In this installment of our featured fly tyers, we had the chance to catch up with Fly Fish Food’s, Cheech and Curtis for this year’s Trout Unlimited x Flylords Trout Week!
Fly Fish Food is one of the most comprehensive fly tying and fly shops in the country. Cheech and Curtis have been fishing buddies since the early 2000’s where they never could have imagined opening up one of most premier fly fishing stores in the world. Curtis became well known from his weekly column for the Salt Lake Tribune featuring fly tying segments and pointing people to an accompanying YouTube channel. Cheech was a fly tying innovator; starting at Rainy’s flies. Cheech had around 50 signature patterns in Rainy’s catalog.
Cheech and Curtis decided to start a blog in 2012 which led them into making YouTube videos, fly tying tips and tricks, from a Hareline Dubbin order back in 2012 and spent the next four years “building Disneyland” for fly tyers worldwide. In 2018, Fly Fish Food finally opened, having enough space after moving out of Curtis’ basement into a 5,500 square foot building located in Orem, Utah. Fly Fish Food dedicates 60% of their space for fly tying material, over 125 fly rods to choose from, a reel display that allows you to to touch each reel, and everything any novice or “advanced” fly fisherman wants to get their hands on.
Flylords: Who is Cheech and Curtis?
Cheech & Curtis:“We are two fishing buddies that have a love for all things fly fishing, but especially fly tying. We have been collaborating on patterns, trips, etc. for over 20 years, and we accidentally started a fly shop. It all started with YouTube videos, gradually growing into one of the most comprehensive collections of fly gear and tying material in the world. Cheech is originally from Vernal, UT, and I (Curtis) is originally from Ontario, OR.”
Flylords: How did you guys get introduced to fly fishing and specifically fly-tying?
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Flylords: Tell us a little more about Fly Fish Food.
Flylords: Where do you get inspiration for creating new fly patterns?
Cheech & Curtis: “One of the perks of this job is that we get to go through the shop and look at all the materials to kind of piece together things that work together. One of the biggest elements of the creation process is that you are trying to either solve a problem that exists in the fly world like, for example, a giant fly that moves great that isn’t a pain in the butt to cast, or a super realistic hopper or cicada pattern. At the end of the day, it’s just art, and the fish is really looking for a good presentation… BUT, that doesn’t mean you should tie ratty flies all the time.”
Flylords: What are your go to fly patterns in the fall?
Cheech & Curtis: “This one changes every year for us. It really depends on what the fish are doing and where we are fishing the most. We prefer to leave the spawning fish alone in the fall, but the stillwater bite is going nuts so we spend a lot of time fishing lakes. The Baby Fat Minnow and the Half Wit Leech have been absolute slayers in the fall for us.”
Flylords: You clearly do a lot within the fly fishing industry from fly and product innovation to educational tips and product videos. What is one thing you both are proud of?
Cheech & Curtis: “I think the biggest thing for us is that we were able to build a company that supports us and all of our employees in the face of a lot of opposition. We can’t even count the times when someone told us we were crazy for quitting comfortable corporate jobs to work in the fly fishing industry.”
Flylords: Cheech, tell us more about your notable accomplishment in fly tying, tying 65 San Juan Worms in 20 minutes, while eating a Big Mac in 4 bites? What was the inspiration behind this?
Cheech: “As a gentleman much older and wiser told me… The rule of the fisherman is this – “Always tell the truth sometimes.” I really tied 65 worms, but it was probably more like an hour with a bit of prep time. The shop where I was working needed some in the bins and I was getting paid by the hour… win/win. The Big Mac feat was done in desperate times when money was low and the dares were high. It totally happened though.”
Flylords: Does Squatch like to kiss fish?
Cheech & Curtis: “Squatch absolutely loves to be in the middle of the action and will lick a fish on occasion.”
Flylords: You have a very impressive YouTube page with a lot of fly tying tips and tricks, how can people find you?
Cheech & Curtis: “Check out our YouTube page, you can find it here. Trout are finicky, we love coming up with new patterns and creating a video to share how to tie it. You can find us on Instagram @flyfishfood.”