Hackles – Photo Tutorial on What’s What

A quick hackle / photo visual tutorial:

A rooster and diagram illustrating where specific feathers that fly tiers use come from on thee bird's body.

A line-drawn rooster and diagram illustrating where specific feathers that fly tiers use come from on the bird’s body.

I saw this old, or what seemed to me to be old, image on facebook this morning, and right away, thought to myself, ” I get these questions a lot.” Good numbers of people in my classes or folks I speak with at shows and fly tying demos don’t know where on a bird certain feathers come from. Or they don’t know the difference between neck hackles, saddle hackle, or hen back feathers.

The saddle hackles on a hen might be called ‘saddle hackles’ but are more often called ‘hen back’ feathers. The spade hackles on a rooster are merely wide ‘hen back’ feathers on a hen that have very long webby fibers. And the spey hackle on the rooster is also called ‘schlappen.’ Note in particular, the well-illustrated differences in the comparative shapes of the neck, saddle, spade, and spey feathers. A similar ‘shape difference’ applies to hen feathers as well, neck vs. saddle, with all the hen feathers being shorter and more webby that those same feathers from a rooster.

Saddle hackles generally have thinner stems than neck hackles, making them very nice for drys because the thinner stem winds easier and results in less bulk, and while they (saddles) will contain dry fly hackles, the sizes are usually larger, suited for use on big drys. In fact, I’m working on some orders now for Fan Wing Royal Coachman drys; sizes #8, #10, and #12, and some nice, natural brown, vintage saddle hackle I have is working out very well. I’m headed to Maine and Lakewood Camps and the Rapid River next week for a few days, as a diversion from my invited participation as one of the featured fly tiers at the Carrie Stevens Weekend at the Rangeley Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum in Oquossoc on June 26 – 28. I plan to tie some of those Fan Wing Royals in a #6 size to perhaps tempt a large landlocked salmon or even better, a big brook trout to the surface. I’m sure it has been a long, long time since any anglers have drifted a big Fan Wing Royal Coachman on those fabled waters, and that my friends, is in my favor. ;-) And for that I will be using a long 3x tippet. :-D

Neck hackles are better suited for winging streamers, at least on older rooster capes, and thankfully, on the newer genetic ‘streamer necks.’ Just remember, whether it’s a rooster or hen: Neck = cape; saddle = back, spey = schlappen. That’s pretty much it. Thanks for reading. :-)

A Weekend With Carrie Stevens

Been gone too long, sorry about that, lots of reasons, none bad. ;-) No time to even explain, not that it would be necessary. :-)

Here is my next professional engagement; I am one of seven featured fly tiers at a special event being held at the Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum in Oquossoc, Maine. The dates are June 26, 27, 28. Here is the facebook page link for those of you on facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/events/940130296038129/

And here is the link to their website / events page:

http://rangeleyoutdoormuseum.org/rangeley-outdoor-museum-events.asp

Check this out! The other tiers are Leslie Hilyard, co-author of “Carrie Stevens: Maker of Rangeley Favorite Trout and Salmon Flies;” Peggy Brenner, Selene Dumaine, Sam Kenney, Peter Simonson, Chris Del Plato, and Ted Patlen. Graydon Hilyard will also be present. Lots of cool stuff scheduled for the weekend. Leslie Hilyard will be deconstructing an original Carrie Stevens streamer, and there is going to be a raffle for a Carrie Stevens original streamer, and much more!

I have not been fishing. Don’t even have a license yet… Been busy tying flies, was behind on my orders, and still am a little bit. Playing in the band frequently. Absolutely loving that! Next Thursday, June 4th, the band has 8 gigs in 17 days, and we start with a 4-day run, playing June 4, 5, 6, 7 at local venues. Three outdoor gigs. Here’s the band website in case you want to divert your fishing interest for a few minutes.

http://www.pepperstreetband.com

Mary and I will be spending a couple days at Lakewood Camps before the event, and then “local” at the Pleasant Street Bed & Breakfast in Rangeley.

http://pleasantstreetinnbb.com/

http://www.lakewoodcamps.com/

And to give you some eye-candy, here are two Carrie Stevens patterns tried by my Maryland friend, Bill Shuck:

Green Beauty Streeameer, tieed by Bill Shuck.

Green Beauty Streamer, tied by Bill Shuck.

Queen of the Waters, tied by Bill Shuck. This pattern is not in the Hilyard book, but is in Forgotten Flies. An original tied by her is photographed.

Queen of the Waters, tied by Bill Shuck. This pattern is not in the Hilyard book, but is in “Forgotten Flies.” An original tied by her is photographed.

 

The Liar’s Bench at The Angler’s Nook, Shushan, New York

Don Bastian:

“The Liar’s Bench” post was written almost two years ago, and it is still continuing to grow. In the last two days, I received two lengthy and well-written e-mails from a man in New Jersey named George Nimmo. Mr. Nimmo fished this area for years, and he has proven at once to be an excellent writer, moreover he is a valuable and bountiful source of additional, detailed information on the characters, the original fly shop owned by Ralph Entwhistle, and the history of The Angler’s Nook – a combination fly shop / campground / hangout / diner.

One of the most interesting bits of information on this whole story comes from Kevin Laughton, who lives in Australia and, through this blog article, discovered this topic. An Australian connection? Amazing but true. Mr. Laughton and others took several hundred US soldiers on active duty in Viet Nam fishing in Australia on R&R in 1970. One of the fellows Kevin hosted was none other than Richard Entwhistle, the son of The Angler’s Nook original owner, Ralph Entwhistle.

With a few more e-mails that I’ve saved, Mr. Nimmo’s expansive information, and a photo of Richard Entwhistle in Kevin Laughton’s kitchen in 1970 in Australia with some nice trout…yes, this will one day be a largely expanded article on The Angler’s Nook and The Liar’s Bench.

Please make sure you read through the entire list of comments. It is well worth it.

Originally posted on Don Bastian Wet Flies:

I received a fly order through http://www.myflies.com from a customer in Delaware last month. Our back-and-forth e-mail correspondence eventually turned his initial dozen-and-a-half order for my Floating Caddis / Mayfly Emerger into a very nice order, as he kept adding more patterns until his order reached ten dozen, including some sulfur Comparaduns and Thorax Duns, and a few dozen of a pattern by Jim Slattery, originator of the Stimulator, called the Triple Threat Caddis. Here’s a link to Fly Angler’s On Line (FAOL) with that pattern: http://www.flyanglersonline.com/flytying/fotw2/091304fotw.php

The TTC, as I call it, while I’ve never fished it, looks like a great pattern. I’m definitely going to tie some up for my personal fly box. And I had fun tying it. I did them for my customer in tan with orange thread as the FAOL article suggests, a ginger-brown version, and olive. Anyway, to The Liar’s Bench at the Angler’s…

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Ontario In March – Fly Tying Classes and Demos

Everything is official now. I am heading to Ontario on Thursday, March 12, and presenting a fly tying class that evening at Grand River Outfitting and Fly Shop in Fergus from 6 – 9 PM. Here is the information posted on the event on the Grand River Outfitting and Fly Shop website:

www.http://ontarioflyfishing.ca/event/gro-presents-don-bastian-grand-river-caddis-patterns/

The class will feature all of my original caddis patterns: The Hatching Caddis Adult, Hatching Caddis Pupa, Floating Caddis / Mayfly Emerger, Floating Caddis Pupa, plus two more proven and deadly caddis larva patterns. These flies, if you have them in your box, will certify your readiness for most any caddis hatch / situation you encounter. Just have a range of sizes and colors… ;-)  And here is a link to the shop: www.http://ontarioflyfishing.ca/

Mary and I will be meeting part-time shop employee, guide, instructor, and good friend, John Hoffmann for a relaxing afternoon and dinner before the class.

Friday evening, March 13, I am presenting a fly tying class at First Cast Fly Shop in Guelph, from 6 to 9:30 PM.

Here is a link to the event at First Cast:  http://www.thefirstcast.ca/event/don-bastian/

Rates and reservation information is now posted for both shop classes. The Niagara Region Flytyers Event has a few remaining tickets for sale to the public, at $20 each.

Saturday March 14, I am presenting a fly tying demo in St. Catherines, for the Niagara Region Flytyers Club, to be video -played on a TV screen, time of this demo is from 11 AM to 4 PM. There will be a couple breaks in this five-hour session. One highlight of the classes and demo will be the tying of Bastian’s Floating Caddis / Mayfly Emerger. Specific information about the patterns in these sessions can be obtained from the fly shops. As yet I am not certain that the event in St. Catherines is open to the public.

Bastian's Floating Caddis Emerger.

Bastian’s Floating Caddis Emerger. This pattern and its variations will be part of these sessions. This fly is deadly. One of my customers posted on the Orvis site, “it should be illegal.” ;-)

During and after these classes, Mary and I will be hanging out as the guest of my close friend Rick Whorwood, who resides in Stoney Creek, Ontario, a suburb of Hamilton. We have been close friends for twenty-five years. Rick is a fellow musician of sorts; he has “some guitars” and recently bought a vintage 1967-ish Rogers Drum set, champagne sparkle pearl. He started taking drum lessons recently and while he is learning fast – he used to drum back in his teenaged years – he wants me to show him some of my chops. ;-) Mary plays guitar as well, and she’s a heck of a good singer, so I think the two of them might be doing a little jamming. Maybe even the three of us…

My vintage 1975 English-made Premier Powerhouse 2500 drum set...prior to the start of a local gig.

My vintage 1975 English-made Premier Powerhouse 2500 drum set…prior to the start of a local gig.

This is going to be a great trip! Anyone interested in these classes, please feel free to let me know in the comment section.

Recycled Fish

Yes, indeed. A fish made from recycled materials. Who’d have thought this up? But apparently two women artists from western Pennsylvania did, and made this “beast.”

One of my blog followers and friends who lives in the area near Pittsburgh, saw this in a local recycling center and took the photo. In this shop, they also have almost anything and just about everything for sale, including used furniture, doors, car parts, etc.

Recycled Fish. I'm not sure if this creation actually has a name...

Recycled Fish. I’m not sure if this creation actually has a name…photo by Bill Havrilla.

It measures sixteen feet long and weighs 1500 pounds. The two women who built it made it entirely from trash and junk collected along the Allegheny River and donated it to the center. It has at least three bicycle forks (on this side) in the dorsal fin and two more in the caudal fin. The mouth is made of a couple front quarter-panels from a car, and various bits and pieces. The eyes on both sides, are car headlights. The fins are all made of bundles of electrical wiring in among the bicycle forks.

Oh, and it’s not for sale…in case you were wondering.

Online Soft-Hackle Pattern Book

Waterhen and Red Soft-hackle. Photo from Neil Norman's blog.

Waterhen and Red Soft-hackle. Photo from Neil Norman’s blog.

A fellow named Neil Norman sent me a message a couple weeks ago that he had linked his blog to mine. Finally I had time to check it out. I borrowed the image above from his most recent post.

Since I have lots of readers interested in Soft-hackles here, I though I would share this news. I have linked his blog, a Soft-hackle Pattern Book:

http://softhacklepatternbook.blogspot.com/  to mine. The link is listed on the right, here, under “Blog Links” or something like that. You can click from here and get there anytime. ;-) Or better yet, if you like soft-hackles and what you see there, then subscribe and you’ll get e-mail notice of each post he makes.

Mr. Norman is a PhD candidate for English Literature. Dare I say, he writes well, and intelligently. Check it out!

Status Report and Calendar of Events

This short post is an announcement of several things. First, this is post no. 400, since March of 2010 when I started this blog. I presently have 868 followers. (now up to 895 – 2-19-2015). A good many of them signed on in the last ten days when there was some drama aka “lively discussion” here. That has been cleaned up since then, and for good reason. To that, I will only say, sometimes good guys do win. ;-)

Secondly, during this time, I had my highest ever number of visits, 894 on January 29th. And I received a lot of support, nearly 100% in fact, from people who commented, people who did not comment but e-mailed me, and / or voiced their support to me in person at the Somerset, New Jersey, Fly Fishing Show.

I have some events coming up. Here is my planned itinerary for the next few months:

Thursday March 12: Fly Tying Class at Grand River Outfitting and Fly Shop in Fergus, Ontario, 6 – 9 PM.

Friday March 13: Fly Tying Class at First Cast Fly Shop In Guelph, Ontario, 6 – 9:30 PM.

Saturday March 14: 5-hour fly tying demo, with camera and large screen at The Niagara Region Flytyers Club in St. Catherine’s, Ontario. 11 – 4 PM. Some tickets are available to the general public, at $20.

I will not be at the Lancaster Fly Fishing Show; I was thinking about it, but the band got booked at a Mardi-Gras event in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, so I’m staying in town to have fun.

Monday April 6: Federation of Flyfishers Club, fly tying demo and program on Soft-hackle Wet Flies. Big Flats, New York.

Saturday April 11: Catskill Fly Tyers Guild Annual Fly Tyers Rendezvous, at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum, Livingston Manor, New York. Here is the link to “Events” on their page:

http://catskillflytyersguild.org/events.html

Monday May 11: On-the-Fly, Spruce Creek, Pennsylvania. An all-day event.

http://donbastianwetflies.com/2013/05/12/on-the-fly-spruce-creek-pennsylvania/

There is another event in the planning stages that will be in Maine. I have been invited to participate in this. It will be the last weekend in June in the Rangeley Region. I am honored to be invited; that is all I can say about it for now. As soon as I receive information it will be posted here.

When I get details on the classes in Canada I will post them.

Life indeed moves on. I am excited about this 400th post. It is short, but continuing on, I shall try to make future posts worthwhile, as in entertaining, informative, helpful, and interesting. When my book, “Favorite Fishing Flies – 1892” on the 1800’s Orvis flies is accepted by a publisher – soon – you will all be the first to know. Thank you everyone for your support! Things have a way of happening as they are supposed to…