American people who support troops and veterans, as I know you do (before I write a book) all I ask is to maybe purchase a fly from me. Or at least share my posts so that someone who is interested in flies can do so. My profit on a fly after supplies and shipping is about $3.00 and that whole amount goes to  Project Healing Waters. In the future I want to support other charities as well, but I am starting here. I am one guy working from home. 

As far as there not being a service ribbon for PTSD, there is an awareness ribbon for it. I created the fly below this morning to represent.

Thank you for reading. 

PTSD Awareness Fly

Having a Good Time

Making these service ribbon flies may or may not sell well for Healing Waters. I’m doing my best to design them with respect to the veteran that buys or receives one. 

The best part is, I’m having fun making them. That is another point in favor of fly tying for therapy. My mind stays focused on creating instead of destroying, hurting, etc. 

So far I have designed the Korean War service ribbon, the Vietnam Service ribbon, the Kuwait Liberation ribbon, the Iraqi Freedom one and the Purple Heart Medal. They are all for sale@ $5.99 each, and all sold as fishable flies or as hat/lapel pins. Just email your interest to Fliesforlife@yahoo.com. Price includes shipping. $3.00 of each fly is donated to Project Healing Waters.

Please don’t forget that I am a disabled veteran myself and have tremering hands. I will not send flies that I wouldn’t be proud to say that I made, but I am not a commercial tyer. 

Thank You for any support you can give. Even just sharing blog, twitter or Facebook post helps tremendously for publicity. 

Purple Heart Medal
Liberation of Kuwait
Korean War Ribbon
Iraqi Freedom Service Medal
Optional Purple Heart Design
Vietnam Service Ribbon

Still no Fish

Been out on the streams trying to catch trout several times, but haven’t had any luck.  According to my friend Ed, stripers are running up the Hudson near Germantown, NY. He invited me on his new boat. I plan to take him up on that this week. 

I built a 9′ 9wt rod for such an occasion. Plus I have spinning and casting rods. But if my first fish ever with a fly rod is a striper, I will be one happy camper. 

Have a Happy Easter (Those who celebrate) and I’ll talk to you soon. 

How Can I Help?

Not to long ago I asked some people in one of my Facebook groups to send me feathers so that I can continue to tie flies.  As you probably know by now, I live off a veterans disability and I cannot afford to by the supplies I need to continue this past time that really helps me to take my mind off of the anxiety, stress and depression that I would otherwise face if I didn’t stay busy doing something so enjoyable to me.  Not only couldn’t I afford the beautifully colored feathers, but they generally come on the hide of the bird.  I have read about how some exotic birds are now extinct because they were killed for their feathers; not neccessarily for fly tyers, but mostly hat makers.  I don’t want to be a part of killing birds for flies when birds shed plenty to share without dying. I’m by no means a vegetarian; but I was taught since childhood not to kill something unless it is for food.

People of the group came through for me.  I received tons of feathers from people across the United States.  One lady sent me a huge envelope full of feathers from her 12 parrots.  As you can tell by my profile picture, some salmon flies take many feathers to create.  Other flies although, such the one I created in this post, only use a small amount of feathers at the collar and tail.  The rest of the fly can be made from thread, floss and litteraly thousands of other kinds of materials.

The lady that gave me all of those feathers sent me a message today asking me if I’d do her a favor.  She wanted me to make her a fly.  I told her that after what she did for me, I’d send her as many as she wanted.  She replied that she only wanted one.  She wants to give it to a friend that is a veteran and about to turn 75.  She sent me a video of him dancing around in a diner.  I could tell why she loved him so much.  He looked like a fun guy to hang around with. I asked if she wanted one to fish with or just something artistic, and she said it was just to put on his hat.  That made sparks go off in my head.

In a prior post titled “Thank You!” I told you how much I appreciate Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing #PHWFF for introducing me to fly fishing and tying.  It truly is a therapeautic past time for me and many other disabled vets.  I told you in that post that I created a web address called fliesforlife.com; which at the moment is just directed to this blog.  When I get the page going I eventually want it to be a non-profit fly and tackle shop.  By making flies, building and repairing rods, etc. it will give me a chance to give back to project healing waters and to other charities.

It’s a circle I guess.  I go to war and become disabled. Organizations like Healing Waters show there appreciation the best way they know how.  Then I in turn want to show them that they are appreciated. I wish everyone would get into a repetative circle like that.  Maybe we’d all get along better.

Anyway what has kept me from starting this web site is an idea of something that I could do that was different.  I wanted to create something that wouldn’t cost a bunch, yet start to earn money to donate to the organization.  Thanks to this woman’s request I came up with that idea.  This is the first one.  It needs improvement; but I made a fly with a pin attached to the back designed to look like his Vietnam Service Ribbon.

I figured that I could create ones for all types of service ribbons and combat awards etc. They would be inexpensive to make and I believe they would sell.

Compare the Vietnam ribbon in the top photo to the ones of the “fly” hat pin that I made below.  What do you think?

Shaky Hands

If you have not noticed I like to make big flies. Firstly my eyes are no good but my new bifocals are on order.  Mostly I have a problem tying because of how bad my hands shake. There are days although that I’ve been steady and tied some size 20 hooks.  Give me a 3/0 or anything as small as a six and I enjoy creating.  That is my therapy zone and why I joined Project Healing Waters in the first place.

Even at those sizes, it is hard for me to follow patterns. I can, but I get bored quickly; or worse frustrated when I do feel physically limited by my shaking hands.

Today I worked on solving one problem.  Hairs to close to the eye (or feathers etc.) that need to be trimmed. Nicole, from Quilted Tyler and my tying instructor at Healing Waters is amazingly motivating.  She doesn’t let me get frustrated even when I would at home. She just tells me keep trying, you’ll get it. There is a bright side to anything to her!  I was tying something with a beaded head, wire body and some sort of hackle that ripped off right at the end. She saw my frustration and said “cool, you made a brassy!”  I was like what the hell’s she talking about and then she showed me pictures. She wasn’t lying to make me feel good.

When I’m at home I don’t have experienced people to hold my hand and guide me. In fact, I have nobody but my dogs here with me. Once in a while I talk to the mail lady and then there is social media. I do have people I can text like Nicole and my friend William at Eastern Trophies and lately since I have started rod building, Brian from Ye Old English Fly Shop but they are not waiting by the phone to help me. I have to wait for them to get back to me (sometimes a day or two) or figure something out for myself.

Back to the eye of the hook. I was trying to trim some red dyed buck tail from around the eye.  I got close but it needed more trimming and I gave up. I thought if I took a lighter t to it quickly it would burn off without damaging the fly. No such luck. All of the buck hair cought. I came up with an idea that worked when I tried again so I wanted to share. What I did was heat the bodkin and clean in and round the eye that way. If you already sealed the thread and led it dry, it won’t hurt to touch it either. In the video you can see that my hands are not shaking as bad as usual but I demonstrate what I’m talking about because it is easier for me and probably other shakers like me.

I hope you learn and enjoy: