Chris Helm – Gone Fishing In Heaven

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.

Goodbye Chris Helm...

Goodbye Chris Helm…

15 comments on “Chris Helm – Gone Fishing In Heaven

  1. barryoc says:

    A very dear friend, who will be sadly missed but fondly remembered.

  2. flydressersguild says:

    A sad day indeed – I have one of his DVDs – He was indeed a talented tyer.

  3. Dan Tobin says:

    Chris was always easy to talk to and very helpful with his knowledge whenever I spoke to him oh the phone. His DVD’s were well done too.

  4. Kelly L says:

    Very sad news indeed. Chris was a legend. He will be sorely missed.

  5. Don Bastian says:

    Thank you Kelly, Dan, Darrell, and Barry – appreciate your comments and expression of sympathy.

  6. Jim Hunter says:

    Don, what sad news to hear about Chris Helm passing. I thought maybe there was something wrong when he sold his business that he enjoyed so well, I have purchased a lot of material from him over the years — I think I have every video he’s made. Like you he was very instrumental in my fly tying skills. He is in peace now void of the pain he has endured with that terrible disease, He will be truly missed in the art of fly tying.

    Jim Hunter

    • Don Bastian says:

      Hi Jim ;
      Chris had the business for sale for a while, even when he was still healthy…when it didn’t sell, and he got sick, things slowed down, but then his treatments were initially going well, and he decided to keep at it because it gave him something to do, a reason to keep going. Thanks you for your comments and perspective on how he helped you.

  7. tim says:

    That is a real shame… he helped me to pin down some high quality capes, spent an hour on the phone, picked through the inventory and sent exactly what I needed. Top notch service.

  8. Bob Horsley says:

    When I placed my first order with Chris a few years ago, he emailed me back and subsequently we talked on the phone a couple times. I had just started tying, and he gave me some wonderful pointers, ideas and tips. The fact he took his time to email and chat on the phone really impressed me – not only a very talented individual but a very nice & interesting man. So sad to hear, my prayers to his wife, family and friends.

  9. Dan Glover says:

    I have ordered from Chris several times. He seemed to have items that are not common to the bigger stores. He was always helpful. Sad to hear about his passing. I knew he had been ill for some time. Thanks Don for letting everyone know.

  10. uodigschol says:

    Very sorry to hear about this loss. Chris was a real expert, and generous with time and information. He will be greatly missed.



  11. Wim ter Haar says:

    Sad that Chris passed away. I met him in the Netherlands Fly Fair

  12. Darryl Rogers says:

    I had just met Chris about a year before he passed. He taught me a lot about spinning deer hair. He set me up with all the right tools and a Dyna-King Supreme. I got to watch him tie at the Conclave March of 2014. He tied me a Clownfish in May. He was tying me a mouse but told me he was having trouble with it because he was becoming too weak. In November 2014 he told me it was all over…

    Rest in peace my good friend. I miss calling him and getting advise over the phone. Chris was always there for me. I miss him very much.

  13. Darryl Rogers says:

    Thinking about Chris…

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