Carrie’s Ghost – Original Rangeley Style Streamer Pattern

Right on the heels of Carrie’s Killer, I present Carrie’s Ghost. Why not add another “Ghost” pattern to the nearly three-dozen already in existence? And especially one to honor the First Lady of Streamer Tying, Carrie G. Stevens. Part of my group of original Rangeley style streamer patterns, here is Carrie’s Ghost:

Carrie's Ghost - original streamer tied and photogrphed by Don Bastian.

Carrie’s Ghost – original Rangeley style streamer, created, tied, and photographed by Don Bastian. Hook is a size #2 – 8x long, Gaelic Supreme Martinek / Stevens Rangeley Style Streamer.

Carrie’s Ghost

Tag: Flat silver tinsel

Ribbing: Flat silver tinsel

Body: Orange floss

Underwing: Four to six strands peacock herl, then a golden pheasant crest

Underbelly: White bucktail

Throat: Blue hackle fibers, then yellow hackle fibers

Wing: Two pink hackles flanked on each side by one light blue hackle and then one yellow hackle

Shoulder: Lemon wood duck breast

Cheeks: Jungle cock

Head: Black

Carrie's Ghost - a Don Bastian Rangeley style original streamer pattern.

Carrie’s Ghost – a Don Bastian Rangeley style original streamer pattern.

Carrie’s Killer – Original Rangeley Style Streamer Pattern

Last June, I conceived the idea of creating a few Rangeley style streamer patterns. The first fly was White Nose Pete: https://donbastianwetflies.com/2013/04/04/white-nose-pete/ then that was followed up with the creation of Wheeler’s Ghost: https://donbastianwetflies.com/2013/04/04/wheelers-ghost/

Those two patterns started me on a bent of creativity; the end result is thus far, thirty-five original streamer patterns, all themed on the Rangeley Lakes Region of Maine, and tied in traditional Carrie Stevens Rangeley streamer fly tying style. Two more additions added here today are Carrie’s Killer and Carrie’s Ghost, posted separately. I confess to heavily relying on the tying style and creativity of Carrie Stevens for inspiration in the development of these patterns; I utilize some of her components, methods, and uses of materials. For example, many of these patterns have peacock herl and / or bucktail bellies, some have golden pheasant or silver pheasant crest underwings, most have shoulders of various feathers, and some have two-color throats. These were components that Carrie Stevens used, in variety, on her patterns.

Here is Carrie’s Killer:

Carrie's Killer - original Rangeley style streamer patterns - created, tied, and photographed by Don Bastian.

Carrie’s Killer – original Rangeley style streamer pattern – created, tied, and photographed by Don Bastian. The hook is a size #1 – 8x long, Gaelic Supreme Martinek / Stevens Rangeley Style Streamer.

Carrie’s Killer

Tag: Flat silver tinsel

Ribbing: Flat silver tinsel

Body: Black floss

Underbelly: White bucktail

Underwing: Four to six strands peacock herl, then a golden pheasant crest

Throat: Yellow hackle fibers, then claret hackle fibers

Wing: Two pink hackles flanked on each side by one yellow-dyed grizzly hackle, flanked on each side by one claret hackle

Shoulders: Silver pheasant body feathers

Cheeks: Jungle cock

Head: Black

These components are listed in the order in which I attach them to the hook. Tied in Rangeley style, the throat is the last component to be attached just prior to the mounting of the wings. My listing of components differs from that presented in the Hilyard’s Carrie Stevens book. As far as mounting the wings, I once did that together, but now I place one wing at a time, the far side first, then the near wing. The tapered, flattened with tweezers or pliers to tie in better without rolling or twisting, butt ends of the wing feather tips are placed on the side of the head, at a slight downward angle. I also add a good-sized pinch of schlappen fibers, of whatever color the inside of the wing is, on the top of the head just before mounting the wing. This is an abbreviation of the technique of layered schlappen on both top and bottom of the hook developed and used by streamer guru and original Rangeley style streamer expert, Mike Martinek, Jr., of Stoneham, Massachusetts.  Mike has a great video demonstrating his technique.  Here is the Amazon.com link to buy his DVD:  http://www.amazon.com/Classic-Maine-Streamers-Mike-Martinek/dp/1604900148/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1369941739&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=classic+maine+sytreamers+martinek

Carrie's Killer

Carrie’s Killer – originated, tied, and photographed by Don Bastian

Parachute Adams

The Parachute Adams is a great variation of one of the greatest and most popular dry fly patterns ever created. I presently have a custom order for eight dozen trout flies for a client in eastern Pennsylvania, and the Parachute Adams, a dozen in size #12, was the first pattern on his list. The fellow has been buying flies from me every year, for at least ten years. It’s nice to have customers who give you repeat business! He fishes the Beaverkill and Delaware a lot, plus makes trips to Colorado.

The Parachute Adams is a great attractor pattern, it is also a good searching pattern, especially in broken water on big rivers and smaller freestone streams of both east and west. It is effective in sizes from #8 to #18 or even #20, though I personally prefer not to tie them smaller than a #16. An excellent variation of the Parachute Adams is to substitute olive dubbing for the usual gray body. As I tied these flies this morning, I was inspired to take some photo sequences, sort of a tying tutorial of sorts. And I also want to add a little fly tying diversification to the posts I make here. Keeping more on topic than stories and photos of white-tailed deer fawns, this dry fly pattern post is an effort in that direction. Also, be on the lookout soon, maybe even later today, for two of my original Rangeley style streamers, as promised: Carrie’s Killer and Carrie’s Ghost. (Hope you folks are not tiring of my spate of recent posts).

I still have seven more dozen flies to tie to finish this order – all drys – likely they’ll end up here too – plus I plan to knock off later this afternoon to head to Spring Creek near Bellefonte, because I figure this hot weather will produce a heavy sulphur spinner fall this evening. Among the tying and fishing yet to come today, I also need to squeeze in a little time with the mower on the yard. OK, tying the Parachute Adams:

#12 standard dry fly hook, the wing is attached but not yet posted around the base.

#12 standard dry fly hook, the wing is attached but not yet posted around the base. The wing is calf body hair – presently it’s kind of like a calf-hair Comparadun. The next step will be to post around the base of the hair fibers to gather the wing together.

I tie on a regal Stainless steel C-clamp vise. One advantage on the non-true rotary feature of the Regal vise is that when inverted, it presents the upright wing in this angle.

I tie on a Regal Stainless steel C-clamp vise. One advantage on the non-true rotary feature of the Regal vise is that when inverted, it presents the upright wing in this angle. This allows me to post the base of the wing while keeping my right arm and elbow comfortably and more naturally low at my side, instead of having to raise my elbow high if I had to post the base of the wing when in a vertical position. Calf body hair has no underfur and it is very slippery. What I call a Balanced Thread Wrap is required to post the base of the hair without having your thread slip off.

A Balanced Thread Wrap is when you balance the thread tension according to match the material being tied in, or wrapped around. In this case it is a taut, but not tight tension. You can also add a bit of head cement to the base of the wing before starting your wraps, this helps prevent the thread from slipping off.

Attach the hackles

Attaching the hackles: Once I get eight to twelve wraps around the base of the hair and have wound the thread to the base of the wing, I make one wrap over the hook shank – this helps prevent the thread from slipping off the wing during the next step – attaching the hackles. Take two previously prepared, clipped hackles and hold them with your right hand to the base of the post. Using your left hand for the bobbin, make a few balanced thread wraps over the hackle stem butts. Then wind back to the top (or bottom since this is inverted), of the wraps and grasp the wing post with my right hand then apply a few tight tension thread wraps to secure the thread around the hackle stems. Then switch the bobbin to your right hand and make a few more tight wraps. Return vise jaws to upright position and advance thread to hook point.

The hackle stem butts are comparable to a phrase associated with a Martini at this stage, shaken, not stirred, but in this case they should be clipped, not stripped. This leaves little butt ends of hackle barbs that help the thread bite into the feather stems more securely.

For production purposes, all 24 hackles for these flies were sizes, selected, and prepared in advance.

Vise jaws returned to upright position, ready to attach the tail fibers.

Vise jaws returned to upright position, ready to attach the tail fibers. Advance the thread to the hook point.

A mix of brown and grizzly spade hackle fibers (spade hackles comes from the outer edges of dry fly necks or capes.

A mix of brown and grizzly spade hackle fibers is used for the tail. Tail length should equal hook shank length, minus the eye. Spade hackles come from the outer edges of dry fly necks or capes, and is free of barbules or webbing. The fibers are attached at the hook point, then wound over the butt ends toward the wing post, then back to base of tail, with the end of the body vertically positioned slightly ahead of the hook barb.

Tail fibers wrapped over and secured, ready for dubbing.

Tail fibers wrapped over and secured, ready for application of dubbing. No need to make a solid winding of thread; tight, palmer wraps can be used to lock ‘er down. Saves time.

Hareline Dark Gray rabbit dubbing applied. Originally the Adams was tied with natural gray muskrat dubbing.

Note: you could wait until after the tail is attached to mount the hackles around the base of the wing post. But that means a forward advance of the thread, then back to the tail to apply the dubbing. Extra time. I always attach the hackles right after posting the wing. But in this case I forgot. Senior moment? Apologies for the less-than-sharp images, I hand held the camera and did all these images in “one take.”

Hareline Dark Gray rabbit dubbing applied. Originally the Adams was tied with matural gray muskrat fur.

Hareline Dark Gray rabbit dubbing applied. Originally the Adams was tied with natural gray muskrat fur.

The finished fly.

The finished Parachute Adams.

Very important tip here: From my fellow tier and friend, Tom Baltz of Mt. Holly Springs, Pennsylvania, for you right-handed tiers, wind the hackles counter-clockwise. This changes the angle of the barbs when wound to point away from you when you finish the thread wraps to lock the stem in after being wound. No more trapped hackle fibers! The tying thread can be wound almost normally, because the hackles fibers, now pointing away from the direction of your thread wraps, simply slide out of the way. Left-handed tiers, you would wind clockwise if you tie in normal left-handed fashion.

I still prefer to use a finishing technique that I perfected years back when I wound the hackles clockwise, and needed to get fibers out of the way to wind off the head. I use the little finger on my left hand to hold the tube of the bobbin. Holding the bobbin back out of the way, I load my Materelli whip finisher while having the use of my left thumb and all three remaining fingers to pull the hackle fibers out of the way. I then use the Matarelli, making 5 – 6 turns. Clip thread off, add a small drop of head cement for extra durability,  and you’re done.

A "studio shot" of the Parachute Adams.

A “studio shot” of the Parachute Adams.

Parachute Adams:

Hook: Standard dry fly hook, sizes #8 to #16

Thread: Danville Flymaster 6/0 #31 Gray or Uni-Thread 8/0 Gray , brown thread could also be used

Wing: White calf body hair

Hackle: Brown and grizzly mixed

Tail: Brown and grizzly mixed

Body: Dark gray rabbit or muskrat dubbing

Head: Gray

If you have never fished the Parachute Adams, I suggest it’s high-time you tie some and give them a try!