By Peter Morse
You could go a long way to find a more passionate advocate of saltwater fly fishing than Mike Felton. The former owner of Felty’s Flies spent many years building up the business and developed a reputation for excellent quality control across a limited range of very popular patterns.
Over the years since Mike started Felty’s Flies, the range has slowly expanded to the point where running it out of the lounge room in the evenings, after spending all day at work, was an impossibility. Mike and wife Cutty, had a growing family and life needed to be prioritised; it was time to reclaim the lounge.
JM Gillies as agents for some of the world’s leading fly fishing brands such as Sage, Redington, Rio, Maxima and their new in house Wildfish brand, saw this as an opportunity to expand their range in the fly fishing market. The quality of Felty’s flies meant a seamless transition for JM Gillies. “We knew exactly what we were getting and it was all good,” said Pat Levy of JM Gillies.
The range is not extensive but it is very compact and the flies are all tied on exceptional hooks; this is a critically-important aspect of Felty’s quality control over the years. “
For some of the lines of flies, I had to go out and buy the hooks I wanted them tied on, like the Gamakatsu SL12s, and then send them to the factory, ” Mike Felton said. No point in having a great-looking fly tied on a crappy hook.
The Deceivers are magnificent quality. Some might seem to have too much flash in them but this is deliberate; it’s easier to trim the flash out while fishing than it is to add more. The Pink Things and Black ‘n Barreds are flies that should be in the box of every northern fly fisher. The Felty range also has some outstanding patterns for big pelagic fish, such as the Flashy profile and the new Magic Minnow.
With yours truly on board as a consultant, and with Mike Felton staying well in touch, Pat Levy is keen that the range of Felty’s Flies will constantly evolve with new and improved patterns. Frankly, there are a lot of patterns I just don’t bother tying any more because the Felty’s flies are so good. I use the crab patterns all the time; the Suspender Crab is the deadliest permit fly I know and it’s caught a lot of other fish for me as well.
Look for the range of Felty’s Flies in your favourite retail shop.