Jeffrey Feczko is a professional guide and fly tyer, world traveler, captain, and a pleasure to talk with. Even the Dos Equis guy wants to live the life Jeff does. There may be nothing this man can’t do, which is why we decided to sit down and talk to him about just one aspect of his fascinating life: fly tying.
Flylords: Let’s start off with a little bit about yourself, who is Jeffrey Feczko?
Jeffrey: Jeffrey Feczko is a freak who loves a challenge. I’m a lifetime angler, self-taught fly fisherman, and USCG 100T Master captain guiding in Bristol Bay Alaska & Baja Mexico.
Additionally, I’m also an award-winning Rio Signature tyer recently taking home the award for the best saltwater pattern at IFTD. I have guided Alphonse, Astove, and Cosmoledo and fished all over the world including, but not limited to: Gabon, Ecuador, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexican Caribbean, USVI/BVI, Christmas Island, BC probably other places I cant remember.
Flylords: Is there a favorite fly that comes to your mind?
Jeffrey: Oooof that’s tough – my Camaronsiton is a confidence pattern for sure. Easy to tie, looks like a huge wiggly shrimp but also passes for a mullet/baitfish. It’s caught everything from brown trout to GTs.
Flylords: What gets your creative juices flowing? How are new flies born? Where do you start? How do you choose materials?
Jeffrey: Usually new patterns are born just trying to replicate a new food source with a little extra added wiggle or when a particular fish has frustrated the sh*t out of me and I need to stop their behavior. I like my materials durable and typically expensive, haha.
Flylords: In terms of all the gear out there involved in the fly tying process, what’s one piece of equipment you could never live without?
Jeffrey: A bobbin, mono thread, and sharp scissors.
Flylords: Which part do you enjoy more: fishing the flies, or tying them?
Jeffrey: I like both of them a little bit – but really, fishing them is why I do it.
Flylords: How did you become a Rio Products Signature Tyer?
Jeffrey: I always saw Brita Fordyce’s flies and was so enamored with how beautiful they were that I’d show her my weirdest creations – she must have liked it cuz not terribly too long after she asked me to join and of course I obliged. I was and am truly honored for the opportunity.
Flylords: Do you have a favorite species you chase? What separates that fish from others?
Jeffrey: Roosterfish barefoot from the beach hands down. They’re uniquely beautiful and can reach over 100 pounds while also having a very small range of availability – especially where you can do it from shore with a fly rod. They are fickle like a Permit yet explosively aggressive like a GT – however, their behavior is completely unpredictable. Seeing a Roosterfish surfing a wave backlit by the sun is what I see when I close my eyes, which sometimes leads to insomnia. They are truly the love of my life.
Flylords: What is the process of creating a fly and then selling it? When do you know that it’s ready for production?
Jeffrey: The fly needs to be a unique and consistent producer. I write a material recipe and do a photo step by step with instructions, then throw six in a bag and send them off to Rio – the rest is up to them.
Flylords: Do you have any advice for anyone looking to get starting in tying?
Jeffrey: Just go for it, start with a few basic patterns (Gotchas, Clousers, Deceivers, EP baitfish) and explore from there. Think outside the box and look at everything as if it could be used as material. As cliché as it sounds, less is more a lot of the time. YouTube is a great resource as well!
Flylords: How did you create the Feczko Cheeseburger? Why should someone fish it?
Jeffrey: I love a cheeseburger, how could you not? I think my pattern looks the equivalent of a cheeseburger, but for fish. It’s versatile as heck, looks like many different types of crabs, passes for a shrimp, and basically is just a Berkley power bait curl tail grub with dumbbell eyes. I created it in Seychelles while guiding Alphonse. It kind of just happened really, triggerfish will drive you mad there 1 – because they’ve definitely seen some flies, and 2 – they’re just tough to convince anyhow, they all seem to have individual personalities. They absolutely loved Cheeseburgers though.
Flylords: What is next for Jeffrey Feczko?
Jeffrey: I’ve got a few months left in Baja, then Alaska till October, then Mag Bay with the Los Locos till mid-January – after that it’s a secret.
A big thank you is in order to Jeffrey for taking the time out of his busy guide schedule to answer these questions. It was a pleasure to speak with him and pick his brain about the incredible life he gets to live every day. We wish him the best on his adventures! If you want to follow him on Instagram, his username is @tothegills.