Hi there, and welcome to the site.
It’s been over 20 years since I first launched turcktarantula.com and over 30 years since creating the namesake fly pattern, but it feels like the proverbial blink of an eye.
Turck Tarantula’s For Sale
Before I go any further I’d like to announce that, for the first time I am offering Turck Tarantula flies, tied by myself, for sale to the general public on Etsy. Now you’ll be able to get the real deal, tied exclusively by me.
Something like this, where a fly designer could sell his creations directly to customers on any sort of scale, would never have made economic sense when the fly was first conceived in 1990, but now it is, so I’m pretty happy about that.
New colors and sizes will be added on a regular basis.
(Eventually, they’ll probably be offered for sale directly from this website, but for now you can get them only on Etsy.)
All this is in response to changes, not only in my personal life, as I near retirement, but also Umpqua Feather Merchants (a company I maintain a great working relationship with) decision to discontinue manufacture of the Tarantula quite a few years ago to the number of unauthorized “copy cat” versions I see in fly bins, and sometimes web pages, that in no way resemble my original fly pattern.
So, I feel like, especially for the younger generation of fly fishers, and the older generation that may not remember, the legacy of my fly, as originally conceived, is being lost and I’d like to set the record straight.
The original pattern is still quite effective and there is an opportunity to exchange ideas directly with the people that will actually be fishing the flies I tie that never used to exist. I will be available via email and look forward to hearing from you… email@example.com !
With that out of the way…
A Little Bit About Myself
I was lucky enough to stumble upon Jackson Hole in 1981. It was paradise.
I discovered fly fishing, fly tying and, with the help of some very patient friends that I miss very much, learned how to row a drift boat for someone trying to fly fish the swift rivers of the American West, an art form in and of itself.
After 7 years of doing little else beyond chasing trout all over the west, I became a fishing guide and rowed boats for clients chasing trout in Wyoming, Idaho and Yellowstone — a pretty good chunk of the west — for the next 16 years. There’s something about being out there on the river, or sometimes a lake — all day, every day — that gives you a perspective you can’t get any other way.
But it’s a grind. Fishing guides that row boats for a living often blow out elbows or shoulders. My lower back used to give me lots of problems though I’m not going to say that’s why I had to quit. Eventually, at some point, you want to fish, instead of watching other people fish. At least that’s how I felt.
Almost 20 years later, I continue to fish, tie and design flies, though I now reside in southwest Montana, having moved on from Jackson Hole in 2010.
I left a part of myself in Jackson when leaving, with my family, and wish everyone there the best, including the newbies. I understand.
I met my wife there, my daughter was born there. But it stands as a warning of what can happen if you are not careful what you wish for. We all lost something, and we’re not getting it back. At least not until the zombie apocalypse, and even then…
If you read my articles, many written back in the 1990’s, I think you’ll find that a lot of the topics are still relevant.
But in the 2020’s my interests have evolved to add a few “new” threats, or perhaps I should say areas of concern, not the least of which is climate change, but also outdoor recreational access, which includes fishing, but goes further than that.
For those of you that are new to the Turck Tarantula here I present these shameless plugs culled from magazines, books and newspapers articles…
“The Turck Tarantula, a fly pattern devised by Wyoming fishing guide Guy Turck, terrorized the field in last year’s Jackson Hole One-Fly Fishing Tournament.”- Field & Stream magazine, March 1996
“Jackson Hole has long been known as a place for innovative fly patterns. The list of unique imitations includes the Mallard Spider and Carmichael Indispensable, the Royal Humpy and Jack Dennis Kiwi Muddler, Buchner’s Jay-Dave Hopper and Joe Allen’s Double Humpy. Now [Guy Turck] has added another deadly trout pattern.” – Jackson Hole News July 24, 1994
“Although every pattern which has cleaned house at the One-Fly commands respect, by virtue of eccentricity and inventiveness, Turck’s Tarantula, the Double Bunny and Chernobyl Ant seem to be the most mind expanding.” – Fly Tying magazine, Summer 1997
“While not closely mimicking one specific critter, the secret of this fly is that on the water it looks a lot like anything and a little like everything.” – Fly Tying magazine, Summer 1997
“Turck explains: ‘In big fast water I just drift the fly and let the movement of the water wiggle the legs. At the end of the drift, if nothing happens, I swing the fly in the current, pull it under and pump retrieve it back wet.’ This dead drift/wiggle/wet-strip technique has become so routine on the Snake, the locals call it tarantula-izing.” – Fly Tying magazine, Summer 1997
“This hot new pattern from the Rockies took first place in the 1990 [and 2000] Jackson Hole One-Fly Contest.” – Flies for Trout by Dick Stewart and Farrow Allen
“Guy is an accomplished guide, commercial fly tier and instructor who makes his home in Jackson Hole. When he is not on the river with a client, he is at his vise either experimenting with new patterns or tying his famous Turck Tarantula, probably the most in-demand fly in the Jackson area.” – Tying Flies with Jack Dennis and Friends by Jack Dennis
“Recent patterns like Turck’s Tarantula and the Stimulator are very successful multi-imitators.”- Tying Dry Flies, Revised Edition by Randall Kaufmann
So, thanks for visiting. If you enjoy the site I hope you’ll consider supporting not just myself, but all the creators of the fly patterns you use and love.
Virginia City, Montana