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.

A Weekend With Carrie Stevens

Been gone too long, sorry about that, lots of reasons, none bad. 😉 No time to even explain, not that it would be necessary. 🙂

Here is my next professional engagement; I am one of seven featured fly tiers at a special event being held at the Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum in Oquossoc, Maine. The dates are June 26, 27, 28. Here is the facebook page link for those of you on facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/events/940130296038129/

And here is the link to their website / events page:

http://rangeleyoutdoormuseum.org/rangeley-outdoor-museum-events.asp

Check this out! The other tiers are Leslie Hilyard, co-author of “Carrie Stevens: Maker of Rangeley Favorite Trout and Salmon Flies;” Peggy Brenner, Selene Dumaine, Sam Kenney, Peter Simonson, Chris Del Plato, and Ted Patlen. Graydon Hilyard will also be present. Lots of cool stuff scheduled for the weekend. Leslie Hilyard will be deconstructing an original Carrie Stevens streamer, and there is going to be a raffle for a Carrie Stevens original streamer, and much more!

I have not been fishing. Don’t even have a license yet… Been busy tying flies, was behind on my orders, and still am a little bit. Playing in the band frequently. Absolutely loving that! Next Thursday, June 4th, the band has 8 gigs in 17 days, and we start with a 4-day run, playing June 4, 5, 6, 7 at local venues. Three outdoor gigs. Here’s the band website in case you want to divert your fishing interest for a few minutes.

http://www.pepperstreetband.com

Mary and I will be spending a couple days at Lakewood Camps before the event, and then “local” at the Pleasant Street Bed & Breakfast in Rangeley.

http://pleasantstreetinnbb.com/

http://www.lakewoodcamps.com/

And to give you some eye-candy, here are two Carrie Stevens patterns tried by my Maryland friend, Bill Shuck:

Green Beauty Streeameer, tieed by Bill Shuck.

Green Beauty Streamer, tied by Bill Shuck.

Queen of the Waters, tied by Bill Shuck. This pattern is not in the Hilyard book, but is in Forgotten Flies. An original tied by her is photographed.

Queen of the Waters, tied by Bill Shuck. This pattern is not in the Hilyard book, but is in “Forgotten Flies.” An original tied by her is photographed.

 

Kelley’s Killer – Carrie Stevens Pattern

A year or so ago, I posted the Kelley’s Killer as presented in the Carrie Stevens book, “Carrie Stevens: Maker of Rangeley Favorite Trout and Salmon Flies,” 2000, by Graydon and Leslie Hilyard. I tied three of them according to the recipe presented in their fine book. As it turns out there is another version of the Kelley’s Killer, tied by none other than the “First Lady of Rangeley Streamers” herself (my own play on words), Mrs. Carrie G. Stevens. My friend Jim Kennedy, bought an original Kelley’s Killer tied by Carrie Stevens, last year at the Somerset, New Jersey, Fly Fishing Show. This fly is an eye-opener. It is a “full-dress” version of her streamer tying, identical to the famous Gray Ghost in every single component. Tag, ribbing, body, hackle, wing shoulders, and here is where it gets interesting: Peacock herl underbelly, golden pheasant crest underwing, plus a golden pheasant crest to finish off the throat. Like I said, it is identical in each single part, to the last detail, as her Gray Ghost. The only things different are the materials and the colors. Here you go:

Kelley's Killer, original streamer tied by Carrie G. Stevens.

Kelley’s Killer, original streamer tied by Carrie G. Stevens. Note also the wing, not silver badger as listed in the Hilyard book, but golden  badger over lavender. Also the additional differences: Golden pheasant crest underwing, peacock herl underbelly, golden pheasant crest on the throat.

This makes me wonder. I know the Hilyards did extensive research and had very high standards on the process to certify “original” patterns by Carrie Stevens. Did she later add the extra components to this fly to schmaltz it up? One thing is sure, I like this one better than the one presented in the Hilyard book. Nothing against them at all, I love their book! But seeing an original, as opposed to a replicated pattern tied by someone other than the originator of the pattern; even if well-researched; well, I’m putting my money on this version that I see with my eyes as the “official” Carrie Stevens Kelley’s Killer. It could be as Chris Del Plato suggested, a variation of the pattern. But what a variation it is. More pics:

Kelley'dsd Killer, this is aan original streamer dressed by Carrie Stevens. Photo by Don Bastian. Fly courtesy of Jim Kennedy.

Kelley’s Killer, this is an original streamer dressed by Carrie Stevens. Photo by Don Bastian. Fly courtesy of Jim Kennedy.

Head, shoulder, and card macro, Kelley's Killer tied by Carrie G. Stevens of Upper Dam, Maine.

Head, shoulder, and card macro, a size #2 Kelley’s Killer tied by Carrie G. Stevens of Upper Dam, Maine.

Kelley's Killer - dressed by Carrie Stevens. Photo by Don Bastian. From the collection of Jim Kennedy. Hook size #2.

Kelley’s Killer – dressed by Carrie Stevens. Photo by Don Bastian. From the collection of Jim Kennedy. Hook size #2.

Kelley’s Killer – Carrie Stevens Recipe:

Body: Flat silver tinsel; * differs from Hilyard version of orange floss w/silver tinsel ribbing

Underbelly: 4 – 6 strands peacock herl; * additional from Hilyard version, followed by white bucktail

Throat: Lavender fibers, followed by a golden pheasant crest feather curving upward; * both components differ from Hilyard version

Underwing: Golden pheasant crest as long as the wing, curving downward; * additional from Hilyard version

Wing: Two lavender hackles with one slightly shorter golden badger hackle on each side; * golden badger differs from silver badger on Hilyard version

Shoulder: Tan-tipped Amherst pheasant feather

Cheek: Jungle cock

Head: Black with orange band

In all, this Kelley’s Killer tied by Carrie Stevens has six different components compared to the Hilyard pattern.

Last but not least, my humble version of the Kelley’s Killer, pattern recipe from the Hilyard book:

Kelley's Killer - Carrie Stevens pattern, dressed and photographed by Don Bastian.

Kelley’s Killer – Carrie Stevens pattern, dressed and photographed by Don Bastian. From a couple years ago; this was before I learned that the hackle, underbelly, underwing should all be the same length as the wing when dressing Carrie Stevens patterns according to her design specifications. “Ya’ don’t just tie the fly any old way and assume it is a correctly-dressed Carrie Stevens pattern.” – I said that.

And a threesome of Kelley’s Killers, all dressed by me: Better things to come in the new, expanded, and I’ll make certain, properly dressed to Mrs. Stevens’s Rangeley Streamer specs Kelley’s Killer soon to be tied:

Three Kelley's Killers, a Carrie Stevens original pattern,  tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

Three Kelley’s Killers, a Carrie Stevens original pattern, tied and photographed by Don Bastian. They all need longer bucktail underbellies.

And the head and shoulder macro:

Kelley's Killer - head, shoulders, and cheek. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

Kelley’s Killer – head, shoulders, and cheek. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

Jim did give me permission  to “fix” the fly. The wings were crooked. So I did. Before the pics. I told him that steaming the fly would restore it. Indeed. He said when he got it back it looked better than when he bought it. How cool was it for me to hand-hold a Carrie Stevens original? Very! Thank you Jim!

Carrie Stevens Streamer Deconstruction – Who Was First?

This article is sub-titled with an old adage: “You can’t believe everything you read.” There is a very easy answer to that question, but first this: The current issue of “Fly Tyer” magazine states that a new book, just published this month by Stackpole Books, on tying streamers by a newly published female author from Maine, with barely six years of fly tying experience to her credit – not that there’s anything wrong with that 😉 – was the first person to perform and write about the process of deconstructing a Carrie Stevens streamer. In this instance the pattern was the Blue Devil. I don’t know what other information was given (fabricated) about this “deconstruction”, or exactly how this information was presented, because I no longer read that magazine, but I do know this: That statement is totally false. Reference to sub-title. 😉 The first person to deconstruct a Carrie Stevens streamer, as far as we know, AND write about it in some fashion, and record the information, was Austin S. Hogan. Hogan was written about in “Streamer Fly Tying and Fishing” by Joseph Bates in 1950, as the originator of a number of streamer patterns. Hogan was also the first Curator of the American Museum of Fly Fishing (AMFF) in Manchester Vermont, a position he assumed in 1970. Austin was a noted angling historian, and a personal friend of Carrie Stevens. Hogan had acquired a number of the prepared pattern sheets similar to the ones she sold to Wendell Folkins in December 1953 when he bought her business. A number of these are photographed and shown in the Hilyard “Carrie Stevens” book.

In 1967, Hogan and a young fly tier in his learning years, Mike Martinek, Jr., of Stoneham, Massachusetts, both members of United Fly Tyers, deconstructed not one, but four Carrie Stevens streamers in Hogan’s apartment. A Big Ben, a Gray Ghost, and a couple other patterns. These flies were all damaged. One was missing a jungle cock cheek, another had a broken hook point, etc. They might be named in another article on my blog, but I’m going from memory here in the interest of getting this written. I have a lot to do this week. Mike was taken under Hogan’s wing, and lucky he was, and how fortunate for the rest of us fly tiers interested in tying streamers, and not only tying them, but also being interested in the historical accuracy of tying them correctly AND tying the patterns true to the style of the originator. Mike observed intently as Hogan did the work, each fly in a vise, and extensive notes were taken during the process. These notes were later copied and made onto poster board images. As recently as 2012 when the AMFF had the display titled “A Graceful Rise” featuring fifty women who made significant contributions in the history and rise of fly fishing and fly tying, Hogan’s set of notes were included in the display on Carrie Stevens. I took photos of those notes, downloaded them to my hard drive, and learned first-hand the exact process of Carrie Stevens streamer construction. From these notes, it can be ascertained how the “deconstruction” would go. The “secrets” of Carrie Stevens’s methods of assembly are revealed in Hogan’s notes, so one could say there is nothing new to discover. But to anyone who does not know any bit or volume of information on any subject, the unveiling of such information is always a “discovery.”
This includes the “elusive” white throat that is part of the Gray Ghost, though it was mysteriously omitted from the recipes of at least five books containing the recipe for the Gray Ghost. For the info on that, go to the search tab here, type in “Gray Ghost White Ghost” and hit the “enter” key. Here is a macro of one page of Hogan’s notes:

Copy of Austin Hogan's notes on the construction of Carrie Stevens streamers.

Copy of a part of one page of Austin Hogan’s notes on the construction of Carrie Stevens streamers. This instruction specifically refers to her Gray Ghost. Don Bastian photo.

Of course the obvious observation is this: Since Hogan made these extensive notes, diagrams, and type-written text on Carrie Stevens’s unique, self-taught methods of streamer construction, it goes without saying that he would have had to deconstruct her streamers to discover and reveal her methods. I have several images of these notes, the complete set that was on display at the AMFF, which at some point I will publish here. More recently, Graydon and Leslie Hilyard, authors of “Carrie Stevens: Rangeley Favorite Trout and Salmon Flies,” also published an article including the photographic step-by-step deconstruction of a Carrie Stevens Blue Devil. This was done in 2002, in The American Fly Fisher, the journal of the AMFF. Martinek also informed me that Robert Warren, who recreated the 1800’s Rangeley Region Lake Flies in the “Carrie Stevens” book, was present during the Hilyard / Blue Devil deconstruction. Here is a link to that volume with their article: http://www.amff.com/american-fly-fisher-2002.html

I close with clarification of rumors, or glowing false statements being published: Mike Martinek is the current expert on the history, tying, and information of Carrie Stevens streamers, and her methods of tying. He was present when four Carrie Stevens streamers were deconstructed 48 years ago. Mike has been a fly tier all those years, and he has been teaching her methods for many years. A number of Mike’s students are also very knowledgeable and skilled streamer fly tiers,  and they have been  tying flies for decades. No to discredit anyone accomplishments; but some new kid on the block with less than six years experience is not suddenly the new reigning expert on Carrie Stevens, it just does not happen. Nor does being a woman from Maine and a fly tier suddenly make her or any other female resident of Maine, or any state for that matter, the next Carrie Stevens. Experience can only be earned with time and perseverance, it cannot be achieved without the actual time it requires, or bestowed or gifted by a magazine editor, or self-proclaimed by anyone who simply has not gained experience for themselves. It comes as a badge of Honor to anyone who works hard and stays at their craft for years and years. Having talent is a great help, it makes one become good at their craft, but rapid development and growth of talent can occur whether one is an athlete, musician, academic student, wood-carver, etc., but development of talent in a short time span is still no substitute for experience. The information a magazine / editor / newspaper states / presents ought to be thoroughly vetted and fact-checked before publication. That’s good journalism. Fly Tyer magazine needs to publish a correction (at least) and even apologize to their readers, and to Graydon and Leslie Hilyard, and to Mike Martinek for this misinformation as far as I’m concerned. Don’t hold your breath folks.

As noted in the “Favorite Fishing Flies – 1892” article, the “dramatic” true-life experience narratives and comments have been removed. Those of you who were part of that, I thank you sincerely for your support. I am moving on. Life is good!

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!

Stanley Williams – Streamer Tier

Not long ago I made the online acquaintance of a young man from West Enfield, Maine, by the name of Stanley Williams. He ties a very nice replica, what I have seen so far, of Carrie Stevens streamer patterns. I thought I would share one of his flies here, the reason being that I think it is really great that a young fellow like Stanley has found the passion to continue the tradition of tying her patterns, and from what I have learned thus far, he is making every effort to do so in the true and correct historic fashion. I know he mentioned to me in an e-mail that he went to the former home of Carrie and Wallace Stevens in Upper Dam, Maine, set up an impromptu fly tying station in the form of two saw horses, and tied a Gray Ghost streamer in the back yard. That was a pretty cool thing to do.

Here are some images Stanley sent me of his rendition of Carrie Stevens’ Blue Devil.

Blue Devil tied by Stanley Williams.

Blue Devil tied by Stanley Williams.

Blue Devil tied by Stanley Williams.

Blue Devil tied by Stanley Williams.

Blue Devil tied by Stanley Williams.

Blue Devil tied by Stanley Williams. Note the elongated head shape, which was the preference and style of head finished on original streamers dressed by Carrie Stevens.

Blue Devil tied by Stanley Williams.

Blue Devil tied by Stanley Williams. Note also: the wing angle – the jungle cock cheek and center line of the stems of the shoulder and wing is slightly above the horizontal line of the hook shank. The length of the bucktail and herl underbelly is equally as long as the wing. These are proportion and material placement details of Carrie Stevens’s original Rangeley Style of streamer tying that some tiers overlook. Stanley has ’em down. 😉

Top view of Blue Devil tied by Stanley Williams - showing near-perfect alignment of the wing assembly.

Top view of Blue Devil tied by Stanley Williams – showing near-perfect alignment of the wing assembly.

Very nice Stanley! Keep up the good work!

PS: If memory serves, my blog articles may have had something to do with Stanley’s “conversion” to my preference to band the heads of the Carrie Stevens streamer patterns. While I know she stated the band was her signature of sorts, I believe the band color is moreover a part of the pattern design. Plus this significant fact: When Wendell Folkins bought her business in 1953, she insisted that he continue to include the banded heads and colors she created when tying her patterns, no doubt as a way to continue the “recognition” and signature of her original streamer patterns. Carrie Stevens also tied other popular patterns such as the Black Ghost, Colonel Fuller, Supervisor, and in some cases, she added a slight variation to the materials, and certainly in the tying style.

Carrie Stevens Streamer Patterns

I have posted these same flies previously, but these are some new flies and new photos.

Carrie Stevens Streamer patterns; closkciws from upper left:

An assortment of Carrie Stevens Streamer patterns; clockwise from upper left: Pink Lady (2); Gray Ghost (2); Blue Devil (2); Colonel Bates (2); Larry’s Special, Larry, Rapid River, and Lakewood, center. All dressed on Gaelic Supreme Rangeley Style Carrie Stevens / Mike Martinek streamer hooks. Sizes are #1, #2, #4 all 8x long.

And a macro of the heads, shoulders, and cheeks like spokes of a wheel.

Same flies arranged in a wheel pattern. The head band colors are true to Carrie's original pattern specs.

Same flies arranged in a wheel pattern. The head band colors are true to Carrie’s original pattern specs.

And carded for sale to collectors:

Lakewood - Carrie Stevens streamer pattern, named for Lakwood Camps. Only a few of her 100-plus original patterns sported an orange head with a black band.

Lakewood – Carrie Stevens streamer pattern, named for Lakwood Camps. Only a few of her 100-plus original patterns sported an orange head with a black band.

Larry - a streamer pattern designed by Carrie Stevens and named after Larry Parsons, owner of Lakewood Camps from 1945 to 1974.

Larry – a streamer pattern designed by Carrie Stevens and named after Larry Parsons, owner of Lakewood Camps from 1945 to 1974.

Larry's Special - the second of two streamer patterns created by Carrie Stevens, named for Larry Parsons, owner of Lakewood Camps from 1945 - 1974.

Larry’s Special – the second of two streamer patterns created by Carrie Stevens, named for Larry Parsons, owner of Lakewood Camps from 1945 – 1974.

Rapid River - the fourth streamer pattern created by Carrie G. Stevens and associated with the Rapid River, Lakewood Camps, and former camp owner Larry Parsons.

Rapid River – the fourth streamer pattern created by Carrie G. Stevens and associated with the Rapid River, Lakewood Camps, and former camp owner Larry Parsons.

These four streamers are available in a boxed set, part of my Collector’s Edition series of Carrie Stevens streamer patterns. Presently priced at $80, the cost is soon going up for a few reasons – they have been rather inexpensive for one, and also to help cover the 5% fee and shipping costs associated with MyFlies.com. Here is the link to the “Lakewood” Collector’s Edition Set No. 4 on MyFlies.com:

http://www.myflies.com/Carrie-Stevens-Streamer-Patterns-Collectors-Edition-Set-No-4-P784.aspx

Originally when I listed these sets for sale, I was winding the ribbing clockwise, but a couple years ago I changed that on Carrie Stevens patterns to wind counter clockwise as she did. I also learned how to apply the throats in her unique, original layered method, the result of my photos and study of the copies of Austin Hogan’s notes that were on display at the American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester, Vermont. This method was first learned by contemporary fly tier, Mike Martinek, Jr., of Stoneham, Massachusetts. Conversations I have had with Mike have benefitted me, and his classes have taught other tiers, to name a few, Rich Connors, Peter Simonson, and Peggy Brenner how to replicate streamers in the true Carrie Stevens Rangeley method. Mike had the good fortune to be taken under the wing of Austin Hogan while a young member of the United Fly Tyers in the Boston area. Mike was privileged to participate in the deconstruction of three or four Carrie Stevens original streamer patterns in Austin’s apartment in 1967. The information Mike learned has been presented in a number of articles and videos over the years. Thanks Mike, for your help, and learning and passing on techniques that might have been lost.

I feel the need to make a few more comments: The knowledge and experience of Mike Martinek and other long-time streamer tiers should not be considered lightly. These folks who have put their time in – for years – decades – learning and honing their craft – are the fly tiers who deserve credit for their expertise, knowledge, and credibility. One does not gain “expert” status merely by tying for a few years and then suddenly coming out of the woodwork and writing a bunch of articles and even a book. I don’t care how good a fly tier may be, I realize, like musicians, some folks have talent and aptitude to excel at an early stage. A couple friends in the few years stage of very good fly tying I would make note of are Stanley Williams of West Enfield, Maine, and fellow Pennsylvanian, Eunan Hendron. Yet there is ultimately no substitute for decades of experience. Look at me, I have been tying flies for almost fifty-one years, and it was only in 2012 that I learned the correct way to authentically dress Carrie Stevens Rangeley Style streamers, in the fashion that she originated. For me the final learning curve was merely noticing and paying attention to details that I ought to have recognized earlier on. However, I do not, and likely never will attempt to hand-tie her patterns. Tried once and quite frankly, I don’t know how she pulled it off, to do her throat method while holding the hook, working the thread, and placing the hackle fibers. An old dog can learn new tricks, but this dog won’t likely tie streamers sans vise.

A pair of Gray Ghosts. A Carrie G. Stevens streamer pattern, first found listed on one of her invoices in 1934. No argument here; the Gray Ghost is the most famous streamer pattern ever created, and not likely to ever be surpassed in that distinction.

A pair of Gray Ghosts. A Carrie G. Stevens streamer pattern, first found listed on one of her invoices in 1934. No argument here; the Gray Ghost is the most famous streamer pattern ever created, and not likely to ever be surpassed in that distinction.

A pair of Colonel Bates streamers. Oddly enough, and I don't like to complain, but the person for whom this fly was named had two components incorrectly labeled in his own book.  Joseph D. Bates "Streamer Fly Tying and Fishing." Subsequent evidence - numerous Carrie Stevens original Colonel Bates streamers, including the Captain Bates and Major Bates, show the tail to be red hackle fibers. This makes sense, since not one  of the 100-plus streamer flies she originated have sections of duck quill for tails. And the shoulders on the Colonel Bates are and always were gray mallard, not teal.

A pair of Colonel Bates streamers. Oddly enough, and I don’t like to complain, but the person for whom this fly was named had two components incorrectly labeled in his own book. Joseph D. Bates “Streamer Fly Tying and Fishing.” Subsequent evidence – numerous Carrie Stevens original Colonel Bates streamers, including the Captain Bates and Major Bates, show the tail to be red hackle fibers. This makes sense, since not one of the 100-plus streamer flies she originated have sections of duck quill for tails. And the shoulders on the Colonel Bates are and always were gray mallard, not teal.

A pair of Blue Devils.

A pair of Blue Devils. One of the three streamer patterns in Carrie Stevens “Devil” series. The other two are the Red Devil and White Devil. All three patterns sport shoulders of “partridge” or pah-tridge” – indigenous to her local area near Upper Dam at Mooselucmaguntic Lake in Maine’s famous Rangeley Lakes Region.

A pair of the Pink Lady streamer pattern, originated by Carrie Stevens. This was the final fly tied of her career, on the day in December 1953, when she sold her business to H. Wendell Folkins of New Hampshire.

A pair of the Pink Lady streamer pattern, originated by Carrie Stevens. This was the final fly tied of her career, on the day in December 1953, when she sold her business to H. Wendell Folkins of New Hampshire.

The Carrie Stevens Collector’s Edition Set No. 1 is available on MyFlies.com:

http://www.myflies.com/Carrie-Stevens-Streamer-Patterns-Collectors-Edition-Set-No-1-P658.aspx

One tying note I’d like to point out, and I learned this from experience and just by paying attention: When replicating Carrie Stevens streamer patterns, it is important to note that images of her original patterns – the proportions – the components of underbelly, underwing of bucktail peacock herl, golden pheasant crest, silver pheasant crests, should always be as long as the wing. No shorties. I mean, you can tie them anyway you like to fish with, but for the sake of fly pattern historical accuracy, lets be true to her original design specs and proportions.

Cost of these four-fly Collector’s Sets is going to be increased to $90. Orders may also be place directly through me. Find me on facebook too: Don Bastian.