Steve Thornton and The Virtual Nymphs oliveshrimp

Steve Thornton and The Virtual Nymphs

Mød den engelske fluebinder, fotograf og forfatter i et interview med

Steve Thornton har gennem de seneste år vundet stor anerkendelse for sine super realistiske fluer. ScandicAngler mødte ham første gang på Fly Fair 2002 i Holland, hvor den kreative englænder var et af højdepunkterne i fluebinderteltet. Siden er det gået meget stærkt for Steve Thornton, der udover at have åbnet egen fluebindingsforretning på nettet, skrevet en bog også er en bagmændene i den højaktuelle British Fly Fair den kommende weekend.

Steve Thornton

Steve Thornton har arbejdet de seneste 23 år som professionel fotograf, og han er efter eget udsagn ældre end fyrre. Interviewet er ikke oversat fra engelsk. Eventuelle spørgsmål til bedes rettet til redaktionen.

When did you start your fly tying?

I have tied flies for about 10 years.

What is your favourite flies to tie?

I like to tie Stoneflies as I find these very therapeutic, especially the super realistic that I sell to collectors. For fishing flies I enjoy tying them all, I have 32 match the hatch patterns. Many of them are un-published. The pattern I find the most intriguing is the Stone Clinging Mayfly Nymph. I think I have it correct, then change my mind and start again. I’m still working on this one.

Your favourite material for tying?

Nymph Skin. I use it for most of my nymphs. It’s durable, easy to use and makes the most realistic abdomens.

soft bodied hatching Steve Thornton

What’s your favourite fly fishing – and location?

Fast freestone rivers in the North of England. However, I have recently been fishing the Catskill Rivers in New York State and these take some beating. Actually, it spoilt me, as I had to get used to smaller English Brown Trout again.

What tackle and weight (AFTM) do you prefer?

I only use one fly rod, and I use it for everything. Smuts, Dry Flies, Nymphs and Heavy Nymph work. It’s a five piece Greys Missionary 10ft. 3inch 4/5 weight. Its action is very slow, which makes a nice big loop, and I can cast short or long accurate casts with light tippets. I use a Loop Dry Fly reel and a Greys WF5F fly line.

What’s your personal future goals in fly tying?

I intend to carry on developing new tying materials and techniques, as well as, tying new patterns and upgrading my own collection.

golden stonefly

Where do you pick up your inspiration?

Along the way I have met some great people in this business. My main influence was a book by William Blades entitled ‘fishing Flies & Fly Tying. I still refer to it today and it was published in the 50’s. Bill Blades was way ahead of the game. He taught my friend Ernest Schwiebert to tie and his book entitled ‘Nymphs’ still gives me inspiration.

My other influence is my great stateside buddy Bill Logan. We tie together a lot and develop new tying techniques and material manoeuvres. We can spend days together in his New York bugs room without going out. I suppose its called cabin fever.

cam emerger


What is the best tips for a beginner on fly tying?

Keep it simple. Although my patterns look difficult, they are actually quite simple. I must only use ten products and two tying threads for tying them all. Make sure you apply ATTENTION TO DETAIL. Make two wraps of thread instead of ten and put them in the correct place. Also buy a good vice. I use a LAW vice which I think is the best in the world. Once you have developed a tying style you’re happy with, stick to it and hone it.

softbodied hatching caddis

Do you have more books and videos ahead?

I plan to do Vol. 2 of Listen to the River. Maybe next year. I have a CD VOL. 2 out soon. Other books! I have some great ideas; it’s just a matter of finding the time. Bill Logan, Bob Meads and I are working on a deluxe book of realistic fly tying. This is a leather bound A3 book, which is hand printed on archival paper throughout. There are only going to be 103 copies made and should be published in 2005.

Is your website well visited?

I don’t know if it good or bad, but has an average of 75 visitors a day. I redesigned it, but now I don’t like its format, so I have to re-do it soon.

spent caddis

Is the Virtual Nymphs Shop growing at the moment?

Virtual Nymph has now stopped retailing its products, and is totally wholesale other than the CD’s, Listen to the River book, the LAW vice and some tools. Virtual Nymph Products can now be purchased around the world from a list of our distributors, which are listed on the web site.

Describe your work with the British Fly Fair?

My role in the British Flyfair is quite a busy one. I designed all the adverts, tickets, sales aids, and website. I am responsible for booking all the flytyers and demonstrators and making sure they get here ok and are looked after. The BFF looks to be a busy show and has now sold out of exhibitor space.

Even all the local hotels are fully booked. I think it’s a show Britain has been lacking for a long time, and the organisers and I thank the Dutch Flyfair for influencing us to do a similar show here in England. Please look at the web site for all the info.

I am at present putting together the Flyfair Journal. It’s a 12-page A3 full colour tabloid that incorporates the show guide. I have managed to get some of the world most eminent writers to write articles for it. I’m really enjoying working on it. It’s going to look great.

Best regards, Steve Thornton