Gordon van der Spuy

Fly Fisher, Fly Tier, Actor, Author, Podcaster

Gordon van der Spuy (also known as ‘The Feather Mechanic’) is an actor, author, podcaster, fly tier and fly fisher from South Africa. Art has always been a way of life for him and has helped him communicate better with the world around him.

Pictures have a way of explaining things like few other things can, so when Gordon wrote his first book, “The Feather Mechanic - A Fly-Tying Philosophy," he illustrated it too. As a young boy he found inspiration in the likes of Dave Whitlock, Oliver Edwards, Charles Jardine and South Africa’s own Tom Sutcliffe. These author artists had a big influence on Gordon, who all had a hand in shaping the way he worked.

Listen to Gordon van der Spuy's Show...

The Feather Mechanic

Gordon van der Spuy is renowned as one of South Africa's premier fly tiers, and his passion for the craft shines through in every aspect of his work. For Gordon, the function always dictates the form when designing flies. He doesn’t just follow recipes; he reimagines them to create flies that truly perform. Join us for an engaging exploration of Gordon's innovative approach to tying and fishing flies that deliver results.

Just a few of the questions asked and answered during the interview:

  • What inspired you to write “The Feather Mechanic?”
  • How did you get started fly fishing and fly tying?
  • How did your early fly tying experiences shape your approach to the craft?
  • In your book, you emphasize “form follows function”. Can you tell us how you learned about this and how it has affected your fly tying?
  • How do you become a “thinking fly tier?”
  • How do you approach designing a new pattern?
  • How do you approach problem-solving when a fly design doesn't work as expected?
  • What is your process for testing the effectiveness of a new fly design?
  • Your instructions for tying The Skinny Damsel incorporate many techniques that are used when tying other types of flies. Can you walk us through the steps of tying this fly?
  • What is your opinion regarding split thread vs dubbing loop techniques for placing materials? And do you have a particular place for each or do you regard them as interchangeable?
  • What common mistakes do fly tyers make, and how can they be avoided?
  • What is the domino effect?
  • Can you explain the concept of tying small flies on large hooks?
  • What are the benefits of using CDC feathers over other types of feathers?
  • What role do historical fly-tying techniques play in your modern fly designs?

The premise behind his first book is that to tie effective and efficient flies; one has to allow the form to follow function. Figure out what you need the pattern to do, and then tie it to fulfill that purpose. Call it purpose driven fly tying as opposed to just tying by numbers, as it were.

Tying by numbers will always be limited. The path to fly tying enlightenment, it seems, lies in understanding the logic behind what makes effective flies effective. In essence, Gordon’s whole approach seeks to find the logic in everything he does.


Equipment / SuppliesLodges / Resorts
Online Retailers


DVDs / VideosMagazines / Ezines

Get in touch

AboutContact Us


Terms and ConditionsPrivacy Policy
Fly Fishing Digital Marketing Group
Copyright © 2024 Ask About Fly Fishing | As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases through links from this website.