Jack Gartside Dies

Jack Gartside in 2007.

Image via Wikipedia

Fly tier and author Jack Gartside, considered by many to be one of the most innovative tiers of the modern era, died last night after a protracted battle with lung cancer.
Gartside was taught how to tie flies at the age of 10 by Ted Williams, the Boston Red Sox outfielder. (“I wormed my way up to the table and asked if he’d show me how to tie a fly,” said Gartside. “They sat me down at the vise. Ted went though the motions to show me how to tie a woolly worm.”) Among his best-known original patterns are the Sparrow, the Soft Hackle Streamer, the Pheasant Hopper, the Gartside Leech, the FishHead, and the Gurgler. His designs have been featured in Eric Leiser’s Book of Fly Patterns, Judith Dunham’s The Art of the Trout Fly, Lefty Kreh’s Salt Water Fly Patterns, Dick Stewart’s Salt Water Flies, and Dick Brown’s Flyfishing for Bonefish. He was one of the first fly tyers to be profiled in Sports Illustrated (October 12, 1982). (From Wikipedia.)
From Robert H. Boyle’s Sports Illustrated profile: “To describe Gartside simply as a hawker of stream-side flies would be like calling Nathan’s Famous frankfurters mere hot dogs. Along with John Betts, who ties with synthetic materials (SI, May 4, 1981), Gartside, who ties almost exclusively with natural materials, is in the front rank nationally, which means the world.”
Video of Jack Gartside tying his Secret Sand Eel.

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  • Damn. That’s sad news. Jack was a real original, and a legitimate contributor to fly fishing. He will be missed by many. In typical fashion, he squeezed in one last striper season.

  • Nick Lambrou

    One of the Best contributers to fly tying.

  • Saranac Weasel

    This has been a sad six months !!!! Two icons are gone !!!!
    Fran Betters and Jack Gartside. I will never forget either…

  • I bought and used Jack’s flies and loved them. I missed him at the Fly tying symposium in NJ last mo. Good bye Jack.

  • oldflytyer

    It saddens my heart that another great tyer has passed on to flyfish the heavens, his wisdom will be missed and his lack of presence felt.