Blane Chocklett is a professional guide and fly tier. The TFO advisor is also a writer. His first book, published by Headwaters, is due out this fall. Here’s a sneak peek of what to expect.
I know you haven’t definitely decided on a title other than Game Changer, which is the name of one of your patterns. But what about the content — patterns, tying techniques, I assume?
“It is going to be that with fishing anecdotes and my thoughts on that side of it. The other part of it will be fishing techniques as well. Maybe a little bit of everything. Fishing techniques, using these style of flies and my thought process on those, predatory fish and how they respond to the bait that they feed on. Also tying techniques, my patterns and fishing techniques and anecdotes.”
Where are you at this juncture in the editorial process?
“I’m pretty much done with my part. The editing part is where we are right now. They might have a couple questions, to add stuff or change things. So the writing part’s done. We’re still in the process of piecing it all together and putting it all together. (Editor Jay Nichols) said it probably would be available September or October.”
Since you’re done with the bulk of your work, how long did that take?
“Way longer than it should have. Six years, probably. But that was because of my scheduling and me not getting to it when I should have.”
That’s a lot of work. …
“It is a lot of work and life gets in the way and stuff. I had a bunch of different things going on, but it was a good thing, too, because a lot of things (in the book) developed during that time that I can add to it. But during that time frame, Lefty (Kreh) told me I could have written two or three books.”
Who’s the Publisher?
“Jay Nichols. Headwater Books.”
How did the relationship come about?
“Lefty invited me up to his house with my wife and we spent the day with him (and) Jay. He said he had a lunch meeting set up for us. The meeting was with Jay Nichols. Lefty had said before we met that I was going to write a book. We were able to get a contract done at lunch. My original contract was with Stackpole, but since I was not able to get it done when they wanted it done, we felt like it would be less stress on both us that we worked on it with (Jay’s) publishing company that he owns. Jay has a unique deal where he’s the head editor of Stackpole on the fishing side of things and also has his own publishing company, too. He has a different deal. When we switched over, it was a whole lot less stress.”
Obvious question: How big was Lefty’s role in this?
“Lefty’s been everything to me as far as a lot of things in my career. He’s introduced me to tons of people. He got me hooked up with TFO. Back in the late ‘90s, he got me hooked up with Umpqua with my first patterns. He’s always had a place, definitely, in my career. I owe him a lot.”
I assume, when you started this book, you had a pretty clear objective. Now that you’re almost done, did you accomplish what you wanted?
“I think we definitely did. There’s also a lot more we could add. Jay said there’s definitely enough for two more books. That’s probably something we’re going to do in the future. Get this one out and then the next year or so get back on it and work on a couple more. There was so much information that Jay felt like we had to leave a lot of things out. You have to have a cutoff at some point. There’s definitely room for future books since we didn’t cover everything, that’s for sure. But did we cover the most relevant things that I’m doing at this time.”
I know it’s not over, but what was the most enjoyable thing about the process?
“I would say working with Jay and getting to know him and forming a great friendship with him and some of the things that go with it. Jay has a huge background in the industry with a lot of great authors. He was the editor for Fly Fisherman Magazine. That opened the door to work with (Fly Fisherman editor) Ross Purnell. Just working with Jay and his patience and seeing how good he is with what he does in holding my hand through the process. I’m not a writer at all. I don’t pretend to be. A great editor makes you look good. That was my favorite part. Also, there was learning about myself. He would ask questions that would really make me think about what I’m doing, the fly design and my fishing. That really opened my eyes to the things that I wasn’t really aware of with the way I was thinking about things. I learned a lot about myself and how I am designing these flies. It was really introspective and makes you start thinking about things. Teaching me how to write was really cool as well.”
What was the most difficult or challenging thing about the book?
“The act of getting down to it and putting it on paper. The discipline to get it done. The only way Jay could get me to get down to it was where we would block days off where we would spend four, five days at my house. I would spend four, five days at his house. We’d rent a cabin and get away from everything. That was the biggest thing, finding the time and making yourself sit down and do it.”
Any advice to someone doing this?
“Make sure you have a really good editor, one that you can trust and feel comfortable with. Make sure you’re ready for the task at hand. It is a huge undertaking.”
Blane reviewed TFO’s Axiom II in this post. And when you take a look at his book, let us know what you think.