Monday, March 28, 2011

Featured Fly Tier - Kevin Compton

This post will be the first in a series of monthly posts spotlighting some fly tiers who I think have some great patterns. I'm going to post their biography, some of their patterns, and have them do a quick interview.

Up first, we're going to feature Kevin Compton. I met Kevin for the first time earlier this month at the Valley Forge Fly Fishing Show. After checking out some of his fly patterns and buying some materials off his Performance Flies website, I thought it would be nice to do a small feature on him and his creative patterns.

Kevin started tying flies 15 years ago. He is a commercial tier, author, speaker, tying instructor, and a fly designer for the Solitude Fly Co. He is also a member of the International Pro Team for Partridge Hooks. His company, Performance Flies, distributes select tying materials, tools, and hooks, including the DOHIKU European barbless hooks, throughout North America.

Kevin lives in the Great Lakes, in Cleveland, Ohio where he ties patterns for the steelhead fisheries of Ohio and Michigan and for the trout waters of central Pennsylvania. He also spends part of each summer in the Colorado Rockies, fishing and tying patterns for guides and competition anglers.

In 2006, he was the runner-up in the Team USA National Fly Tying Competition sponsored by Fly Tyer magazine. In September of 2006, he traveled to Portugal to the World Fly Fishing Championship where he contributed flies to the US competitors. In 2007, 2009, and 2010 he tied for members of Team USA at the National Championships and at the America’s Cup.

In September of 2010 Kevin was the runner-up (to Charlie Craven) in the first annual Ironman Fly Tying Competition at the Denver Retailer Show.

Kevin's flies have been featured in magazines such as Fly Fishing and Tying Journal and in collections such as Rick Takahashi's Modern Midges. His article "Going Barbless" appeared in the August 2008 issue of Hatches Magazine. He also writes an online tying journal,, and is currently at work on a fly-tying project with Stackpole Books, entitled "Styles of European Fly Patterns".

How long have you been tying flies?
15 years

How did you get started with tying?
I was handed a Regal Vise on my birthday 15 yrs ago

What is your favorite fly fishing technique?
Nymphing & dry/dropper fishing

If you could only fish one fly for trout for the rest of your life, what would it be, and why?
A nymph of mine, The Tungsten Torpedo...I have a lot of confidence in this pattern. It produces for others & for myself wherever it is fished

What's your favorite fish to target on a fly rod?

Any advice for people who are first starting out with fly tying?
Only use the best materials & tools you can can reasonably afford; sit down with an experienced tier at some point early in the game; and always strive to understand tying materials & fly-tying methods. In other words, learn to tie flies, not particular patterns.

Fly Patterns
Callibaetis CDC Floating Nymph
Hook: DOHIKU Dry Fly HDD 301 #10-12.
Thread: FLY DK 80 Denier, Tan.
Tails/Shuck: Coq de Leon Fibers, Dyed Medium Dun.
Ribbing: Xfine Gold Wire (0.10mm).
Body: Natural Biot from a Kori Bustard Primary Wing Feather.
Wingcase: 3 Natural Tannish-Dun CDC feathers.
Thorax: European Hare Fur (spun in a loop & wrapped).

Copperhead Brush Hog
Hook: DOHIKU Standard Nymph Hook HDN 302 #8-16.
Beadhead: Tungsten Bead, Copper.
Thread: FLY DK 80 Denier, Black.
Tails: Coq de Leon Fibers, Medium Pardo.
Ribbing: FLY DK Synthetic Quill Body, UV Pearl.
Body: Tungsten Wire Dubbing Brush (Red Fox Squirrel Guard Hairs,
Copper & UV Flash Fibers).
Thorax: Seal's Fur, Black.

CDC & Hen Western Green Drake Emerger
Hook: DOHIKU Wet Fly HDS #10-12; or Dry Fly HDD 301 #10-12.
Thread: Giorgio Benecchi 12/0 (70 Denier), Olive.
Tails: Moose Body Hair.
Ribbing: Euro Thread 8/0, Yellow.
Body: Jack Mickievicz' Hare's Ear Blend, Blackish Olive (Dark Olive).
Hackle #1: CDC Fibers, Yellow-Olive (spun in a loop & wrapped.)
Hackle #2: Hen Saddle Feather, Grizzly Dyed Olive.

Opal X-Caddis Emerger (Craig Matthews; modified by Dennis Potter)
Hook: DOHIKU Dry Fly Hook HDD 301 #14-16.
Thread: Giorgio Benecchi Ultra-Strong Thread (50 Denier GSP).
Shuck: Strands of Amber Crinkled Zelon from Blue Ribbon Flies.
Ribbing: Sulky Invisible Mono Thread, Clear.
Body: UTC Mirage Tinsel, Opal Medium (lacquered with Fly-Rite's
Fly-Tite Head Cement).
Wing: Coarse, Short-tip Early Season Yearling Elk.

I'd like to thank Kevin for this time and info to make this post possible and if you are looking for a lot of the materials used to tie his patterns, or the stuff I've been using over the past few weeks on the flies I've posted, check out Performance Flies for a great selection of tying supplies, and probably the only place I know of in the states to pick up some Jan Siman dubbing and UV quill body. He can be reached at

Also, I know Kevin mentioned the Tungsten Torpedo, but I unfortunately don't have pictures of it. I did however find a Youtube video of it that was filmed by one of our followers, Fly and Fin.(Who also has a great blog for you to check out!)

I hope you all enjoyed this post. Feel free to drop some comments with thoughts for future installments.