Petrified of a Trout Fly

Shout out to Rich for posting this one up on the Flyangler.ca board. Reminds me of the Paul Whillock story and some trouble he had with US customs.

Browsing through my Diary I happened across one particular entry dated January 29th 2002 and entitled: ‘US Customs’; I had been invited to tie realistic fishing flies and also display my Art Flies at the International Fly Tying Symposium in New Jersey, America. I had spent most of the year preparing the flies for my display but, it soon became apparent that the display would not fit into my suitcase so, under the suggestion of my good friend; ‘Bob Mead’, I packaged the flies, the display bases and “Fed-Ex’d” the entire shipment to his address in up state New York. Bob was attending the show himself and the plan was that he would bring the flies along for me however, I received a phone call from Bob 2 days before the show informing me the package had not arrived?

Pteronarcys californica Stonefly Nymph - Paul Whillock
Pteronarcys californica Stonefly Nymph - Paul Whillock

Arriving at the Doubletree Hotel in New Jersey, the awful truth emerged that my flies had been lost or perhaps even damaged in transit…….I had no idea where to start looking. After seeing my desperation, Hotel Crew leader; ‘Eric Leininger’ sprang to my assistance and after spending many hours on the telephone he somehow managed to track my package down to the Customs Office at JFK Airport whereupon it transpired that my flies had been impounded on account that at least one of the Nymphs was believed to be ‘a real insect’ that had been coated in plastic and mounted on a fishing hook! Customs went on to say: “Sir, it is illegal to import insects to this Country”. Though one of the Nymphs remained in ‘custody’, most of the shipment was eventually released and mailed to Bob after they discovered my flies were harmless imitations though attached to the package was an import duty bill for $535 dollars!

Back to the video, it’s a good laugh, and goes to show that fly tyers can have a bit of fun with their craft.

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