Our MADE IN ITALY flies - a look behind the scenes


IN THIS ARTICLE WE SHOW YOU HOW AND WHERE OUR CATCHY MADE IN ITALY FLIES ARE TIED

When browsing through the wide range of flies in our online shop, you will no doubt have noticed that the images of certain fly patterns feature bold italy lettering in the colours of the tricolour and, on closer inspection, the claim HANDMADE IN ITALY. This is how we label all artificial flies that are 100% tied in Italy.

All flies in our shop with this logo are 100% tied in Italy

In this article, we would like to show you that this is not just an empty marketing promise or an advertising gimmick. We visit Morgan in his fly manufactory and take a look together at where our Made in Italy fly series comes from, who sits at the tying vise and how these great artificial flies are made.

Here you can find out where our Made in Italy flies come from and who ties them

1. FROM GRASSHOPPERS AND VICES

We meet Morgan in Borgofranco d'Ivrea, a tranquil community in Piedmont, located directly on the Dora River at the entrance to the Aosta Valley. Not only does Morgan live here, but his company Il Sayot Fly Fishing is also based here. The company logo also provides the answer to the name, as Sayot is the Franco-Provençal term for a grasshopper. At first glance, however, the company owner doesn't have much in common with the lively little hopper in the logo, as the appearance is imposing, as is the handshake (or did I accidentally get caught in a bench vice?). But when the broad smile spreads across his face, you realise you've arrived at a friend's home.

Morgan (standing) with his team

In the early years, the company was still a full-service fly-fishing business with a small in-house fly-fishing shop, self-tied flies, fly tying courses and a fishing guide service with its own B&B. In recent years, Il Sayot has developed into a manufacturer specialising in first-class flies and innovative fly-tying materials - not least thanks to the excellent cooperation we have with Morgan. In the meantime, a further 4 people work in the company alongside Morgan, but the atmosphere remains family-orientated, as it is anything but a matter of course to sit at a table and eat together at lunchtime. This certainly contributes to the very friendly, open, positive and motivated atmosphere with which everyone in the company sits down to work. And despite all the professionalism required to keep the production of flies at a consistently high level, the odd bit of fun at work is of course a must.

Morgan's quality control is not usually as dramatic as the picture shows

2. PROFESSIONAL FLY TYERS AND ENTHUSIASTIC FLY FISHERMEN

We are warmly welcomed by the entire team during our visit and are allowed to spend a whole day with Morgan and all the employees at work. We quickly struck up a conversation with all the employees and had a great time, even though we probably kept them from their work with all our questions. They are also happy to let us look over their shoulders and at their fingers with the camera to chat to us about the individual patterns, the most suitable tying materials and the tying techniques used to tie not only beautiful, but also durable flies. Even during our conversation, you can immediately see the craftsmanship that they have developed over the years as they tie one fly after another, all of which look absolutely identical, with unerring certainty and speed.

The tyers at the manufactory are not fazed by our questions or the camera

The tying staff are not only professional fly tyers, but also enthusiastic fly fishermen. It is therefore easy for us to understand that not a single fly leaves the tying vise that Morgan and his employees would not fish with themselves. It is impressive to see the speed with which one foam disc after another is filled with 100 perfectly tied nymphs during our visit. Exactly the same fly patterns that are for sale in our shop. Even though we know the individual patterns very well for professional reasons alone, it is quite another thing to be there live when they are being tied. This gives each of these flies a face, so to speak, because you naturally associate them with the respective fly tyer. The next time I tie one of these nymphs to the leader, I will certainly do so with a completely different awareness, because I already know who I have to thank for the beautiful catches.

So that you also know who tied your Made in Italy flies, we would like to briefly introduce you to the team at the manufactory:

SYLVIE VARISELLAZ

Sylvie, Morgan's wife, is the heart and soul of the business. Not only does she oversee the entire processing and dyeing of the company's own tying materials, but she also sits at the tying vise herself and specialises in the production of fly patterns for trout ponds and Stillwater fly fishing. Sylvie also organises the delicious lunch for the whole team, to which we were cordially invited. Once again, my compliments and many, many thanks!

LUISA MOCHETTAZ

Luisa supports Sylvie with all the work involved in processing, colouring, portioning and packaging a wide variety of different tying materials. Luisa also ties a huge range of fly patterns for Stillwater, as this facet of fly fishing is currently very much in vogue in some markets. Like all the other members of the team, Luisa can also be found on the water at the weekend, testing the patterns she has tied herself and familiarising herself with the properties of the individual flies and the tying materials used.

ALESSANDRO CANNELLA

Under Alessandro's nimble hands, perfectly tied nymphs are created in all types and variations. He tests the patterns on the water almost as a sideline, as he is also a passionate competition angler and regularly takes part in various competitions. Recently, Alessandro has also increasingly taken over the production of streamers and new fly lures for spin fishing in order to support Morgan in terms of production and to keep his back free, as he is needed on many fronts due to the growing business.

FABIO CORTESE

Fabio was Morgan's first employee and has been tying at Il Sayot for 5 years now. The two met at a tying course organised by Morgan. Fabio's great skill caught the eye there and Morgan continued to look after him until Fabio was finally taken on as an employee. Fabio ties all types of flies in the product range but has a preference and a special knack for dry flies and takes part in various fly-tying competitions, especially in this category, in order to exchange ideas with other tying professionals and to further develop his tying technique.

3. A LIFETIME OF EXPERIENCE

We would like to introduce the owner Morgan in a little more detail, because his entire experience in fly fishing and fly tying cannot possibly fit into 3-4 lines: Morgan was born into fishing and his grandfather took him to the water from an early age. He also learnt the secrets of Pesca alla Valsesiana from him, a traditional fishing technique from this region that is very similar to Japanese Tenkara. Morgan also produced his first Valsesiana flies in the same way as was customary in the past, namely without a tying vise, by holding the hook in his hand while he fixed the tying materials. In the past, the tying material was not bought, but came from animals in the backyard or from hunting. The first "fly rod" was a stiff spinning rod that looked more like a broomstick and a simple coiler to wind up the line. It wasn't until the age of 14 that Morgan held a real fly rod in his hand for the first time and became incurably infected with the fly-fishing virus.

Morgan turned his great passion into a profession and founded a fly manufacturing company

As a self-taught fisherman, he learnt a great deal himself, but over the course of time he also came into contact with many big names, from whom he drew inspiration for his fly fishing and fly tying. He can now look back on over 30 years of experience as a fly fisherman and fly tyer. For many years, he has been tying flies for various members of the Italian national team, with which they take part in international competitions. But many other competition fishermen also trust his successful patterns. He has not only taken part in competitions himself, but also founded his own team and coached it for many years. Morgan is also an instructor in fly tying and entomology for the Italian fishing guide association A.I.G.U.P.P..

Not only a passionate tyer but also an enthusiastic fly fisherman

4. THAT'S WHY THESE FLIES ARE SO SPECIAL

This profound and long-standing experience in fly tying and fly fishing naturally flows into all fly patterns that are created under the sign of the grasshopper. Morgan and his employees do not simply copy any fly patterns but develop each pattern themselves. Even classic fly patterns are reinterpreted and given improved properties through the use of modern tying materials, some of which are processed or dyed in-house. In this way, the shine, buoyancy, balance, position in the water and many other aspects can be optimised for each fly pattern - depending on the area of application - which then decide whether the fish takes the fly or turns away at the last moment.

Classic wet flies are also tied - innovative materials make them even more catchy

The Made in Italy label only identifies flies that are tied entirely in Italy, from the first windings of the tying thread on the hook shank to the final head knot. And we can witness this for ourselves when we visit the factory. They even go one step further, so that not only all the flies deserve the Made in Italy logo, but also a significant proportion of the tying materials used.

4.1. THE PERFECT TYING MATERIAL FOR EVERY FLY PATTERN

The Il Sayot manufactory not only ties flies, but also processes and dyes a wide variety of different fly-tying materials. This means that an extremely wide selection of materials with very specific and desired properties is available in order to have the right material with the optimum properties for every fly pattern at hand. In this way, for example, perfectly coordinated and individual dubbing mixtures are created, in which, depending on the area of application, the focus is sometimes on buoyancy, sometimes on the movement of the protruding fibres or sometimes on a seductive shimmer. Other materials, such as the body material of the Minnow Streamer for example, is not just the standard tying material from the pack, but is a blend of several different materials especially created for this streamer series.

Here, self-made and coloured dubbing is portioned and packaged

Morgan naturally benefits from his good and direct connections with professional fly fishermen in the competition scene, as the tough competition means that every participant naturally tries to optimise every last part of their equipment and accessories. And that's why the vast majority of innovations come from the competition scene, because nowhere else is so much testing done to gain a minimal advantage over the competition. In this way, Morgan comes into contact with the latest materials, equipment and techniques earlier than others and can utilise them for its flies. His customers from the national and international competition scene, for whom he ties the flies with which they then win the titles, also appreciate this.

4.2. NOT ONLY PROCESSING, BUT ALSO PROFESSIONALLY DYEING

In addition to the pure processing of tying materials, tying materials are also professionally dyed in the manufactory. Morgan and his wife Sylvie have attended workshops directly with the dye colour manufacturers in order to be able to use their products optimally. This guarantees uniform and durable dyeing, which is also very gentle so as not to impair the properties of the material. In addition, different materials require special dyeing and fixing processes. This is where natural and synthetic materials in particular differ from one another. Tying materials that consist of several different base materials and are given their own individual colouring in multi-stage processes are also a challenge.

The colouring process is complex in order to dye the material evenly and durably, yet gently

Processing and colouring tying materials entirely according to your own requirements naturally opens up an incredibly wide range of possibilities for the manufactory. In this way, innovative fly patterns can be realised that have precisely those properties that make them catchier than those of the competition. This is another reason why Morgan’s flies are always at least one step ahead of all others.

The recipes for individual colours and a wide variety of materials are guarded like a treasure

4.3. TESTING, TINKERING, OPTIMISING

With the almost endless possibilities offered by the self-processed and individually coloured tying materials, every new fly pattern is really something special that cannot be found anywhere else in this form. However, the ideas for new fly patterns don't always arise at the fly-tying table, but often much earlier and sometimes quite spontaneously, because you can't plan creativity. That's why Morgan not only has a tying vise at his workplace in the manufactory, but also at home, so that he can start realising an idea as soon as he has a flash of inspiration, even in the middle of the night if necessary.

Every prototype - here a streamer - is extensively tested and fished before it goes into production

But there is still a long way to go before a new fly pattern is added to our fly range. After the initial tests in the water tank, during which the shape and movement of the fly in the water as well as the play of the materials are assessed and adjusted if necessary until they finally pass Morgan's strict scrutiny, all patterns are also fished extensively and systematically evaluated for their catchability. In the case of nymphs, for example, different variants of a pattern are fished alternately as point fly and dropper fly on several waters in order to be able to determine the catchiest model in a kind of rejection process, which ultimately goes into production.

4.4. HERE YOU CAN BUY THE MADE IN ITALY FLIES AND THE TYING MATERIAL

Over the past few years, the excellent collaboration with Morgan has intensified and we are delighted that he now ties his flies exclusively for us and that we can offer them to you under the Hotfly brand in our online shop. Encouraged by the positive feedback on the catchability, durability and quality of these flies, we will continue to expand the range of this fly series.

First-class flies for all applications - and 100% tied in Italy

So, it pays to visit our shop from time to time. Or simply sign up to our newsletter mailing list to make sure you never miss any news about Made in Italy flies and all our other fly-fishing products and offers.

In our online shop, you can not only buy the ready-tied fly patterns from the Il Sayot manufactory, but also the high-quality processed and professionally coloured tying materials that are produced there. Morgan also provides these exclusively for the Hotfly brand.

Individual dyed chenille is cut to length and packaged. You can find it in this form in our shop

5. A LASTING MEMORY

Before we set off on our journey home with a wealth of new impressions and a completely new relationship with the Made in Italy flies, Morgan shows us a few nearby bodies of water. The idyllically situated mountain streams, which make their way through narrow valleys and picturesque villages under centuries-old stone arch bridges, make every fly fisherman's heartbeat faster. Unfortunately, we won't be testing Morgan's flies under real conditions this time, as it's currently closed season and we have to return. But we will certainly be back to see Morgan and all the other friends we met during our visit to the Il Sayot fly tying manufactory. Next time, however, the focus will certainly be on fishing together, where we can test the catchiest patterns of Made in Italy flies extensively under real conditions. And in the evenings, we will continue where we left off this time in terms of culinary delights, as we were only able to gain a small impression of all the delicious specialities and traditional dishes in the border region of Piedmont and Aosta in the short time available. But it was more than tasty and, above all, rich and plentiful wink

I'm already looking forward to my next visit so that I can finally test Morgan's flies here

If you would like to discover the wealth of waters in the catchment area of the Dora Baltea and the Orco by fly fishing, then simply get in touch with Morgan directly. Few people know the many tributaries and headwaters as well as he does. The best flies for these waters come from him anyway.


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Andreas Riedl
Andreas Riedl
Fly fisherman, fly tyer
Job: Product Manager
Hobbies: Road bike, balcony gardening
He got in touch with fishing at the tender age of 11 and has been fishing mainly with flies for a good 20 years. As a self-taught fisherman, he is open to everything new and also fishes with artificial flies on sabiki rigs or with a spinning rod. He considers himself lucky to have such an understanding family with two time-consuming hobbies.
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