From my book, STAN COOPER


I'm in trout bum mode. I'll be arriving from upstate New York for the funeral in fishing clothes. I don't think Stan would care,

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I first met Stan when I enrolled my son in a fly tying course given by the “Stan Cooper. Sr” Chapter of Trout Unlimited.. His kind patient approach to his students was as impressive as is skill and efficiency, At that time I never dreamed I’d be one of his commercial customers Stan has been tying since 1947 If you were to ask 85-year-old Stan …about his employment history, he would likely tell you, “I always say I have never worked a day in my life.” He graduated from high school in 1942… got a job in a silk mill and… worked there from August of one year to June the following year. … when [he] went in the service.” A fisherman most of his life, he didn’t get involved with tying until 1946 when his dad started a fly tying business. His late father, Stanley Cooper Sr, taught him everything he knows about the art of fly tying. Stan is has tied commercially for more than five decades and tied well over one million flies! “When it gets to be work, I’m going to retire.” In the early 1950s , his dad tied for Abercrombie & Fitch and Orvis who took took every fly he and his dad tied. The Coopers specialty fly was the “Jassid,” he would tie 20 dozen in a day! Other flies took longer. He could “only” tie 10 to 12 dozen per day. These days, he’s down to seven dozen a day. When I started buying Stan’s flies for my “Little Lehigh Lehigh Fly shop, I was amazed at the speed he would complete my order and how the flies looked like they came out of a cookie cutter. I assumed he had a vast inventory, I decided to put him to “the test.” I spoke at the “Stanley Cooper. Sr” chapter of “Trout Unlimited” on a Tuesday night. As usual Stan was there. Just to “test” him, I told him I needed three dozen “Paramachenne Belles” by the weekend. I knew he wouldn’t have them in stock, and probably couldn’t produce three dozen flies (with “married” wings”) in time to get them to Allentown by the weekend. I was wrong. On Friday afternoon, three dozen perfectly tied, identical “Paramachenne Belles” arrived at my shop. One of my other principle tiers was Mike Bachkosky (Mike@RainbowsEndFlies.com), Mike is a superb tier. His mentor was Stan. Mike told me Stan was a patient, demanding teacher, accepting only perfection from his student Stan is active in programs benefitting youth fly fishing and tying. If his “TU” chapter runs a youth program, you can bet “Stan will be involved. Stan is generous with his time and talent. When I had the shop I tried to have several “World Class” fly fishing personalities at the shop. Stan was the only one that wouldn’t accept a fee. An amusing situation evolved when I had the GREAT Gary Lafontaine at the shop. I arranged for Gary to do a fly tying demonstration and talk at Stans TU chapter. Stan watched intently as LaFontaine worked his fly tying magic. Gary finished the fly, looked to Stan and said, “Stan, what do you think?” Stan responded with “too many wraps.” A “regular” at the Little Lehigh was the late Dick Garies, an expert midge fisherman and Griffith’s Gnat affictianato. Stan showed his generosity by giving Dick his tiny hackles. To Dick’s dismay, that source dried up when Stan started tying midges for the “Little Lehigh Fly “Shop.’ At one of Stan’s demonstrations at the shop, Dave Gunnett, a Little Lehigh “regular,” showed Stan his Beetle pattern. Dave’s pattern is a proven fish getter. Dave ties it on a large hook with a foam body and rubber legs. Stan, being a conessouir of “natural” materials, asked Dave, “Did you get that from Zebco? Where do you put the batteries?” Dave Gunnett watches Stan tie at the shop-see picture When Stan would show up ar the shop with his friend Jack Riechelderfer the stories would “fly.” Listening to the yarns told by these two veteran fly fishers was one of the highlights of my memories of my shop. Jack Reichelderder and Stan spinning yarns at the Little Lehigh Fly Shop-see picture Every area of the country seems to have folks, without a “national reputation” that added color and knowledge of our sport. People like Stan should not be forgotten.


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