Fly Tying Awards
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About Us

Fly Tying Awards

If you want to nominate a member for the following awards please review the criteria.

You may submit your nomination via the nomination submission form that can be found by clicking here.

 Darwin Atkin Memorial Fly Tying Achievement Award

This is an award created to recognize an IFFF member whose long-term contribution to fly tying is widely recognized and respected. This award is for outstanding achievement and demonstrated commitment of the person in significantly advancing the craft and art of fly tying.

To preserve the integrity and prestige of this award, it is recommended that it be awarded judiciously and infrequently, but it is not intended that the frequency stipulation deprive a truly deserving individual.

Any member or Governor of the IFFF Fly Tying Group may nominate an IFFF member for this award. Nominations shall be forwarded to the Chairman of the Fly Tying Group Board of Governors. Selection shall be by the entire Fly Tying Group Board of Governors. A successful nomination shall require a 2/3 majority vote by the IFFF Fly Tying Group Board of Governors. Successful nominations will be forwarded to the IFFF Awards Committee for review and final approval.

Recipient will receive a special engraved plaque and a Life Membership in the IFFF. If they already have a life membership in the IFFF they will receive a Life FTG Membership. Their name will also be engraved on a master plaque on display at the IFFF office. 

Click here for criteria.

Darwin Atkin Memorial Fly Tying Achievement Award Recipients

2015    Steve Jensen

Buz Buszek Memorial Fly Tying Award

The International Federation of Fly Fishers’ Buz Buszek Fly Tying Award is the most prestigious award in the world of fly tying. The award was established as a memorial to Buz Buszek, a well-known fly tier and flyshop owner since 1943. His flyshop, simply called the Buz Buszek Fly Shop, was located at 400 North Johnson Street, Visalia, California. Mickey Powell, his son-in-law, who took over the shop, has written a fascinating personal view of the history of the Buz Buszek Fly Shop. Buz was a world-class angler, an excellent fly tyer and a dedicated teacher. He had a number of patterns to his name and his fly shop specialized in fly tying materials. Buz died suddenly in 1965. A Fresno club established an award in his name. Later, led in part by his wife, Virginia Buszek Perry, the Buz Buszek Memorial Award was established at the international level of the Federation. The award came with a one-inch gold feather recognition pin.

The First Buz Buszek Award was presented in 1970. By 1987, 18 awards had been presented, the last of which went to Dick Nelson. Virginia had purchased a total of 20 of the original gold feathers and told Darwin Atkin that she had given the last two pins to her daughters, Judy and Rosalee, in honor of their father. There were no more recognition pins to give to the award recipient!

IFFF Awards Chairman Ken Heimbecker led a design project and worked with Dick Nelson to establish a new pin for future awardees. Each step of the design was approved by Virginia, and she did not want the new pins to be identical with the original set. The double feather pin design was created. Dick’s single feather pin was taken to George Stewart, a well-known jeweler in Los Gatos, California, who cast the new double-feather pin from impressions of the original one.

Under Darwin Atkins’ leadership, the project was funded by the Phrozen Phantom Phlytyers who made fly plates and sold them to generate income. At the completion of the project, the mold and fifteen pins were turned over by Ken Heimbecker to IFFF Headquarters then located in West Yellowstone, Montana.


Buz Buszek Award Recipients

1970 - Jacqueline Knight

1971 - A.I. Alexander 1972 - Dave Whitlock
1973 - George Grant 1974 - Ken Bay 1975 - E. H. "Polly" Rosborough
1976 - John Schollenberger 1977 - Andre Puyans  1978 - George Harvey
1979 - Everett Drake 1980 - Boyd Aigner 1981 -Doug Prince
1982 - Darwin Atkin 1983 - Art Flick 1984 - Frank Johnson
1985 - Bill Blackstone 1986 - Billy Munn 1987 - Dick Nelson
1988 - Bing Lempke 1989 - Jimmy Nix 1990 - Kent Bulfinch
1991 - Wayne Luallen 1992 - Stanley Walters 1993 - Chuck Echer
1994 - Royce E. Dam 1995 - Marvin Nolte 1996 - John "Ned" Long
1997 - Judy Lehmberg 1998 - Jeff "Bear" Andrews 1999 - Al Beatty
2000 - Bob Jacklin 2001 - Bruce Staples 2002 - Helen Shaw Kessler 
2003 - Bill Heckel 2004 - Chris Helm 2005 - Reginald Denn
2006 - Gary Borger 2007 - John Van der Hoof 2008 - Henry Hoffman
2009 - John Newbury 2010 - Scott Sanchez 2011 - Tony Spezio
2012 - Steve Fernandez 2013 - Walt Holman 2014 - Oscar Feliu
 2015 - Mike George    

Dick Nelson Fly Tying Teaching Award

This award began in 2000 and is to be presented to an individual who excels in teaching the art of fly tying to tiers at all skill levels. It is named after Buszek Award-winning tier, Dick Nelson, who taught fly tying for many years and chaired the fly tying classes at the San Jose Flycasters for 35 years.

Dick's great love was teaching tying. He would rather teach tying than tie, he would rather tie than fish. Such was his dedication to teaching that two weeks before his death, confined to a wheelchair by a stroke and in declining health, he was giving private lessons in his home to a student who could not make the regular San Jose Flycaster’s Tying Classes. Donations in his memory can be made to the Dick Nelson Fly Tying Teaching Memorial Fund.

The criteria for the award are described as follows:

  • Must be a member of the IFFF in good standing for a minimum of five years
  • Must be able to demonstrate and teach the varied skills of fly tying not necessarily an innovator. But able to teach techniques developed by others or themselves to tiers of all skill levels
  • Must have experience teaching both in group and individual environments
  • Service to the Federation may either be at the national, council or club level
  • The person should embody the spirit of the Federation, imparting both only a love of fly tying, but also of fly-fishing and the conservation of the resource
  • The person should have not previously won this award

 Dick Nelson Fly Tying Teaching Award Recipients

2000 Chuck Newmyer
2001 Michael Verduin
2002 Buck Goodrich
2003 Benson Kanemoto
2004 Grant Davis
2005 Cliff Adams
2006 Bob Trowbridge
2007 Andre Puyans
2008 Bob Lay
2009 Don Van Buren
2011 Frank Johnson
2012 Jim Ferguson
2013 Bob Bates
2014 Bill Heugel
2015 Fred DuPre'