Paul Coley admits flying ties for fly fishing is something he does to fill time on some days at the cigar lounge and tobacco shop he co-owns with Ron Morris.
But his passion to not just fish but give people an opportunity to learn more about one of his favorite pastimes has given Coley a way to open his shop to local people in the community.
Cedar & Smoke, located on Herbert Street in downtown Cedartown, is closing in on its one-year anniversary. And in that year Coley has grown an idea to teach fly tying to anyone who wants to come by on select nights.
“I’ve fished since I was a kid, but this was something that was more challenging,” Coley said of fly fishing. “You can do it in any body of water and with all species, but you’ve got to know the different weights, the different poles. The flies, the patterns. It’s something you’ve got to learn.”
Coley and Kevin Purdy started hosting fly tying classes at the lounge and had people come in for them. One last week included 6-year-old Sawyer Stroup, his dad and his grandfather.
“Oh, he’s a big-time fisherman,” Sawyer’s dad, Jason Stroup, said. “We fish a lot and his granddaddy got him a fly tying kit for Christmas. He showed an interest in it and I wanted to show him how to do it. You can’t teach them young enough.
The ties, formed around a small hook, are created to mimic the look and patterns of certain insects as they land on or float in the water, enticing fish to come in for a bite. Ties are made with a combination of sting, bird feathers, animal hair, and other items.
Purdy said he still refers to books or notes he’s taken himself to make certain ties, but admitted that the internet makes instructions for tying ties pretty accessible to just about anyone.
“If you do have a messy fly, you’ll still probably catch something,” Purdy admitted.
Coley, who posts when the classes are on the Cedar & Smoke Facebook page, said fly fishing has become his escape, whether it’s actual fishing or tying flies. And it’s something his kids enjoy, too.
“I really enjoy being able to do stuff like this here,” he said.