On most flies, the only metal is in the hook, or sometimes in a bead head or set of dumbbell eyes, but on Matt Hart’s Forged Flies, the entire fly is made of metal.
From creating metal signage, railings, and sculptures under his company, Hartist Metals, Hart “hatched” The Forged Fly, combining his passion for fly-fishing with his talent in metalworking.
Hart’s super-sized metal renditions of well-known flies like the Clouser Deep Minnow or Lefty’s Deceiver are striking pieces of art, forcing the viewer to see the intricate details often overlooked in the fly itself.
Hart grew up in upstate New York in an area bordering the Adirondacks and Vermont, where there was plenty of beautiful water to fish. Among those was the Battenkill, a renowned fly-fishing river.
“My father showed me how to cast a fly rod at thirteen and how to tie a few basic flies. I stocked our own bass pond at that time, too. Even though we had many beautiful trout waters, I was a bass and pike guy at heart.”
Hart was into bass tournaments for period of time, but ultimately decided tournament fishing wasn’t for him. It was at this time that he drifted back to fly fishing.
Casting is Hart’s favorite part of fly-fishing, but steelhead trout were the reason he got back into fly-fishing and fly-tying, which led directly to his Forged Fly creations.
Hart’s primary metal shop is just outside Albany, but he says he can make the Forged Fly sculptures anywhere. “I’ve made them at camp, off-the-grid style, on our forty acres in Vermont, with just a cabin on the property.” He’s currently looking into setting up a shop in the Catskills, but his dream is to create everywhere he goes with a shop on wheels.
The Forged Fly sculptures are primarily giant dry flies and nymphs, with some occasional emergers and soft hackles. Hart’s done a couple of salmon flies and some saltwater streamers like Deceivers, Clousers, and tarpon flies. He’s even made a Merkin crab and an EP Spawning Shrimp pattern.
“There are stories behind a lot of these Forged Fly sculptures. That’s why I like to keep it custom and commission-based, so that most of my creations have stories and depth behind them.”
• To see more of Matt’s work, check out theforgedfly.com and @theforgedfly on Instagram