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Below is a "Red Rover" I tied, as documented in George Kelson's "Salmon Flies", first published in London in 1894.

I like the fly's simplicity, revealing very clean design and great symmetry. Sometimes it's difficult to find the inner beauty of a fly because it has been hidden by complex adornments.

A fly's completeness is undone by adding components after the fly is finished. They look like they don't belong.

Watch for the finish line! Don't keep running!

- Bill Carpan



In the early 1970s I started fly fishing for trout. The city library in Halifax had a great selection of fly fishing & tying books. Helen Shaw’s book, “Fly Tying”, is one of the very best guides for a beginner and it helped me tremendously.

I really got hooked on fly fishing in 1974 when I caught my first Atlantic salmon on Nova Scotia’s St. Mary’s River. I caught it on a Cosseboom wet fly that I tied myself, so that event increased my interest in fly tying.

I continued tying all my own flies and read all I could find on the subject for several years, but tying flies had become a chore. In 1992 the St Mary’s River Association hosted the Atlantic Salmon Federation’s Conclave. Guest fly tiers Eric Baylis, Ron Alcott, and Warren Duncan showed me that I still knew very little about fly tying. As a fly tier, I was reborn.

Warren Duncan of Saint John, New Brunswick was a great tier and a very generous & special man. His inspiration and support helped me become a commercial fly tier and my fly tying improved a whole lot. Dunc is no longer with us, but his influence will always show in my work.

Two years later I took Mike Crosby and Jim McCoul’s Classic Atlantic Salmon Fly Tying Workshop in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Over a weekend we tied a Jock Scott. That added another dimension to my hobby, requiring much study and lots of practice.

Jim McCoul won first place in Quebec’s FQSA fly tying world championship 4 years in a row. Jim and I became great friends and he helped me overcome problems and gain proficiency in tying traditional salmon flies.

Retirement from my computer systems design career happened in 2001.  In 2006 I won a fly creation contest sponsored by the Nova Scotia Federation Of Anglers & Hunters. My entry was chosen to become Nova Scotia’s official fly, proclaimed in the provincial legislature in 2007.

I opened my fly shop “River Magic” on the St. Mary’s River in 2007, making my hobby and my work one. Hope to see you there.

Bill Carpan,
River Magic