Woody and the TV

This is very funny and I wanted to share it.

My niece, Emily, in Maine, just sent me this video clip. It is my brother’s family dog, Woody, a Springer Spaniel, reacting for the very first time ever, to the television. He’s about eight or nine years old, so any reaction to the television at all is noteworthy. The more interesting and funny part is, Woody is reacting to me on the television. Emily was working on some wet fly tying, watching my DVD Advanced Classic Wet Flies, made in 2007, and for some reason he got “interested.” This video link illustrates Woody’s unusual reaction to me. I think it’s my image and voice together, because Woody knows me well, but he even growls at my image and voice, and sounds aggressive, but I think it’s more that he is barking from excitement. And he misses me! Awwww! But then again, perhaps my fly tying instruction is just going to the dogs.


The funniest part is when Woody shakes his head in response to Emily’s question, “Do you like fly tying Woody?”

Wet Fly Double Quartet

These wet flies, a “double quartet” to use music terminology, are the other patterns that went to Colorado along with those Carson Lake Specials I recently posted. The patterns are:

Bouncer, Cardinal, Kineo, and Silver Doctor – featuring a “deuce” or “double shot” of each.

They are dressed on vintage Mustad 3906 size #4’s.

Bouncer Wet Fly Pattern, Mustad vintage hook 3906 - #4 - tied by Don Bastian

Cardinal Wet Fly Pattern, Mustad vintage hook 3906 - #4, tied by Don Bastian

Note: on the Cardinal wet fly pattern, it dates from the 1800’s and no one (legally) uses “cardinal” on the wing anymore, and the dressing can be (to me) either red or claret, I’m kind of partial to the claret.

Kineo Wet Fly Pattern - Mustad vintage hook 3906 - #4 - tied by Don Bastian

Silver Doctor Wet Fly Pattern - Mustad vintage hook - 3906 - #4 - tied by Don Bastian

The version of the Silver Doctor, some of you know it is my own variation. The use of duck or goose wing quill sections in the wing was inspired by commercially-tied Silver Doctors I saw a number of years ago in The Maine Guide Fly Shop in Greenville, Maine near Moosehead Lake.

The “Doctor” was a challenge because of usually using goose shoulder in the wing; that wasn’t the hard part, but finding nice teal flank always took time. When I saw the simple quill wing versions of this pattern in the fly shop, with only yellow and blue duck quill in the wing, it gave me the idea to substitute materials. I merely used brown goose for the turkey and guinea fowl for the teal. These wings are far easier to assemble that versions using flank feathers, and they are durable. This is the version of the Silver Doctor, adapted from Trout by Ray Bergman, that I demonstrate in my DVD, Advanced Classic Wet Flies, 2007, Bennett-Watt Entertainment.

“Married Wings for Morons”

This is cracking me up! I laughed out loud yesterday, even though I was home alone. smile.gif

Yesterday, while checking the stats here on my blog site, (I have the ability to look at all the search terms used that bring people to my site) and one of the search phrases I saw yesterday was, “married wings for morons.” hysterical.gif  lol.gif   biggrin.gif

I actually coined that phrase some years ago after I “discovered” my new, proprietary method of handling wing quills in January 2006. (It was sort of an accident as I recall). This technique also works for goose, turkey, bustard, swan, teal, barred wood duck, or any combination thereof, when using those materials to build married wings and tails. It is not on my first DVD, Tying Classic Wet Flies, 2004, because I didn’t develop this method until 2006 as noted above. It is included in me second wet fly DVD, Advanced Classic Wet Flies. This DVD is available for purchase on MyFlies.com. Here is a direct link to the merchandise page:


Initially this post started on: classicflytying.com and was meant to be a short humorous post, but as I got into it, writing and feeling “inspired” as my fingers moved over the keys, and ideas popped into my brain, (I know, that can be dangerous) I just let loose and decided to also write this post as a married wing tutorial.

The reason I initially made the analogy that is the title of this post is in part because of my occasionally off-color sense of redneck, politically incorrect humor, (I despise political correctness – don’t get me going), but mainly it is a realistic assessment of the ease with which, once trained in this method, it becomes pretty easy for anyone who has tied a few wet flies to learn how to assemble the feather slips required to marry wet fly wings. This is because my method totally eliminates any possibility of accidentally mixing up left and right slips or feather sections, and it also eliminates the possibility of the narrow two or three barb wide slips used in married tails or wings from inadvertently turning ninety-degrees when the wider butt end of the barb section is grasped with a vertical finger pinch. Up until I discovered this method, I had learned to always rotate my right hand that was holding the next quill section to be added at a right angle so that the barbs on the piece to be married to, would be in perfect vertical alignment with the barb section in my left hand which was held vertically as well. Overall, this method enhances the efficiency of technique required to put together feather barb sections from different feathers, even different kinds of birds, and assemble married wings.
In particular, this method greatly simplifies the task when assembling those multiple section married tails as on the Golden Doctor, Fletcher, Kineo, Cassard, Denison, King of the Woods, Grasshopper, F. G. Simpson, Matador, etc. Which in the end makes the process of marrying wings and tails far easier than ever before, hence the term, “married wings for morons.” Not to infer any disrespect, of course. shades.gif

This technique greatly simplifies and speeds-up the process of tying married wing flies of any type, even when “splits” are used in combination with a whole feather wing or previously mounted married sections. And this method is even beneficial when tying any wet fly pattern with quill section tails or wings, even if the wing is a single color, such as slate (natural mallard wing). Quite often when I demonstrate the method, people are surprised at how simple it is and they express amazement at why no one ever though of it before. I can not explain that.

I am pretty certain that I mentioned that phrase on my newer wet fly DVD, Advanced Classic Wet Flies. In that DVD this method is clearly demonstrated. I still am amazed when I think that in over 150 years of assembling married wings, every single fly tier, writer, or fly tying instructor, has always done this process in the same time-honored, traditional way, by isolating, snipping, and detaching the individual barb sections, lining them up on the tying bench, keeping (hopefully) left and right slips separated and organized, and then beginning the (in some cases like Kelson-style salmon fly wings) laborious process of picking these sections up, one by one, to assemble or marry them in order to each component. My method detaches the barbs with a scissor snip, but they are then left in place on the feather stem, held secure only by the barbules of the single adjacent uncut barb. The stem of the whole feather then becomes your “barb dispenser,” and gives the fly tier a large, easy-to-hold, and secure “handle” for the next steps. When using multiple colors, simply make your snips, and lay the feathers down without removing the cut barb sections. They will lie in wait until ready, and not blow off by the breeze of a fan or a suddenly exhaled sigh of exasperation. Have your quill sections ready for the wings. Pick them up one by one and make your snips until all barb sections are cut and ready for marrying.

Once this is done, when married wing or tail section assembly begins, start by picking up the feather by the stem that has the bottom barb section for the wing in progress – this is the first section or slip placed in position when building wings from bottom to top – and then, using the whole feather as a handle, holding it by the stem, the cut barb section is inserted very near the tip end into the opposite hand, then clasped at the tip with an index finger and thumb grasp. Pinch lightly and simply pull the cut barb section out away from the feather. Usually I accomplish this by holding the left hand still while the right hand removes the feather “dispenser.” Lay down the feather or taped-together pair of wing quills as I have all my quills, from which the cut slip had been removed. Next, repeat this with the next barb section to be added, picking up the whole feather as before and aligning the tip of the second snipped section in place with the first, which is now held in your opposite hand. Repeat the pinch and pull procedure. At this point as you have two barb sections in your hand you may wish to do the slight up-and-down wiggling and / or lengthwise stroking action that brings the barbules into action (marrying), or you may continue to stack additional barb sections in place, waiting to marry the wing until three, four, five, even six barb sections are all dropped in place, and then make the marrying maneuvers.

For example, on my version of the Silver Doctor trout wet fly, with five colors / sections in the wing, once the sections are cut on the five pairs of matched wing quills (on a size #6 hook, 3 barbs of each color), I can then easily complete the marrying and assembly of both wings in one minute or less. I usually demonstrate the first wing by marrying the barb sections one at a time, and the second by stacking all five sections together in my left hand finger pinch and then marry them together all at once.

This idea came to me like a bolt of light, on a January Monday morning right after I had just concluded two back-to-back weekend fly tying classes at Fishing Creek Angler in Benton, Pennsylvania, back in 2006. All I can remember that morning is sitting at my tying desk, looking at a pair of wing quills and wondering, “How can I make this easier for those people who have difficulty identifying feathers?” This thought occurred because out of 15 students in attendance, 3/4 of them had never hunted ducks, grouse, woodcock, or pheasants as I did growing up, therefore they were unable to identify a left whole wing feather from a right feather, and much less so when one begins cutting and removing individual barb sections from the respective feathers. Some of these fellows could not recognize right from left; barb slips, that is.

One fellow seated next to me was struggling and after a couple minutes said, “I can’t get this.”
I replied, “You need to make sure you have a matched pair of quills.”
The man held up a red duck wing quill feather and a yellow duck wing quill feather and emphatically stated, “Look here! I have a matched pair of quills!”

When the others in the class saw what he had done, there was a sudden outburst of uncontrolled mirth and jocularity. It took a couple minutes before the laughter settled down enough for me to say, “You have a red and yellow feather, (and I felt like saying, ‘You moron!’ because he is also a close friend, and you know the friendly barbs traded between friends, but I refrained myself from this temptation). I informed him, “They are both lefts! That is not a matched pair!” the sheepish look on his was, as the commercial says, priceless. That was absolutely hilarious! I always tell that story in my classes ever since.

Since developing this method, every fly tyer I have ever asked, and there have been many, some well-known, well-read, knowledgeable individuals in my surveys, has always indicated that this method is completely new to them. Believe me, there is no comparison in the ease of this technique when using this method as opposed to the traditional routine.

I am always happy to demonstrate and detail this method, but it is not complicated. I have endeavored to explain it to the best of my ability here in writing, but there is still no substitute for seeing this in action. I believe most of my students taught after January 2006 (after the release of my first DVD in November 2004), use this technique.

I recently made several updates on my blog, including a quick and easy e-mail subscription tab, and also a search tab. When searching my site, just type in a topic or phrase and hit “enter.”

Thanks everyone, I hope this is helpful This is the first time I’ve ever made an attempt at writing this proprietary method as a tutorial.

Don Bastian DVD’s and flies are for sale…

On May 2, 2011 I announced that I officially joined the internet site MyFlies.com. MyFlies is a site conceived, owned, operated, and managed by Sharon Butterfield. It is essentially an internet storefront for fly tiers, guides, lodges, authors, speakers, etc., all sharing the commonality of fly tying, fly fishing, and ordering flies tied by local and regional fly tiers.

Wet flies for fishing (or collecting – signature cards provided with orders on request) – tied by me, framed reproductions of the wet fly color plates in Ray Bergman’s book, Trout, and my three instructional fly tying DVD’s are for sale there. With time I will be expanding my pattern selection on MyFlies.com to facilitate quick and easy on-line ordering. This is a great aid to me since I do not have my own internet ordering / selling web site.

On the right side of this site under Favorite Site Links I have placed a tab that will take you directly to MyFlies.com where my instructional fly tying DVD’s and flies can be viewed, and purchased.

Purchasing arrangements with credit cards or Paypal can easily be made on the site. And the first single fly pattern I have placed there is the RSP; a great little streamer / baitfish pattern. For information on ordering the RSP please see the post on this site titled, Magalloway River Brook Trout Trio. Customer reviews and ratings of my work are also available.

Custom orders for Collector’s Edition wet flies, framed flies, and also fishing flies, whether nymphs, drys, terrestrials, soft-hackles, wet flies, streamers, bucktails – may be custom-ordered by contacting me directly via e-mail or phone. Thank you all for your support!

Advanced Classic Wet Flies DVD

Advanced Classic Wet Flies DVD

Don Bastian – author

Ø       Advanced Classic Wet Flies is the follow-up DVD to Tying Classic Wet Flies. This DVD introduces an original, proprietary material-handling method for quill wings and tails. This technique was developed by Don Bastian in January 2005 (after the release of Tying Classic Wet Flies) and was never published anywhere prior to the release of this DVD. This easy-to-learn procedure greatly simplifies the preparation, handling, and construction of wing quill and shoulder strip married and single-section wings and tails, and can be used in any fly tying process requiring quill wings and tails. This new method eliminates left or right confusion, significantly increases efficiency, minimizes material handling, and drastically reduces the difficulties often associated with assembly of wing quills and tails, particularly married sections. On occasion I have humorously called this technique, “Married Wings for Morons.”

Ø       This DVD presents detailed step-by-step information that allows viewers to watch, understand, and learn the methods and techniques required to construct single section and married-wing trout flies that can be displayed in a frame or successfully fished in your favorite waters.

Ø       Advanced Classic Wet Flies features the following patterns:

o         Gold Stork

o         Watson’s Fancy

o         Ferguson

o         Belgrade

o         Sabbatus

o         Silver Doctor

Ø       The Silver Doctor pattern demonstrated in the DVD is Don Bastian’s variation of the wing; using wing quill sections instead of the more difficult and more delicate flank and goose shoulder feather assortment. It was inspired by commercially-tied Silver Doctor wet flies in the Maine Guide Fly Shop.

Ø       The Ferguson introduces married wings using turkey and goose shoulder. The Gold Stork features bronze mallard wings and a golden pheasant tippet tail. Various techniques are presented and detailed in the additional patterns.

Ø       Don Bastian has been tying flies since age 12. He has over 750 flies in the book Forgotten Flies. Classic wet flies are his passion but he is experienced in a wide range of styles and techniques.

Ø       Advanced Classic Wet Flies was released in August 2007 and runs one-hour 52 minutes. (Interesting that it is exactly the same length to the minute as my first DVD). Check these times against other fly tying DVD’s on the market; many are less than or not much longer than one hour.

Ø       In addition to my new wing quill handling technique several other tactical improvements developed since the release of Tying Classic Wet Flies in 2004 are presented.

Ø      Filmed by Bennett-Watt Entertainment in Hi-Def with three cameras as part of their New Hooked on Fly Tying Series DVD’s. This DVD features incredible close-up images throughout the tying sequences. Nothing is left to your imagination. The filming was done by Kelly and Jim Watt, of Issaquah, Washington; both are fly tiers with experience in filming, editing, and producing great fly tying DVD’s.

Cost: $25.00 US plus shipping.

dwbastian@chilitech.net for ordering information.

Advanced Classic Wet Flies - Signed Disc

Advanced Classic Wet Flies DVD front cover

Silver Doctor Trout Wet Fly

Silver Doctor – Trout Wet Fly Pattern Variation from How to Tie Flies, 1940, by E. C. Gregg.

This Silver Doctor wet fly pattern is tied using the recipe from a book that was given to us by my father on the day he demonstrated his one and only fly tying lesson to my brother Larry, and me. I was 12 at the time. He had given us this tying lesson shortly after Larry and I caught bluegills on wet flies for the first time in a Pennsylvania farm pond near our “farm” cabin in Tioga County. We always called it the farm because it had been a family farm since the 1800’s. After that initial tying demo, which included dad tying three flies – a Royal Coachman wet and a dry, and one other pattern I can not recall, he unloaded the old roll top desk and gave us everything in it pertaining to fly tying: tools, materials, accessories, and containers. This included a copy of How to Tie Flies, 1940 by E. C. Gregg. It is a first edition too, part of the Barnes Dollar Sports Library.

The back of Gregg’s book contains standard pattern dressings for 0ver 300 trout flies, and this version of the Silver Doctor, while including my substitutions of guinea fowl for the original teal and brown quill for the original mottled brown turkey or bustard, is the recipe from that book. I was inspired to create the quill-winged version about eight years ago simply while looking at commercially tied Silver Doctor wet flies for sale in the Maine Guide Fly Shop in Greenville, Maine. These patterns had a simple duck quill wing consisting just of married blue and yellow. Seeing the duck quill married wing gave me the spark of an idea to create this version of the wing, using wing quill sections rather than the usual side feathers of teal, turkey, and goose shoulder. This wing, minus the strip of green, is the version I demonstrate in my DVD, Advanced Classic Wet Flies. I really like the four-color married strip in the tail on this version. The photo was taken with the fly pinned onto the windowsill in the classroom of Fishing Creek Angler Fly Shop and Bed & Breakfast, Benton, Pennsylvania, in 2009 during one of my weekend wet fly classes.

Silver Doctor – Trout Wet Fly

Tag: Red floss

Tail: Yellow, blue, green, red – married

Rib: Oval silver tinsel

Body: Flat silver tinsel

Hackle: Mixed guinea fowl and blue

Wing: Married sections of duck quill: brown, guinea fowl, red, green blue, & yellow

Head: Red. I prefer to use Wapsi red lacquer to finish the head, even when tied with red thread. Clear lacquer applied as a final coat smooths out the red finish, because they are both lacquer-based products. Each time a new coat is applied, it softens the previous coat, blends into it, and then as it dries, continues a process of binding all coats of head cement together as one solid layer. The variation of this is when cements of different chemical composition are used. For example, I found out you can’t paint black and yellow eyes on the heads of streamers and use a clear lacquer based cement to coat them, because the final coat softens the eye paint and makes them run. Clear nail polish works well on this because the cements are different.

The Silver Doctor wet fly was a very popular fly in the 19th century and still remains a favorite of wet fly tiers today.