So with SID Six in the bag, turning our sites towards SID 7 (thinking about doing the road trip issue early).
Would like to highlight my friend Paul and his tying, the whole story of his shaping, sanding, and designing bugs out of foam weren't all in there. I submitted the piece to Fly Tyer, got no response until I posted on Facebook that I didn't get a response. It's too bad the story of the bar and Paul are quite good.
See back in the 20s the particular bar in this story was shut down and turned into a speak-easy for gangsters spending their summers on White Bear Lake, coming in from Chicago. For those who can manage their way behind the bar and know where to look could find a dumb-waiter behind a hidden pannel allowing Canadian Whisky to be sent between floors outside the view of prying eyes.
White Bear lake had an amusement park and sprawling mansions built around the lake's shorelines housing some of America's most notorious gangsters; Al Capone, John Dillinger, and Baby Face Nelson. Gangsters and their muscle would come into the back alley doorway separating the then False front Soda Shop from the basement rooms hosting cards games and bottled Whisky (high end whisky of the 20s).
The lake a block or two away is home to some of Minnesota's largest smallmouth around. This is where our story turns towards Paul Hansen. Paul, isn't just a fly tier with patterns sold commercially throughout the world he's a Foam-shaping, Fly-Molding-Da Vinci. Between his basement workshop filled with custom made tools, shivs, and components to Paul's obsession with shaving new and more extreme angles than anything available he's taken foam tying to a new level. Paul's Electric Frog is the reason we met in a small town bar rich in history and close to a body of water full of frog eating Bass.
Paul and I met on a winter's afternoon to tie a bug or two in the shadows of the deep red leather booths of the 617. Washed down with a couple cold ones Paul and I traded stories and dreams; places been and places yet to be fished. Paul works as a high-end adventure travel guy, taking folks fishing all over the world. His company, Sporting Life, specializes in long distance adventure based salt water and large Salmonoid fishing. For more info www.sportinglifetravel.com.
If you're looking for some new patterns or a trip you won't forget try giving a SID certified guy a call. PS he lives on the Mississippi and guides quite literally the greatest stretch of smallmouth water in the country, if you want to stay in country for a trip you won't soon forget.