David Footer and the Footer Special

A pair of #2 – 8x long Footer Specials tied by Don Bastian

Last weekend at the Marlborough, Massachusetts Fly Fishing Show, I had the opportunity to meet David Footer, noted taxidermist and artist from Maine. While not a fly tier, David originated the Footer Special in 1962, and had a friend tie it for him. I first saw it in Trolling Flies for Trout and Salmon, 1982, by Dick Stewart and Bob Leeman. It was interesting in our conversation, when I mentioned that title to Mr. Footer, he informed me that book was where the pattern was first published. I loved its colors so much at first sight, and I had enjoyed tying, fishing, and selling this pattern for years to the point that I included it in my DVD, Traditional Streamers and Bucktails, 2007. Here is the link to MyFlies.com and my product page for this DVD:


David has been an artist and taxidermist for over sixty years. He met and was influenced by Herbie Welch when he was 21 years of age. A very interesting and entertaining story is on the David Footer web site:  http://davidfooter.com/?page_id=239

I have seen and recognized Mr. Footer at various shows for years but I never had the privilege of meeting him until last weekend. It was a pleasure to meet him. Below is a photo of David and me taken at the show.

The creation of the Footer Special occurred similarly to the origin of the Supervisor, Lady Doctor, and Warden’s Worry, created by Maine Warden Joseph Stickney, who was also not a fly tier, but envisioned his patterns and had them dressed for him by fly tiers who were his friends.

Don Bastian and David Footer. Note the streamer fly hanging on my McKenzie Bright Light; the pattern is a Carrie Stevens Pink Lady; the head cement is drying. David has been a licensed taxidermist since 1946 and is recognized for his fish mounts and old fish mount restorations as one of the best in his field.

8 comments on “David Footer and the Footer Special

  1. Bob Vincent says:

    Hi Don,

    Must have been a thrill to meet Mr. Footer after you have tied the footer special so many times.

    You do know you have to take the paper off the razor blade before you put it in the razor to use. Just kidding,the facial hair looks good,

    Bob v.

    • Hi Bob;

      Yes it was a thrill! His work is amazing. And I laughed out loud when I started to read your comment about taking the paper off the razor before shaving, that’s funny right there, I don’t care who you are! Other than a short period in 2007, this is my first facial hair since 1992 – the occasion of my 40th birthday when I shaved my mustache. (To look younger of course – it worked). Thanks for your comment!

  2. Kelly L says:

    This is one of my favorite streamers of all time. Thanks for the blog on it.

  3. Bill says:

    How nice that Sharon made the connection for you with Mr. Footer. As for the photo, my very first reaction was that you not only have grown a beard since I last saw you, but that I thought you had woven a grizzly hackle into it. 😉

    • It was nice of her. And unless something unforeseen occurs, Sharon will be sharing my table this weekend at the Somerset, New Jersey, Fly Fishing Show, and as last weekend at Marlborough, our collaborative display of 80 Carrie Stevens streamer patterns will be presented.
      I laughed about your tease of my beard. No grizzly hackle in it, but maybe on occasion a stray bit of marabou or dubbing…ha!

  4. […] Friday March 16: I will be doing a fly tying demonstration from 1 to 5 PM on the mezzanine at the Hunting and Fishing Store in Freeport. In the evening starting at 7 PM, I am teaching their Friday night fly tying class, we will be tying the Footer Special, a Maine pattern created by artist and taxidermist David Footer. Check this link to a recent post with photos of David Footer: https://donbastianwetflies.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/david-footer-and-the-footer-special/ […]

  5. […] I was thrilled. I wouldn’t have given that a thought. I had been introduced to David by fellow tier Sharon Wright at the Marlborough Fly Fishing Show in January of this year. https://donbastianwetflies.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/david-footer-and-the-footer-special/ […]

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