Hooked on Bohol
Mike Hoiness of Yellowstone Fly Goods is a great friend to IDEA. He has been making an annual trips to the island of Bohol to train IDEA’s deaf students and young adults in the art of tying flies. Not all those who try have the skill or natural talent to learn this very precise work but many of the deaf have really excelled. These deaf women of Bohol can turn out some of the highest quality fishing flies on the planet.
Founder, Dennis Drake, and Mike have been friends for many years and are from the same hometown of Billings, Montana. Although Dennis is not a fly fisherman, Mike has patiently educated him on some of the more than 400 patterns that he sells.
Mike had only a one week stay in Bohol but during that time was able to provide some great assistance to this fledgling business.
Mart Lerma (also deaf) leads this very industrious group of workers in producing fishing flies and lures. This new small company, Sure Catch Fishing Products, is organized under the new nonprofit umbrella organization known as Visayas Deaf Livelihood Projects. This is a sister nonprofit corporation to IDEA Philippines. Sure Catch actually only has three employees while the other workers are organizing themselves into cooperatives.
Fly tying is such a demanding and exacting business that it takes many months and even years for a person to become an expert. Sure Catch Fishing Products is now producing some of the best flies on the market.
But this small enterprise is about more than just business. Sure Catch Fishing Products has as its goals;
– to provide work opportunities for the deaf women,
– to fulfill the needs of its customers,
– to help the workers fulfill their dreams,
– and to earn a profit for helping IDEA sustain and expand deaf education in the Philippines.
IDEA Philippines recently put up a small house beside the BDA Livelihood Center so that the young women coming from far to tie flies will have a place to live. This “modular house” is an experimental building developed by IDEA Philippines made with Styrofoam and concrete board.
The Bohol Deaf Academy canteen is also now providing meals for the fly tiers and trainees at the Livelihood Center plus giving the deaf high school student vocational restaurant trainees real and practical experience. Both the housing and the canteen are ways to help the workers in the fulfillment of their dreams. These women just need someone to give them a start and that is exactly what Sure Catch is doing for them.