A year or so ago, I posted the Kelley’s Killer as presented in the Carrie Stevens book, “Carrie Stevens: Maker of Rangeley Favorite Trout and Salmon Flies,” 2000, by Graydon and Leslie Hilyard. I tied three of them according to the recipe presented in their fine book. As it turns out there is another version of the Kelley’s Killer, tied by none other than the “First Lady of Rangeley Streamers” herself (my own play on words), Mrs. Carrie G. Stevens. My friend Jim Kennedy, bought an original Kelley’s Killer tied by Carrie Stevens, last year at the Somerset, New Jersey, Fly Fishing Show. This fly is an eye-opener. It is a “full-dress” version of her streamer tying, identical to the famous Gray Ghost in every single component. Tag, ribbing, body, hackle, wing shoulders, and here is where it gets interesting: Peacock herl underbelly, golden pheasant crest underwing, plus a golden pheasant crest to finish off the throat. Like I said, it is identical in each single part, to the last detail, as her Gray Ghost. The only things different are the materials and the colors. Here you go:
This makes me wonder. I know the Hilyards did extensive research and had very high standards on the process to certify “original” patterns by Carrie Stevens. Did she later add the extra components to this fly to schmaltz it up? One thing is sure, I like this one better than the one presented in the Hilyard book. Nothing against them at all, I love their book! But seeing an original, as opposed to a replicated pattern tied by someone other than the originator of the pattern; even if well-researched; well, I’m putting my money on this version that I see with my eyes as the “official” Carrie Stevens Kelley’s Killer. It could be as Chris Del Plato suggested, a variation of the pattern. But what a variation it is. More pics:
Kelley’s Killer – Carrie Stevens Recipe:
Body: Flat silver tinsel; * differs from Hilyard version of orange floss w/silver tinsel ribbing
Underbelly: 4 – 6 strands peacock herl; * additional from Hilyard version, followed by white bucktail
Throat: Lavender fibers, followed by a golden pheasant crest feather curving upward; * both components differ from Hilyard version
Underwing: Golden pheasant crest as long as the wing, curving downward; * additional from Hilyard version
Wing: Two lavender hackles with one slightly shorter golden badger hackle on each side; * golden badger differs from silver badger on Hilyard version
Shoulder: Tan-tipped Amherst pheasant feather
Cheek: Jungle cock
Head: Black with orange band
In all, this Kelley’s Killer tied by Carrie Stevens has six different components compared to the Hilyard pattern.
Last but not least, my humble version of the Kelley’s Killer, pattern recipe from the Hilyard book:
And a threesome of Kelley’s Killers, all dressed by me: Better things to come in the new, expanded, and I’ll make certain, properly dressed to Mrs. Stevens’s Rangeley Streamer specs Kelley’s Killer soon to be tied:
And the head and shoulder macro:
Jim did give me permission to “fix” the fly. The wings were crooked. So I did. Before the pics. I told him that steaming the fly would restore it. Indeed. He said when he got it back it looked better than when he bought it. How cool was it for me to hand-hold a Carrie Stevens original? Very! Thank you Jim!