By: Paul Beel, J. Stockard Pro Tyer Team Leader; Interview with Tim O’Neil, Hockessin, DE, You can find Tim @:

This post is part of a series of interviews with our J. Stockard Pro Tyers. We hope the series gives you some ideas on various materials, tools, flies or styles of tying you may want to try yourself. We also want to focus on our Pros thoughts on tying for a specific species of fish.

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1. What type of trends in tying have affected you in the past or at this time?
The big, articulated flies are a favorite of mine. I love the stuff by Kelly Galloup, Mike Schmidt, and Blane Chocklett.

2. Are there any newer tools or materials out right now that you really enjoy tying with?
I really like the great dubbing brushes from Enrico Puglisi and Fair Flies.

3. What are some of your favorite materials and why are they your favorite?
I love Marabou. It is such a versatile material, you can use it in many different ways, it comes in every color in the rainbow, it is cheap and very readily available.

4. What is your favorite fly tying vise? Tell us about it. Do you have more than one favorite?
There are other vises other than the Norvise???

5. Is there a specific fishing trip that really stands out in your mind? Do you have any upcoming trips planned?
We have Steelhead, Albie and Redfish trips on the books as of now. My dream would be Golden Dorado in Bolivia.

6. What are some of your favorite flies to tie?
I love tying all types of flies, I really enjoy Trout Nymphs. Smallmouth poppers are fun as well. Right now I am REALLY into Intruder type swinging flies for Steelhead.

7. What are some of your favorite fish species and why?
Trout because that is what I learned on, Smallmouth because that is what I fish for the most and my “new” favorite are Redfish just because sight fishing off of a bow of a skiff is AWESOME!

8. What type of fly rod do you like to use? Can you tell us a little about a couple of your setups? Rod, reel, line, leader?
I am an ambassador for TFO. I really like the Axiom II X series as well as the new Legacy series. My go to rod would be a 9′ 7 weight with an Intermediate line. I do 95% of my smallmouth fishing with this rig.

9. Are there any classic flies that you take inspiration from?
Every fly out there today draws inspiration from a classic pattern.

10. If you tied some flies to fill a fly box to target your favorite river, what specific flies would be in it?
It would be a Smallmouth box for sure, there would be Clouser Minnows, O’Neill’s JR Snot Rocket, Viking Midge, Game Changers, O’Neills Twist-N-pop, Clawdad, and swinging D’s.



  1. Tim, you mentioned the “Clawdad” pattern, which I’ve never come across. I looked it up and it looks simple to tie and seems to have all the right visual cues. Is there a particular size & color you prefer, or will that depend on the time of year? Do you swim it, drift it, or crawl it along the bottom? It looks like a good fly to have on hand.

    – Mike

    1. Hey Mike,

      I fish the Clawdad in many sizes from a #6 to a 1/0,
      With #4 being my favorite.

      As far as fishing, all of the techniques you said will work.

      1. Thanks Tim. I’m going to try it…it wouldn’t take up nearly as much room in a fly box as other crawdad patterns, and I suspect it could be effective for multiple species — basically anything that’s willing to eat a crawdad, including rainbows.

  2. As I recall the Clawdad originated from the late Chuck Kraft and now sold by William Heresniak, Eastern Trophies Fly Fishing. William sells the materials as well as the tied fly and has a video how to tie it. We’ve taught it to our disabled veterans at the Fredericksburg Project Healing Waters. The Clawdad is highly effective for smallmouth bass.

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