Fantasy Fly Testimonials

Bob Mead“We on the East Coast have heard for years the rumor that somewhere out west lived a deranged fly tyer who tied huge flies – some in the form of ‘animals’. It is common knowledge that this fellow is crazier than a salmon fly tyer! A while back we received the official word back here in the East that he was going to tie at the ‘International Fly Tying Symposium’ in New Jersey- a place that has it’s own share of irregulars. Just as a precaution, some of us took out extra life insurance and hired body guards. One guy bought a body armor vest at a local cop’s garage sale. We heard Don was a monster of a man who had once beaten Big Mike Martinek in a Sumo wrestling match. This information was really scary, considering that just last year Big Mike had out-pulled a D6 at a county fair. We also thought it strange that stanchions with heavy rope had been placed around his tying table. Someone had hung a sign on the rope that read: “Please Do Not Feed.” It was with more than a little trepidation that I finally approached him. We shook hands and it only took him a few seconds to introduce me to his “Bait’s Motel!”. Well I’ll tell ya,… I am still laughing! Don is the kind of guy you wished lived next door. …. hmmm, maybe a mile down the road.He is one of the cleverest and most original fly tyers I have ever met. He has expanded the limits of ‘Novelty Tying’ into and beyond the dark side! He is the first ‘Stand Up Fly Tying Comedian’ to grace the shows. I sure wish we had a few more days together as I would have loved to have given him a Rorschach test. Seriously though, I would be proud to share a tying table or a trout stream with Don any time. Thanks for the show my friend. It was hilarious!” ~ Bob Mead

Paul Whillock“The beauty of attending fly tying shows is that one meets with, and has the opportunity to talk to many like minded souls, all of whom are there to purchase goods and to maybe even learn something new? This applies to those found on both sides of the fly tying tables. In November 2005, whilst attending the New Jersey International Fly Tying Symposium, I met with Don for the first time and was struck by his jovial character which buoyed us throughout that hectic weekend. Reading through the testimonials listed on this page, I realise there is little need for me to elaborate upon his flamboyant style of fly tying or to repeat stories of the famed “Baits Motel” etc for they are already well known to you all. What I will say however is, that in order to create fantastic flies such as those tied by Don, one must have a natural and incredible talent to begin with and, after studying the “Mouse fly” which he presented to me as a gift, his skills and manual dexterity as a fly tyer become immediately apparent for they are indeed quite outstanding. Don is a kind and warm hearted person who is an absolute pleasure to be around. My very best regards! ~ Paul Whillock

Jack Dennis“There is probably no fly tier in the world as creative as Don Ordes right now. His flies are truly works of art and some of his wilder creations are quite humorous. Don looks at the world of fly tying with the eye of an artist. Don takes a wide variety of materials and brings to life flies that most flyfishers would never dream possible. Every fly fisher should own an Ordes creation for their den or study and have a few of his more traditional flies for actual fishing such as his scuplins and stone flies. Don is a true artist at the bench.” ~ Jack Dennis

Peter Parker“I was lucky to notice Don tying at a local show several years ago. I invited him to appear at our largest ISE Show. Don was a show-stopping hit at San Mateo. Since then I have invited this ‘Master Tier’ to several shows where he has performed wonderfully!! Don is a great tier!! Everything from a size 32 Royal Coachman (with quill wings) to a modified size 19/0. He is humorous, fun to tie with, but most of all he displays considerable skill. I am honored to call him my friend.” ~ Pete Parker, International Sportsman’s Expo, Flytying Video Theater Director

Dave Whitlock“Don Ordes is a very gifted and talented flytyer, but he also has a wonderful outlook on our sport. His unique sense of humor and his fantastic Fantasy Flies have made Emily and I, and thousands of other flyfishers smile, laugh and enjoy flytying even more.” ~ Dave Whitlock


Dr. Tom Whiting“Fly tying is far more than just a means to catch fish. Creating fishing flies- designing and tying them- forges an exceptional intimacy between the angler and nature. For the fly tier must study the water, the insect life, the fish’s behavior, and of course all these elements in concert with each other to achieve their goal. And the goal is not simply to catch fish but to understand, interact with and appreciate the riparian world and in doing so feel more a part of it and all of nature.

There are many creative fly tiers today. And it has always seemed to me that the really serious, creative fly tiers do so almost more out of a calling than as a hobby or job. For the really devout fly tiers are almost driven to do it, satisfying some strong desire for perfection derived out of understanding. And many have such enthusiasm in this pursuit that they become natural teachers, loving to share this personal excitement with others.
One of the most refreshing and creative fly tiers I have ever encountered is Don Ordes. Not only is he a top notch fly tying technician, but Don also brings a truly exceptional sense of humor and fun to his creations. His novel Fantasy Flies are so original in subject that no one who appreciates fly tying can not be impressed and amused. And the very originality of Don’s creations introduces a mind-opening freedom of approach that in its self opens the realm of possibilities in fly tying. Plus someone has to stir things up in a some times too-serious pursuit.

So the fly tying world is truly lucky to have the creative contribution of a born fly tier and teacher in the likes of Don Ordes. And in a very positive and beneficial sense he is almost the court jester of fly tying, injecting and imparting a sense of good natured fun and humor to fly tying.

Thank you Don.”  ~ Dr Tom Whiting, Whiting Farms

Chris Helm“Don Ordes is truly one the world’s unique fly tiers, creating hugh flies that look precisely the same as their small size counterparts. Five years ago I purchased a size 14/0 Royal Coachman that is proudly displayed over my front door – flanked by two brook trout that are painted on the wood border. Since many people come to my home to visit my fly tieing materials shop, many compliments are made by the customers about the fly. Non-fly fishers are also impressed.

Don’s skills include giant deer hair flies, which are a favorite of mine since my main tieing love is deer hair bass bugs. And his mice are truly unique. I have not seen or heard of any other tier anywhere who ties flies on this scale with such precision and beauty. For decorating the fly tieing den, family room or other special area of the home, his flies are wonderful! ” ~ Chris Helm

Byard Miller“Don’s flies are as unique as his personality. He manages to take the art of fly tying to a whole new level with his outrageously sized Fantasy Flies. His artistic designs are almost beyond belief as he incorporates full-sized feathers of turkeys and pheasants and produces proportionally correct replicas of flies tied on immense hooks that the rest of us tie on tiny trout hooks. Turn your back on him and that 14/0 hook is replaced with a miniscule #32. This one knows no bounds. I am truly honored to have DonO as my friend.” ~ Byard Miller, Virtual Flybox