People ask how I came up with the name Fantasy Fly Co. First, a fish that could take a 10″ long Royal Coachman is not just any fish – it’s a “fantasy” fish. And, to catch that “fantasy” fish, naturally, you would need a Fantasy Fly. Second, everyone hears the tale of the ‘big one that got away’. Those too are “fantasy fish”. So, to catch your ‘fantasy fish’, you would logically need a Fantasy Fly.
The first name I came up with for the giant fly art back in the early 80’s was “Day-dreamer Streamer”, but that only described one type of fly. So I developed the entire fly line with their own categories, such as ‘Whopper Hoppers’, all under the Fantasy Fly name.
Fantasy Flies are a break from reality. They are a form of art that plays upon fantasy and imagination, and one must let go of practicality in order to appreciate what they represent- unless, of course, you actually want to try for your ‘fantasy fish’. My overall goal is to combine true fly-tying with art, extremism, and a lot of humor, to provide a unique experience in the fly-tying world, not just a ‘product’.
From the largest to the smallest, Fantasy Flies are intended to evoke a response to the lighter side of the fly-tying craft, as well as build an appreciation of the creativity and problem-solving required in extreme fly-tying. Plus, the 14/0 giant flies sure get the monster fish stories going. The “giant fly” idea is not a new one, but performing it properly as an art form is, and that includes tying real fishing patterns on very large real hooks.
The greatest appreciation received is in the quality of the flies – that’s what keeps them from being “gimmicks”. Many years were spent developing, and perfecting, the techniques for the giant fly patterns, plus obtaining the proper materials for the larger-than-life flies. Any who have tried to copy this art form have great appreciation of what it takes to pull it off properly. And to me, a proper Fantasy Fly would be a tied fly-pattern on a real hook.
Fly-tying is a progressive hobby. New materials are found or created constantly, and the challenge is to be creative with these new materials while remaining true to the craft. Pushing the envelope, exploring new applications, such as the “rope-dub” technique, and creating new flies are rewarding and keep a 40+year hobby from ever growing stale.
Tying skills need to be expanded and adapted constantly to go where no one has gone before. The world of fly-tying is extremely broad and covers not only every possible fishing application, but also applications in art and collectibles – and in humor, if you want to go there.
The giant Fantasy Flies are fishable flies on real Mustad hooks. This “foundation of authenticity” is only the tip of the iceberg. Day-dreamer Streamers and Whopper Hoppers and Monster Muddlers are just a few of the “fantasies” to be enjoyed. Add to that the sculpted deer-hair flies, flex-o flies, realistics, size 32’s, McFlyfoam flies – the list just goes on.
But I do have a practical side, too. Saltwater flyfishing for billfish has been a dream-come-true for me. So tying extreme specialty flies to catch these Fantasy Fish is right in line with the theme of Fantasy Flies. I’ve also tried my hand at many inshore flies.
So welcome to my Fantasy Fly world. Enjoy the ride and the fantasy.Donald D. Ordes Owner of Fantasy Fly Company & Originator of Fantasy Flies