LEGACY AMBASSADORSA program committed to teach, inspire and grow the art of fly tying. Andy Renzetti has been surrounded and inspired by legendary anglers all his life. From casual conversation to research and development, many of these anglers have encouraged and inspired him to make the best possible products for anglers. His vision is that a group of talented, passionate and innovator anglers will do the same for many around the globe. Our goal is to Teach, Grow and Inspire anglers to perpetuate the art of fly tying.
Bob PopovicsBesides being a member of the Renzetti Legacy Tying Team, Bob Popovics is the founder of the Atlantic Salt Water Flyrodders, associated with Tibor Reels, and a Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame and Catskill Fly Fishing Museum Hall of Fame inductee. Though he has refined his fishing techniques and casting skills by traveling around the world, Bob is perhaps best known as a designer of flies (or fleyes as they are called) and as a teacher. Starting with his famous Surf Candy pattern in the 1970s, Bob’s innovative fly tying concepts helped pave the way for modern day saltwater fly fishing in the Northeast. His epoxy and silicone flies were the first of their kind, and anglers and tiers around the world continue to tie, fish, modify, and study Bob’s creations, many of which were introduced by his bestselling 2001 book, Pop Fleyes, co-authored with Ed Jaworowski. A patient teacher, Bob has helped countless tiers and anglers through his seminars, videos, and writing.
Bob ClouserBob’s love of the outdoors, especially fishing, led him into the fishing business. He continues to teach and share his enjoyment with others. Bob is also a prolific and highly regarded author of flyfishing and fly tying articles. His articles have been published in national and regional magazines as well as in fresh and saltwater Clouser is the innovator of many fine fly patterns, all of which gained worldwide popularity. His flies include The Clouser Minnow, The Half and half, Clouser Crayfish, Swimming Nymph, Crippled Minnow, Mad tom, The Darter, Hellgrammite, E-Z popper, Floating Minnow Precision Frog and many others. Bob’s Clouser Minnow is claimed to be the most effective underwater fly ever developed; rated as #1 by Field and Stream Magazine. He is on the advisory staff for Temple Fork Outfitters and has designed a line of(Clouser Fly Rods). He is also on the staff of Rainy’s Flies Inc. Chota Outdoor Gear, Renzetti Inc. Sciantific Anglers Line Co,Partridge Hooks and an affiliate with Hareline Dubbing. Through his life, Bob has been presented numerous awards for his strong conservation work, especially work done to enhance smallmouth bass fishing in Pennsylvania. Most notable among his awards are his induction into the national Fresh Water Fishing Hall of fame as Legendary Angler. In 2009 he was inducted into the Catskill Fly Fishing Hall of Fame, the Warm Water Committee Achievement Award, a national award presented by The Federation of Fly Fishers, the Dr. Henshall Award presented by The federation of Fly Fishers, and National Angler of the Year 2000 by Fly Rod and Reel Magazine. He is a strong supporter of recreational fishing as well as conservation. He was awarded the 1995 Conservation Award of The Year presented by the Susquehanna Smallmouth Alliance, and in 1997 the Charles K. Fox Rising Trout Conservation Award presented by the Cumberland Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited. He is also inducted into the Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Museum.
Steve FarrarAnother Jersey boy, Steve is a self taught fly angler who fishes the surf of Sandy Hook, NJ. He is an accomplished fly tyer and innovator of numerous patterns and techniques. Steve’s work has been published in several of the leading saltwater fly fishing magazines and Journals. He is the originator of “Steve Farrar’s SF Flash Blend” marketed and produced by JUST ADD H2O Products and the Fishient Group. Steve taught at numerous fly fishing clubs demonstrating his patterns and sharing his local knowledge. He has produced several instructional videos(thanks to the tutelage of Bob Popovics) on fishing local waters and tying patterns effective on a variety of species. Steve is a past president of the Atlantic Saltwater Flyrodders and led the fly tying classes there for a number of years.
Pat EhlersCapt. Pat Ehlers lives in Franklin, WI. He opened his fly shop, The Fly Fishers Inc. in 1988, and has guided throughout Wisconsin and the Great Lakes as well as in Montana and Alaska. A licensed United States Coast Guard Captain, Pat has taught fly-fishing schools, fly-casting and fly tying classes around the country, and also appears as a speaker and instructor at shows and seminars throughout the U.S. Pat is a member of the Echo Fly Rod Co. Design Team (Vancouver, WA), a contract /royalty fly tierconsultant for Rainy’s Flies, a fly tying tools designer for the Renzetti, a Technical Consultant and Advisor to Simms Fishing Products, and a member of Smith Optics Fishing Ambassador program. Pat also is a tackle consultant and trip host for Frontiers Travel as well as his shop, The Fly Fishers being Frontiers official tackle vendor. Pat has appeared in newspaper and magazine articles, makes regular appearances on radio programs and has also appeared on numerous TV shows throughout the country; both regionally and nationally including Fox, ESPN and The Outdoor Channel networks. The DVD, Tying the Flies of Pat Ehlers – Bass Flies is a product of Pat’s and the production company he is a partner in, Four Reels Player Productions. He is a regular contributor to Northwest Fly Fishing Magazine that includes the Eastern and Southwestern Fly Fishing editions and has written for other publications along with having contributed to a number of books. Photography is also one of his pursuits and lends itself very well to his business. Pat participates in local and regional bass tournaments as well as “fly only” bass tourneys in the western United States. He also fishes extensively for saltwater species. In chasing both fresh and saltwater fish his fishing has taken him across the US from Alaska to Florida, as well as Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, Central America, South America and the South Pacific.
Blane ChocklettFor the past 30 years, Blane has lived his passion. Blane Chocklett began fly fishing in 1985 on a small mountain stream not far from his home in Blue Ridge, Virginia. Eight years later, he started his own freelance guide service. In 1996, Blane opened Blue Ridge Fly Fishers, a full-service fly shop located in Roanoke, Virginia. About a decade ago, he returned to his river roots as owner/operator of the New Angle Fishing Company, specializing in float trips targeting the regions predatory fish including Musky, Stripers, Smallmouth Bass and Trout. One the most enthusiastic and cutting-edge fly tiers in our sport, many of Blane’s inventive fly patterns are produced through UMPQUA Feather Merchants. He has served on the board of the American Fly Tackle Trade Association (AFFTA) and has worked as a consultant/ambassador to several fly fishing companies including Yeti Coolers, Temple Fork Outfitters, Scientific Anglers, Patagonia, Costa Del Mar Sunglasses, Fishpond USA, Renzetti/RD Distribution, Flymen Fishing Company, Hedron Flashabou, Hareline Dubbing, Hyde Drift Boats, Towee Boatworks, and Hog Island Boatworks.
Jon CaveJon is a Sage Ambassador, RIO Ambassador, and Renzetti Legacy Tyer who has an M.S. Degree in Natural Resources with special concentration in fisheries and water resources. He spent over 25 years as a fly-fishing guide and is the founder/owner of the longest established fly-fishing school in the South and the U.S. His articles, casting tips, columns, and photos have been featured in many fly-fishing publications. Furthermore, he is the author of two books: Performance Fly-Casting; and Flyfishing Odyssey, The Pursuit of Great Gamefish. He’s also contributed to several anthologies including Gray Ghosts and Lefty’s Deceivers, Fly-Fishing Wisdom from the Masters, and Feather Brain. The results of his research on hooking mortalities have been published in several prestigious journals including Progressive Fish Culturist, Journal of Freshwater Ecology, and the textbook Centrarchid Fishes. He created the popular Rattler Fly Pattern and his ground-breaking Wobbler Spoon-Fly is exhibited in the American Museum of Fly-Fishing as the forerunner of all spoon-flies. Jon is only one of a handful of individuals to be honored with the prestigious IFFF Silver King Award for his contributions to saltwater fly-fishing. He currently serves on the advisory council for the ASMFC and has served on the IFFF Casting Board of Governors.
Kelly started his fly fishing career at the age of 13, tying flies for the local tackle shop. He started guiding at the age of 16 and still manages to run a couple trips a year. Kelly owned and operated The Troutsman fly shop and Guide Service in Northern Michigan for 20 years. He sold the Troutsman in 2001, and purchased The Slide Inn lodge on the banks of the Madison River in southwest Montana. Kelly has written three books, Modern Streamers for Trophy Trout 1 and 2 and Cripples and Spinners, and has numerous DVD’s on fly tying and fishing. In 2003 Kelly received the Living Legend award from the FFF, and was awarded the Charles E Brooks memorial life award in 2007. He has over fifty nationally recognized fly patterns that are sold worldwide, and is currently a signature tier for Montana Fly Company and now serves as an ambassador for Renzetti Inc. He is also a rod and line designer for several companies like Powell, St Croix, Burkheimer and Echo rods and SA and Airflo fly lines. Kelly has been published in every major fly fishing periodical in the U.S. Kelly was also the host of Fly Fish TV with Kelly Galloup. But now hangs his hat on his extensive how to and fly tying You Tube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/TheSlideinn . As one of the most sought after speakers in the country, Kelly spends much of his winter months speaking for clubs and Sports shows across the country.
AMBASSADORSThe Renzetti Ambassadors, like our Legacy Tiers, are as passionate and innovators about teaching and promoting the art of timing at a regional level.
Kevin FeenstraKevin has been guiding in West Michigan for over 25 years. His passion is swinging flies for steelhead and lake run brown trout, but he loves to fly fish for any predator that swims. He resides in Newaygo, MI with his wife and three kids. He spends most of his time guiding the Muskegon River for migratory fish, resident trout, and warm water species. As a guide and angler, Kevin ties flies every night to imitate many different food sources of a variety of freshwater fish. His steelhead, smallmouthand trout flies have been published in books, magazines, and online. Throughout his journey as a fly tier, his Renzetti vise has been with him all the way. In addition to magazine articles, Kevin has authored a book and videos. His book, “Matching Baitfish – Patterns and Techniques for Great Lakes Steelhead and Lake Run Browns”, highlights his knowledge of migratory fish and features his remarkable photography from above and below the water. His videos include “Striking Steel”, “Searching for Steelhead”, and “Big Appetite, Small Mouth”. Kevin loves to share his fishing and tying knowledge with other anglers. He is frequently featured at fly fishing shows throughout the region. During the off season, he speaks at fly shops and clubs, covering a wide variety of topics.
Chris KincaidChris is a saltwater fly tier located in Central Florida. During his tenure as a commercial tier he was best known for his tarpon patterns. His patterns have been published in several tying books and magazines. He no longer ties commercially but enjoys sharing fly tying with others and promoting the sport. Chris promotes fly fishing around the south as a tying demonstrator at several events, including IFTD/ICAST.
Christiaan PretoriusGrowing up in South Africa, Christiaan was introduced to fly fishing by his father. At the age of 14, he began representing his country on the competitive fly fishing circuit. He have since represented my country at 7 world fly fishing championship events all over the world. Competitive fly fishing has led Christiaan to some of the most amazing places in the world, including Portugal, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Norway, Italy, America and Russia. He has since guided full time on the mighty Zambezi River for Tigerfish, also doing the annual season for largemouth and smallmouth yellow fish. Most recently, Christiaan has spent the last four years guiding in Kamchatka, and joined the team at The Fly Shop as a travel ambassador.
Dave SchmezerDave is a professional fly tyer & fly designer and a Renzetti Ambassador. He is a National and International award winning fly tyer. For more than 2 decades Dave was a regular in the tying aisles at the Fly Fishing Shows, The International Fly Fishing Show and The International Fly Tying Symposium at times as a featured tyer. Dave has also participated in a number IFFF Conclaves and FFI Florida Council Fly Fishing Expos. He is known for some of his unique and innovative patterns, tying techniques and philosophy on tying. Dave moved to Volusia County FL from the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania where, for many years, he did tying demos, taught fly tying classes at fly shops, clubs, schools, and at home. Although he continues this, and commercial tying in Florida, a large portion of his time is devoted to developing new Saltwater patterns using synthetic materials.
Ron WinnRon was raised on Florida’s central east coast in a small community known as Indialantic. His family moved to Florida from Georgia when he was in first grade in 1957. His mother worked for Lockheed and was transferred to work on their Polaris missile program at Cape Canaveral. Indialantic is located on a barrier island and the waters of the Atlantic were just a few blocks to the east and to the west, thru the woods the Indian River lagoon. Whether fishing, swimming or surfing the water was it. In the late 60’s and early 70’s he worked on a commercial kingfish boat and learned a lot about bait design. It was here he was introduced to polypropylene as a durable colorful material, a product that was ideal for streamers when a few years later he got into fly fishing and tying. He is noted for his knowledge and experience in fly fishing the surf.
Matt GrajewskiBorn and raised in Michigan, Matt grew up in a fishing family that spent countless hours on the water. His love for fly fishing and tying became stronger in his late teens, especially fishing and tying large flies. While he pursues many species, muskies hold a special place in his heart and this is what he often spends his time chasing. Matt ties flies commercially for Adaptive Fly, and at several tying events a year. He enjoys teaching his patterns, some of which are heavily inspired by others on the Renzetti team.
Justin PribanicJustin Pribanic has been working in the fly fishing industry for over 12 years. During the course of his time pursuing his passion, he has work for numerous shops from Massachusetts to Michigan. He has also guided for multiple different species including striped bass, false albacore, trout, smallmouth and steelhead. His tying influences come from a wide range with Bob Popovics, Dave Skok and Blane Chocklett being a big part. When not on the road guiding, Justin can be found in Western Pennsylvania tying commercially.
John and Katie DemuthJohn and Katie reside near the beautiful rivers of East Tennessee where they spend their free time fly fishing, tying, and photographing flies. They both have always enjoyed the outdoors. John earned the honor of becoming an Eagle Scout growing up and later served in the United States Marine Corps in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Katie grew up near the rivers of the Great Smoky Mountains and later served in the United States Army. Katie is a macro photographer, and she enjoys photographing John’s flies and presenting them as works of art. John and Katie have done tying and photography for local charities, organizations, in addition to participating in demonstrations for fly tying and photography at shows and outfitters.
Kevin ArculeoKevin’s love for fishing began at an early age while growing up in the state of Florida. His childhood experience led to an interest in fly-fishing about 25 years ago where he engaged in the sport and also worked both full- and part-time during a three-year period at The Fish Hawk in Atlanta, Ga. – the largest privately owned fly fishing shop east of the Mississippi River. It didn’t take long before Kevin started guiding north of Atlanta on Lake Sidney Lanier for striped bass and spotted bass – where he currently takes his clients for an engaging and educational fly-fishing experience. Previously, he also guided on the Chattahoochee River for trout as well as several trout streams in North Georgia. It’s not unusual to see Kevin teaching others how to tie flies and cast, and you can also find him conducting fly-fishing presentations and seminars at trade shows and other organizations. Several of Kevin’s flies and instruction have been published — including a feature article in Saltwater Fly Fishing magazine. Kevin is Professional Fly Designer for Rainy’s Flies and Supplies; his flies are available at local fly shops. Most recently, Kevin became a guide member of the YAMAHA Marine National Fishing Team. He is currently on professional affiliation programs with Hog Island Boatworks; Carbon Marine; Simms Fishing Products; Renzetti Inc.; RD Distribution; Patagonia Pro Program; Johnson Outdoors (Minn Kota, Humminbird); Sage Fly Fishing; RIO Products; Redington; TFO; Tibor Fly Reels; Smith Optics; Fishpond USA; and Hareline Dubbin, LLC.
Nick GrovesNick grew up on The Grand River in Fergus Ontario and was drawn to fly fishing at the age of 14. Like so many others, tying flies and fly fishing quickly became a passion and at 15 he began working for the local fly shop where he was mentored by some of the best anglers in Ontario. His passion for fly fishing has brought him to pro staff level with R.L. Winston fly rods and Bauer reels. He continues to hone his skills in all aspects of fly fishing and tying and his relaxed style of teaching and guiding make him a sought after instructor for all skill levels. In recent years, Nick has done a lot of travelling in search of trout. He has now spent time on the Eastern shores of Lake Superior searching for Steelhead, the foothills of Southwestern Alberta and interior BC targeting everything that swims, the Madison River in Montana hunting big wild browns, and of course the White River in Arkansas. Above all else, Nick is an absolute big fly nut. Developing and proving new fly concepts on his local waters and beyond has become a total obsession, and there will always be something new in his boxes.
Sonder SelvigSonder is from Fort Collins, Colorado and has been a lifelong angler and fly tier. His father first introduced him to fly fishing when he was about 2 years old. He considers himself mostly a trout angler, but loves fishing for carp and bass, as well as saltwater species. Sonder favorite part of tying is creating his own patterns, or spin offs of others. In the coming years, he hopes to continue grow as an angler, tier and guide, and move back to Colorado to pursue a graduate degree in Conservation Biology or Fisheries.
Bob ReeceBob Reece works as a full time life coach, Umpqua Signature Fly Tier and owner of Thin Air Anglers at Horse Creek Ranch. He also works with the local veterans group, Platte River Veterans Fly Fishing. In addition, he runs fly tying and casting classes for kids in his home town of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Bob also host fly fishing trips to South America and other parts of the world. With a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Master’s in Natural Science, its no wonder he excels at fishing.
Chase SmithMy name is Chase Smith and I am from the small town of Kerrville in Texas. I began fly fishing and tying flies during my senior year of college in 2016: I tied flies every day for a year and a half and was on the water any time I wasn’t tying. Eventually people started asking to buy the flies I was making, so I started my tying business, FishChaseFlies, in the fall of 2017. Since then, I have been tying full time for fly shops in Texas and for customers across the country through my website www.fishchaseflies.com. My specialties are Blane Chocklett’s Game Changers and my own patterns for common carp. I have been fortunate enough to catch a wide variety of species on my flies during self-guided trips: from Roosterfish in Baja, to Tarpon in Texas, to Tiger Muskie in New Mexico.
Kate WatsonConservationist, wildlife steward, guide, tyer, fly casting instructor, competition caster and avid learner on all things historical and contemporary. Kate was introduced to two handed rods and became enamoured with the north west steelhead culture, eventually taking to long lines and classic flies, blending tradition and contemporary techniques and materials. She traded her flashy intruder flies for historical gut-eyed speys at the vice and on the water.
Jonny is a lifelong fly tyer and fly fisherman from New York City. He began tying as an 11 year old, learning from books and magazines, and has tied for virtually every species that swims. He spends much of his time chasing trout up on the Delaware River and stripers in New York Harbor, but has chased fresh and saltwater fish all over North and South American and the tropics, ranging from steelhead to tarpon to roosterfish. His flies have been featured in all of the major fly fishing magazines, including Fly Fisherman, American Angler, and Fly Tyer, , as well as many foreign publications, and he served as a staff writer for Fly Fishing In Saltwaters for many years. He also penned one of the chapters for Fleye Design, by his close friend and mentor Bob Popovics. Jonny is a regular presence at fly tying shows and fly shops, where he gives demonstrations on both fresh and saltwater patterns. His flies are commercially available through Fulling Mill. When not waiving a fly rod, Jonny is an intellectual property lawyer and professional jazz pianist, who has toured the world with various different bands.
Matt BennetMatt Bennett is a full-time commercial fly tyer and the owner of Fly Geek Custom Flies. While having a varied interest in many different types of fly fishing, Matt most enjoys both tying flies and fishing for the native bass species of the Texas Hill Country. Matt’s patterns have a broad universal appeal to fish species all over, and he very much enjoys sharing his tying and fishing knowledge with others. Matt has fished the waters of southwestern Colorado since he was a teenager and especially enjoys chasing native Cutthroat trout in creeks throughout the San Juans. Matt is also a member of the Ahrex Hooks and Dr. Slick Tools Pro Team and Umpqua Feather Merchants Signature Fly Designer program. Matt currently serves as the the Education Director of the Texas Council FFI, was previously the President of the Austin Fly Fishers and was awarded the 2015 Charles E. Brooks Memorial Award by the International Federation of Fly Fishers. You can often find him behind the vise at many fly fishing events and shows throughout Texas and beyond. You can view more of his work at his website, flygeek.net or on Instagram @flygeekmatt.
Shea GunkelShea cut his teeth in the fly fishing world at a young age where he grew up on the Arkansas River near Cañon City, Colorado, home of the Mother’s Day caddis hatch. By the age of ten he was throwing dry flies and wooly buggers and tying his own shortly after. Fast forward his life to living in Colorado Springs, Shea is a full time fly fishing guide and commercial fly tyer, spending his days providing his services to new anglers along the local tailwaters. He has been an Umpqua Feather Merchants Signature Fly Designer and is proud of his professional affiliation with Patagonia and Howler Bros, among others. When not chasing his local trout population, Shea enjoys giving his time to local chapters of Project Healing Waters and Wounded Warriors, sharing his fly tying skills with soldiers new to the fly tying obsession. He is a father to sons who share his passion of fly fishing and baseball, and the preservation of future generations of outdoor activists. His fly designs range from fresh to saltwater and can be found at sheagunkel.com, where he also manages a monthly newsletter dedicated to the advancement of fly fishing and tying.
Ben’s obsession with fly fishing started at the age of 10 when his father taught him the basics with an old fiberglass fly rod and a box of flies. His early years in South Florida ignited his passion for the ocean and all things fishing. His family moved to Brazil in the early 90’s to help found a ranch for abused and abandoned street children. In between breaking horses and farm activities growing up, he explored the wilderness and waterways as much as he could. This was the perfect environment to foster his passion for the outdoors and love for fishing. It was there that he began tying flies with natural materials to imitate berries and baitfish to fool the local population of Pacú and Traira and, scavenging the ranch for feathers and hair to spin up.
Ben moved to Maine in 2003 where his obsession with wild salmon and striped bass flourished. By 2015 he was guiding part-time for trout and striped bass. Ben’s infatuation with striped bass borders on obsession as he attempts to understand all the ecosystem intricacies through observation, research, and time spent on the water. This all-consuming passion results in iterative development, testing, and ultimately better saltwater flies that are both functional and realistic. The unmatched brilliance of Bob Popovic’s creations naturally caught Ben’s attention early on and has influenced his tying the most. It also sparked a mentorship that continues to heighten Ben’s ability to create salty creations behind the vise.
When not behind the vise, poling the flats in Maine, or sharing his passion of all things fly fishing with his young daughter & wife, Ben’s an Engineer with a Six Sigma Blackbelt, happiest solving complex manufacturing problems at his day job.