Growing up in Waynesville, NC, was the perfect place to learn from some of the tyers mentioned in this thread. Frank Coffey, Bennie Joe Craig, Rex Wilson, Don and Dwight Howell, and my uncle Ralph Mills were great tyers and incredible sources of knowledge. Ralph started teaching me to tie when I was about ten; the first two patterns I learned were the Secret Weapon Nymph and the Yellowhammer. I am very fortunate to have spent time leaning old mountain patterns and techniques from all those gentlemen over the years. I remember that Ralph had all these cigar boxes in his fly tying room, and they would be full of a particular size and pattern. Imagine how many size 14 female Adams it takes to fill a cigar box, which is still mind boggling to this day. I am delighted that tyers from my generation like Roger Lowe (who is from Waynesville also) and Kevin Howell are keeping the local traditions alive and passing them on to the next generations through books and videos.
I remember tying at a Conclave in Gatlinburg in the late 80ís, and there was a gentleman there from the fly fishing museum who was asking for old Smokies patterns for an exhibit. I tied a couple of Secret Weapon Nymphs for him, and when I gave them to him, he said he had never heard of that pattern, and he didnít think it was an old pattern. While I was talking to him, Eddie George came by and saw the flies, and commented he had not seen a Secret Weapon Nymph in 15 years. The guy apologized for doubting me and gladly boxed up the flies.
I think organizing a roundtable for old mountain patterns at next yearís Troutfest would be a great program and a lot of fun.