Kreel Tackle began in 2000 with the Clawdad Tail, CK Baitfish Tail, Leech Tail and the Worm Tail. All of these tail designs were designed by Chuck Kraft. Chuck began using synthetics in 1993 when 2 clients of his that were in the furniture industry brought him a milk crate of sample materials. From 1993 until Kreel tackle began water cutting the tails, Chuck would hand cut each tail using templates he made. This is how it all began.
Kreel Tackle produced Chuck's tails for almost 10 years but they closed in 2007. Their last cutting was actually the first time the Crittermite tail was produced, but it was done in secret. Chuck didn't tell anyone though because he was still adjusting certain things on that fly pattern. The pattern would be fished and tested by Chuck and only Chuck for the next 7 years until it was released at the Fly Fishing Show in Somerset New Jersey in 2014.
At Beau Beasley's Virginia Fly Festival in 2008, William along with about 8 other guides and fly tiers stood in a group scratching their heads trying to figure out how they were going to get more of Chuck's Tails. William went on a mission and began figuring out a solution. The process wasn't easy, but he finally figured it out 1 year later in 2009.
Richard Wyly, friend to both Chuck Kraft and William, was the connection that made the magic happen. Being successful in business is often about who knows who. With 40,000 sample CK Baitfish Tails and Clawdad tails cut, William made the step and called Chuck to talk about what he had. Two days later, Chuck examined the new tails that were cut and said, "these are better than what we made with Kreel." With Richard vouching for each of them, William and Chuck shook hands and made an agreement in 2010. Without Richard, who knows if this connection would have been made. Unfortunately, Richard passed away from Cancer on December 23rd, 2015. He was a true gentleman, a great angler, and amazing Father and Husband.
Chuck began guiding in in the 1985 and he retired in 2010. Clients of Chuck joke about how they would be "frisked" and searched for flies after their trip. Chuck wouldn't let any of his fly patterns off his boat. Why? Because Chuck was burned by the industry a few times. Chuck knew that if he protected his patterns, then his clients would be catching larger fish. Retiring in 2010, along with the trust of William as a new partner, Chuck began to slowly let go of some of his secrets. Chuck's first fly tying DVD was released in 2013, soon to be followed by volume II and then III.
Chuck says, "It's hard to find an honest handshake these days." Honesty and Respect is hard to find. The fly fishing industry is a cutthroat business, no pun intended. For many, it's about making money. Chuck and William care more about a fly's quality and if it is productive more than money. With that being said, there are many copies of Chuck's tails and flies in the industry. Be careful. Don't be fooled by the "knockoffs".