It is with great sadness that I announce that Chris Helm passed away last night, after a several year battle with cancer. I learned of this sad news on facebook, from Steve Wascher, fellow fly tier and friend from western New York. Chris operated his mail-order fly tying business, White Tail Fly Tieing Supplies, from his home. (yes, that’s how he spelled tying).
Chris was instrumental in the filming of my first DVD, “Tying Classic Wet Flies,” in April 2004. He had booked me to teach a classic wet fly class at his home shop in Toledo, Ohio. The class went from one day, to a second day, both sessions filling up with ten students. His fly tying shop was the most well-equipped / stocked tying materials shop I ever saw in my life. Seven brands of hooks, 8 brands of thread, every material you could think of for tying anything from basic trout flies to full-dress salmon flies, was on the shelves. He also bought about 30 deer hides each year, and totally processed them, by himself, washing them in a bathtub, dried them, and then cut, sorted, graded, and labeled the sections / packets for sale. I guess his wife Judy may have helped a little…
Chris totally set up the contact, booking, and filming for my first DVD, which I will always remember, since it was recorded on my birthday, April 4, 2004. Chris did the introduction as well.
Then in 2007, when Kelly and Jim Watt of Bennett-Watt Entertainment were making a new, hi-def video series on DVD, “The New Hooked on Fly Tying,” Chris invited me to participate in that as well. They were filmed at his house. My advanced wet fly and streamer DVD’s were recorded in one day.
A friend in Florida, and I saw this on facebook, drew this card, just this morning, as an expression of sympathy. I believe since Chris was one of the foremost bass bug deer hair dressers in the entire country, that it is very fitting, and the artist, Joe Mahler, kindly granted me permission to share it with my readers. Thank you Joe, for your heartfelt expression of sympathy, combined with your talent. Well done.