$359 pair of breathable chest hi Yeah, you're comfortable, bu
Less than four years ago, Frontier Flies was the new kid on the block. Today; it's widely regarded as the premiere producer of the highest-quality
hand-tied flies on the market, as well as
the leading innovator of contemporary
Signifying the impact and influence it is having on the sport, Frank Amato Books has just published Frontier Flies: Patterns on the Cutting Edge, with over 600 flies from its celebrated collection.
"Frontier has done the bestjob ofproducing my flies of any company I've tried, "says
Steve Abelof his exclusiverelationship with Frontier Flies ro manufacture his signature Big Game saltwater series. "Its the best representationof mypatterns I've ever seen. "
think the single-most discerning factor about Frontier Flies is the quality, " says
Ken Morrish of the Ashland Outdoor
Store in southern Oregon.
anglers can tell the difference between well-tied flies and extremely well-tied flies. And while not every angler can, the anglers I'm lookingfor as customers and the anglers I most care to associate myself with instantly notice that these ties are impeccable and superclean. "What is even more remarkable is their consistency in terms of proportions and the amount of material used. From fly tofly, batch to batch, and season to season, these are the finest flies I've ever seen. "The other thing I think is important is the innovative nature of Frontier's patterns. There'sa lot of creativity and new ideas being expressedin theseflies. Everyone's doing it to some degree, but Frontier's edge is immediately apparent and that sets them apart from the rest."
"Troy'sflies overall are cleaner. His heads are finished off much nicer. His bodies (particularly on his small dries) are thin and tight and the segmentation of the thorax doesn't all just blend into one cigar shape. And the durability is excellent. And mainly on dry flies, that's the most important thing. "On his steelhead flies-I
mean, golly,you look at the epoxyjobs on his steelhead and
his saltwater flies. How the wings are married together on them!" says Bob Quigley, who spent years looking for the right manufacturer
to reproduce his famous trout pat-
terns before entering into a collaboration with Frontier Flies this year. "These are comments that not only I make, but a lot of the people who have seen them are making. "
n January 1995, Troy Bachmann saw a niche and stepped forward to fill it. About the same time, so did a lot of others, who saw a scarcity of flies in an industry hungry
for anything to fill its bins and entered into a virtual Gold Rush to supply them by contracting with independent offshore operations--even though it meant sacrificing quality to satisfy the bottom line. The difference was Troy had a vision of a perfect world in which mass-produced flies would be impeccably-tied with the same jewel-quality as any produced by the world's leading masters. . His chances of making a quick profit were nil to none. But no one who had watched his progress as one of the world's most gifted and inventive tyers since the age of 11 cared. Those with the means to become investors quickly signed on, in the belief that if he built it, discerning anglers would soon follow. And that's exactly what Troy Bachmann did when he launched Frontier Flies at the age of27, fresh out of college. His first move was to set up a fly-tying factory in Mexico, making Frontier apparently the first and only manufacturer with a wholly-owned production facility and the capability to control every aspect of its production, including quality. His second was to revolutionize both the patterns anglers buy and the way that they're tied. During the last three years, Frontier has moved to the forefront of the industry by introducing 685 innovative patterns, over 400 of them exclusive to Frontier, of which the majority were originated by Troy-based on his almost twenty years of tying, guiding, voluminous observation of insect life in its natural environment, and a rigorous study of fisheries biology in college. Among them, Frontier's exclusive Slick Water Caddis and its Twilight series (for almost any dry-fly low-light situation) have become some of the most popular patterns on the market today. "We don't do generalized patterns," Troy says. "We go from your classic, traditional patterns to the high-tech stuff that when the chips are down and you need the exact imitation to take fish, we've got it."
As important, no one has been able to match Frontier's hair-splitting quality-in
detail is overlooked, from its evenly-spaced wraps to precisely-tapered bodies, concise proportions, premium-quality materials (from naturals to synthetics, all of which are hand-selected), offthe-chart color selections, flawless epoxy head finishes, astonishingly-realistic
and winning replication of the real thing. "Our quality control is so rigorous, so meticulous, that every tail, every body, every wing, and every hackle is tied to perfect specifications -
or its cut up with a razor blade. We don't sell to
the secondary market," he says, noting that many of the others send their "seconds" out to sporting goods chains and discount mail-order houses. "We have standards and all of our dealers now have these great expectations and we have to live up to that."
ever has a commercial fly-tying company strived to achieve so much-and succeeded. Indeed, 1998 will be a watershed year in many respects...
Frank Amato Books has just published Frontier Flies: Patterns on the Cutting Edge, which John Randolph of Fly Fisherman magazine calls "the best pattern book I've ever seen" and Pete Woolley of Fly Fishing Outfitters says "is a must-own [book] for any serious fly fisher." This highly-anticipated volume by Troy Bachmann not only features over 600 celebrated patterns from the Frontier collection, along with recipes and inventory numbers, it provides the first definitive presentation of the essential stages of each insect group through its unique organization of imitations by hatch within the order they appear in the water column. There's also five extensive sections on trout patterns, plus one each on steelhead/salmon and saltwater flies...exquisitely-detailed color photographs of each fly by noted photographer and author Jim Schollmeyer...insightful chapter introductions by leading fly fishing authorities Rick Hafele, David Hughes, Bill McMillan, Ken Morrish, Brian O'Keefe, Mark Bachmann and others...and stunning full-page photographs from Keven Jurgens, Morrish and O'Keefe. As well, Frontier Flies has just released 278 ground-breaking new patterns-induding
commercial debut of four original trout series from renowned tyer Bob Quigley, Frontier's first-
ever line of bass flies, and the introduction of some of the most innovative and effective flies devised yet for trout, steelhead, salmon, and saltwater species. And not to be overlooked, 1998 marks the 20th anniversary of Troy Bachmann's exceptional career.
A companyis born...
commercial fly tyer since the age of 11 and a professional guide at 17, Troy already had his sights set on a career in the industry by the time he obtained his bachelor's degree in
economics with a minor in fisheries biology from Oregon State University in 1994. Adding to his qualifications: he had spent the first two years of his college education studying business. So as soon as Troy had his diploma, forty resumes hit the mail. And while the paltry response was initially disappointing, he would receive a call that would determine his destiny. It came from Brian O'Keefe, the noted outdoors photographer and industry rep who had watched Troy's extraordinary progress as a tyer over the years, while visiting The Fly Fishing Shop in Welches, Oregon. "Really, by his mid-teens, Troy was one of the best fly tiers I'd ever seen," he remembers. Brian had just returned from a fishing trip to Alaska with some investors from Bangladesh who wanted to start an overseas fly tying operation. He told Troy, "If! can get your quality into mass production, I can sell every one of them," and recommended him as the master tyer to supervise the operation. (Brian would later become Frontier Flies first rep as well.) The investors were equally excited about the match-up and agreed to find a location in their home country, as well as provide the start-up capital. "I was supposed to be the sweat equity manager," Troy says of the arranged partnership. As the date approached for him to depart for South Asia, Troy purchased $50,000 of fly tying materials on credit as agreed, pulled in $35,000 of up-front orders, and got his inoculations. However, the money never materialized. And, on hindsight, it turned out to be the best thing that could have happened.
"Exactly what I've done in Mexico, I was going to do in Bangladesh. Yikes, huh? Because it's a heck of a lot further away. And besides, I'm sure the fishing wouldn't have been as good," he recalls, with a laugh. "So there I was with all these materials and, at that point, I really could have just turned around and said, 'Hey, I'm sorry it's not going to work out,' and returned everything. But I'd done all the research and knew this was where my heart and talent was. So I decided, I've got to run with this and give it my best shot. And that's when Jim Barlow stepped in." Barlow, a former client and long-time friend, had friends in Mexico who invest in bringing in American companies to generatejobs. Intrigued, they immediately flew up to Oregon, reviewed. Troy's business plan and soon after found him a location, which Troy says "turned out absolutely perfect." By January 1995, Frontier Flies had not only become a reality, it was apparently the first commercial fly tying company with its own wholly-owned factory - giving it the unprecedented advantage of being able to maximize its control over quality, consistency, and delivery. Indeed, without its own in-house production capability, Frontier would be no different than its competitors today. "There are a lot of companies out there selling the exact same flies because they're coming from the same factories-they're just sold under different brand names. But they have no control over how the product is made, and all they can hope for is that it's afair imitation, so they don't get them back from their retailers," Troy explains of the industry's reliance on offshore independent contractors who tie strictly for volume. Situated in the heart of Mexico, the factory's location was selected primarily because of the town's long tradition in handicrafts. "The people are absolutely wonderful, and I've built a great relationship with the mayor and state and city councils," says Troy, who first visited the country while studying Spanish in college and liked the experience so much he vowed to one day return. Indeed, he would spend up to nine months a year there in the beginning, in order to guide the first tiers through the company's rigorous six-week training program and set up all of the complex systems involved in monitoring, inspecting, finishing, and shipping so many flies daily.
Efrain Del Toro Garcia, who started out part-time while completing his doctoral studies in veterarian medicine, now supervises the operation, so that Troy can concentrate on the development of new patterns and adminstration of the sales force from Oregon, with regular trips South to train the staff in the flies introduced each fall and oversee the plant's continuous expansion. The facility's full-time staff consists of Garcia (the on-site general manager), dozens oftiers, quality control inspectors, finishing experts, and support personnel - at least half of whom have been with Frontier from the beginning. And all are young adults in their twenties or older, making at least twice the wages typical of the area, which notably experiences an unemployment rate of 50% or greater.
ooking back, when I was a kid tying everyday for my dad, I could never have imagined I'd someday be running my own commercial tying operation. Or that I'd be in a position to
take everything I've learned and apply it to new patterns," Troys reflects on his 20th anniversary in the profession. "It certainly made all those hours sitting behind a vise in my family's kitchen worth it. There were a lot of times when all I wanted to do was go fishing down at the old swimming hole, but my father insisted I had to tie up two dozen flies first. I never thought I'd be saying this, but I'm sure glad he did."
For35-mmcolortransparenciesor moreinformation,pleasecontact: Lyla Foggia - Publicity representative, Frontier Flies (503) 622-4811 phone; (503) 622-4813 fax LylaFoggia@aol.com e-mail For review copies of Frontier Flies: Patterns on the Cutting Edge, please contact:
Kim Koch - Publicist, Frank Amato Books (503) 653-8108 phone; (503) 653-2766 fax
Troy Bachmann Profile "Troy is one est fly tyers in the world today, and one of the most innovative. der. He re-
And I believe he's producing the best commercially-tied flie n the marke - bar
he's doing, out. "
no have fel at way since I first saw tern."
John Randolph Editor and Publisher Fisherman
Rarely has someone so young made such a difference in the sport in such a short time as this 31-year-old founder of Frontier Flies. In 1978, Troy Bachmann tied his first commercial fly at the age of 11. A quarter million flies later, he launched what many regard as the premiere commercial fly-tying company in the world today -
at the age of 27.
1998 marks the 20th anniversary of Troy's exceptional career, - as well as the publication of his highly-anticipated book, Frontier Flies:Patterns on the Cutting Edge. Following is his unusual story.
ew know more about fly fishing in general, and fly-tying in particular, than 31-year-old Troy Bachmann, who literally grew up in the sport and in the business.
Exactly 20 years ago, he tied his first commercial fly - a Caddis - at the mere age of 11, when he began turning out two dozen a day to help stock his family's then-fledgling fly fishing business. By 14, he was averaging a good dozen an hour (including parachutes and traditionals), and 15 to 20 dozen per day by the time he was old enough to drive, allowing him to buy his first car. His grand total to date: over 25,000 dozen (or 300,000), the earnings of which also paid for his college education. When he wasn't tying, Troy was on the Salmon River and its adjoining Boulder Creek, both of which flowed by his Welches, Oregon, home at the base of Mt. Hood. At the age of 12, he landed his first steelhead, a 14-pound buck, on a Doc Spratley. During his teens, he spent the end of almost every summer day fishing his way home, over a rocky four-mile stretch, after dressing flies all day in the family's fly fishing shop. By the time he turned 17, Troy had not only caught (and released) over 200 steelhead and countless trout, he started guiding as well. One year out of college, Troy started Frontier Flies, setting up his own factory in Mexico with less than a hundred thousand dollar initial investment - acquired as a result of his growing reputation in the business, despite the fact he was only 27 at the time. Less than three years later, he has elevated the company into the majors by introducing over 500 new cutting-edge patterns and several hundred notable improvements ofthe standardsmost of them developed by Troy himself - along with its innovative use of high-tech as well as traditional materials, perfect proportions, exacting color matches, flawless epoxy heads, and astonishingly-realistic hand-painted eyes. Most important, Frontier is producing imitations that, pattern for pattern, catch more fish - particularly where it counts, in less-than-perfect conditions.
ho knows what Troy would be doing today ifhis father, Mark Bachmann - one of the deans of Northwest steelheading - had not left a successful career as the manager of a
major sporting goods store to open his own fly fishing business in 1978. Or if quality commercially-tied flies had been amply available at the time, in which to stock it. "You really couldn't get decent flies. You never knew what you were going to get," Troy remembers. "And delivery was horrible. So my Dad just decided to teach us kids how to tie the flies." That meant putting all six kids from Mark and wife Patty Barnes' combined household through a crash course in fly tying. It wasn't as easy as it sounds. "When you're a kid, you don't know what a tail is, the proportions, or hackle, or which way it's supposed to go on there, or anything. And Dad used to get so frustrated," Troy recalls with a laugh. "And guess who got all the complicated flies! All the other kids started out with woolly worms, right? I got Caddisflies. I was always bummed that I got a harder fly than my siblings," he jokes, "because I had to learn how to stack hair and how to use it to tie flies. And that was a trick." So every morning, beginning that summer, the kids ate their breakfast and started working around 9. "And Dad had all the vises and all the materials laid out on the kitchen table and he'd tell you what you were going to tie that day, and he would stand there and help us," Troy says. If Mark wasn't guiding, he'd also tie along with them. When the kids got done each day depended on how fast each could tie up two dozen. "Selfdiscipline and motivation really was the key. If you just worked the flies and you got them right, then you could go out. But the deal was you couldn't just whip out two dozen flies and take off. They'd have to be inspected by my dad," Troy says, noting those that were rejected went back on
the vise and werecut downwith a razorblade- a practicehe wouldlaterinstituteat Frontier Flies. As a result, it would take Troy until two or three 0' clock in the afternoon, "and that was when I was lucky. When I was starting out, I'd be there until eight o'clock in the evening." But it was the best education a young man could get - ifhe was going to end up running a commercial fly tying operation down the road. "It was great," he says, "because I was learning a lot - like what a 94840 was. Hardly anyone uses Mustad hooks anymore, but I can guarantee you I could name off every model of every fly tying hook they made. Right off the top of my
head. I also knew what 2x strong or 3x fine meant when I was 12 years old. "And you know what," he adds, "it was a great family get-together, because we had a lot of camaraderie. We were always talking with each other. We didn't hate each other. We were all working together and having a good time because we were all involved." Even so, he chuckles, it wasn't quite like "Little House on the Prairie." "Try getting two dozen flies done in a day and when you don't do it and you're whining, 'Dad, I can't do it. I can't do it.' Dad's favorite saying when I was a kid was, 'Put your head down and your elbows out. Just get it done.' "But that was good," he says of his father, whom he calls "a true pioneer. What guys are going through with saltwater right now, he did in steelhead fishing in that era. And ifhe hadn't been such a perfectionist, I wouldn't be sitting here today, insisting upon the same quality from my own tiers at Frontier."
Tn 1980, Mark and Patty joined forces with Mark Stensland to open up a storefront on the main highway through Welches, called The Fly Fishing Shop. The business quickly became a popular stop for anglers headed over Mt. Hood to the renowned Deschutes River - especially for its hand-tied flies. And that's usually where you could find Troy every weekend and after school, and full-time during the summers. At the same time, he found time to run cross country, serve as the president of his high school steelhead club, and still maintain a 4.0 grade average throughout his senior year. Instead of heading right into college, Troyjoined the Army and spent two years in Huntsville, Alabama, enrolled in electronics school, where he studied things like missile guidance systems and night vision units. And for the only time in his life since the age of 11, he didn't fish or tie a single fly. "I was pretty burnt out on it at that point. I was 18 and had just gotten done with high school, been tying for a lot of years and a lot of flies. When you do something that young, I think it's pretty easy to get burnt out." That would change, when he arrived back home and needed a way of supporting himself through college. While guiding and tying again for his father, Troy took business courses at a local community college, before transferring to Oregon State University, where he obtained a
bachelor's degree in economics with a minor in fisheries biology in 1994. He also spent the summer of 1993 in Alaska, guiding for the Rainbow King Lodge in Iliamna, taking upscale clients on daily fly-outs to some of the best blue-ribbon water in the world. Along with frequent visits since, the experience would later inspire many of Frontier's celebrated salmon patterns. It was just the beginning for the young man who would soon move to the forefront of a new generation of fly fishing pioneers when he launched Frontier Flies in early 1995.
D For more information or photography, please contact:
Lyla Foggia,publicist phone (503) 622-4811 fax (503) 622-4813 e-mail LylaFoggia@aol.com