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Chuck Kraft publicly releases his first fly in 1961. Developed to emulate a stonefly, caddis, mayfly, hellgrammite or such the CK Nymph starts to get a reputation and rumors begin to spread about the "anywhere, anytime" fly.
Articles, such as the one in Field in Stream in 1971 by S.R. Slaymaker II make the fly even more popular. The photo above was taken from the article in 1971. A friend of Chuck's knew Sam Slaymaker. That is how Slaymaker learned of Chuck. The 3 of them went fishing together which resulted in the article.
Chuck Kraft begins guiding full time on the James, New, Shenandoah and Jackson Rivers. Unlike most guides, Chuck would guide 140-160 days a year. Chuck soon became notorious for putting his clients onto Trophy Trout and Smallmouth bass. Chuck begins guiding in South America in 1990.
Chuck begins development of his first variations of his topwater bugs. He uses mass produced bug and popper bodies but begins to simplify the bugs profile to match cicadas, june bugs, damsel flies and dragon flies. Soon after, Chuck begins to make his own hand carved cork bodies. In 1992, Chuck finally has a breakthrough in his quest to develop a fly that emulates a Panther Martin spinner. He has a dream about the pattern, wakes up and ties 3 of them before going back to bed. Yes, buck naked. True story. This is where the Kreelex (Rolex) came about. Chuck used the Kreelex for the first time in South America.
Chuck begins using ultrasuede in the beginning development stages of the CK Baitfish and Clawdad. Chuck would hand cut his tails for each of these flies by hand. Chuck made templates for each tail. He would trace the shape of the tail using the template onto a sheet of unltraseude and then cut the tails out by hand. 1995 marks Chuck last season as a guide in South America. In 2000, Kreel tackle begins production of Chuck's Clawdad Tail, CK Baitfish Tail, Curly Tail, Leech Tail, Worm Tail, Damsel Tail, Popper Tail and others.
After 25 years of guiding, Chuck retired in 2010. Through years that Chuck guided, Chuck would average 150 trips annually with one season doing 161. Chuck guided Lefty Kreh, Bob Clouser and Flip Pallot who is not in the photo above. If you ask Bob or Flip about Chuck they will tell you about wonderful memories and catching amazing fish. In 2010, Chuck begins working with William and Eastern Trophies Fly Fishing. In 2014, Chuck releases the Crittermite at the Fly Fishing Show in Somserset NJ and Chuck records his first of three instructional fly tying videos. Chuck continued to tie for Eastern Trophies and develop new patterns until his passing on March 9, 2020.