Over the last several years, the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club has been the host of a group of fly tyers from around the county who wanted to share their knowledge and skill at fly tying and fishing.
They are still looking for an official moniker or title, but this column has often dubbed them "the Monday Night Fly Tying Club."
The stalwarts of the club have been Ken Hollander, the official president of the group, followed by Willie Fedrick and their mentor Monte Kennedy.
Pictured, at left, from left to right are Brian Kolassa, Bryson Kolassa, Monte Kennedy and Ken Hollander, who are part of the Monday Night Fly Tyers at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club meeting Hall. Bryson received an award for his avid participation.
Pictured at right is Bryson Kolassa (center) with some of his companions tying flies.
Kennedy is a retired employee from the Motorola Corporation and is passionate about his hobby, which has been a huge part of his life.
The club got their start due to generous donations from Kennedy, which included fly tying vises, hooks, hackle, feathers and other assorted necessities. All this equipment was made possible when Kennedy's former site in the Jamestown area became unavailable to his group due to financial restrictions.
The "Con Club" was approached as a station and the program clicked. The group meets on Monday evenings starting in the fall season from 6-8 p.m. and has hosted a number of pupils over the course of several years with the doors open to anyone who would like to learn how to tie flies and/or fly fish. All free of charge.
Various students of all ages have attended, but the group selects one student to hold the title of "Fly Tier of the Year."
For 2013, 10-year-old Bryson Kolassa received the award on Jan. 13, during one of the Monday night sessions.
Bryson is a student of the Fredonia school system and resides in Fredonia. Bryson was presented a Regal fly-tying vise by Kennedy, who is on the Regal pro staff, and club President Hollander.
The adult instructors select a youngster each year who has shown the most improvement in their tying skills. According to Kennedy, "Bryson is a gifted fly tyer and is inventive of new patterns. He has the ability to focus like a laser beam when learning new fly patterns."
Area Scouts should note that Kennedy is a Fly Fishing Merit Badge Counselor for the Allegheny Highland Council Boy Scouts of America and is willing to assist scouts in learning the necessary skills to tie flies, cast a line and tie knots all in a time frame of 18 to 20 hours. Plus a half to full day of on the stream, hands-on fishing experience, which in turn will allow them to receive their fly fishing merit badge.
I would like to add a few comments before conclusion. Most fishermen will agree that accomplished fly fishermen/tyers often take their sport to a higher level than just chasing fish.
Fly casting, when done properly, is almost like poetry in motion, with skilled movements that when observed by the bystander can be mesmerizing.
Fly tying is considered in some circles an art form with meticulous detail to achieve the ultimate goal of fooling their sought-after prize.
Kennedy and his companions are part of Kids on the Fly, whose mission statement is to freely assist young people who wish to understand and learn the disciplines of fly fishing and fly tying.
The youth of today represent the candidates who will carry on the work of the current generation of fly fishers and conservationists who are willing to be schooled in the disciplines of fly fishing while actually catching fish, having fun and over time also becoming passionate about the sport.
You are invited to attend Monday evenings from 6-8 p.m. at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club meeting hall, which is isolated from the bar room if any parents have any reservations .
In fact, parents are encouraged to attend with their young charges.
The club also assists with the "Con Club Take-A Kid-Fishing Day", which will be Saturday, June 7 and will be part of the Great Lakes Experience, which will be held in Memorial Park in Dunkirk on June 21.
The Pistol Course that is scheduled at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club on March 15, will be held from 5 -10 p.m. There are still openings to take this course, which will cost $55. For more information, call Gary Dudek at 366-3397.
The Northern Chautauqua Chapter of Ducks Unlimited annual banquet is scheduled for Saturday, March 15 at the Dunkirk Moose Lodge, located at 296 Lake Shore Drive West. Pre-sale tickets are $45 or $70 per couple. This event will feature a live and silent auction as well as other raffles throughout the evening. Early Bird entries by March 7 will enter automatically in a raffle for a limited edition piece of DU artwork. For more information, including tickets, email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Steve at 410-4848, Chris McKelvey at 672-2498, Scott Sinare at 410-9531, Darrin Katta at 785-0713 or Will Mead at 785-3741.
The Monday night Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Fly Tyers will meet Monday at 6 p.m., weather permitting. The event is open to the public and free of charge.
The will be a Hunter Education Class (gun) at the Ellery Rod & Gun Club on Friday, March 21 from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. returning on Saturday March 22 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Students must attend both days for certification. Class is limited to the first 20 students. To pre-register call Rob Graham at 413-6230 or email email@example.com. Students should dress for the weather and a lunch will be provided on Saturday.
Raw fur pickup schedule: North American Fur Auctions' (NAFA) location is Lucky Lanes bowling alley on Route 60, in Fredonia. Time is 4:30 p.m., on March 9 and April 28. The agent is Ernest Mosher and he can be reached by calling 315-868-6275. Note: The fur must be put up and dried. No green pelts will be accepted.
Fur Harvesters Auction pick-ups will be at the old Tops Market parking lot off I -90. Take exit 59. Time of the pickup is 6-6:30 a.m. Pick-up dates will be, March 23. The agent is Toby Edwards. He can be contacted by calling his cellphone at 518-848-0217. Only dried pelts will be accepted. Dates are March 13 and March 14.
If your club is hosting a shooting event, or training course (turkey shoot, etc.), drop a line and I will be glad to place an announcement in the calendar.
Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gun Shows: There will be a Gun Show at the Frewsburg Firemans Rec. Hall located at 25 Hazzard St. Frewsburg N.Y. on March 8 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and March 9 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
There is a gun show at the Harbor Creek Fire Department Social Hall located at 7275 Buffalo Road, Rte 20 on March 16 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and March 17 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
The Sportsmens Show at the Little Valley Volunteer Fire Dept. will be on April 5 and 5. Admission will be $5 with kids under the age of 12 admitted free. For information on directions or to be a vendor call Jim Miller at (716) 938-6928.