In the late 1970’s Paul could be found collecting aquatic insects along any Catskill stream, or off the grills of cars in parking lots or from storefront windows. One of these creatures, dead or alive, provided him with an actual entomological study so he could create a model in feathers and furs on a hook.
By the 1980s, Paul Schmookler had become an authority in the angling world with his collection of vintage fly tying materials, creative fly tying skills and library of 19th century fly tying books. Twice his expertise was featured in Sports Illustrated. Once as an entomologist/collector and once as a creative salmon fly tier.
However, it was not until 1993 when his first book, The Salmon Flies of Major John Popkin Trahere, was published that Schmookler’s impact on the fly tying community started to take hold. He did this by demonstrating the beauty and intricacy of classic exhibition salmon flies.
In 1994 and 1997 his groundbreaking coffee table books, Rare and Unusual Fly Tying Materials: A Natural History. Volume 1 – Birds and Volume 2 – Birds & Mammals, educated fly tiers, collectors and artists about the beauty and history of fly tying and raised the standard by which future angling and fly-tying books would be judged. These books were followed by Forgotten Flies (1999). Finally, the upscale publication, Art of Angling Journal, a culmination of a lifetime of Schmookler’s interests succeeded in leaving the legacy of having raised the image of classic and creative fly tying from a mere craft to an accepted art form.
Art of Angling Journal was the first and only fly tying publication to receive five Gold Ink Awards, and was recognized internationally, for outstanding design and content.
Given his expertise in tying imitative and realistic flies, to a historic journey into the depths of flytying, to sharing the history of the art and craft, Paul continues to be recognized as one of the most knowledgeable and creative flytyers in the world.