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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.