Born in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, Wills Creek flows through the valley and right through the middle of the family farm that Lee Blanton grew up fishing every day. At twelve, Lee picked up a fly rod for the first time, although he was usually catching more trees than fish. That same year he received a video called “Tying Bass Flies” by Dave Whitlock. Soon after he began tying flies in hopes to entice a strike from any bluegill or bass that would fall for the crudely constructed flies.
In the years that followed he still tied flies and tortured those panfish, but trips to the Smokey Mountains turned his attention towards trout. After honing his skills on the wild trout of Tennessee, he and his family took a trip to Yellowstone National Park and Jackson, Wyoming. This is where he truly fell in love with the intricacies of the sport and he knew that he needed to further develop his tying skills to match his increased fly fishing ability.
Lee’s tying began to take shape and come to life after he met Rob Prytula in Chattanooga, TN. Rob soon became Lee’s mentor, spending countless hours listening to questions as well showing him tips and tricks of the trade. He assisted Lee in getting his first spot tying demonstrations at a local shop, as well as getting him into the IFFF Southern Conclave. Since that time Lee has tied numerous shows, including the IFFF Southern Conclave, IFFF Southeastern Conclave, GRTU Trout fest, Trinity River Trout Fest, and invites to the Sow Bug Round up.
Lee currently resides in Weatherford, TX with his wife and 4 children. He teaches high school communications in Fort Worth ISD, ties custom flies, and teaches both fly tying and fly casting lessons. He sits on the Pro Staff of R.L. Winston Fly Rods, Galvan Reels, Zeal Optics, Dr. Slick Fly Tying Tools, Solarez Fly Tying Resin and Daiichi Hooks.
Lee's flies have made trips to Cuba, Belize, and Christmas Island just this summer. His freshwater flies have landed some of the biggest fish caught in the southeast on a fly rod, including 3 state records here in Texas. He enjoys taking that common fly and tweaking it for specific purpose. Have a fly you like for a species but believe it will work great tied on a a different hook, Lee will gladly oblige. Many of his patterns have come about in that fashion. Let him know your needs and he will do everything he can to accommodate, and design that perfect fly.