Lately I have been getting interested in the history of fly patterns and fly tying (you may have noticed a few historical pieces on the subject in the Voices from the Past feature). A relatively new web site that should be of broad interest to fishing historians, anglers, and collectors alike is the Classic Fly Tying board.
One of the things I like about this site is that it does not have an overwhelming number of forums; it has four--one on Classic Streamer & Wet Fly Patterns, a Classic & Artistic Salmon Fly Tying forum, one for trading and swapping, and a Lodge where you can chat about anything at all.
The Classic & Artistic Fly Tying shows off the skills of these tiers very well, and some of them are incredibly original and offer up new patterns. My interests, however, tend more towards the Classic Streamer & Wet Fly Patterns. I posted earlier this year for information on a Dr. Fowler fly--named after the great Alonzo H. Fowler, rod and reel maker from Ithaca, New York--and got an absolutely great reception. Two gentlemen undertook to tie the Fowler fly for me so I could use it in my new book Forgotten Fly Rods: Overlooked and Underappreciated American Fishing Rod Makers.
There is much that can be learned for any angler or collector--information about tackle icons like Ray Bergman, for example, abound. As an aside, you'll often see the acronym "M.O.M." or just MOM. This is short for Mary Orvis Marbury, who put together the first extent fly tying pattern book that serves as a seminal source for us even today.
So wade in, dig around, and before you know it, you may even break out that old Herter's vice and start tying off a few patterns of your own.
-- Dr. Todd