Modern Master: Vince Wilcox

Vince Wilcox on the river with a nice brown.

There is a commonly held view among American fly fishermen. When it comes to fly selection, the east coast chooses traditional patterns, and western anglers have lost their marbles.

Big synthetic flies in crazy colors and large sizes might be more accepted out west, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a place on eastern waters. And more than a few traditionalists and young foam-flinging bucks both would be surprised to learn that one of the fly tiers embracing synthetic materials and leading the charge is the Adirondack region’s own Vince Wilcox.

Called “the most creative and unorthodox tier of his generation” by Ross Purnell of Fly Fisherman Magazine, Vince Wilcox is the owner and operator of Wiley’s Flies in Ray Brook, New York where he spins up his frankenstein creations, testing them out on the beautiful waters of the Lake Placid area. Creator of patterns like the VW Hopper, the Superman nymph and the highly effective VW emerged, Vince Wilcox has turned eastern traditional tying on its end and shaken it up with his synthetic offerings.

Gaudy enough for ya?
The VW Hopper might look crazy but it catches fish everywhere.

His first fly tying book, “Vince Wilcox’s Naturally Artificial Signature Flies” was published in 2012 by Lyon’s Press, and is worth a look for fly tiers everywhere- available at Amazon. Worth a look for some tying inspiration, Wilcox’s flies will stand out in your box, and will become favorites after you fish them.


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