Just Fishing

It has been a long, long time since I posted anything here. Well, I’ve been busy. There were the scattered posts I made, the most recent but still old ones, referring to my drumming in a Classic Rock Band, my girlfriend, Mary – we got married on June 4th, and other things that have occupied my time. Between Mary and I, we have nine grandchildren. We also moved, from her home in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, where we were both living since July 2014, back to my home in Cogan Station. And that move was less than a month ago, on October 26th.

I am fairly active on Facebook, mostly for the band I am in, Pepper Street Band, and we also have a website: http://www.pepperstreetband.com. We played sixty-five bookings this year, and have twenty-five already lined up throughout 2017. But the boys have all decided we are not playing 65 times again this year. It will be closer to fifty.

I could write for days to try and get caught up, but why I am here now, well, it is because on Facebook, a friend and fellow fly tier just posted a photo of a book he bought a copy of: Ray Bergman’s first book, published in 1932, titled Just Fishing. He observed that there are no recipes for the fly patterns it contains. They were painted by Dr. Edgar Burke, who had done all the color fly plate paintings for Bergman’s books. I have been fortunate to personally see eight of the original plates Burke painted for Trout, (1938), and have a good idea of what his work represents in terms of translating that to tying materials used for specific patterns. So, thanking God for the data stored in a computer file, I can see that I created a particular Microsoft Word Document file on March 17, 2005. What is it? Ha! A detailed recipe list for all the flies in Just Fishing. I personally give this list an accuracy rating of about 99%, (Nobody’s perfect!).

So here it is:

Fly Pattern Dressings from Just Fishing (1932) by Ray Bergman – compiled by Don Bastian from close study of the color plates, since the actual dressings are not listed except for the streamer and bucktail patterns from the black and white photographs at the end of the list.

Plate 1 – Special Lures

Wet Fly Patterns:

Logan – Tag – gold tinsel; Rib – gold tinsel; Tail – red & yellow married; Body – brown floss; Hackle – brown; Wing – married yellow w/crimson stripe; Head – orange w/peacock herl at base of wing.

Brougham’s Cohoe – Tag – silver tinsel; Tail – golden pheasant crest; Rib – silver tinsel; Body -red wool; Hackle – red; Wing – dark brown turkey with thin strip of yellow at upper and lower edge; Head – black.

Never-Was – Tail – peacock sword fibers equal to body length; Body – peacock herl; Hackle – over-sized, dark green tied palmer; Wing – orange; Head – peacock herl & black.

Black Nymph Creeper – tie on 2x long hook – Tag – gold tinsel; Tail – guinea; Body – silver tinsel with sparse golden pheasant tippet at mid point, tyed as a top veiling equal to 2/3 length of tail; Wing – white hackle tyed streamer; Hackle – black collar; Horns – two fibers peacock sword.

Pink Nymph Creeper – tie on 2x long hook – Tag – gold tinsel; Tail – orange fibers; Rib – black silk; Body – pink floss with single strand of white ostrich herl as a top veil at second turn of rib; Wing – sparse peacock sword fibers; Hackle – pink and white collar intermingled.

Yellow Nymph Creeper – tie on 2x long hook – Tag – silver tinsel; Tail – two tips short yellow ostrich herl; Rib – black silk; Body – pale yellow floss with sparse golden pheasant tippet as top veil equal to end of tail tyed in just behind mid-point; Wing – yellow hackle tyed streamer; Hackle – yellow collar; Horns – two fibers of peacock sword.

Dry Fly Patterns:

Orange Fish Hawk –  – Rib – gold tinsel; Body – orange floss; hackle – badger.

March Brown – Tail – long, sparse fibers of Mandarin flank; Rib – finest gold tinsel; Body – Hare’s Ear dubbing; Wing – barred turkey; Hackle – cree with little or no white.

Brown Spider (Hewitt) – Tail – brown hackle fibers; Body – tying thread – Hackle – Brown, over-sized; fronted with white.

Nymph Patterns:

R.B. Stone Fly Creeper – tie on 3x long hook – Tail – guinea fibers; body – yellow underside, brown above; Rib – black thread; Legs – guinea fibers in three separate bunches, the first just to the rear of mid-point, second half-way to head, third just behind the head.

Grannom Nymph – tie on 2x long hook – Body – medium olive dubbing, tapered slightly larger in thorax; Legs – finely barred teal flank tyed as a collar.

Inch Worm – tie on 4x long hook – body – thin light olive dubbing; hackle – light olive collar.

Blue Olive Nymph – tie on 2x long hook – Tail – dun fibers, short; Body – gray floss; Thorax – dark gray dubbing; Hackle – dark dun hen as a collar.

Pale Olive Nymph – tie on 2x long hook – Tail – light dun, short; Body – pale olive floss; Thorax – pale olive dubbing; Overback – light slate quill section over abdomen; Wingcase – light slate quill section over thorax; Legs – light dun hen fibers swept to sides.

Iron Blue Nymph – tie on 2x long hook – Tail – dark dun fibers, short; Body – dark gray floss; Rib – black silk; Thorax – Iron Blue Dubbing; Wingcase – dark slate quill section over thorax; Legs – Dark slate fibers swept to both sides.

Carot Nymph- tie on 2x long hook – Tail – brown hackle; Abdomen – orange floss; Thorax – gray dubbing; Hackle – light dun hen tyed as a collar.

Just Fishing – Plate 2 – Wet Flies

In the book illustrations, the tying style of nearly all these patterns differs significantly from those later shown in Trout (1938), and those in With Fly, Plug, and Bait (1947). There are scattered slight differences in the dressings, but the main variation lies in the style of hackling the flies. These patterns from Just Fishing were painted by Dr. Edgar Burke from originals furnished by Wm. Mills & Son in New York. Virtually all the wet flies illustrated in Just Fishing were tied using the older, traditional style of “collaring” the hackle, even in front of the wing. Bergman was among the early 20th Century angling writers to popularize the practical form of tying a wet fly using a “throat” or “beard” hackle. Though in 1850, James Wright, creator of the Durham Ranger, wrote of a “false” hackle. Wright also created the Greenwell’s Glory. All heads are black unless noted otherwise.

Green Drake – Tail – mallard flank dyed pale green; Body – pale green dubbing; Rib – peacock herl;  Wing – Mallard flank dyed pale green; Hackle – brown; Head – Yellow with peacock herl.

Cahill (Dark) – Tail – Mandarin; Body – blue-gray fur;  Wing – Mandarin; Hackle – brown.

Montreal – Tail – red; Rib – gold tinsel; Body – claret floss; Wing- dark brown mottled turkey; Hackle – claret.

Gray Hackle (Red) – Body – red floss; Hackle – Silver-gray Badger.

Red Quill – Tail – brown fibers; Body – stripped peacock quill; Wing – light slate; Hackle – red brown hen.

Fish Fin – Body – pink floss; Wing – White quill; Hackle – dark furnace.

Maginty (note spelling variation) – Tail – red and gray mallard; Body – alternate yellow and black chenille; Wing – white-tipped turkey; Hackle – brown.

Coachman – Body – peacock herl; Wing – white quill; Hackle – brown; Head – white with peacock herl.

Quill Gordon – Tail – dark dun fibers; Body – peacock quill; Wing – Mandarin; Hackle – dark dun.

Olive Quill – Tail – light olive fibers; Body – peacock quill;  Wing – light slate; Hackle – light olive.

Seth Green – Rib – yellow silk; Body – dark green floss;  Wing – dark brown mottled turkey; Hackle – brown.

Dr. Breck – Tail – jungle eye; Body – silver tinsel; Wing – married white with wide red stripe; Hackle – scarlet. Head: white with peacock herl.

Little Yellow May – Tail – three long fibers of pheasant tail; Body – pale yellow floss; Rib – gold tinsel;  Wing – Mallard dyed pale yellow; Hackle – ginger.

Cowdung – Tag – gold tinsel; Rib – gold tinsel; Body – dubbed brown; Wing – light slate; Hackle – brown.

Brown Hackle – Body – peacock herl; Hackle – brown.

Professor – Tail – scarlet; Rib – gold tinsel; Body – yellow floss; Wing – gray mallard; Hackle – brown.

Silver Doctor – Tip – silver tinsel and yellow floss; Tail – golden pheasant crest; Tag – Red floss; Body – silver tinsel; Rib – oval silver tinsel; Wing – in order from top – Barred Mandarin, Florican, teal, yellow, blue, scarlet, topping of golden pheasant crest; hackle – beard of blue and guinea mixed; Head – red.

Orange Fish Hawk – Tag – gold tinsel; Rib – gold tinsel; Body – pale orange floss; Hackle – gray badger.

Beaverkill – Tail – long gray mallard; Body – white floss; Wing – light slate; Hackle – brown.

Royal Coachman – Tail – golden pheasant tippet; Body – peacock herl with band of red floss in middle; Wing – white; hackle – brown.

Grizzly King – Tip – gold tinsel; Tail – scarlet; Rib – gold tinsel; Body – dark green floss; Wing – teal; Hackle – badger.

Parmacheenie Belle – Tip – silver tinsel; Tail – married red and scarlet; Rib – silver tinsel; Body – yellow wool; Wing – married white with red stripe; Hackle – scarlet and white. (I corrected the spelling on this).

Montreal Silver – Tail – scarlet; Body – silver tinsel; Wing – dark brown mottled turkey; Hackle – claret.

Grannom – Tag – peacock herl; Body – buff wool; Wing – light brown barred turkey; Hackle – Brown.

Black Gnat – Body – black chenille; Wing – slate; Hackle – black.

Lord Baltimore – Tail – married yellow and black; Rib – black silk; Body – orange floss; Wing – Black with jungle eye; Hackle – black.

Red Tag – Tail – red wool; Body – peacock herl; Hackle – brown tied palmer.

Light Cahill – Tail – Mandarin; Body – pale ginger dubbing; Wing – Mandarin; Hackle – ginger.

Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear – Tail – Mandarin; Rib – gold tinsel; Body – hare’s ear dubbing; Wing – slate.

Hawthorne – Tip – gold tinsel; Tail – black fibers; Body – rear 2/3 black floss, front 1/3 black wool or fur; Wing – black; Hackle – black.

Wickham’s Fancy – Tail – brown fibers; Body – gold tinsel; Hackle – brown tied palmer; Wing – slate.

Campbell’s Fancy – Tail – golden pheasant crest; Rib – oval gold tnsel; Body – gold tinsel; Wing – teal; Hackle – brown.

White Miller – Tip – silver tinsel; Rib – Silver tinsel; Body – white floss; Wing – White; Hackle – white; Head – white with peacock herl.

Blue Quill – Tail – dark dun fibers; Body – peacock quill with light and dark bands; Wing – slate; Hackle – dark dun.

Iron Blue Dun – Tail – brown; Body – rear 1/3 red floss, front 2/3 gray dubbing; Wing – dark slate – Hackle – brown.

Just Fishing – Plate 3 – Dry Flies

Owre – Tail – gray mallard; Tag – gold tinsel; Body – cream dubbing; Wing – Mandarin; Hackle – ginger.

Light Hendrickson – Tail – Mandarin; Body – medium blue-gray fur; Wing- Mandarin; Hackle – light blue dun.

Light Cahill – Tail – Mandarin; Body – cream dubbing; Wing – Mandarin; Hackle – ginger.

Wallkill – Tail – cream; Body – olive floss; Wing – Mandarin; Hackle – cream.

Hendrickson Egg Sac – Tail – Mandarin; Body – gray floss, yellow chenille tag; Wing – Mandarin – Hackle – dark dun.

Cahill (Dark) –Tail – Mandarin; Body – dark blue-gray fur; Wing – Mandarin; Hackle – brown.

Pinekill – Tail – Mandarin; Body – gold tinsel; Wing – Mandarin; Hackle – furnace.

Bataviakill – Tail – brown fibers; Body – black floss; Wing – Mandarin; Hackle – olive.

Quill Gordon – Tail – dark dun fibers; Body – peacock quill; Wing – Mandarin; Hackle – dark dun.

Special Queen – Tail – golden pheasant tippet; Body – gold tinsel palmered with under-sized brown hackle; Wing – Mandarin; Hackle – brown.

Basherkill – Tail – pale yellow fibers; Body – light olive floss; Wing – Mandarin; hackle – pale yellow.

Paulinskill – Tail – cream; Body – white floss; Wing – Mandarin; Hackle – ginger.

Hendrickson – Tail – Mandarin; Body – dark gray fur; Wing – Mandarin; Hackle – dark dun.

Brown Bivisible – Tail – brown fibers; Body – brown hackle; few turns of white hackle in front.

Badger Bivisible – Tail – badger; Body – badger hackle, few turns of white in front.

Black Bivisible – Tail – black; Body – black hackle, few turns of white in front.

Fan Wing Royal Coachman – Tail – golden pheasant tippet; Body – peacock herl with red floss band in center; Wing – white duck breast fan-wing; Hackle – brown.

Bridgeville Olive – Tail – cream fibers; Body – white floss; Wing – mallard flank dyed yellow; Hackle – cream.

Fan Wing Pink Lady – Tail – golden pheasant tippet; Body – pink floss; Rib – gold tinsel;  Wing – white duck breast fan- wing; Hackle – brown.

Blue Spider – Tail – Mandarin; Body – gray fur; Hackle – blue dun, large.

Wickham’s Fancy – Tail – brown fibers; Body – gold tinsel with palmered brown hackle; Wing – slate; Hackle – brown.

Royal Coachman – Tail – golden pheasant tippet; Body – peacock herl with red floss band in center; Wing – white quill; Hackle – brown.

Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear – Tail – brown; Body – hare’s ear dubbing; Rib – gold tinsel; Wing – slate; Hackle – rabbit fur guard hairs.

Black Gnat Silk Body – Body – black floss; Wing – slate; Hackle – black.

Coachman – Body – peacock herl; Wing – white; Hackle – brown.

Pink Lady – Tail – golden pheasant tippet; Body – pink floss; Rib – gold tinsel; Wing – slate; Hackle – brown.

Little Marryat – Tail – ginger fibers; Body – light gray fur; Wing – light slate; Hackle – ginger.

Iron Blue Dun – Tail – two long fibers moose body hair; Body – rear 1/3 red floss, front 2/3 gray fur; Wing – dark slate; Hackle – brown.

Note: On the Royal Coachman, RC Fanwing, and Pink Lady fan wing, I also add a tag of flat gold tinsel.

Special Flies – from Just Fishing – a short list of streamers and bucktails.

R.B. Streamer – Wing – white polar bear, yellow bucktail topping; Body – silver tinsel; Cheeks – scarlet feathers.

Lady Doctor – Wing – white polar bear, black bucktail topping, jungle cock eye; Tail- yellow; Tag – red floss; Body – yellow with palmered yellow hackle; Cheeks – scarlet feathers.

Ballou’s Special – Wing – sparse red bucktail underwing, white marabou topped with 8 or 9 peacock herl tips, jungle eye; Tail – golden pheasant crest; Body – silver tinsel.

Highlander – Tail – Dominick (grizzly); Body – silver tinsel; Wing – yellow hackles under badger hackles, long jungle eye; badger hackle collar.

Conger’s Lassie – Tail – Dominick (grizzly) hackle tips; Body – gold tinsel; Wing – orange and badger hackles, long jungle eye; Hackle – black collar.

The patterns noted with the initials “RB” are Ray Bergman originals. And remember, written fly pattern directions, when correct, should be easily tied correctly without a photo or image. Married wing and tail components are always listed from the top down. And a tag is always under the tail, and a tip is at the end of the body and always encircles the tail.

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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. 😀

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. 🙂

Bastian’s Floating Caddis / Mayfly Emerger

I had announced this on my facebook page last week, but I also wanted to post something here. I am pleased to announce that the Orvis Company has picked up for the third year, my original pattern, “Bastian’s Floating Cadddis Emerger.” It is offered in their online catalog:

http://www.orvis.com/store/product_search_tnail.aspx?keyword=bastian%27s+floating+caddis+emerger

This pattern was created in 2006, a revised fly that began in 1996 with my original Hatching Caddis Adult pattern. It has been field-tested in Pennsylvania; on Penn’s Creek, Big Pine Creek, and Spring Creek. I also used it successfully on the Beaverkill in New York, and Montana’s Madison River, and my brother has used it on Maine’s Penobscot River for land-locked salmon. It has also proven itself as a very effective still-water fly. Since its release with Orvis, a customer and his wife from Massachusetts, who guide with the 2014 Orvis Guide of the Year, Tim Linehan, used it on the Missouri River in 2013 and hammered ’em. Tim had not seen the pattern previously and was surprised by its success. He bought some from me afterward.

Here is a photo of Susan Ukena with Tim Linehan, and a fine Missouri River rainbow that took my emerger – a #14 tan:

Sue Ukena and Orvis 2014 Guide of the Year, Tim Linehan, with a Missouri River rainbow that fell to Bastian's Floating Caddis Emerger.

Sue Ukena and Orvis 2014 Guide of the Year, Tim Linehan, with a Missouri River rainbow that fell to Bastian’s Floating Caddis Emerger.

I also wanted to get the fly on the MyFlies.com site, but could not in good conscience place the same pattern there. So I made two changes in the pattern, number one, the way the hackle is applied. On the MyFlies.com version, Bastian’s Floating Caddis / Mayfly Emerger, I side-lash the legs. And number two, I added a chartreuse foam indicator to the top of the fly and the neck, between the body and head section. This helps improve visibility of the fly, which rides on the surface. It is called an emerger, but this fly is actually a dry fly, even though it is unconventional in its appearance as a dry fly. Another thing about it, even if swamped by surface turbulence, it remains in the film. That is why the hi-vis indicator is helpful. Plus I have successfully for the last three seasons, doubled-up and used a tandem dry fly rig with this pattern; a sulfur dun and a ginger colored “sulfur” version of Bastian’s Floating Caddis / Mayfly Emerger. The larger, high-floating, more visible dun pattern keeps your eye tracking the drift of the emerger as well. Trout flash, swirl, boil, or just show themselves under the dun, and they are generally always looking at, or most times, have taken the emerger. This is why I have trained myself to be quick to strike at any sign of a trout. Even with just 10″ of tippet between the dun and emerger, the dry fly does not always give indication that the trout took the emerger. They are faster and quicker on the “take and spit” than most of us ever realize.

There are about ten or eleven articles here on my blog related to this pattern. Use the search tab, type in “Floating Emerger,” hit the enter key and they will come up. Lots of photos, success stories, tactical stuff, tying instructions…it’s all there.

Here is a pic from the MyFlies.com site:

This is the gingeerr colored veersion of Bastian's Floating Caddis / Mayfly Emerger, this KILLS on Speing Creeek and any stream where the sulfurs, Ephemerella rotunda exist.

This is the ginger-colored version of Bastian’s Floating Caddis / Mayfly Emerger. This fly KILLS on Spring Creek and any stream where the sulfurs, phemerella rotunda exist.

A customer here in Pennsylvania recently ordered some of these. Here is a quote from the e-mail I got the other day when he received his order:

“Received the flies. Once again, I am just stunned at the character of these flies in person, I am not surprised they are so killer.”

These flies are available from Orvis, or from MyFlies.com. I also offer them in custom colors and sizes, I have tied them as small as #20, and as large as a #10 – 2x long in brown as a Slate Drake Emerger. Now all we have to do is wait for Spring…

Spring Creek – First Trip 2014

Yesterday afternoon a friend, his son, and me went to Pennsylvania’s Spring Creek with hopes of catching some sulfur mayfly activity. We did. This article is a brief report on that trip.

The day was bright and sunny, and we selected a section of the stream to fish from the west bank, allowing for the sun to be at our backs. This gave us the advantage by reducing glare and minimizing eye strain, and also hid us from the fish because they have the glare in their right eye. We fished a section flowing from right to left. I always consider that whenever possible.

I started the first twenty minutes or so by giving my friend’s son, Sam, a lesson on nymph fishing. This was a refresher course on a demo that I had given him a few years earlier. As I narrated the approach, casting, targeting, drift management, striking, moving the indicator depending on the depth and current speed of the target area, and hook-setting, I had a couple strikes, and then, the one fish I did manage to hook, was lying in a most unlikely location, which added significantly to the learning impact of the lesson. The trout was holding in just a riffle, shallow, barely fifteen inches deep. Object lesson learned: “Don’t pass up any potential spot, even it you think it is too shallow, at least not on this crick.”

We hooked a few trout on nymphs, then adjourned stream-side for an early dinner of baloney and cheese sandwiches with mustard, before the hoped-for evening hatching and feeding activity. We started fishing again about five PM. Only an occasional trout rose, so I stayed with the nymphs and worked my way upstream through some riffles and pocket-water. I hooked a few trout, but nothing to write home about. For a change of pace I decided to start tossing a dry, or rather, my two-dry fly rig that I started using last year. This set-up is a sulfur dun of various styles with my Floating “Sulfur” (Caddis) Emerger trailing off this fly with about ten inches of 5x tippet. I tie it to the hook bend. After I made about three casts, I hooked a trout on the Floating Emerger. Took his photo as he reluctantly posed for me. The very next cast another trout took the emerger. I thought, whoa, this is gonna be great! Well, it was, almost, but not right away.

My first Spring Creek trout of 2014

My first Spring Creek trout of 2014, taken on my Floating Caddis – Mayfly “Sulfur” Emerger, a #14.

I walked downstream to a pool where my companions were, checked in with them, and since they had a few risers, and caught a few trout, I decided to move below them and try some riffles and pockets. I caught this guy on a #14 Sulfur Poly-wing Thorax Dun:

First trout that took the sulfur dun

First trout that took the sulfur dun in my two-dry fly rig.

I keep both these drys close together because they never alight with the tippet stretched out. The intent is to prevent the two flies from getting into current lanes with different speeds. If I have twelve inches of tippet between the two flies, the two patterns are often only a few inches apart. Trout can see both of them, I believe, and make their choice. The Floating Emerger was rising more trout in the afternoon, but as the hatch intensified, they seemed to prefer the dun, though all along trout continued to hit both flies.

We did not have a heavy hatch, and not a lot of trout were actively rising; it seemed sporadic at best. Still we caught trout. After hooking and raising several trout in the water below the pool where my companions fished, I started back up through the same section of riffles and pocket water I had fished previously, and decided to tie on a #12 Sulfur Parachute Dun. Why a size twelve, you ask? Well, some of Spring Creeks sulfurs are nearly that big, I’ve seen enough of ’em over the last twenty-five to make the assessment with certainty. The other reason, and there are a few are: It was about seven PM, and a larger fly would be easier to see on the rough water I was fishing, and also easier to see as daylight faded into dusk. A larger fly would float better. A larger fly would be easier for the trout to see as well.

So that’s what I did, and trout took the large sulfur dun with no hesitation. The first trout I rose was in a fast riffle, and he smashed the fly; he was about fourteen inches. Every fish that took that fly, whacked it, but then again I was fishing faster, rather turbulent riffle and pocket water and they don’t have a lot of time to think about it. I like the challenge of fishing like this because it is very difficult to get the fly to drift naturally in many of the likely-looking spots. The heavy water allows me to get close enough to almost “dap” the flies on the water, very similar to close-range high-stick nymphing, because often I had only a few feet of fly line extending past the rod tip.

This trout was the fish of the day for me:

Sixten-inch Spring Crek brown taken on a #12 Sulphur Poly-wing parachute Dun.

Sixteen-inch Spring Creek brown taken on a #12 Sulphur Poly-wing Parachute Dun.

And since he, or rather, “she” was a nice trout, she warranted a few more pics:

head out of water, in the net. I always try to keep larger fish in the water, and always do when I'm photographing the fish by myself. And with a net.

Head out of water, in the net. I always try to keep larger fish in the water, and always do when I’m photographing the fish by myself. And with a net. You can see my fingers underneath her. To those unaware, the absence of a kype or hooked jaw, indicates this trout is a female.

And here she is posing in a lovely full-body image:

16" Spring Creek Brown, taken ion a #12 Sulfur Poly-wing  Parachute Dun.

16″ Spring Creek Brown, taken on a #12 Sulfur Poly-wing Parachute Dun.

I took another smaller trout later on:

Smaller trout, about ten inches,

Smaller trout, about ten inches, you can clearly see the parachute dun. When I want to photograph trout like this, I actually bring the trout in close, then before I touch the fish, I turn on my camera and hit the macro button. Sometimes after doing this the trout gets away, but I don’t care, I’m releasing it anyway. Once the camera is readied and “on,” I grab the fish, snap a pic, unhook the fly, and they’re quickly back in the water. I wet my hands first. When doing this I have the fish out of the water for about 5 – 6 seconds.

At this point I want to say, anyone keeping fish out of the water for photographs for more than ten seconds after you have played them into submission, presents the risk of harming the fish through lack of oxygen. Speed it up, preferably, respect the fish, and keep them out of the water as little as possible. Imagine someone holding your head under a bucket of water to take photos of you immediately after you just ran the 200-yard dash. That is the position the trout are in when we bring them to hand. And don’t get them on shore where you can drop them and have them slip and flop out of your grasp and die from trauma after being released. I recently read a study on steelhead trout, tagged with radio collars in the Pacific Northwest, where a significant number were dying after being caught and released. The data discovered that most of these fish died of head trauma, caused by thrashing about or being dropped onto the rocks on shore, and not from being hooked with rod and reel.

And here is the intact rig with the actual flies that did the deeds:

Size #12 Sulfur Poly-wing Parachute Dun

Size #12 Sulfur Poly-wing Parachute Dun with a #14 Floating “Sulfur” Emerger, patterned exactly after my Floating “Caddis” Emerger – the only change is the body dubbing color to ginger and I use orange thread. There was only eight inches of 5x tippet separating the two flies. Both flies are treated frequently with floatant.

This two-dry system works. I plan to try a Sulfur Dun and Sulfur Spinner together, that way the trout won’t treat me with disrespect like they did last year one evening, when the dun hatch fizzled out, and there were tons of spinners in the air, I thought I knew better and tied on a spinner. I ended up casting the spinner to about fifty rising trout, only to hook a handful of them. Turned out the dun hatch reignited and went gangbusters from about 8:15 until dusk, and the trout took the duns to my dismay, but I learned that lesson. I should have recognized that sooner. In the type of pocket and riffle water I was fishing, a Dun / Spinner two-dry fly rig will work. I’m about to test that out. 😉

Here are two links to articles on the Sulfur Emerger I wrote last May 2013, including the recipe and tying instructions:

https://donbastianwetflies.com/2013/05/31/bastians-floating-caddis-sulphur-emerger/

https://donbastianwetflies.com/2013/05/31/bastians-floating-sulphur-emerger-part-ii/

Fly Order (SPAM)

Perhaps I’m getting a little creative in an odd sort of way, by throwing the word SPAM into the title of this article. I have actually gotten quite a few laughs over the last couple years by reading the ever increasing volume of some of the SPAM that comes into donbastianwetflies.com. Not that I spend a lot of time reading it, I don’t. It comes from everybody and their brother and their mother and their aunt and uncle and their in-laws and cousins and their lawyer and the pool boy and the plumber and brothers and sisters and where to buy shoes and drug companies and your credit score and porn sites and new windows and easy loans and online dating and Viagara and Cialis and Levitra and loan me money and best new food recipes and a host robotic cyber morons pretending to be a real person…ugh…it is actually pretty ridiculous.

This morning, after not checking here for several days, I had a new record-high for SPAM; 574 items. Course I don’t read these, I just fly through them ASAP and hit “delete, delete, delete, delete…” until they are gone into the trash bins of cyberspace. Or where ever it is that they end up…

So, getting back on topic, here are a couple pictures of a recent fly order that I shipped out, one of many that I have recently received through the site, www.MyFlies.com.

Flies...

Flies…a mixed-bag order that went out to a single customer. Extended Body (my design) of closed-cell foam; Slate Drake duns and spinners in multiple styles, Green Drake Spinners, a few of my Floating Caddis-Mayfly Emergers, the RSP, my Low-water Inchworm, and also my own design of the Floating Inchworm. The gray wings on the Slate Drakes might look like CDC, but it’s actually plain, old poly yarn.

Macro of previous photo.

Macro of previous photo. Note the olive body on the Floating Caddis-Mayfly Emergers.

And a macro of the BXB (Bastian Extended Body) Green Drake Fan Wing pattern:

Fan Wing Coffin Fly

Fan Wing Coffin Fly. The Hook is a Tiemco 2488 light-wire, wide-gape, up-eye scud.

BXB Green Drake Coffin Fly, inspired by the Dette Coffin Fly

BXB Green Drake Coffin Fly, my original design; inspired by the Dette Coffin Fly and the Coffin Fly from Trout (1938) by Ray Bergman. Since these flies were tied, I figured out how to put three tails on these patterns, just like the real Ephemera guttulata mayflies have. I clip the hackle on the bottom so the fly floats lower in the surface film, and this also helps it ride right-side up.

An authentic original Dette Coffin fly, tied by the Dette's Fly Shop, Roscoe, New York. It is not known whether Mary Dette tied this fly or not.

An authentic original Dette Coffin fly, tied by the Dette’s Fly Shop, Roscoe, New York. It is not known whether Mary Dette tied this fly or not. This pattern is tied on a 1x long dry fly hook. This fly was a gift from a friend, fellow Pennsylvanian, Bill Havrilla. Thanks Bill!

As I slowly gain ground on my fishing fly orders, I am catching up a little bit. I shipped five orders so far this week, but I also received three new orders. Right now I still have twelve orders from MyFlies.com stacked up, plus some other custom orders waiting to hit the vise. That’s the main reason why I have not been out fishing yet. In fact on Saturday April 12th, I was out late the night before, got awake at 3:15 AM, started thinking about stuff, never got back to sleep and got out of bed at 4:30, and by five AM I was already tying. It wasn’t until I went to the post office and drove past the Quiggleville Community Hall at 10:30 AM and noticed that I had missed the Annual Fishermen’s Breakfast. Dang. See:  https://donbastianwetflies.com/2012/04/15/opening-day-on-spring-creek-pennsylvania-part-ii/

It wasn’t until that moment when I drove by and realized I missed the Annual Fishermen’s Breakfast that I even remembered it was the Opening Day of Trout Season in this part of Pennsylvania. I missed out…more so on the breakfast than on the fishing. The water was high and kinda muddy, but I bet that locally grown, home-made sausage, farm-fresh eggs, and pancakes was real tasty!

Fanwing Royal Coachman and Royal Coachman Wet Fly

I recently finished an order of Fanwing Royal Coachman dry flies and some Royal Coachman wet flies along with the drys. The Fanwing Royal Coachman was among the most popular of all fanwing patterns, which grew to popularity in the late 1920’s. A wide variety of existing dry fly patterns were adapted to fanwing versions, largely due to their popularity. Fanwings remained popular through the 1950’s and even into the early 1960’s. The Fanwing Royal Coachman remained on Ray Bergman’s “Favorite List of Dry Flies” in all three of his trout fishing books, covering a time span of twenty years.

I tied my first Royal Coachman nearly fifty years ago, and it was a favorite top-water pattern of mine. See also:  https://donbastianwetflies.com/2011/02/08/fan-wing-royal-coachman-dry-fly/

There’s a few fish stories in that older piece that do not need to be repeated here. Instead I’ m posting these photos:Royal Coachman FW and Wets 003Size #8, #10, and #12.

Two dozen Fanwing Royal Coachman Drys, #8, #10, and #12.

Two dozen Fanwing Royal Coachman Drys, #8, #10, and #12. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

And the forerunner to the dry fly Royal Coachman, the Royal Coachman wet fly:

A dozen Royal Coachman wet flies, #6 and #8, carded up to make them look nice.

A dozen Royal Coachman wet flies, #6 and #8. I tied the wings on these in the old-school- traditional style that was popular in the 19th century.

The original version of the Royal Coachman wet fly had a tail of barred wood duck, but the Federal Migratory Bird Act of 1918 put an end to that. I’m guessing at that time the present golden pheasant tippet fibers for tail came into use for this pattern, since wood ducks, hunted to near-extinction, along with the wide-scale 19th century logging that severely reduced their favored nesting sites – tree cavities, were given national protection and were not legally hunted nationwide until 1959.

All carded up to make them look nice for my customer.

All carded up to make them look nice for my customer.

Hackles on the wets are hen, wound as a collar. White duck wing quill sections on the wet flies, and white male wood duck breast feathers on the fanwings. There are tinsel tags on both dry and wet patterns, and the body is red floss and peacock herl.

Martinis and Thread Wraps

I’m sitting here tying some classic Fanwing Royal Coachman drys, just started on some #8 hooks; all two dozen hooks #8, #10,#12, have the wings already mounted, so the hard part is done! This thought hit me as I set the tinsel tag on the first hook:

What is the similarity between Martinis and thread wraps to secure tags, tails, floss, ribbing?

One is not enough, three is too many!

Yup. Tie in and wrap the tag, secure with two wraps. Add the tail, secure with two wraps. Add the peacock herl for the rear of the body, and here of course you have to wrap forward to the hook point. I’ll try to get photos to post before I ship the order.