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Dave Skok is a Boston-based fly tier, photographer, writer and Patagonia Fly Fishing Ambassador with twenty years of fresh and saltwater fly fishing experience. He is a two-time winner of the Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass & Bluefish Derby and was lucky enough to be the only fly fisherman in the sixty year history of the Derby to win the Grand Prize. He has held the IGFA 6-lb. tippet record for Atlantic Bonito since 1994. Dave's skill with rod, vise, pen and camera has been featured in over a dozen books including Bob Veverka's Innovative Saltwater Flies (Stackpole, 1999), Rich Murphy's Fly Fishing for Striped Bass (Wild River Press, 2007) and numerous periodicals including The Drake, Field & Stream, Fish & Fly, Fly Fisherman, Fly Fishing in Saltwaters, Marlin, Motor Boating, Offshore, Salt Water Sportsman, Sedge & Mayfly (Italy), Sportfishing and The Washington Post amongst others.
I was born two weeks late, at one minute after six in the evening, in the spring of 1974 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. I mention these seemingly trivial facts only because I think it explains a lot about me; I'm a diehard night owl and tardiness is a problem that has plagued me (although I'm a lot better about it nowadays) for thirty years. I grew up in the suburban coastal town of Fairfield where a great part of my youth was spent with a fishing rod in hand, which almost any faculty member of the Fairfield public school system could attest to.
My parents separated when I was just a little tyke and my fishing education benefited from this tremendously. My Mother would take me to the Housatonic and Farmington Rivers to fly fish for trout on one weekend day and my Dad would take me saltwater fishing the other. I brought it all together when I was fifteen by scoring a handful of fly-caught schoolie stripers in the back of Southport Harbor.
I began tying flies when I was ten years old. Like many before me, I thought that I could save money by making flies rather than buying them. WRONG! By the time I was sixteen I was selling #24 Blue-Winged Olive parachutes to the local fly shop and soon after I tied about 1,000,000,000,000 (or at least it felt that way) popper tails for the now defunct Mystic Bay Flies.
Two events really lit the salty flame for me. The first was a trip to fish the Watch Hill reefs with Capt. Steve Burnett. I took my first fly rod 3-footer that day and also witnessed squid-frenzied bass for the first time. WOW. Not long after, I spent an entire summer on Cape Cod and Nantucket. I went to the Cape to be an instructor for the inaugural season of the Orvis saltwater fly fishing school. I didn't care for teaching the school all that much, but I sure didn't mind having the other four days of the week off to fish and spin bugs! Our dumpy Dennis apartment was condemned mid-summer due to some plumbing issues (it's a long story - ask me about it sometime for a laugh, though) and I ended up spending the remainder of August on Nantucket with my then girlfriend and her Dad. Having grown up fishing Long Island Sound and Catskill trout streams I was completely blown away by the quality and diversity of the Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard (I had been there before - I thought it was too crowded. I know better now.) and Nantucket fisheries.
After employment at Mystic Bay and a part-time fly shop tour of duty I moved to Boston in 1997 to run the fishing department at the Orvis corporate store. I stayed at Orvis Boston for a year and a half before again pursuing a lifestyle where I could hopefully work less and fish more. Unfortunately I have only been partially successful in that pursuit as I definitely do fish longer and more often now, but that damn work thing still keeps getting in the way.
I currently reside in Winthrop, Massachusetts; a small peninsular suburb only five miles from downtown Boston. It's a cool place to live if you're an urban fisherman. I can check one of my favorite falltime blitz spots from my porch and I can still hop on the T and be downtown in half an hour. Most of my winter days are spent either tying flies, writing about tying flies, thinking about tying flies or traveling to fly tying classes and fly fishing shows. It's a little tougher to track me down in the summer and fall when I'm crazed and running around New England in hot pursuit of stripers and blues, bones and albies, skippies and bluefin and even an occasional trout.
Not a bad life, but I've still got to work on that work less, fish more program.
- Dave Skok - April 9th, 2004
"One of the very best tyers that still has all his hair!" - Bob Popovics, Innovative fly designer, co-author of Pop Fleyes and restaurateur
"I have been fortunate to work and fish with Dave Skok over the years. He is a great fisherman and a serious inventor of excellent fly patterns. The proof of this is a generous supply of his fly patterns in my fly box and the number of fly shops that carry his flies." - Lou Tabory, Saltwater fly fishing pioneer and author of Inshore Fly Fishing and Stripers On The Fly
"He's young, talented and lucky. What else do you need in a guide?" - David DiBenedetto, Author of the best seller, On The Run: An Angler's Journey Down The Striper Coast and former editor of Salt Water Sportsman magazine
"Skok is an innovative tyer, with a knack for making deadly patterns." - Ed Mitchell, Well known author of Flyrodding The Coast
"As a lifelong fisherman and former guide, I've fished with lots of people over the years. I've always looked forward to hitting the water with Skok - he's a tough angler, I always learn from him, and he's outrageously funny." - Alan Caolo, author of Sight-Fishing for Striped Bass
"A dude who likes stripers and strippers!" - Jack Gartside, Fly tying genius