5 questions with Jake Vanderweyden, aka The Fly Fiend.
I recently caught up with Jake Vanderweyden to ask him some questions about his brand, The Fly Fiend.
I’ve been checking out Jake’s fly tying videos on YouTube for a while now, and I’ve been digging his Instagram feed lately as well. I like Jake’s style, and Jake certainly has a passion for fly fishing and fly tying. It’s always cool to see young guys contributing to this community in an effort to help move it forward.
Oh, and Jake is up in Ontario, Canada, but it’s cool.
1. Every angler has a story. What got you started in fly fishing and fly tying?
Jake – I’ve been an avid angler since I was young, I actually started out bass fishing. I had a lot of ponds around my house at the time and not having a drivers license, I would usually just ride my bike and pond hop with my buddies. After bass fishing for about 5 years it got very stale, throwing the same crankbaits, same jigs, same plastics, that’s when I really started learning about fly fishing and tying.
A lot of my buddies in this area of Ontario float fish for steelhead and salmon, but I never really liked the whole idea. At first I did buy a float rod and used it about 4 times and just didn’t like the feel of the whole concept. I went to my local tackle shop and bought a Redington 9ft 8WT and started out fly fishing with that. That fall I fished for steelhead and being new to it I didn’t hook into anything.
That winter, my aunt bought me a fly tying kit for Christmas and ever since then I’ve been tying. That whole Winter all I would do is learn to tie flies, watch videos, read magazines, I was literally hooked on the whole idea that I could literally tie anything on a hook and fish it. It’s like every fly that comes off my vise is my pro model and I can tweak it to my liking, unlike bass fishing where you open a box and tie it on the end of your line, you can really customize your flies and that was a huge interest for me.
2. It sounds like you’re working on launching a company. What you got planned for that and what can people expect?
Jake – Yes, I’ve been working on the whole The Fly Fiend brand for about a year now, I first started tying flies, mostly stonefly, egg patterns, and steelhead nymphs. A couple local stores even carried them at the time I was tying 5-6 hours a day.
Now I’m focusing my energy and time into YouTube tutorials and starting the online store which will carry a lot of competition style / European nymphing gear, including a full line of barbless competition hooks, hand tied European nymphing leaders and other various fly tying materials. Also thinking about making more modern fly fishing apparel as I see a lot of younger people getting into tying and fishing, which is rad! I think most of the fly fishing apparel is very basic and doesn’t have much style to it (not saying there’s not brands out there who make awesome stuff aka HOOKE, check them out, Canadian brand!)
I plan on starting to release the hooks and materials within the next couple months.
3. You do some really cool fly tying videos. How has that journey been? What do you film with? Any plans to do other types of video?
Jake – Thank you! The journey has been wild to say the least. I love doing the tutorials but I didn’t think I would get that much traffic on my YouTube page in such a short time. When I first started I just wanted to show people my weird fly recipes, and I guess a lot of people like seeing different stuff, rather than seeing the same dry flies and nymphs.
I’m always trying to get my hands on the newest products to play with and incorporate into my flies and I think people like seeing what’s new on the market and seeing it actually being used before buying it. I’ll buy it regardless because I’m a fly tying fiend so I need my fix! Right now I’m filming with a Canon 6D and a Canon 100mm Marco lens and a bunch of various LED lights I’ve bought over the years.
I do plan on doing more tutorial type videos on rigging, rod setup, leader setup etc, possibly even product reviews and other stuff along those lines, and I would like get into more cinematic filming of fishing.
4. What’s the most important piece of advice you’d give to someone that wants to start fly tying?
Jake – My best advice is if you want to start tying, be patient. If you want to be good at tying flies you defiantly have to put in time at the vise. A lot of trial and error comes with fly tying. That being said, with fly tying you can express yourself through whatever you tie. No one can tell you what you are tying is wrong or not the right way to do it. I’ve tied some of the weirdest flies and still catch fish on them. The only way fly tying is going to evolve is if people keep pushing the limits on what they tie onto the hook, and think outside the box of what we know as fly tying. At the end of the day it’s your fly you are tying onto the end of your tippet so confidence is key. Have fun with it!
5. If you had to fish with only one fly for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Jake – Euro nymphs all day! Probably a size 16 Frenchie, on a jig hook, with a JUICY orange hotspot!
Big thanks for Jake for taking some time to jump in on what will hopefully be the first of many Q&A Sessions that will be showing up here on the site. Be sure to check out The Fly Fiend on YouTube and Instagram. He’s got some cool stuff going on!