Creativikey —The Key to Creativity— Inspired by Fran Betters.
by nick sirianno
The question at hand is “What isn’t Creative?” The source of imagination is an inherent skill that we’re all born with. Creativity is present in all of us from day one. Why is it that some of us harness the universal gift for longer periods of time than others? If you’re someone who doesn’t “think creatively” or someone who is “too creative” where does the happy medium lie. Everything begins with an original idea, whether sparked from an old idea or one that rises from the invisible source of the soul, every original, or even modified original idea takes some creative thought.
I tie this back to fly-tying. The goal is to mimic the pattern, size, and kinetics of an insect in the wild, as to fool a fish into thinking its real food. Exact replication, little to no room for error, patterns, colors, and materials pretty much decided for you, and names that mimic the names of the actual insect being replicated haven’t gotten the fisherman anywhere.
Catching a fish on a fly isn’t about tying that exact olive colored fly that sticks to your windshield on the way to the stream, it is about being creative and simply using the color olive to entice and or excite the fish into seeing something new. It literally is impossible to know exactly how well fish can see but its safe to assume that they see well, can tell miniscule differences between shades, and have an unparalleled sense of their surroundings, which includes what is above the surface.
The late and great fisherman and fly-tier Fran Betters didn’t catch fish on exact replicas of the flies native to the Ausable River region of the Adirondack Park. He began tying his own patterns, trying new shapes, colors, and sizes. Some words of wisdom from Fran “It is important to remember that each bit of information we are told or read about fishing is another bit of knowledge to be put to the test in practice and then retained or discarded only through experience. Each journey to the stream is another lesson along the road of ignorance. There is no dividing line along that road between ignorance and knowledge, and the person who thinks he has acquired all the knowledge on the subject of fishing only succeeds in proving his ignorance (Fran Betters Fly Fishing – Fly Tying and Pattern Guide 2).” Fran goes on to talk about his father and how he taught young Fran to keep an open mind. In other words, he used creativity to his advantage and created some of the most effective and well known fly patterns known to fly fisherman today—the Ausable Wulff, the Haystack, and the Usual.
What is a better reward than one than comes from nature? When a river, a mountain stream, a quiet lake nestled miles from the nearest road, can thank you, your accomplishments become rooted deep in your creative synthesis. To catch a wild brook trout on a fly pattern designed from your inner most curiosity for success, and to develop a pattern from nothing other than your appreciation for the natural world, and to have it become one of the most well known patterns in the world of fly fishing is to have succeeded creatively. The key to creativity to tie I mean try because you lose nothing in the process.