Being Tim Borski

Being Tim Borski

Andy Dear | Thursday, 3 September 2020

Nothing is original, so embrace influence, school yourself through the work of others, remix and reimagine to discover your own path.
---Austin Kleon

  Now that the new shop is up and functional, I've been tying flies like a man possessed. Not for any other reason other than "because I can", now that I have a space devoted to all things tackle craft. It's been many years, well over a decade in fact that I've spent this much time tying flies. I always like to tell folks that when you work in the fishing industry, more often than not, the last thing you get to do are the "enjoyable" fishing related activities.

  Interestingly enough, the nights I've spent tying over the last several weeks have all been what I would term "stream of consciousness" tying. No specific pattern, no instructional book, no youtube video, just me, the vise, a bobbin, a table full of materials, and let's see what comes out. After a few dozen had found their way into a pile on the table, I could see a pattern emerging (pun intended). Every one of these damn things look like a poor facsimile of something that would have come out of Tim Borski's vise.

  I first discovered Tim's patterns back in the late 1990s but had never really paid much attention, consciously or otherwise to how much his unique style had crept into my own way of decorating a hook. While many of the masters of this art go for the super realistic, ultra life-like look, Tim's patterns in many ways do just the opposite....which is where the genius lies. They don't resemble anything specific in a highly detailed or imitative way. What they do resemble, is something that is ALIVE. Out of the water, they don't look exactly like anything, but in the water, they resemble in movement, color, and profile, just about everything. 

  The tipping point for me was when I first saw Tim's unique vertical barring technique used on many of his patterns. It is the perfect example of a universal decoration that in the water could resemble the vertical lines displayed on many baitfish species, the contrasting lines on the segmented body of a mantis shrimp, or even the blotched markings on the shell of a small crab. Years ago a fly fishing colleague of mine was showing me some patterns he had recently tied, several of which had these vertical stripes on them. He smugly tried to act like that was something of his own doing to which I replied before my internal filter could stop me " Yeah those look great....everybody wants to be Tim Borski don't they?". I don't think he understood that I was being sarcastic about his blatant plagiarism, but he wasn't fooling anyone, least of all me.

  In the interest of full disclosure, I don't know Tim, we have never met, and in fact, I doubt our paths have come even remotely close to crossing. I do however feel that I owe him a debt of gratitude not only for all of the wonderful memories I have of tormenting the Redfish of the Central Texas Coast and the Louisiana Marsh with the Borski Bonefish Slider, but also for the subtle osmotic influnce that has permanently altered the way I lash dead animal parts to a hook.

Hope you all have a great week and are staying safe and healthy

Andy