Pink Lady Fan Wing Dry Fly

Considering my fly tying and fly fishing roots, in that I was exposed to Trout, 1938, by Ray Bergman at age 12, and also How To Tie Flies, 1940, by E. C. Gregg; these two books had a profound influence on my early interest and education in tying flies. Other than seeing my dad tie three flies, I never saw anyone else tie a fly for ten years, except my brother, Larry, since we shared dad’s tying tools and materials until he went away to college in 1972. Primarily because of those two books you could say I am a classically-trained fly tier. Similar to a musician who was classically-trained, but I have stayed closer to my traditional roots than a classically-trained musician who becomes a performer of rock or jazz. My traditional fly tying roots include stories of how the Fan Wing Royal Coachman was a favorite dry fly pattern of my father, Donald R. Bastian.

Ray Bergman wrote about the Fan Wing Royal Coachman in his books, but it was not until later in my tying career that I obtained a copy of Ray’s first book, Just Fishing, 1932. Bergman’s account in Just Fishing describes his initial revulsion at the mere appearance of the Fan Wing Royal Coachman, and then continues in the text of that book as to how and why the pattern quickly became one of his favorite dry fly patterns.

From the single color plate of dry flies in Just Fishing, painted by artist Dr. Edgar Burke, there is a Fan Wing Pink Lady. I always thought that was a beautiful fly. Over a decade ago, bowing to my classically-trained fly tying roots, I put together a boxed selection of five different Fan Wing dry fly patterns, containing, of course the Royal Coachman, plus a Light Cahill, March Brown, Green Drake, and the Pink Lady. Last season during the shows I sold the last boxed set I had, but I have had a few dozen fan wing flies completed, ready to make up a few more sets, save for tying a couple more of the patterns to complete the selections.

The Pink Lady became a well-known dry fly pattern, thanks to George M. L. LaBranche, who in 1914, authored The Dry Fly and Fast Water. LaBranche is credited for originating the Pink Lady. In the 1920’s when Fan Wing patterns became popular, it was only natural that someone would take the Pink Lady and convert it to a Fan Wing pattern.

Here is a Fan Wing Pink Lady that I tied a couple years ago:

Fan Wing Pink Lady - the hook is a size #10 standard fine wire dry fly hook.

Fan Wing Pink Lady – the hook is a size #10 standard fine wire dry fly hook. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

Fan Wing Pink Lady

Hook: Standard dry fly hook, size #8 to #12

Thread: Danville Flymaster 6/0 #2 Cream

Wings: White duck breast feathers, see footnote below *

Tag: Narrow flat gold tinsel

Tail: Golden pheasant tippet

Ribbing: Narrow flat gold tinsel

Body: Pink floss, pale in color

Hackle: Light ginger

Head: Cream

* Male wood duck breast feathers can be used for the white wings, though during the Golden Age of Fan Wing Drys in the 1920’s and ’30’s, wood ducks were under the protection of the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Nearly driven to the brink of extinction by loss of habitat due to intense logging and unrestricted market hunting, the extirpation of the wood duck was a definite possibility, considering the fate of the passenger pigeon. Mandarin duck feathers were used, as were also the breast feathers from small breeds of white domestic ducks. Wood ducks were fully protected starting in 1918, but some states allowed limited hunting of wood ducks to resume in the late 1940’s. ‘Woodies’ were not hunted again nationwide until 1959. Thankfully wood duck populations are presently healthy, the result of intensive duck box nesting programs and sensible hunting practices.

I apologize that I do not have a front view of the fan wings, but you can check my recent post on the Fan Wing Royal Coachman. The wings look the same. Wing sizing should be equal to the length of the entire hook. A heavier tippet, 4x, is best when fishing fan wing drys, and minimizing your false casting also works to your advantage.

I listed the wings as the first ingredient, because when tying these flies, it is advisable to mount the wings first. I believe there is feather mounting information in my Fan Wing Green Drake post. Don’t forget you can use the search key tab at the to right of my home page; just type in a topic you are looking for, and hit ‘enter.’

The Fan Wing Pink Lady is a classic dry fly pattern.

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Fanwing Coffin Fly

A while back I posted a Green Drake Coffin Fly pattern that I developed with the white foam extended body. It was patterned after the Dette Coffin Fly, which has a white body, short-clipped palmered white hackle, teal breast feathers for wings, and a silver badger hackle. A few weeks ago I also had the inspiration to tie that same fly, but instead add the curved, short teal center breast feathers to create a classic, fanwing pattern. I recall that idea came to me by simply noticing a single teal “fanwing” breast feather lying among my fly tying stuff, and as I picked it up and looked at it in my hand, I decided to make my extended body Coffin Fly pattern into a fanwing version. I know, it’s way past green drake time and that won’t come again for another ten-and-a-half months, but I just today added this pattern to MyFlies.com along with my BXB Green Drake Coffin Fly, and I also will be adding the classic Fanwing Royal Coachman as one of my patterns there before too much longer. I seem to be in a mood to tie and call attention to fanwing patterns, and I and some of my customers have had some great fishing this year on my extended body March Brown, Slate Drake, Green Drake, and Yellow Drake patterns in a number of locales in several states, so here is the Green Drake Fanwing Coffin Fly:

Fanwing Coffin Fly

Fanwing Coffin Fly – the imago, or spinner pattern for the eastern green drake, Ephemera guttulata. The hook is a Tiemco 2488 #10. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

Fanwing Coffin Fly

Thread: Danville Flymaster 6/0 #4 Pale Yellow

Body: White closed-cell foam, cut into strip about 2mm wide from 2mm sheet

Tails: Three moose body hairs

The Abdomen with tails is made on a mandrel held in the vise; I upgraded to a tube fly jig for this procedure several months ago, but I used to use a simple straight pin or needle. Once the abdomen is made, and I generally make these by the half-dozen at least, usually more, that is attached to the rear of the TMC 2488 hook, just ahead of the barb. But first:

Before mounting the abdomen to the hook, switch tying thread to Danville Flymaster #100 Black, then mount the wings on the hook, just ahead of the mid point of the body. It takes practice to get the wings straight, and they seldom tie on straight, but I discovered a method long ago of using the thread to my advantage. I care not for how they set on the hook; I just want to get them on there, both at once. Once they are mounted, stand them up by damming thread in front of the stem butts, and when they are about vertical, if one or both wings are curved at all to the left or right – which they most likely will be – you start with one feather, post the thread three times taut, but not tight, around the base of that feather. You have to think which way to wrap, because you’re going to use increased thread tension to twist the crooked wing into perfect alignment. This means you have to think and analyze which way you need to spin the feather to straighten it. After posting around the base of the wing, then wrap around the hook shank once, making sure you’re back to clockwise winding, and then pull slowly. The taut, but not previously tight thread will tighten and s-t-r-e-t-c-h around the base of the feather stem, and from this action, the wing feather will twist right or left as needed (and premeditated by the tier, um, that would be you) into the proper position. Repeat this for the other wing, if necessary.

If either wing needs to be turned or twisted to the left, then you post around the base of that stem counterclockwise. If either stem needs to be turned to the right, then you post clockwise. Don’t forget to wrap once or twice around the hook shank before to attempt to tighten the thread to straighten out the wing. It’s a snap. Guess I’ll have to make another video…

After doing this to both wing feathers, if necessary, I then post around the base of both stems together. Doing this means you also have to mount the feathers to the hook with some bare stem on both feathers above the hook and tie-in point. This prevents you from wrapping over any barbs at the base of the wing stems, which if you did, there would be barbs askew at the base of the wings. Not pretty.

Wings: A matched pair of curved teal breast feathers

Body: Black rabbit dubbing

Hackle: Silver badger

Head: Black

This pattern and most fanwings of any size, should be fished on 4x tippet to minimize twisting.

Here’s a front-view of the wings:

Fanwing Coffin Fly -

Fanwing Coffin Fly – front view of divided, over-sized wings, characteristic of fanwing patterns.

Here is a link to the product page for my BXB Fanwing Coffin Fly and this new, Fanwing Coffin Fly on MyFlies.com: http://www.myflies.com/BXB-Green-Drake-Coffin-Fly–P806.aspx

I’m sure some of you will want to see that fanwing tie-in procedure, so I will attempt to make another video, but I’ll also be happy to demonstrate it at any of the shows where I’m appearing. Thanks for reading!

Boat Dog

One of my friends and a fly customer, Steve Sawczuk, from Plainville, Connecticut, invited me this past winter to join his group again at the Wantastiquet Trout Club near Weston, Vermont. We arrived on June 16th, and spent several days there. Fellow fly tier and friend, Roger Plourde, was there,  – See my Silk Gut for Sale Post – that’s Roger, he still has some available. He is also from Plainville and was an invited guest as well. Last year Steve invited me, and I ended up taking Abigail, my Cocker Spaniel, along. We had great fishing to evening hatches of yellow drakes, and we hoped to hit that hatch again. We were a week later, but last year the weather was unseasonably warm early on. There were six of us in the group: Steve, Roger, Dick Heffernon, Bill Keister, Ray Riley, and myself. This year Abigail tagged along again, and Zeb, a Border Collie mixed-breed, owned by Ray, another Trout Club member, joined the group as well. He and Abigail got along great. Zeb rides in the boat. Abigail on the other hand, at eleven-and-a-half years of age, has never been in a boat in her life. That was, not until this past June 17th.

Zeb and Ray

Zeb and Ray returning to our camp at the Wantastiquet Trout Club.

On Monday afternoon, I decided to try taking Abigail in the boat. At first she was hesitant, in fact, probably terrified is a better description, because I could not coax her to come to me in the boat. I actually had to get out of the boat and catch her, then physically carry her back to the dock and place her in the boat. Once we motored off, she pretty much settled down and was about as passive and uninterested as she possibly could be about the whole experience. We drifted and anchored and motored about, trying here and there, catching a decent number of trout, and yet Abigail seemed, well, bored, which she expressed by lying flat on her side. But she’s a very low-key dog anyway, unless there is some possibility of her snagging a morsel of food. It doesn’t matter if it’s a dog treat or people food, regardless, she wants it, twenty-four-seven. I feed her one cup of kibble per day and a few other treats, and that’s it. Whenever she’s in a group of people, no matter how many, if only one had some food, even a stranger, Abigail becomes their new best friend. She was a little overweight for a couple years when my mother-in-law was caring for her during a rather unsettled period of my life from 2008 to August of 2011, but once I got her back and got her food under control, she’s right where she’s supposed to be with her weight.

Arriving at camp there was an immediate problem, because Zeb is fed with an “open feeding” policy, and the very first thing Abigail did upon entering the cabin was to follow her nose, zero in on Zeb’s bowl and start eating his food. I wrote Ray in an e-mail beforehand indicating that she would do that. The poor little girl is now also about ninety-percent deaf. Fortunately even as a pup, I trained her not only with voice commands, but also simultaneously used hand-signals as well. That has proven to be fortuitous. When she was a younger dog, it was a good feeling to simply give her a mere hand signal and have her come, sit, stay, etc. Now, it helps a great deal, and could even save her life.

Anyway, with each occasion that Abigail got into the boat, she got more used to it, and I believe she grew to enjoy it more and more. The first two times when we docked up after fishing, she was afraid to make the three-inch jump from the seat of the boat to the dock. But the third and subsequent times, she left the boat without hesitation.

Abigail

Abigail – the “Boat Dog” – surveys the lake as Ken Hall, aka Quill Gordon, author of Fish in A Barrel Pond Blog, handles the trolling motor, guiding us to a “hot spot” on the lake. Sorry to cut your body out of the photo Ken, but Abigail is the star of this show. Besides, your pictures are coming up soon.

This is a photo of our camp.

This is a photo of our camp. That’s Ray on his cell phone, talking on the porch because you can’t get a signal inside. Funny how moving just a few feet makes the difference in the signal strength.

heavy weather moving in.

Heavy weather moving in Tuesday afternoon on Wantastiquet Lake. At the time I was in the boat with Dick Heffernon, another guest in the party. We had a bit of an experience with this approaching storm.

On that Monday afternoon I was with Dick in the boat, and the storm was well to the north at first, though we could hear the thunder far off. We were hopeful that it would pass without incident. After a little while, there seemed to be darkening clouds gathering more to our immediate west, and we thought about moving the boat closer to camp, just in case we had to bolt for the dock.

Clouds and rain in t

Clouds and increasing wind create ominous conditions of an imminent storm.

At about this point, I looked to the west, and there appeared to be a bank of fog moving in. But I knew it was no fog bank. It was rain; the kind of rain that is so heavy it can cut visibility to near-zero. Visibility was still good, however, and I estimated the rain was about two miles distant. Dick and I quickly agreed that we’d better haul our butts toward shore. Roger and Ray had passed us about five minutes earlier, calling the fishing over for a while, with the thunder approaching and getting louder.  But right before we made the decision to get of the water, Dick got his fly line got tangled around the propeller on the trolling motor. I dropped the anchor to keep us from drifting down the lake, which would have carried us farther away from our dock and camp. When Dick raised the motor up, he could see that there was no hope of untangling his line from the prop, considering the wave action effecting the boat, plus the reality that Dick would have to be possessing the body of a professional gymnast or a contortionist circus performer to assume the necessary posture and balance to do the work at hand. And that he is not, nor am I. Option number two was to row, row, row the boat back. But there wasn’t going to be any singing of that traditional campfire round during this trip.

Just then a fantastic, jagged, sprawling, and very bright jolt of lightning streaked across the sky over the mountain to the north. The ends of its long, scraggly fingers dipped below the horizon, perhaps a strike somewhere. I quickly pulled the anchor, mounted the oars, and started rowing. We had to travel about a quarter of a mile. When we were about 100 yards from the dock, the wind increased exponentially in velocity, seeming to blow about thirty or more miles per hour. It came up very fast, and despite my best exertion of rowing strength and efforts of guidance with the oars, we missed the mark and the boat settled against the shore, fortunately though, only about thirty feet from end of the dock. By now it was starting to rain, luckily for us not pouring, but the wind was blowing like it was during the storm scene from the movie The Wizard of Oz. Except in our situation there was no funnel cloud, no musical sound track, and the Wicked Witch of the West was not flying across the sky on her broom threatening to cart me and Abigail off to her lair. In retrospect that would have been a perfect and entertaining time for me to do my best falsetto imitation of the Wicked Witch: “I’ll get you yet, my pretty, and your little dog, too! Ah, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, h-a-a-a-a-a!”

Dick and I managed to reach the dock, chain the boat, and get out of Dodge. It had started raining, though not real heavy yet, which was a good thing because we had to walk about fifty yards to our camp. Just as we reached the safety of the cabin, the wind and rain arrived with a vengeance. Indeed, in less than one minute the rain was so heavy we could not see across the lake, and in fact, we could barely see the dock fifty feet away. The cabin porch faces directly to the west, and the wind drove that rain right through the screens onto the porch and everything on it. Fortunately a half-hour later the storm had passed and the lake was again calm. We watched as a few trout started rising, but we made a trip to the grocery at Londonderry, and after returning, we hung around camp, enjoying camaraderie, libations, and cigars while waiting for dinner. I also set up my fly tying stuff and hoped to tie a few more extended-body Yellow Drakes, since most of the guys took trout on them Sunday evening, despite that fact there was not really a big hatch of them. What I actually ended up doing that afternoon was repair several flies that I had given Steve and Roger. Steve had one of my Yellow Drakes from the year before, that the hackle came partially unwound – see this post from Fish in A Barrel Pond Blog: http://fishinabarrelpond.com/2012/06/25/trout-candy-eye-candy/ So I repaired it for him, a simple matter of attaching a new hackle feather.

I’ve never had one of my extended body drake patterns fall apart in any way, but Roger had one where the thread ribbing over the extended abdomen came off. I basically made a new abdomen, cut off the old one, and attached the new one in its place. Ken was watching me do this work, and the guys were all getting a big kick out of it and commenting on “Don’s Fly Repair.” At one point Ken made the remark, “Would you like to purchase a Service Agreement with that fly for an additional five dollars? Guaranteed repairs for the life of the fly.” By the time I completed the repairs, it was time for me to clear the table for dinner. I had made lasagna ahead of time on Sunday morning before my departure, chilled but not baked it, and also created a tossed salad, and a fresh-made pecan pie (I made it myself) that was still warm when we served it right after dinner. If you checked the post above, you’ll note from Quill Gordon’s photos that the weather was nice enough in 2012 for me to have my tying stuff permanently set up on the cabin porch. That was the year we were sipping the “Weapons Grade Head Cement Thinner, aka Moonshine. 😉 It was too cold this year. We had a few night time temps in the upper forties and low fifties.

I don't know whether Abigail was looking or sniffing, probably both.

I don’t know whether Abigail was looking or sniffing, probably both. Something seemed to have her attention. Perhaps she saw a fish.

Abigail, Queen of the Boat.

Abigail, Queen of the Boat.

The middle seat became Abigail's favorite resting place.

The middle seat became Abigail’s favorite resting place. Yeah, as her owner, I’m partial and prejudiced, she’s a beautiful little girl and her beauty is only enhanced by her sweet disposition. Ray noted her facial markings are appropriate, her eye mask makes her appear like a little bandit. Indeed!

Ken and I motored about, here and there…picking up an occasional trout.

At one point we passed close to Ray and Roger.

At one point we passed close to Ray and Roger…and Zeb.

Zeb is very interested in what goes on in the boat. He sees trout rise and practically goes on point if they surface close to the boat. He knows the sound and the reason of a reel drag, and has learned to associate that sound with a hooked fish. He still gets excited even if one of the anglers in his boat merely strips off more line to make a longer cast. He loves being in the boat so much that he’ll just go sit on the dock and wait, hoping to go fishing.

Ken Hall

“Quill Gordon” has a fish on.

Ken, aka Quill Gordon, wrote a post on his blog and made a few remarks about our visit and my time with him in the boat. To check that out follow this link:

http://fishinabarrelpond.com/2013/06/22/stubbornly-waiting-for-drakes/

The Caddis Emerger Ken refers to in his writing is my Floating Caddis Emerger, or more appropriately, my older pattern called the Hatching Caddis Adult, which is also another surface caddis emerger pattern.

On Tuesday afternoon, I was with Steve in the boat. We trolled a bit and drifted here and there. He was fishing various nymphs and drys with a George Mauer Sweetwater bamboo rod, a seven-foot, nine-inch seven weight. I used my sink-tip and was casting a Wooly Bugger. I managed to draw only two strikes, and Steve had done nothing. I said, “I’m thinking of putting on my Floating Caddis Emerger, I can’t do any worse with that than I am with this Bugger.” Next thing I know, in barely three minutes, Steve has a fish on. I asked, “What did you get him on?”

“You’re not gonna believe this, but I got him on your emerger pattern,” He replied.

“No s***!” I exclaimed. I hadn’t even noticed that he changed flies. Steve soon got another trout. By then I changed to a floating line and also put on a Floating Caddis Emerger, a tan-bodied pattern. Steve caught another trout. And another. And another. Meanwhile I could not buy a strike with my fly. I inspected his, and it was one of some that he had tied during the winter, with a darker ginger-brown body than what I had. What we both found interesting too, was that if no trout took the fly after the cast was made, rather than pick up and cast again, Steve worked the fly in slowly with a hand-twist retrieve. It would remain on the surface, or just under the film, so he’d either see a surface take or a swirl and feel the strike. And as my luck would have it I had left a container of those flies at home on my tying table. By the time he tallied seven trout on that fly in less than an hour, Ray and Steve trolled by. “Are you guys getting anything?” Roger queried.

“Steve is kicking my ass with my pattern,” I answered laughingly. Steve chuckled with obvious satisfaction.

“What’s that?” Roger inquired.

“My Floating Caddis Emerger,” I said. “The tally for our boat is: Steve – seven, me ZIP!”

A little while later, Steve offered for me to try casting his Mauer bamboo rod. He had mentioned that earlier, since indicating in an e-mail that he’d he recently bought that rod, I replied that I had known George Mauer for a few years before he passed away. The wind had died down and the lake was flat. I can’t say what the trout thought this fly was, because there were no caddis about, other than an occasional stray. Yet as we drifted about fifty yards from shore near a small cove, the first trout that rose within casting distance, fortunately for me, rose twice, just as I was making a cast. I was also standing up, which helped me adjust quickly. I was able to immediately alter my distance and targeting, and sighting the two rises in succession I determined the fish was moving from right to left. Trout in lakes and ponds seldom remain stationary as they do in flowing water. They cruise for food and it’s always a crap-shoot when you try to target a rising trout in a lake because he’s got a three-hundred sixty degree radius for possible movement and change of direction after the rise. I led the second rise by about four feet, hoping he was moving in that direction, and as luck would have it, he must have seen it hit the water. The trout came right up, slowly, we could both see the fish. He tipped up and without hesitation, kept coming and gently sucked in the fly. “Fish on!”

I offered Steve his rod back, but he was relaxing in his chair, smoking a cigar and said, “No, you go ahead.”

“Thanks! I’ll take you up on that.” I replied. We drifted a while, I cast here and there, enjoying the feel of the rod, and occasionally Steve turned the prop on the trolling motor a bit to keep the boat positioned just off shore. The next trout I took I did so while I was fishing blind, in other words, casting without seeing any rises. The water was flat calm and suddenly as I watched my fly, I saw something white off to the right, it was moving, then I realized it was the belly of a trout. Then I saw the shape of the fish. He was closing the distance to the fly, rising up, and just like the first trout, never stopped until he reached the fly and confidently gulped it in. Fish on again!  It was a very good feeling that we had success with my pattern during rather adverse conditions. Or at least the conditions did not seem so adverse, it was a nice, calm afternoon, it’s just that the trout were not on the feed.  Steve and I tallied nine trout that afternoon, to the other guy’s couple, or maybe three per boat. When we got back to camp, I made myself a spicy Bloody Mary and set about tying a batch of ginger-colored #16 Floating Caddis Emergers.

Quill Gordon brings a trout to the boat.

Quill Gordon brings a trout to the boat.

On Tuesday evening Ken offered to take me in the boat. Abigail and I graciously agreed. The photo above is of Ken landing one of the fish he took. I took two fish on my Floating Caddis Emerger, since we really were not seeing Yellow Drakes in numbers to say there was an actual hatch. And this was after Steve had done so well with it earlier in the day. But alas, I lost my last Floating Caddis Emerger in a fish, doing something that I know from experience I should not have done. Life is like that. On occasion we do the wrong thing even when we know better. I grabbed the 5x tippet and held on to it, trying to remove the fly from the jaw of a fourteen-inch brown, and when he made a sudden lunge, I hung on, and he broke the tippet knot and took the fly. I could have replaced it with one of two well-worn Floating Caddis Emergers, but I have retired both of them from service, except that I ask them to pose for an occasional photo to demonstrate their effectiveness. The photo posted there, of one of them, in late December of 2012, and again below, was one I took thirty-four trout with. The foam overback is all chewed and tattered, but otherwise the fly is intact. I ended up using an older pattern, another original fly I created in 1996 that was actually the predecessor to my Floating Caddis Emerger, mentioned above, it’s called the Hatching Caddis Adult. There’s a whole ‘nother collection of fish stories about that pattern as well. I’ll add that pattern and recipe and fish stories here sometime next week.

As I fished the Hatching Caddis Adult, a dry fly pattern similar in a number of ways to the Floating Caddis Emerger, I demonstrated to Ken how, if during a retrieve or pull of the line, that fly, due to its components and design, when treated with floatant,  submerges, but then when you stop, it resurfaces. The pattern literally breaks through the surface film. So does the Floating Caddis Emerger. I had demonstrated that about three times, even saying, “Watch this!”

Ken said, “That’s pretty cool,” and just then, SWOOSH! A nice trout struck the fly. But he missed, there was no connection when I raised the rod tip. But the point was made with additional emphasis from the fish. Nice!

A well-used Bastian's Floating Cadis Emerger, this fly lanede thirty-four trout in May of 2006.

A well-used Bastian’s Floating Caddis Emerger, this fly landed thirty-four trout on Spring Creek, Pennsylvania, one day in May of 2006. This pattern can be ordered from Orvis, http://www.orvis.com/store/product.aspx?pf_id=7R6A

I recently created a revised version of the Floating Caddis Emerger pattern that I have been selling. Bastian’s Floating Caddis-Mayfly Emerger with a ginger body, as I’m calling the revised pattern is available to order from me. I made a couple alterations to change the fly so it would not compete with the contract I have with Bastian’s Floating Caddis Emerger with the Orvis Company.

Bastian's Floating Caddis-Mayfly Emerger

Bastian’s Floating Caddis-Mayfly Emerger. I decided to add the chartreuse foam strip for an indicator to improve visibility of the pattern. The other difference is that instead of a single hackle wrap, I side-lashed hen back fibers for the legs.

Other than myself, the first anglers to test the new Hi-vis version of my Floating Caddis Emerger were Tom Ukena and his wife Sue, of Northborough, Massachusetts. They were on the Missouri River the first week of June, guiding with Tim Linehan, the Orvis 2013 Guide of the Year, and they really did extremely well with that pattern, taking as Tom wrote in an e-mail, “a good number of great fish, 18″ to 21”. I’ll be making a separate post about that fly before too long.

There was a nesting pair of loons on the lake this year.

There was a nesting pair of loons on the lake this year. The male stands guard not far offshore from the nest, and believe me, we knew he did. Not alarmed by our boats, but when a great blue heron flew over he cut loose with a loud, raucous, threatening series of calls and wails that I’m sure, included what would pass for loon profanity. The heron kept his distance.

The female loon on the nest, incubating two eggs.

The female loon on the nest, incubating two eggs. The top of her mate’s head is in the foreground.

On Quill Gordon’s Stubbornly Waiting for Drakes post, there is a photo of both loons and their freshly-hatched chicks on the water. And a bunch of yellow drakes too. Check it out!

PorterCove

Porter Cove on Wantastiquet Lake. I was in the boat with Bill, and while there I took two trout on my Floating Caddis Emerger. One of them was a fifteen-inch brown that smashed the fly like a largemouth bass hitting a plug. The water here is quite shallow, and since it was flat, I had to make some pretty long casts, probably sixty feet, to take trout. That’s one reason why I favor a six or seven-weight rod for boat and float tube fishing. Too much effort to struggle with a three or four-weight, especially if it’s windy and long casts are required. Even if you can cast fifty or sixty feet with a three-weight, it usually requires an extra effort of false casting. I believe ninety percent of all your casts can and should be made with only two backcasts – including your pickup stroke. In the end the reason for this is all about increasing your fishing efficiency.

Sunday June 16th on my way to camp, I stopped at the American Museum of Fly Fishing in nearby Manchester on a prearranged visit. Deputy Curator Yoshi Akiyama had the remaining seven plates of the original Orvis flies that were published in Mary Orvis Marbury’s book Favorite Flies and Their Histories, 1892, gathered together for me to photograph. They were not there in June in 2012 when I made the initial series of photos for my upcoming book, Favorite Fishing Flies – 1892. On my way back to Pennsylvania on Thursday June 20th, I stopped again at the museum and photographed another dozen or so flies from the 1893 Orvis Fly Display that I had not previously included. I’ll be adding these pattens to my book, increasing the number of additional fly patterns to about two-hundred twenty-five, beyond the two-hundred ninety-one from Marbury’s book. By the way, the new display, The Wonders of Fly Fishing, is now open at the Museum.

And so concludes another visit to Wantastiquet Lake. We all had a great time!

I just threw some seasoned chicken thighs on the grill, turned the heat down low, and I’ll leave them slow cook for at least an hour. In the meantime, I’m going to go make myself a spicy Bloody Mary.

Pale Morning Dun Patterns

As a companion Four-pack Set to my Sulphur Dun Ephemerella invaria patterns on http://www.myflies.com/ I am also offering the same series of mayfly dun pattern styles for the Pale Morning Dun, which is also in the same Ephemerella genus as the sulphurs, the PMD species being named excrucians.

Since I have personally only ever encountered one PMD hatch, I took some information from the site Troutnut.com – http://www.troutnut.com/hatch/459/Mayfly-Ephemerella-excrucians-Pale-Morning-Dun and I would like to express my thanks for the helpful information presented there. Troutnut has a lot of good, no nonsense aquatic insect information. I recommend visiting that site.

Since the Pale Morning Dun is one of the most widely-ranging and long-lasting hatches of its geographical distribution, I considered the marketing aspect of my fly tying livelihood and decided to offer the PMD in a series of pattern styles as I did for the widely distributed sulphur mayflies of the east and mid-west.

The “PMD’s” are a very eagerly anticipated hatch on many streams, particularly in the mid-west and western US. These mayflies occur with variations in color and size depending on the location, from a #14 to a #18. This offering of four different dry fly pattern types and hook sizes is intended to increase the anglers chances of success when fishing a PMD hatch. Trout can be selective to pattern types, particularly on flat water, so it is beneficial to the angler to be prepared with more than one style and size of dun pattern when fishing this hatch. This proven collection of Pale Morning Dun patterns helps solve the difficulties of fishing PMD drys to finicky trout. All four dun patterns are tied with split tails.

Pale Morning Dun dun patterns, left to right:

Pale Morning Dun dun patterns, left to right: Parachute Dun, Thorax Dun, Comparadun, Quill-body Comparadun, hook sizes here are #14. All flies tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

The PMD Comparadun is a no-hackle pattern that rides low, yet stays  on the surface film. The light natural color deer hair wing is highly imitative and easy to see, and the split tails stabilize the pattern and offer added mayfly realism. Comparaduns land right-side up on nearly every cast. They are an excellent pattern choice for smooth water and moderate riffle currents. This pattern has a slim, dubbed abdomen with a thread ribbing and a more robust thorax, providing a natural imitative mayfly silhouette for increased realism. This design factor helps trigger confident takes from trout.

PMD Comparadun

Hook: Standard dry fly hook, #14 – #18

Thread: Danville Flymaster Light Olive #61

Wing: Natural light deer hair

Tails: Light dun Microfibetts six fibers split 3/3

Abdomen: Light olive rabbit dubbing, abdomen reverse-ribbed with tying thread

Thorax: Light olive rabbit dubbing, built up larger than the abdomen to present a natural mayfly silhouette

Head: Light olive

PMD Comparadun

Pale Morning Dun Comparadun

The PMD Quill-body Comparadun is a personal pattern design variation that has a more realistic body silhouette with a slim, waxy-smooth abdomen that contrasts with the more robust fur-dubbed thorax. The abdomen is made from a synthetic quill material that is highly translucent, and it also floats, thereby adding increased flotation to this pattern. This shade of light olive on the abdomen very closely imitates the natural color of the PMD’s.

PMD Quill-body Comparadun

Hook: Standard dry fly hook, #14 – #18

Thread: Danville Flymaster Light Olive #61

Wing: Natural light deer hair

Tails: Light dun Microfibetts six fibers split 3/3

Abdomen: White Sexi-Floss (aka Flexi-Floss, Dyna Floss, Super Floss, etc.) Winding the white Sexi-Floss over the light olive thread creates a very translucent abdomen. The Sexi-floss is tied in at the thorax. (See my other posts on this topic, use the search tab). The translucent nature of this material allows the thread color to predominate. This stuff is the best synthetic quill substitute available. And, it floats! This increases the pattern’s buoyancy.

Thorax: Light olive rabbit dubbing, built up larger than the abdomen to present a natural mayfly silhouette

Head: Light olive

PMD Quill-body Comparadun

PMD Quill-body Comparadun.

The PMD Parachute Dun is made with the same abdomen of synthetic quill material as the Quill-body Comparadun, and has a dubbed thorax, but it has a poly-post wing and a parachute hackle. The advantage of parachute duns provides a highly-visible, low-floating, imitative design. It is generally considered a better dry fly pattern for fishing riffles, runs, and typically rougher pocket water than the no-hackle Comparadun.

PMD Parachute Dun

Hook: Standard dry fly hook, #14 – #18

Thread: Danville Flymaster Light Olive #61

Wing: Light dun polypropylene

Tails: Light dun Microfibetts six fibers split 3/3

Abdomen: White Sexi-Floss (aka Flexi-Floss, Dyna Floss, Super Floss, etc.)

Hackle: Light dun or ginger – I anchor the butt of the hackle stem to the base of the wing post

Thorax: Light olive rabbit dubbing, built up larger than the abdomen to present a natural mayfly silhouette

Head: Light olive

PMD ParachuteDun

PMD ParachuteDun

The PMD Thorax Dun offers yet another pattern variation that helps fool trout. The wing is placed a little farther from the hook eye than the Parachute Dun, and the hackle is wound conventionally, but clipped on the bottom. Like all the patterns in this set, the Pale Morning Dun Thorax Dun features a split tail with the synthetic, translucent quill abdomen and a fur-dubbed thorax. Like each pattern in this collection, the Thorax Dun offers a different silhouette on the surface. Being prepared with multiple fly pattern designs for any mayfly hatch is an asset to the angler.

PMD Thorax Dun

Hook: Standard dry fly hook, #14 – #18

Thread: Danville Flymaster Light Olive #61

Wing: Light dun polypropylene

Tails: Light dun Microfibetts six fibers split 3/3

Abdomen: White Sexi-Floss (aka Flexi-Floss, Dyna Floss, Super Floss, etc.)

Hackle: Light dun or ginger, clipped flat on bottom

Thorax: Light olive rabbit dubbing, built up larger than the abdomen to present a natural mayfly silhouette

Head: Light olive

PMD Thorax Dun

PMD Thorax Dun

PMD Four-pack Selection - Boxed Set.

PMD Four-pack Selection – Boxed Set. Set includes three each of the four patterns: PMD Comparadun, PMD Quill-body Comparadun, PMD Parachute Dun, and PMD Thorax Dun and can be ordered in size #14, #16, or #18 (single hook size per set).

Set of Four – These four PMD patterns are also being offered together in an attractive boxed set. The set is identified with a printed label, a signature card, the flies are mounted on foam strips, and they are beautifully packaged in a clear plastic case. This attention to detail and quality of the boxed set makes this a tasteful gift.

What it imitates: Ephemerella excrucians mayfly sub-imago, Pale Morning Dun (PMD)

When to fish it: The PMD is an ubiquitous mayfly, very abundant throughout the west, and there is a wide range of dates for their emergence. It is often best to consult local sources for hatching information. Despite their name, they often hatch in the afternoon and evening depending on conditions and locale.

Where to fish it:  Pale Morning Duns inhabit most water types, tailwaters, spring creeks, freestone streams, rivers, and some ponds and lakes, except warm water and infertile high country lakes.

How to fish it:  PMD patterns can be fished on 5x to 7x tippet, depending on water type. This hatch is prolonged, and on heavily-fished waters, trout can become drift-shy, requiring very precise presentation to fool them into taking your fly. Accurate casting and drag-free drifts are essential for success. On smooth water long leaders of 12 – 14 feet are necessary. Two or more pattern variations of the PMD can increase your chances for a good day on the water.

To place an order for the duns or the set visit: http://www.myflies.com/Pale-Morning-Duns-Four-Pack-Selection-P830.aspx

Sulphur MayflyDuns – Four-pack Selection

These four patterns were just added yesterday to MyFlies.com as part of my product page. Here is the link: http://www.myflies.com/Sulphur-Mayfly-Duns-Four-pack-Selection-P828.aspx

I have made a few recent posts about some of these sulphur dun patterns and their fishing effectiveness, both on Spring Creek, and in the article on Muddy Creek in York County, Pennsylvania. Sulphurs occur on most trout streams across the country. This Four-pack Selection of Sulphur Duns presents together; mayfly dun patterns in the following styles: Thorax Dun, Parachute Dun, Comparadun, and Quill-body Comparadun.

If you have read these previous posts you are aware that I’ve written several articles about the synthetic, elastic, and translucent material made by DuPont, but called by different names depending on the fly tying material company that sells it. For those of you who haven’t seen these posts, once more, here we go again: Sexi-Floss, Dyna-Floss, Flexi-Floss, and the former Orvis name, Super-Floss (discontinued).

Here is a product review from The Beaverkill Angler Fly Shop in Roscoe, New York:

“Flexi-Floss / Floss Flex is a crinkly spandex material that is stretchable yet handles like floss (better and easier than floss – DB). Great for ribbing, wiggly legs, antennae, segmented wrapped midge bodies, and more. Flexi-Floss / Floss Flex is easy to use and adds a little extra shine to your flies. Best of all it doesn’t break down like rubber legs, so your flies will last longer.” Here is the page to the product:

http://beaverkillangler.com/fly_tying/synthetics/flexi_floss_floss_flex.aspx

The same product, Sexi-Floss, from Montana Fly Company, is available from Chris Helm at Whitetail Fly Tieing Supplies, in Toledo, Ohio. The bonus of ordering from Chris is you speak directly to him, he is an experienced and knowledgeable fly tier, he knows fly tying materials, and he personally receives and processes your order. Here is his phone number: 419-843-2106. Chris also has some of the best deer hair available, sorted and graded for specific fly tying uses. Here is a photo of the four pattern styles; all flies are tied by me, and all photos are mine as well:

Sulphur Dun Patterns, left to right:

Sulphur Dun Patterns, left to right: Thorax Dun, Parachute Dun, Comparadun, and Quill-body Comparadun. All except the Comparadun are tied with a synthetic quill body, made of Sulphur Orange (or amber) Sexi-Floss, Flexi-Floss, etc. Notice how slim, smooth, and as A. K. Best describes mayfly bodies, “waxy looking” they are. Highly imitative and this material floats. Nice!

This collection of four sulphur dun patterns is representative of the mayfly Ephemerella invaria. The “sulphurs” are a very eagerly anticipated hatch on many streams, particularly in the Eastern US. These mayflies occur with variations in color and size. This offering of four different pattern types and hook sizes is intended to increase the anglers chances of success when fishing a sulphur hatch. Trout can be selective to pattern types, particularly on flat water so it is beneficial to the angler to have more than one style and size of dun pattern when fishing this hatch. This proven collection of Sulphur Duns helps solve the difficulties of fishing sulphur drys to finicky trout. All four duns are tied with split tails.

On the tying recipes, all materials are listed in the order that they are tied in.

Comparadun

#14 Sulphur Comparadun. This pattern uses rabbit dubbing for the body, but the abdomen is reverse-dubbed and ribbed with the tying thread. You can see how this procedure adds realism to the fly, and it also tightens up the abdomen. For a video of my Reverse-Dubbing technique, check out my March Brown Comparadun youtube video.

Sulphur Comparadun

Hook: Standard dry fly hook, #14 – #18

Thread: Danville Flymaster 6/0 #7 Orange

Wing: Bleached deer hair

Tails: Yellow Microfibetts, six fibers split 3/3

Abdomen: Amber rabbit dubbing, reverse-dubbed and ribbed with the tying thread

Thorax: Amber rabbit dubbing, more robust than the abdomen

Head: Orange

You can see that the thorax is more robust than the abdomen, this is an imitative design feature, but it  also is part of the tying process because you are building the thorax over the butt ends of the clipped deer hair wing. Because of the color variations of the Ephemerella invaria duns across their range, similar but different thread and dubbing colors can be used. Alternate threads to use would include Danville #2 Cream, #4 Pale Yellow, #8 Yellow, and #61 Light Olive.

#14 Sulphur Parachute Dun.

#14 Sulphur Parachute Dun. Note the Sexi-Floss abdomen and dubbed thorax. The parachute hackle helps the fly land right side up, and this design presents a different silhouette to the trout. In fact, while each of these patterns represents the same mayfly, each style presents a similar but different silhouette to the trout. Being prepared with multiple pattern styles can be your ace-in-the-hole when confronted with a sulphur hatch. In fact, this is true of most mayfly species.

The Sulphur Parachute Dun is made with the same abdomen of synthetic quill material as the Quill-body Comparadun, and has a dubbed thorax, but it has a poly-post wing and a parachute hackle. The advantage of parachute duns provides a highly-visible, low-floating, imitative design. It is generally considered a better dry fly pattern for fishing riffles, runs, and typically rougher pocket water than the no-hackle Comparadun.

Sulphur Parachute Dun

Hook: Standard dry fly hook, #14 – 18

Thread: Danville Flymaster 6/0 #7 Orange

Wing: Light dun polypropylene post

Hackle: Light ginger

Tails: Yellow Microfibetts

Abdomen: Sulphur orange Flexi-Floss

Thorax: Amber rabbit dubbing

Head: Orange

While I have used this material for years, I recently started using the polypropylene as a wing post, rather than the E. P. Fibers as posted on some of my recent flies. This was done for ease of use and less preparation time. More flies per hour means a raise in pay. I also found out that the crinkly nature of the polypropylene is much easier to wrap around, or post, at the base of the wing. The E. P. Fibers are very slippery, while the kinky nature of the poly yarn seems to grab and hold the thread, eliminating a point of (sometimes) fly tying exasperation. Check the photo, you can see the zig-zags in the wing material.

#14 Quill-body Sulphur Comparadun

#14 Quill-body Sulphur Comparadun. This design features the abdomen of Flexi-Sexi-Dyna Floss.

The Sulphur Quill-body Comparadun is a personal pattern design variation that has a more realistic body silhouette with a slim, waxy-smooth abdomen that contrasts with the more robust fur-dubbed thorax. The abdomen is made from a synthetic quill material that is highly translucent, and it also floats, thereby adding increased flotation to this pattern.

Sulphur Quill-body Comparadun

Hook: Standard dry fly hook #14 – #18

Thread: Danville Flymaster 6/0 #7 Orange

Wing: Bleached deer hair

Tails: Yellow Microfibetts

Abdomen: Orange Flexi-floss

Thorax: Amber rabbit dubbing

Head: Orange

#14 Sulphur Thorax Dun.

#14 Sulphur Thorax Dun. I call this the Poly-wing Thorax Dun.

The Sulphur Thorax Dun offers yet another pattern variation that helps fool trout. The wing is placed a little farther from the hook eye than the Parachute Dun, and the hackle is wound conventionally, but clipped on the bottom. Like all the patterns in this set, the Sulphur Thorax Dun features a split tail with the synthetic, translucent quill abdomen and a fur-dubbed thorax. Like each pattern in this collection, the Thorax Dun offers a different silhouette on the surface. This is an asset to the angler who is prepared with multiple fly designs for any mayfly hatch.

As far as I know, Barry Beck created the Poly-wing Thorax Dun as an alternate style of making the Marinaro Thorax Dun, a fly design using the broad, webby part of neck hackles, created by Pennsylvania author and fly tier, Vincent C. Marinaro. Through personal correspondence, Vince’s Thorax Dun debuted among the New Dry Flies, in Ray Bergman’s second edition of Trout, 1952, with this comment: “I think it to be an outstanding development in fly construction.” And Ray adds, “Mr. Marinaro tells me he is working on a book concerning this and other flies. It should prove very interesting.” Modern Fly Fly Code was published in 1950, while I happen to know that the correspondence between Ray Bergman and Vince Marinaro took place in 1948-49. Ray saved every letter, and during my research for the Ray Bergman biography I wrote for Forgotten Flies, 1999, I was privileged to meet with Ray’s niece and nephew, Norma and Buddy Christian, of Nyack, New York. Ray hand-copied every letter into his own hand, in pencil, onto a tablet not unlike those we used to get in grade school. He did that for his wife, Grace, whom I believe typed all his manuscripts. It was a honor and a privilege to have access to this material. Getting back to Barry Beck’s Poly-wing Thorax Dun, along with Jim Smethers, one of the other fly shop tiers, I used to occasionally tie the pattern for them in the early 1990’s. Any mayfly dun can be imitated with this pattern design style.

Sulphur Thorax Dun

Hook: Standard dry fly hook #14 – #18

Thread: Danville Flymaster 6/0 #7 Orange

Wing: Light dun polypropylene yarn

Tails: Yellow Mivrofibetts

Abdomen: Sulphur Orange Flexi-Floss

Hackle: Light ginger

Thorax: Amber rabbit dubbing

Head: Orange

On the hackled patterns, alternate colors of hackle would be medium ginger, and various shades of light, medium, and sandy dun. I have a beautiful bleached grizzly cape from Bill Keough that would also make some great-looking sulphur dun patterns, considering the cream and light-ginger mottled coloration.

Here are a couple Spring Creek brown trout that were fooled by these flies:

Spring Creek Brown - Sulphur

Spring Creek Brown – taken on a #14 Sulphur Parachute Dun.

Spring Creek Brown - Sulphur Thorax Dun.

Spring Creek Brown – taken on #14 Sulphur Thorax Dun.

These four patterns are also being offered together in an attractive boxed set. The set is identified with a printed label, a signature card, the flies are mounted on foam strips, and they are beautifully packaged in a clear plastic case. This attention to detail and quality of the flies in a boxed set makes this a tasteful gift. The set includes three each of the four patterns: Sulphur Comparadun, Sulphur Quill-body Comparadun,  Sulphur Parachute Dun, and Sulphur Thorax Dun. Available hook sizes are #14, #16, and #18. Individual flies are available in all three hook sizes, while the sets contain all patterns of the same hook size.

Don Bastian's Sulphur Dun Selection.

Don Bastian’s Boxed Sulphur Dun Selection.

What it imitates:  Ephmerella invaria mayfly sub-imago (dun)

When to fish it:  Depending on locale: mid-April in the southern Appalachians, late April through June in the northeastern US

Where to fish it:  Sulphurs inhabit most of the freestone and limestone creeks, streams, and rivers in the eastern and mid-western United States and Canada. They are also present in some tailwater fisheries such as the Delaware River.

How to fish it:  Sulphur dun patterns should generally be fished on 5x tippet, in some cases 6x, but only with smaller hook sizes and smooth water. My personal experience fishing sulphurs is always with 5x, using a leader of ten to fourteen feet.

Thank you for your time to visit and read my blog. To purchase these patterns or the boxed set, please visit: http://www.myflies.com/Sulphur-Mayfly-Duns-Four-pack-Selection-P828.aspx

Bastian’s Floating Caddis Emerger – Again

This will be short and sweet. You remember my friend Dave Lomasney from York, Maine. I posted his striper photos here last week. Well, he wanted the tying instructions and recipes for my Floating Caddis Emerger, so I sent them to him. He e-mailed me this evening, these photos:

Maine brook trout - photo by Dave Lomasney, of York, Maine.

Maine brook trout – photo by Dave Lomasney, of York, Maine. The trout’s eye is a little odd. Hmmm? Probably due to some type of natural injury. See the fly in his lower jaw?

Here’s the macro:

Close-up of Bastian's Floating Caddis Emerger in jaw of Maine brookie. The fly was also tied by Dave.

Close-up of Bastian’s Floating Caddis Emerger in jaw of Maine brookie. Photo by Dave Lomasney, the fly was also tied by Dave. Nice work Dave!

Dave said he tied the pattern on, and hooked up something of good size on the first cast, but it took him into some brush and got him snagged up and broke off his 5x. He tied on another fly and got this fish, and a few others. That was in two hours, and Dave said it was slow. But I told him in my e-mail reply, “Slow fishin’ is better than no fishin’, and catchin’ a few trout is better than no trout.”

Thanks for giving my pattern a try Dave! It does work.

March Brown Comparadun – With Video

While the title of this blog would naturally tend to indicate “wet flies” I also enjoy tying and fishing dry flies as well. In fact, when I started tying commercially for Cathy and Barry Beck’s shop in the fall of 1989, my first fly order for about twenty five dozen flies was for black, winged fur ants and yellow stoneflies, all drys. It’s another story how my dog at the time, Molly, a black Cocker Spaniel-Border Collie mix, got a hold of and ate not one, but two, Grade #3 Metz capes I had bought from the shop specifically for this order. And she also chewed into two 100-packs of #20 and #22 Mustad hooks. I remember at the time finding all the #20’s, but finding only 97 of the size #22. Molly was a pup at the time, and she lived ten years. If she did ingest those three hooks, I guess she was none the worse for the wear. That was still a memorable loss of materials, even with the tier’s shop discount.

The Beck’s shop at the time was called Fishing Creek Outfitters. They sold the shop in 1992, and I continued tying for the new owner for about a year and a half, then started my own business in November 1993. Most of my commercial production in those years was tying drys. I tied primarily Comparaduns, but I also produced the shop’s version of the Marinaro-style Thorax Duns, Poly Wing and Hackle Wing Marinaro-style Spinners, and Poly Wing Thorax Duns.

The Comparadun fly was a Godsend when it came on the scene. Back then in the ’70’s, genetic dry fly hackle was a thing of the future, and it was hard to get quality dry fly hackle. So being able to tie a dry fly without hackle was a good thing. Dry fly necks that I bought at E. Hille’s, a local fly shop, unfortunately now out of business, were eight dollars for Grade AA. They were the best you could get at the time.

Initially the tails on the Comparadun were suggested by its originators, Al Caucci and Bob Nastasi, authors of Hatches and Hatches II, to be of mink guard hairs, or spade hackle fibers. I used them at first but once I tried the Microfibetts synthetic tailing fibers, I realized their ease of use and consistency in tying, especially for production tying. Ever since then, every fly I tie – almost – every fly with a split tail, I use the Microfibetts. Spinners, Comparaduns, Post-wing Thorax Duns, and Marinaro-style feather wing thorax duns, I use the Microfibetts. Barry Beck taught me to use the tying thread to divide the tail fibers, rather than a small ball of dubbing as was presented by Caucci and Nastasi, originators of the Comparadun. The thread method, once mastered, can be done in ten seconds or less. Which brings me to a point here – I just made my first home-made fly tying video this morning, tying a March Brown Comparadun. I posted it on youtube, and the video link will follow shortly.

Here is a photo of a March Brown Comparadun:

#10 March Brown Comaradun, tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

#10 March Brown Comparadun, tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

March Brown Comparadun

Thread: Dark Brown 6/0 Uni-Thread

Hook: Standard dry fly hook, #10 and #12

Wing: Natural brown deer hair

Tail: Brown Microfibetts, ten fibers split 5/5

Body: Tan rabbit dubbing

Ribbing: Made from the tying thread, reverse dubbed body, wind rib (bare thread) forward from bobbin after winding dubbing from thorax to tail

Thorax: Tan rabbit dubbing

Head: Brown

Tying Instructions:

Click here to view my (first ever!) March Brown Comparadun fly tying video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCLx-TaOVmg

I hope you enjoy the video!

A March Brown Dun, fresh from Lycoming Creek on May 16th.

A March Brown Dun, Maccaffertium vicarium, fresh from Lycoming Creek on May 16th. Yeah, those are my knuckles.

The tying thread ribbing is accomplished with a technique I call reverse dubbing. After attaching and dividing the tail, wind the thread to the thorax. The dubbing is then applied to the thread, the idea is to add exactly the right amount, so that you run out precisely when you arrive at the base of the tail. Then the tying thread is simply wound from the tip of the bobbin back to the rear of the wing. Practice allows you to get good at this, but also, try to employ a parsimonious use of dubbing, not heavy. (I had to add that five-dollar “College Word” for my friend Truman – he’ll definitely have to get out his dictionary on that one. On the dubbing, it’s always easier to add more if needed than to try and remove excess if you applied too much.

One dozen #10 March brown Comparaduns.

One dozen #10 March Brown Comparaduns.

The March Brown mayfly can provide prolonged dry fly fishing. In fact the other night on Lycoming Creek, it was June 4th, I witnessed the largest flight of Great Red Spinners – March Browns – that I have ever seen in my life. The spinners flew overhead, not just back and forth, but in a steady upstream flight, for well over an hour. There must have been tens of thousands of them. The number of flies that night would do justice to the productivity of some of the most fertile waters in the country. And yes, the trout turned on, and I did well with a March Brown Spinner, the one posted last year, and again recently, with the brown Sexi-Floss abdomen, moose body hair tails, and a spent wing of White E. P Fibers.