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SALT LAKE CITY — At its best, fly fishing is a delicate art that the fisherman imbues with a grace and nuance so subtle that the trout believe they're seeing a real fly settle on the river.
However, there are also days when you spend most of your time untangling your line, releasing your hook from the bushes and kneeling on the bank picking up the flies that fell out of your flybook.
Tim Jenkins, a part-time fly fishing guide for the last seven years, had one of those days. Earlier in the day, he'd dropped the box containing his flies and when he opened it later, they fell out all over the ground. Instead of spending the most beautiful hour of the day standing in his favorite river fishing, he found himself kneeling on a rocky bank picking up dozens of loose flies.
To Jenkins and his fellow guides it seemed like loose fishing flies were an all too common problem.
Jenkins, along with his friend Ki Aston, set out to eliminate loose flies and make a better fly box. And they believe they've succeeded. With the help from startup money from Kickstarter, a crowd-sourcing website, Jenkins and Aspon, founded the Tacky Fly Fishing company based out of Saratoga Springs.
The difference between their box and the rest, like fishing itself, is a subtle but effective one. Most of the available fly boxes use a foam material with slits that are used to hold the flies, Jenkins said. But the foam sheets wear out rather quickly, especially when exposed to the temperature extremes and wear and tear that fly fishermen put them through. An active fisherman may replace those foam sheets more than once in a season, Jenkins said.
"And since foam is the standard material, it was a standard problem," Jenkins said.
Jenkins said the box created by the Tacky Flyfishing company uses silicone sheets instead of foam. They believe it will hold the flies tighter, last longer and it have less susceptibility to extremes in temperature.
"Fly Fishing is a sport that is all about the experience. It's about enjoying the serenity and peace of the river and the challenge of convincing a fish to take the fly," Jenkins said. "However, as many fly fishermen will tell you, it often seems that the biggest challenge they face is related to fussing around with bad gear and not chasing fish."
The Tacky Flyfishing Company recently reached and surpassed their Kickstarter goal of $7,500. They will start producing their boxes by late January, and they project they'll have their product on the market around the end of June.
Shaun Curtis is a sports fan, outdoorsman, and an entrepreneur at heart.