Traditional Streamers and Bucktails

Gray Ghost, Supervisor, Barnes Special, Black Ghost, Footer Special, Mickey Finn. Dressed by Don Bastian on Gaelic Supreme Mike Martinek / Carrie Stevens Rangeley Style Streamer Hooks, size #2 - 8x long.

These streamer flies were recently tied by me. These six patterns are the ones from my DVD, Traditional Streamers and Bucktails. This is the first time I have ever taken a group shot of them. The gray feathers in the Gray Ghost wing are from an old natural dun neck I had, bought probably well over twenty-five years ago. Unfortunately the larger feathers for big hooks are depleted, though I may be able to tie up some size #6 and smaller streamers from it yet.

The DVD, Traditional Streamers and Bucktails, is available on Here is a direct link to review the DVD information or place an order on my merchandise page of the site: Each order comes direct to me and will receive my personal attention.

In comparing this shade to some of the original Gray Ghost streamers tied by Carrie Stevens, this shade of dun gray feather is very similar to some of those that she had used when she was dressing her original Gray Ghosts. (Source for the photo comparisons: Carrie Stevens: Maker of Rangeley Favorite Trout and Salmon Flies, 2000, by Graydon Hilyard and Leslie Hilyard, and Forgotten Flies, 1999 – Complete Sportsman.

Carrie originated the Gray Ghost, and also was known to have tied the Supervisor and Black Ghost for her customers, as she tied numerous popular patterns of the time that she did not originate.

The Footer Special was originated by Maine taxidermist David Footer, the Mickey Finn by fellow Pennsylvanian John Alden Knight (who also originated The Solunar Tables), and the Barnes Special is the creation of C. Lowell Barnes as an adaptation of the Hurricane streamer. Mr. Barnes was a guide in the Sebago Lake Region of Maine.

The photo below is a double-shot version of these patterns:

Double-vision photo of the Black Ghost, Supervisor, Mickey Finn, Gray Ghost, Footer Special, and Barnes Special. I had not previously noted that these Black Ghosts are a wool-body version. I saw that somewhere, and for the sake of patterns and tying variation, included this version in my DVD, Traditional Streamers and Bucktails. These hooks are size #2 - 8x long Gaelic Supreme, Mike Martinek / Carrie Stevens Rangeley Style Streamer hooks.

8 comments on “Traditional Streamers and Bucktails

  1. Bill says:

    Really nice photo of some great patterns; the dun color on this Grey Ghost is much closer to what I understand the original was. Most of the versions I see around have a wing that is much too grey.

    • Hey thanks Bill! I agree – the usual strung dyed gray color is sometimes OK to use, and sometimes this color is very similar to a photo of the dun feathers that Carrie supposedly had dyed to her specifications (as and discussed illustrated in Hilyard’s book). But many of the photos of Gray Ghosts tied by her in the Carrie Stevens book, along with a referenced study of 45 Gray Ghosts tied by Stevens, there sure enough is variation in the color of her wings. As a fly tier, back in her time, an as we are today, she was often subjected to color variations of materials in different dye lots, and also availability of suitable hackles. Thanks for your comment!

  2. peter says:

    Simply gorgeous. Eye-candy for sure.

  3. Ted Andrews says:

    Thorougly enjoyed your web site Don.The level of expertise and historical research displayed
    is wonderful.And your attention to detail inspirational!
    If over here in Engand, the Test Valley is regarded as the spiritual home of fly
    fishing, then surely the USA is it’s working Cathedral!

    • Don Bastian says:

      Hello Ted;
      I very much appreciate your kind words on my blog! Just doing what I like to do…guess being detail-oriented is part of my character. Sort of spills over into other stuff. 😉 I actually got to fish the Test in Stockbridge, 1987, on the section of one bank owned by a Pub, and going from memory, I think it was the Greyhound Inn. At the time a fellow named Andy McCall was the proprietor. Had a great time there! And great food and beer too!
      Thanks again for your comments and compliments!

      • Ted Andrews says:

        Hi Don, Me again,Ted from Buckinghamshire England. Fired up by your web site and your splendid reproductions of Mrs Stevens patterns,I’m about to embark on tying up some myself!

        Getting hold of the correct hooks was a small problem, ironic really when you consider that Carrie sent over to England for her supplies! Anyhoo,I’ve managed to obtain 30 to get me started, not to mention the Elmers Rubber Cement. Speaking of which, it occurred to me that if the wing components are assembled as a ‘unit’ so to speak, they could be glued up away from the vice. I took a ‘stat’ from my printer of the hook I intend using to give me an actual working reference. Once I’ve glued up a half dozen or so then I’ll clamp the hook in vise and start work.

        Way, way back in 1983 I wrote and illustrated a beginner’s book on fly dressing. Entitled Basic Fly Tying in Pictures, Published by Stanley Paul It was in print for ten years which was gratifying as I concocted it on the premise that if I could tie a fly which catches fish -anyone can!!

        Greetings to all the ‘Water Whippers’ over there and take good care of yourself

        Yours Ted (Andrews)

  4. Don Bastian says:

    Hi Ted;
    Sorry for the delayed reply, your comment e-mail kinda got buried.
    The idea of making a working reference on the hooks to use when assembling and sizing wings is a good one, and that has crossed my mind to make a “jig” on card stock to have all the hook sizes in order to use to size the components.
    I always assemble the wings ahead of time, in fact sometimes I make wings for a number of different streamers, or when tying the same pattern I also do that as well.
    Right now I have about 60 – 75 completed streamer wings in individual packets, labeled according to pattern.
    All good stuff, and congrats on your book effort!
    Thanks for your following and for your comments!

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