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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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…

Tomah Joe

Last weekend at the Fly Fishing Show in Somerset, New Jersey, a friend came by and gave me some barred wood duck flank feathers. On Saturday afternoon, I tied this fly for him, a Tomah Joe, dressed according to the original 1880’s recipe. My girlfriend, Mary Fortin, took the picture of it still in my vise with her cell phone. Here it is:

Tomah Joe, tied by Don Bastian. Photo by Mary Fortin.+

Tomah Joe, tied by Don Bastian. Photo by Mary Fortin. The hook is a blind-eye 2/0 antique hook. The red wool head is my personal addition. Oftentimes the heads on these old flies are rather unkempt-looking and unfinished.

Here is a photo I took at the American Museum of Fly Fishing in 2012 of the original fly plate that was used for the artist’s painting for the 1883 book, “Fishing With the Fly,” by C. F. Orvis and A. N. Cheney. The Tomah Joe is on the plate. This image was previously published on my blog.

Tomah Joe, Lake Fly pattern, at top right. This plate of Lake Flies is over 130 years old.

Tomah Joe, Lake Fly pattern, at top right. This plate of Lake Flies from the Orvis Company archives, now in the collection of the American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester, Vermont, is over 130 years old. The other patterns are: Bee, top left, No Name, Blue Bottle, Grasshopper, and Webster. This is one of the plates of Lake Flies from the Orvis / Cheney book.

Note the tail on the Tomah Joe is a single yellow hackle feather, not fibers, not a golden pheasant crest as is sometimes seen. Multiple examples of the Tomah Joe in the AMFF in Manchester, Vermont, remain consistent with this component of the dressing. That is why I used the material I did on the tail of the Tomah Joe I dressed at the show.

Tomah Joe

Tag: Flat gold tinsel

Tail: A single yellow hackle feather

Butt: Peacock herl

Body: Oval silver tinsel

Hackle: Scarlet fronted by yellow

Wing: Barred wood duck

Head: tiers discretion

Here is another photo I added via edit just today. A friend in Massachusetts bought this Tomah Joe from me in 2001. The pattern is tied as in Ray Bergman’s book, “Trout,” 1938. Not whole feather tips for wings, but slips of barred wood duck on each side. And yellow fibers for the tail. This is mounted the way I used to do it, put the hook point into foam bits on a card. Now I wire all the flies to the card…makes for a much better appearance.

Tomah Joe, recipe from "Trout" by Ray Bergman.

Tomah Joe, recipe from “Trout” by Ray Bergman.

Have fun!

Comando Streamer – Percy Tackle Company

My friend, Alec Stansell, in Massachusetts, sent me this picture of a streamer pattern that was previously unknown to me. It’s an original carded fly from the Percy Tackle Company, formerly of Portland, Maine. Percy’s Tackle received plenty of mentions in Joseph Bates’ Book, “Streamer Fly Tying and Fishing,” 1950, 1966, 1995. I like sharing this kind of vintage, classic information on our fly tying heritage with my readers, so here it is:

The Comando:

 

Comando Streamer, carded and sold by The Percy Tackle Company. Gardiner Percy was the company founder.

Comando Streamer, carded and sold by The Percy Tackle Company. Gardiner Percy was the company founder. Photo courtesy of Alec Stansell.

The recipe:

Comando

Tag: Flat silver tinsel

Tail: Red hackle fibers

Ribbing: Flat silver tinsel  – this is very tarnished, but at my suggestion Alec did a little fly tying archeology with his bodkin, scratching a small section of the surface to reveal the silver tinsel rib 😉

Body: White angora or spun rabbit fur

Throat: red hackle fibers

Wing: Two brown hackles over which are one black hackle, slightly shorter

Cheek: Jungle cock

Head: Black

Thanks Alec for sharing this photo with me!

Rangeley Lake Flies

Earlier this fall, I tied an order for a customer going to Upper Dam in the Rangeley Region of Maine to fish for brook trout and land-locked salmon. He told me to select the patterns, so I thought it only appropriate to choose the flies for his trip from among the famous, historic, heritage Lake Flies, some of which were listed in Mary Orvis Marbury’s 1892 book, Favorite Flies and Their Histories. These flies were in the Orvis inventory, and also for sale by other firms, such as Abbey & Imbrie, who went out of business in 1920.

I tied them on size #6 and #8 Mustad hooks, though I did use contemporary wet fly hooks, in this case, Tiemco #3769, 0x-long wet fly hook. The reason for that is that vintage wet fly hooks such as the #3906 and #3399 Mustad, and other hooks such as Partridge, Allcock, Nyack and others, while they make great-looking wet flies, the contemporary hooks are in my view, better for fishing flies. This is due to their manufacture with high-carbon steel, and having chemically sharpened points and mini-barbs. Besides the limited availability of antique and vintage hooks relegates their prudent usage to collector and framed flies.

Here are the pics of part of the order:

A collection of Lake Flies, all originated and / or used in Maine's Rangeley Lakes Region.

A collection of replicated 19th century Lake Flies, all originated and / or used in Maine’s Famous Rangeley Lakes Region. On the left, Montreals; top center, The Tim – named for Tim Pond near Eustis;  right, Richardson, named after Richardson Lake; and center, a dozen Parmacheene Belles in two sizes. The latter was named for Lake Parmacheene, part of the system that the Magalloway River flows out of.

The Tim in Marbury’s book has a black ostrich herl head, but I substituted black rabbit dubbing to replicate the vintage look. This trick also makes for less time and effort where you might otherwise apply numerous coats of head cement to finish the head smooth and shiny. The fly, done this way, with the faux-ostrich dubbed head, looks classic and can be finished – and fished – right out of the vise. On to the next fly…

Rangeley Lake Flies, a bit of a closer image - macro photo.

Rangeley Lake Flies, a bit of a closer image – macro photo.

And finally, The Tim:

The Tim Lake Fly - named for Tim Pond, created in the 1870's-80's...named for Trapper Tim, for whom Tim Pond was named.

The Tim Lake Fly – named for Tim Pond, created in the 1870’s-80’s…named for Trapper Tim, for whom Tim Pond was named. The mallard wing was applied in two sections, basically layering two sections of webby mallard, right over each other. The second, top layer, is folded or tented over the lower portion of the wing.

The Tim:

Tag: Flat silver tinsel

Tail: Scarlet quill section

Ribbing: Oval silver tinsel

Body: Yellow floss

Hackle: Yellow

Wing: yellow dyed gray mallard

Head: Black wool or dubbing, finished with black thread.

I used Danville white Flymaster 6/0 for the body, and switched to black for the head. These Lake Flies were historically tied in larger sizes, #4, #2, #1, even as large as #1/0 and even 2/0 in some cases.

Oh yes, my customer reported success with the flies on his trip. Classic flies, fun to tie, and they still catch fish! See also the recent posts on the Black Prince, where that classic wet fly has tempted brown trout on Pennsylvania’s famed limestone streams, Penn’s Creek and Spring Creek, for two of my customers.

I have another batch that I took photos of, they were part of a second shipment. I’ll get those posted here as well…after the coming week or so of doing things more important right now…

Gem – A New and Unknown Carrie Stevens Pattern

Two different people sent me this photo over the weekend of an unknown (as far as I know), carded  Carrie Stevens bucktail pattern. Obviously, it is her card, her handwriting, and her fly. And very interesting in that fly is is a similar design to the FRS Bucktail patterns she originated for her friend and client of her guide husband, Wallace Stevens. The client for whom the FRS bucktails were created and named was Francis Reast Smith, 1873-1950.

Here is the pic of the Gem:

Gem bucktail, created and tied by Carrie G. Stevens of Upper Dam, Maine.

Gem bucktail, created and tied by Carrie G. Stevens of Upper Dam, Maine. This hook is a variation from her standard use of the Allcock 1810 Regular Heavy Sproat turned-down eye streamer hooks that she normally used. Not sure what it is, but it is known she used some Mustad hooks similar in design to the Allcock 1810 after World War II.

By zooming in on the image, I was able to ascertain that the head is red with a black band, and there is a tag on the fly, though it is impossible to determine the color of it. Perhaps if I made another image, cropped it to the tag, and them zoomed in and maybe lightened the brightness I might be able to find that out. That’s a little detective project for later on…

This is also interesting for another reason: chenille was like, never used on any of Carrie Stevens’ other named and well-known and known, but unfamiliar patterns. On the tag, it is very likely that it is a silver tinsel, because of all her named and known patterns, give or take a hundred-plus, she used gold tinsel on only five of them. Upon close inspection, the profile of the tag seems to indicate that it is oval tinsel as well, presenting the use of another material that she did not use on the dressings of her standard Rangeley Style streamers.

Don’t forget folks, you can click on the image to enlarge it, and another click will make it even bigger Check it out!

The topping appears to be green hackle fibers. Body is yellow chenille, and the wing is white bucktail over red bucktail. I’m sticking my neck out a bit and am calling the tag oval silver tinsel, without having made the aforementioned detailed investigation.

To my regular followers…I have a major life-change event on the horizon…all good. Moving on and forward from some of the negative residual of my ill-fated second marriage which ended almost four years ago. I have been very busy with all that. At some point I will be more in control of everything and will be able to focus on more regular writing here as well. I send my heartfelt thanks to all of you for your patience and devotion.

I will be at the International Fly Tying Symposium in November, the 22nd and 23rd, in Somerset, New Jersey.

Black Prince

The Black Prince wet fly is an old pattern. It is shown on the Lake Flies in Favorite Flies and Their Histories, 1892, by Mary Orvis Marbury. It is also in Trout, 1938, by Ray Bergman. It was a popular pattern and has appeared in other publications as well. The Orvis version has a body made entirely of flat gold tinsel, while the later version in Trout sports a black floss body with a gold tinsel ribbing. Both have red tails, the version in Marbury’s book also has a jungle cock cheek. Hackle and wings on both versions are black, with natural black hackle being used on the original plate fly. I have a photo of that and recognized it as natural black; more of a dark charcoal color.

The reason I am inspired to post this article is that I recently completed an order of four dozen Black Prince wet flies, for a customer for fishing. She wanted them in sizes #12, #14, #16, and #18. The surprising part, not to me, but likely to many of you, is that my customer recently fished Pennsylvania’s famed and reportedly difficult to fish, at times anyway, Penn’s Creek. This is a stream where no stocking is done in a large section of Special Regulation water. The fish are almost all wild, stream-bred brown trout. I received her e-mail message today, as follows:

“ALL HAIL THE BLACK PRINCE!!! A short time ago I had a great afternoon on Penn’s Creek above Coburn with the Black Prince.  I would lay odds that is a fly that has not been seen around here in 50 years!!  And neither have the trout.”
My customer did not specify the size(s) she used, nor did she indicate how they were fished, but it’s a sure bet the flies were simply swung down-and-across. The hooks I used to supply her fishing fly order were modern hooks; I used Tiemco wet fly hooks – #3769. I prefer vintage and antique hooks for display and collector flies; and contemporary, high-carbon steel, mini-barb, chemically sharpened points to get the job done if the flies will be getting wet. Modern hooks are unquestionably better for fishing.
Here is a photo of the version of the Black Prince from Trout:
Black Prince - classic wet fly. The hook size is #6,Mustad vintage style No. 3399.

Black Prince – classic wet fly. The hook size is #6, Mustad vintage style No. 3399. The hackle on this fly was applied after setting the wing, using an old-fashioned technique. This method combines the winged wet with the effectiveness of a soft-hackle.

Black Prince

Thread: Danville Black Flymaster 6/0

Hook: Standard wet fly hook, sizes #2 to #18 – large hooks, full hackle to replicate Lake Fly style.

Tag: Flat gold tinsel

Tail: Scarlet hackle fibers of a section of red duck quill – may be two matching slips paired, or a single slip of duck or goose wing quill, as was done almost exclusively in the 1800’s

Ribbing: Narrow gold tinsel

Body: Black floss

Wing: Black duck or goose wing quill, matched and paired; may also be natural crow

Hackle: Black

It is the tiers discretion to apply the hackle as a false or beard style hackle, or as a soft-hackle collar, which may be wound either before or after placing the wing.

If one desired to replicate the Orvis version of the Black Prince, use fine flat gold tinsel for the tag, make the body from medium flat gold tinsel, use a scarlet dyed quill section for the tail – traditionally in the 1800’s, scarlet ibis feathers were used for this – and add a jungle cock cheek.

Like so many classic wet flies, trout do not see them, and one ace-in-the-hole trick you can tuck up your sleeve is to hit the water with something different than what everyone else is fishing. How about the Black Prince?

Next on my customers custom order – the Grackle, another old classic pattern.