MEET DEREK PORTER
THIS PAGE IS FOR THOSE WHO LOVE TO CLUTTER UP THEIR MINDS WITH TRIVIAL KNOWLEDGE AND HAVE WAY TOO MUCH TIME ON THEIR HANDS!
CATCHING FISH * One of the few times I caught a decent fish and had a camera!
MY MUG* Me and one I caught that I couldn't throw back, 8 lbs. and 21 inches.
MY WORK BENCH * Where I spend most of my waking hours, slaving over a hot vise.
MISC. INFO * Some history, you got to be real bored to read this!
LIFE IS GOOD!
ME AND MADISON
I practice catch and release except with wives and daughters.
MISC. TRIVIA AND HISTORY
My father was not a real rabid fisherman but my grandfather Judge C Porter was addicted to warmwater bass and crappie fishing. Nobody in my family flyfished or even knew what it was. At an early age, grandpa took me fishing for bream with worms or crickets and a bobber. At about age 10, I graduated to plastic worms for bass in the small farm ponds around Powdersville SC. He knew almost everybody in a 10 mile radius who had a small farm pond and he had permission fish them all which we took full advantage of. Even though my first fishing was in warmwater ponds, I acquired an interest in moving water.
When I was in 5th grade, we moved to the Taylors area of Greenville and in our backyard was Brushy Creek, a small warmwater creek that held bass, bream, catfish and horny heads. Horny heads? Yeah, a sucker type fish that really grew little horns on it's head. I am not kidding! I started with cane poles and worms but after a skateboard accident where I broke my jaw and gave myself a concussion (I had already broke my arm the year before), I traded my skate board to a friend for a fly rod. I thought the fly rod was great. It was an 8 foot Shakespeare fiberglass 8 weight with a floating level line but I used it as a cane pole to drop bait in a hole further than I could reach with my spinning rod. I had no flies and had no idea what a tapered leader was that they talked about in Field and Stream.
I eventually ran across a Scientific Anglers "Fly Fishing for Beginners" magazine and thought it was a Revelation from God! My prayers for flyfishing info was answered, however, there were no flyshops in our area so I decided to tie my first fly. Holding the hook in my left thumb and forefinger, armed with mom's sewing thread and hair from our Siamese cat, I tied the ugliest fly you ever saw. It consisted of a tail of cat hair and for a body, I wound black electricians tape around the hook and painted it red with black dots and yellow eyes. I then proceeded to catch an eight inch largemouth bass out of Brushy Creek. I had found my true calling in life! During the next few years I bought a Hank Robert's Fly Tying Kit and learned about catching fish in moving water. I had no source of tying material and never could find out where hackle came from but I developed a love for fishing in rivers.
I headed out to the nearest sportsmen's store and bought my first graphite flyrod. I had never learned to cast my old glass rod and level line more than ten feet max. The graphite was a Kunnan rod, about 8 ft., 5 weight and around $46. I worked with a gent that had a lot of flies his father gave him and bought them since he did not flyfish and part of the deal was he would take me to the Chattoogaa River. At the time I was living in Greenville and every time I had a chance, I headed to the mountains about 1 hr and 20 min.away.
This is when trout fever hit bad. I wasn't catching much and didn't know how to cast well and on one particular day I was fishing the Whitewater River, getting my new tapered leader all tangled up (yes, I finally found one) and got so frustrated I almost broke the rod over my knee. I cooled off and caught a 16 inch brown trout when I picked up my line for a back cast. I still had no one to fish with and I learned to cast from books and videos and every magazine I could find. You new folks out there, listen and listen good, there is no substitute for hours on the stream. You can watch all the greats, Lefty, Borger, LaFontaine, etc. and learn less than you will fishing twice a week for 3 months in the same water.
I bought my first Orvis rod, my first real flytying kit (Cabela's)and got married to the best woman in the world, no kidding, sorry, I got there first, go get your own. We moved to Brevard NC and lived with my parents for a year or so while my wife was in school and I got to fish 3 or 4 days a week in the Davidson River. Let me tell you about the Davidson, for an eastern freestone stream, it is fertile and has a good population of browns and bows with the occasional brookie. The geniuses at Trout Unlimited, in their infinite wisdom, listed the Davidson as one of the top 100 streams in the USA. Of course the fishing pressure doubled overnight. If that wasn't bad enough, the local flyflingers got the wildlife people to change the regs to catch and release. I'm sure in certain areas C&R is a great idea but in the Davidson, it more than doubled the fishing pressure. This has produced some of, if not the, wariest trout in the Southeast. I mean these trout have their Ph.D. in Fishermen Humbling 101. I worked 2nd shift and could fish the mornings before work. That is when I really started hitting my stride in the fishing department. Fish often and in the same water over smart fish and you skill will increase exponentially. There was also a guy in my church named Dwight Howell who tied flies commercially. He would let me come over and watch him tie and all the videos and tying books finally started making sense. He died of cancer a few years back and I owe him a debt of gratitude that goes beyond words.
I was getting real good at catching fish and tying flies for specific hatches when we had to move back to the Greenville area while my wife finished her schooling and I started getting people who wanted me to tie their flies. This took several years of tying for individuals but it later led to tying for shops. I'll tell you how to tie good flies, get yourself a work area that is yours, get yourself some quality materials, some good books and videos, then tie about 30 minutes a night, every night for a month. You will get so good so fast it will blow you away.
One of my first fly clients was a gun shop. I tied thirty dozen flies to put in there on consignment and about six months later I got them back when they went out of business. I looked them over and could not believe how bad they were so I stuck them in a closet. Later, a friend who was learning to tie needed some hooks but did not have much money so I gave him all thirty dozen and a razor blade to cut all the material off and said "now you have hooks". Trust me, just 15 to 30 minutes a night or every other night for a few months.
After putting my wife thru school, I told her to find a job in western NC where there are trout streams everywhere. Know what she said? Yes! I told you I married the best one out there! We moved back to Brevard and I was again 5 minutes from the nearest trout stream. This is when I got my first flyshop for a client. I was going to work at 6:00 AM till 4:00 PM, come home, eat and shower, start tying at 5:30PM till 11:00PM, sleep and do it again. Days off I tied 12 hours. They bought everything I could tie so I walked into work one day, looked around and decided I had rather stay at home and tie flies. I was eventually asked to teach fly tying classes and that is a lot of fun. There is nothing like teaching guy how to tie a fly and then he comes back the next week to the class just bubbling with excitement about the trout he caught that weekend.
A lot of people told me I could not make any money tying flies, so I set out to prove them wrong. After 5 years of trying to make a living of fly tying, I proved them right! Like the song say's "Mama's, don't let your babies grow up to be fly tyer's ". Three years ago, we moved back to Greenville to make more money.
After 11 years of marriage to the same wonderful woman, I have no regrets. We just had our first daughter (see the picture?) and as I write this, (2/11/00) she is 2 years old and the best thing that has happened to us in quite a while. I never thought I could love someone as much as I love my wife and daughter.