Nature I Loved by Bill Geagan

Nature I Loved by Bill Geagan

Author: Bill Geagan
View book: Nature I Loved

Immerse yourself in the splendor of the natural world with Bill Geagan’s enduring masterpiece, Nature I Loved. Commemorating 70 years since its original publication, this heartfelt memoir recounts Geagan’s quest to forge a self-sufficient existence amidst the rugged landscapes of Maine. Through this heartfelt homage to the environment, readers will accompany Geagan on his voyage of discovery, breaking free from the conventional expectations of his family. From embracing the tranquility of untouched wilderness to embracing the principles of autonomy, Nature I Loved will transport you to a realm of magnificence and excitement. Embark on a remarkable adventure through the untamed wilds of Maine with this indispensable classic. Secure your copy of Nature I Loved today and commence your exploration of the great outdoors!

Bill Geagan: The Man, The Myth, & The Streamer

Welcome back! Today, I will be sharing with you the story behind the creation of the Bill Gegen fly. This classic tandem fly was originally designed by renowned fly tier Carl Sargent for William H Gegen, also known as Bill. Bill Gegen was a well-known author from Maine who dedicated almost three decades to covering sports and the outdoors in the Bangor area. He wrote three books about his adventures in nature, including “The Good Trail” and “Seed on the Wind”. In addition to his writing, Bill was also a talented artist and designer.

Bill’s first book featured his own illustrations, which were cartoon-like images of wildlife, nature, and fly fishing. His artistic skills were so impressive that he was even approached by Walt Disney Studios for his drawing talent. However, due to the controversial release of the movie Bambi in 1942, which portrayed hunters in a negative light, Bill politely declined the offer. Instead, he focused on teaching children about nature, wildlife, and woodworking through his drawings and writings. He was also known for his creative postcard designs.

Bill Gegen attending a dinner hosted by the Penobscot Salmon Conservation Association

Bill Gegen was ahead of his time in promoting catch and release fishing practices. The same year he published his book “Nature I Loved” in 1959, catch and release fishing was introduced as a management tool in the United States, specifically in Michigan. Bill’s advocacy for conservation and responsible fishing practices was truly remarkable.

Bill Gegen was born in 1903 and passed away in 1974. His book, “Nature I Loved,” was incredibly inspiring to many readers, including myself. In this book, Bill shares stories about his own life and how he found his passion for fly fishing and nature. At the age of 25, he bought a cabin in the woods and started guiding, using flies that he tied himself. He also began writing articles and sending them to various publications, which eventually became his career.

Unfortunately, “Nature I Loved” has been out of print for many years, making it difficult to obtain a copy. It would be wonderful if a publishing company could reach out to Bill Gegen’s estate in the future to work out a way to bring this incredible book back into circulation.

Now that you know more about Bill Gegen and his love for nature and fly fishing, let’s dive into tying the Bill Gegen fly!

Tying the Bill Gegen Fly

For this fly, you will need a size 8 nymph hook and some black 210 UTC thread. Start by winding the thread onto the hook shank, snipping off any excess tag. Then, continue winding it down to the barb.

Next, take a 3-inch long piece of 30-pound test monofilament and slide it through the hook eye and under the shank. Secure it with a few turns of thread over the top to create the tail. The original recipe calls for black wool, but you can also use black Antron or black hackle fibers to achieve a similar effect. Take some spiral wraps down towards the butt and bind down the material.

After that, take some silver tinsel and tie it in with the silver side facing down. Wrap the tinsel tightly towards the hook eye, creating the body of the fly with even touches. Bind down the tinsel and trim off any excess material. Build up a neat head with a few half hitches or a whip finish.

Now, it’s time to move on to the front hook. Use a size 6 nymph streamer hook and wind black thread onto it to create a base. Snip off any tag and secure the monofilament from the rear body onto the hook. Make sure the rear hook is riding straight before binding it onto the hook.

Again, use the silver tinsel to create the body of the fly on the front hook. Start by tying it in from the rear and wrap forward, making sure the tinsel touches each other without overlapping. Secure the tinsel in front of the material and behind it. Trim off any excess tinsel and finish with a few half hitches or a whip finish. Switch to smaller black thread, such as 70 denier UCG thread, for the next steps.

For the under wing, use some white bucktail. Thin it out and remove any short fibers. Place it under the hook shank at the rear of the head and secure it with a few turns of thread. Trim off any waste.

The throat material will consist of red feathers, such as slop in or the base of a rooster saddle hackle. Tie them in towards the hook eye and trim off any excess. Make sure to trim any stray fibers from the throat area as well.

Finally, it’s time to add the wings. Pre-assemble some grizzly saddle hackle and Mallard flank. Tie them in one at a time, making sure the tips line up and the shoulders start at the same spot at the head. Take a few turns of thread in front of the other to secure the wings, and then finish with a few half hitches or a whip finish. Trim off any excess stems and build up a neat head. Finish it off with some head cement for added durability.

And there you have it – the finished Bill Gegen fly! I hope you enjoyed learning about Bill Gegen and his contributions to fly fishing and conservation. This fly is relatively easy to tie and uses materials that are commonly available. So, give it a try and start filling your fly boxes in preparation for the upcoming spring season. Good luck out there!

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