Monday, November 18, 2013

November Member Meeting - Were You There?

As numbers go Henry Hoffman brought in a fair crowd for TVTU meetings - and perhaps the Annual TVTU State-of-the-Chapter brought in a few more as well! Good to see everyone - new and returning. Thank you for attending and remember we want this to feel like YOUR chapter so feel free to introduce yourself and come see what the Chapter is doing!
Read on for a recap and we hope to see you in December.......
Michael Ellis gave a nice recap of the upcoming Christmas for Coho Project [now acronymed as "C4C"]. We hope to continue on the past successes but definitely need YOUR help. Come join us on January 4/11/18 of 2014 at either Royal Treatment Fly Fishing in West Linn or at the Northwest Fly Fishing Outfitters shop. Michael has drop boxes coming to NWFFO this year so professional drivers will be crossing the coast range to deliver and off-load the tress collected [don't worry though - we'll still need help PLACING the trees!!]. We'll be transporting the trees from RTFF over during the day to the Portland site to fill that box. As always contact:

[sign up for a site near you - a couple of hours or all day]

The Annual Meeting always includes chapter elections and this year we had plenty of changes including a NEW board member! Welcome Jon Pampush! Jon heads up the Western Invasive Plant Alliance - a non-profit in Tigard that consults on the very items that Tualatin Valley TU among others are continually battling!

Officer elections included the approval of our very own Erle Norman to President; George Wilson will continue as Vice President; outgoing President Mike Gentry has stepped into the Treasurer position; after years of dutiful service Bill Schoen stepped down as Secretary allowing Jeff Price to move into that position.

Accepting President Erle Norman extended to Mike our grateful thanks for serving the full terms he has with TVTU - there was a lot of behind the scenes work that Mike did for the Chapter....thank you Mike!

Outgoing Treasurer Erle Norman noted that the Chapter is comfortably solvent this year - THANKS to our members! We hope to be able to apply some good funding to deserving Projects going into the future. We also still hold our EAS grant money to go to the Circle Creek Project that was just started. A financial report is available for interested members - contact Mike Gentry.

We had a special visit from Dick Hollenbach of the Clackamas River Chapter - he thanked Mike as well as the Tualatin Chapter. Particularly the chapter for it's participation in the Clackamas chapter Kids Camp as well as the State Project work.

Henry Hoffman             by Eugene Carsey
Henry Hoffman then took over and regaled us all with tales of the feathers that go into those little imitations of insects that we all love to tie and fish with. This Legend of the Hackle started tying flies in High School in 1953 - mostly by finding spent flies and tearing off the feathers and retying them as he pleased on his own hooks! In 1955 he read an article by the famed AJ McClane and the lights went on - which for his family was problematic as chicks starting arriving via USPS!!!

In 1960 he moved to Oregon and started tying commercially - not an easy task when japanese flies were being sold for 9-cents a piece....there had to be a better product Henry knew so he began selectively breeding roosters to produce a finer hackle for dry fly tying. About this time necks were going for $3 and loose saddles were 95-cents.

As he developed better birds he would actually trim off the feather from the birds so that he would not lose certain genetics - nekkid bird on the Hoffman property must have been a site!

The mid-70's saw Metz turning out naturally colored hackles and demands moved to duns and silver and other 'exotics' - Henry moved right along with demand and continued breeding birds to that end...thought the neighbors and City of Portland were less pleased by the continued growth of Henry's breeding program!

By the late 70's prime necks were hitting $44 and Henry started noting he had missing chickens! Yes - chicken thievery! Several unscrupulous folks throughout the state began marketing Henry's chickens without his direct knowledge....for feathers! What an industry our little hobby has created!

At his height Henry had 3500 chickens at a given time - though he could really only manage 2200-2500 birds effectively. Henry's breeding led to some problems - longer feathers - began to drag in the dirt and become soiled; solutions - breed some longer legs; use tape to tie up the feather in a 'bun'; steal your wife's pink curlers and tie up the valuable feathers! Yes - you heard correctly! Curlers.

Henry notes that the most important aspect of his chicken raising/breeding career was the fact he was also a commercial tyer and as such knew exactly what he wanted in a bird and it's feathers - and so that was what he targeted. He enjoyed the experimentation and return - all to develop a less-webbed, longer and true color feather for us all to tie with! Thanks Henry!

Eventually Henry sold the farm to Dr Tom Whiting of Whiting Hackle and the eggs in his collection were shipped [via FedEx no less] out to Colorado and.....

The anecdotes, interweaving of personal and business stories and side splitting bluntness was worth attendance alone - everything else was a bonus. Henry tells a great story and loves his role in fly fishing history! A very unique on to be sure!

If you are interested in seeing Henry the next best chance will be at the
 in Albany.

Please remember if you are interested in the Chapter our meeting information and schedule can be found HERE - we hope to see you there on December 11!!