I’m entirely self taught fly fisherman and tyer. My Dad was a smoker and accumulated enough Marlboro miles to get one of those convertible fly/ spin setups complete with wooly worms and stuff. I was 10 and could double haul upon picking it up. I started tying flies with my Moms sewing equip, widdling down wine corks to make poppers so I could spend more time harassing the creeks instead of mowing lawns for money to buy tackle with. I tie my own because there is always a way to do it better, adaptations for certain conditions/ circumstances. I want to catch them, not look at them. One of my favorite fly fishing experiences was camping in remote Baja with one of my best friends and watching an 80#+ Roosterfish with scars all over its head and a comb that rose as high as my chest “sip” my dirty mullet in inches of water. My drag malfunctioned and dumped 350+ yards of backing in less than 2 minutes. Made about 150 back while neck deep in the huge surf thinking I might have a chance - then he walked again and never stopped. I held him at my backing knot for what seemed like an eternity and off. When I completed the reel of shame, the first 8” of my fly line was chafed and I typically a 6’ stretch of flourocarbon leader - so that tells you its size. I wasn’t sure if I should cry, scream or puke.