Status Report and Calendar of Events

This short post is an announcement of several things. First, this is post no. 400, since March of 2010 when I started this blog. I presently have 868 followers. (now up to 895 – 2-19-2015). A good many of them signed on in the last ten days when there was some drama aka “lively discussion” here.¬†That has been cleaned up since then, and for good reason. To that, I will only say, sometimes good guys do win. ūüėČ

Secondly, during this time, I had my highest ever number of visits, 894 on January 29th. And I received a lot of support, nearly 100% in fact, from people who commented, people who did not comment but e-mailed me, and / or voiced their support to me in person at the Somerset, New Jersey, Fly Fishing Show.

I have some events coming up. Here is my planned itinerary for the next few months:

Thursday March 12: Fly Tying Class at Grand River Outfitting and Fly Shop in Fergus, Ontario, 6 Р9 PM.

Friday March 13: Fly Tying Class at First Cast Fly Shop In Guelph, Ontario, 6 – 9:30 PM.

Saturday March 14: 5-hour fly tying demo, with camera and large screen at The Niagara Region Flytyers Club in St. Catherine’s, Ontario. 11 – 4 PM. Some tickets are available to the general public, at $20.

I will not be at the Lancaster Fly Fishing Show; I¬†was thinking about it, but the band got booked at a Mardi-Gras event in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, so I’m staying in town to have fun.

Monday April 6: Federation of Flyfishers Club, fly tying demo and program on Soft-hackle Wet Flies. Big Flats, New York.

Saturday April 11: Catskill Fly Tyers Guild Annual Fly Tyers Rendezvous, at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum, Livingston Manor, New York. Here is the link to “Events” on their page:

Monday May 11: On-the-Fly, Spruce Creek, Pennsylvania. An all-day event.

There is another event in the planning stages that will be in Maine. I have been invited to participate in this. It will be the last weekend in June in the Rangeley Region. I am honored to be invited; that is all I can say about it for now. As soon as I receive information it will be posted here.

When I get details on the classes in Canada I will post them.

Life indeed moves on. I am excited about this¬†400th post. It is short, but continuing on, I shall¬†try to make future posts¬†worthwhile, as in entertaining, informative, helpful, and interesting. When my book, “Favorite¬†Fishing Flies – 1892” on the¬†1800’s Orvis flies is accepted by a publisher – soon – you will all be the first to know. Thank you everyone for your support! Things have a way of happening as they are supposed to…

Bastian’s Floating Sulphur Emerger – Part II

After today’s post on my Floating Caddis-Mayfly Emerger I received two requests for tying steps to make this fly. So reblogging this original post; here they are, from my article dated May of 2013. Lots of fishing pics, info on the day, tactical stuff, etc. Note to interested tiers: Both the Orvis version with the wound hackle collar, and the version with side-lashed legs are here. See the notes on that below the Hi-Vis Emerger.

Don Bastian Wet Flies

This article is Part II of the Floating Sulphur Emerger pattern. This season on Spring Creek, using my Floating Caddis ‚Äď ‚ÄúSulphur‚ÄĚ Emerger, I decided to try something new and different; that is; fishing with two dry flies at the same time, in a tandem dry fly rig. I had done that successfully out west in 2006 on the Madison, using my Floating Caddis Emerger trailed on 5x tippet behind a #10 Grizzly Wulff as an indicator fly. I did this so I could see the Emerger on the broken water, plus to provide better visibility and improved tracking of the smaller, flush-floating emerger at distances of forty to fifty-five feet that I was occasionally casting.

On Spring Creek this season, this is the data and fishing report from four trips made on the following dates: May 10th, 17th, 24th, and 30th. Each time I fished there I used two…

View original post 2,204 more words

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:

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 Рa #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 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 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 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 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…

Rock ‘n’ Roll

Soon, in the next¬†couple posts, I will reach the number 400 in the total number of posts I have made here since starting this blog in March of 2010. A lot of water has passed under the bridge in the last five years, and I have had some difficulties, actually longer than five years if you consider this coming February 22 will mark eight years since the beloved mother of my daughters passed away from pancreatic cancer, but nonetheless, life has been getting better for me. I am involved in an amazing relationship with a wonderful woman whom I’ve actually known for 43 years. Bearing down¬†on eight months now, Mary is a fellow musician, great singer – she was formerly in a Heart cover band and also sang in another ’80’s Band, where they performed an entire set of Heart and another of¬†Pat Benatar’s music. She also plays guitar and keyboards. She and I also share so many other mutual interests: good food, wine, Captain and Coke, Dirty Martinis, cooking, photography, good beer, she loves my fly tying and is fascinated by it, nature, dancing, she loves to fish, though I will be getting a fly rod in her hands for the first time when the weather warms a bit.¬†It is just amazing and miraculous to find someone this late in life when one might have though the best has already passed by.

My music career, hobby that was more or less given up in ’79 when I dropped out of the rock band I was in (back then we were just a rock band; the term Classic Rock had not yet been invented), has taken off as I’ve been drumming full-time in a Classic Rock Band called Pepper Street. We played fifty-seven gigs last year. It’s great fun, relieves stress, and I’ve met new friends and gotten reacquainted with old ones from back in the day. For not playing at all in thirty-four years, save for the occasional performance in church and a few theater musicals in the ’80’s, I had not played at all. Sadly, the drum kit was just collecting dust. I’ve since gotten my playing stamina back, and am getting my chops tuned as well. ūüėȬ†And doing some lead vocals, either from the drum kit or fronting the band when a friend who is also our soundman sits in. Such a blast!

Here is a shot of me at my vintage Premier drum kit:

Don Bastian - Premier 1975 Powerhouse PD2500 drum kit.

Don Bastian – at my vintage Premier 1975 Powerhouse PD2500 drum kit. Taken on my birthday in April 2014 at a local American Legion Post.

The hardware is all new, upgraded to the heavy-duty stuff from the last ten or so years. We play tonight. Another night of fun and music!

Here are a couple more pics of the band in action:

The Pepper Street Band performing July 2014 at the Tiki Bar and Patio at the Pier 87 Bar and Grill near Montoursville, PA. We have five bookings there again this summer.

The Pepper Street Band performing July 2014 at the Tiki Bar and Patio at the Pier 87 Bar and Grill near Montoursville, PA. We have five bookings there again this summer.

Pepper Street Band at the New Mountain Tavern, Allenwood, PA.

Pepper Street Band at the New Mountain Tavern, Allenwood, PA.

A highlight of the band’s gigs from last year: At Shade Mountain Winery and Vineyards, north of Middleburg on PA. RT. 104, and near Pennsylvania’s famed Penn’s Creek, at their Annual Fall Harvest Festival. There were more than 500 people present at this outdoor event in October. The band had a blast, the crowd loved us!

Crowd of 500-plus people aat Shade Mountaain Winery in October 2014, music by the pepper Streeet Band, covering Classic Rock and Rock 'n' Roll Oldies.

Crowd of 500-plus people at Shade Mountain Winery in October 2014, music by the Pepper Street Band, covering Classic Rock and Rock ‘n’ Roll Oldies.

View of the Pepper Street Band, behind the stage at Shade Mountain Winery for their Annual Fall Harvest Festival, October 2014, near MIddleburg, PA. Rock 'n' Roll!

View of the Pepper Street Band, behind the stage at Shade Mountain Winery for their Annual Fall Harvest Festival, October 2014, near Middleburg, PA. Rock ‘n’ Roll!

View toward the front of the stage, the Pepper Street Band is rockin'!

View toward the front of the stage at the Annual Fall Harvest Festival at Shade Mountain Winery, the Pepper Street Band is rockin’!

More good news: We have been invited back for the Annual Fall Harvest Festival at Shade Mountain Winery on Saturday October 10th, 2015.

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!

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!

Favorite Fishing Flies – 1892

This is the title of my upcoming book, the one that was originally announced here on my blog in November 2011. It was then shared by Fly Tyer Magazine Forum Moderator, David MacConnell, or “D Mac” as he was known. David and I had¬†become friends,¬†and he was frequently sharing my blog posts about streamers to the Fly Tyer Forums page. But he sadly passed away in October of 2013. Here is a link to that book announcement:

I will write more below on the book, to update a few things, and the contributing tiers list has changed. Several of the names on the 2011 Fly Tyer Forum list are no longer contributors, and new ones have been added.

The original title was “The Favorite Flies of Mary Orvis Marbury” but that was changed after a year to “Favorite Fishing Flies – 1892.” The reason I did that was because I felt my original title gave too much credit to Marbury, and folks might get the idea, as they clearly have with the phrase, “Ray Bergman wet flies,” that she originated these flies. That is not the case in either instance. I get questions about “Bergman wet flies,” or I read the phrase, “Bergman-style wet flies,” and there is really nothing to that, other than the fact that his book “Trout” – 1938, presented the largest collection of illustrated fishing flies that had ever been published, four-hundred forty wet flies in all.¬†Bergman was modest as a fly tying teacher, and his section on tying wet flies in his book takes up barely three pages. He tied in the popular style of the time. The illustrations indicate that he used “closed wing style” as did nearly all the flies on Marbury’s book, but that he tied tip-up, whereas the patterns in Marbury’s book are nearly all tied tip-down. Bergman¬†tied and¬†fished popular wet flies and personal favorites. As far as “Bergman original wet fly patterns” there is only one wet fly pattern he originated, out of the nearly 500 different patterns that were mentioned in his three books and the second edition of “Trout,” 1952,¬† and that is the Quebec. Bergman originated nearly thirty¬†dry fly patterns;¬†fishing on top was his favorite method.

“Favorite Fishing Flies – 1892” will be¬†a book¬†containing individual photos of reproductions of all 292 flies from Mary Orvis Marbury’s book, “Favorite Flies and Their Histories,” 1892. These flies are tied by myself and twenty-some contributing tiers from the United States and Canada. Most of you know that my book¬†project had been delayed for various reasons, but it is certainly not dead. Lack of support and zero response from the publisher for over a year-and-a-half is the reason. On the other hand, the delay has had the exceptional benefit in that I have been able to¬†obtain valuable information on the actual tying procedures for these historic, classic¬†flies of our fly fishing heritage. There will be step-by-step photos and tying instructions for all of the¬†classifications of these flies except Salmon Flies. I am not qualified, nor is there a need to write any “how-to” on a topic where a plethora of information already exists. I have also been discovering additional patterns that will be included. I am including¬†additional patterns on the 1893 Orvis Display from the Museum that are not in Marbury’s book.

I am in negotiations with a new publisher, and I will say more than one publisher is being considered. As soon as this is finalized I will let everyone know.

These old flies were¬†made with silk and cotton thread, using the “reverse-wing” method to secure the wing to the hook. This also accounts for the “fat bodies” on the large Lake Flies, Bass Flies, and bigger trout flies. This was the result of the butt ends of the wings being lashed to the hook shank at the start of the fly construction, and then wrapped over with the thread and body materials as the fly was completed.

At the Fly Fishing Show in Somerset, New Jersey, over this past weekend, I had a conversation with Catherine Comar, the Executive Director of the American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester, Vermont. I visited the Museum two times in 2012 and again in 2013 to photograph the original fly plates from which the paintings were made to present artist renderings in Marbury’s book as colorful lithographs. I had some concerns about how this would come about, since I have photos of each fly plate, save for Plate Z which no longer is part of the collection. This will be the real gem of my book: my conversation with Catherine worked out a how full page photographs of all 31 of the 120-plus years old flies that were published in Marbury’s¬†book, the lion’s share of which were never given recipes for, will be included in my book.

J. Edson Leonard, in his fine book, “Flies” 1950, made an effort to present the pattern recipes. But since I have seen, personally inspected, photographed, and studied both the original flies and the macro images I made from each plate of every single fly from the ¬†original plates¬†from which the Marbury book flies were made, I have discovered that many of the components previously published in both “Flies” and “Forgotten Flies” are incorrect. These material errors run from one to as many as six different items on one fly! My close scrutiny of these patterns will present a high degree of material component accuracy. I am very modest as a rule, but I will state that I am excited about publishing the exact recipes for these historic flies. I will make every effort through my editing process to ascertain the details and hopefully have few errors in the finished product. I am also excited about the fact that my book¬†will contain¬†fly patterns from the 1893 Orvis Display that have never been published anywhere, not that I can find.

Now regarding that post on the Fly Tyer Forum from 2011, I already described the title change and my reasons for doing so. Additionally, these tiers named there are no longer contributors: Dave Benoit, Mike Martinek, Jr., Stanley Miller, and Sharon Wright. Since then I have added John Hoffmann from Ontario, and Peggy Brenner from New Hampshire. This article and comments have been edited on February 2nd,¬†and all I will say is the¬†“As The World Turns” elements of the article and comments have been removed. Recent developments have made this choice very easy, besides being the right and gentlemanly thing to do.

I still need to photograph the flies from my contributors, I have a few flies to tie myself,¬†and a couple chapters to write. Once at the publishers, “Favorite Fishing Flies – 1892”¬†will not be far off.

Thank you all for your support and understanding.

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 ūüėČ –¬†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. ūüėČ 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:

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!


Some fine work, indeed, by my friend from Jarretsville, Maryland. Bill Shuck tied up this selection of flymphs, just to see how a set of these classic, heritage flies would look boxed up. I’m thinkin’ they look pretty darn good. ūüėČ This man can tie nice flies! Sweet Bill! Very nice work. I like your type, labeling, and fly arrangement. Thanks for sending me the photo of your work.

A selection of flymphs, tied by Bill Shuck from Maryland. Bill tied the flies, mounted the flies, arranged the flies, took the photo, did the type, the labels, the whole shebang. All I did was post this image off his very fine work.

A selection of flymphs, tied by Bill Shuck from Maryland. Bill tied the flies, mounted the flies, arranged the flies, took the photo, did the type, the labels, the whole shebang. All I did was post this image of his very fine work. Don’t forget, you can click on this, and any other image on my blog,¬†to enlarge it.

And I did send Bill the plastic box for the selection, and gave him some pointers on how to use the foam strips I sent him to git ‘r’ done. Again Bill, nice tying!

Check out for more images of these classic, historic, soft-hackle wet flies, for more flies tied by Bill and others.

Bastian’s Red Squirrel Silver Picket Pin SBS

Now that we are a few days into 2015, I figured I better get something on here. When a friend sent me this link on one of my original patterns – the title fly,¬†or “RSP” as it is now called for short, I thought it would be great¬†to highlight an excellent step-by-step¬†tutorial posted on Fly Anglers On Line (FAOL).

It was done by a fellow whose forum name is ScottP. He did a great job on this, so I figured I could post this here, and augment it with some pertinent fishing info.

The RSP was created over twenty years ago, a brainstorm of mine to modify the famous Pickett Pin wet fly / streamer pattern. Hence the Red Squirrel Silver Body Picket Pin was born. Initially I tied the hackle palmer fashion as on the Pickett Pin, but I later dispensed with that for ease of tying, and the increased durability one achieves from a solidly lashed-in throat hackle.

With a six-word title the fly had way too long of a name, but I never did anything about it until a few years ago. The RSP has accounted for a lot of fish over many years, primarily in Maine, where I ventured nearly every year since 1986 with my brother and a number of different close friends. I assume the fish take the RSP¬†for a minnow, with the gleam of the silver body and added flash of the oval tinsel rib. By itself as a small bucktail type of fly, it does not have a lot of built-in action, but what one imparts with the rod and line hand during a drift and retrieve – twitching,¬†falling back, stripping, slow retrieve with short jerks, etc., can create wonderfully pleasing results. Meaning to say, “Fish on!”

In May of 2011, my brother Larry, his daughter Emily,¬†and I spent a long weekend fishing Maine’s Magalloway River, in the area between Wilson’s Falls and Aziscohos Lake. This fly was posted back then, lacking the SBS, but the highlight of the trip was three large brook trout that all took the RSP, all in the same pool, two in the evening, five minutes apart, and one early the next morning. Here are those pics:

My brother, Larry, with a 17" Magalloway River brook trout caught on the RSP.

My brother, Larry, with a 17″ Magalloway River brook trout caught on the RSP.

Don Baastiaan with a 17-1/2" Magalloway Riveer Brook trout caught on the RSP.

Don Bastian with a 17-1/2″ Magalloway River Brook trout caught on the RSP.

Emily Bastian with the biggest Magalloway River brook trout of our trip (of course!) - a 20-1/2" female, caught on the RSP.

Emily Bastian with the biggest Magalloway River brook trout of our trip (of course!) – a 20-1/2″ female, caught on the RSP.

Notice we are all smiles! Each of these trout was caught using a sink-tip line, 6 or 7 weight, and a Wooly Bugger in front of the RSP. Both flies are normally attached on 3x or 5# Maxima leader material, about 22″ to 24″ apart. The water was high. We spent a half-hour nymphing to no avail, prior to my decision to go with the bugger and RSP rig. When I did, I hooked up in five minutes. Emily at once changed her rig and took her trophy on the very first cast. Larry was also into a third large trout minutes later, but his got away when the hook pulled out. Next morning we returned and gave him the hotspot at the head of the pool. Then he lucked out and landed his big trout, too.

Here is the link for the RSP SBS:

He altered the tail by using pheasant fibers; I always use schlappen or hen fibers and generally always tie in a beard-style or false hackle throat. Thanks Scott for a great job and great photos on my pattern!

Now a last word or two on the RSP. It works as a crappie fly. Most guys who have fished for them know they love minnows. I have done well with the RSP on crappies. I have sold some to local customers here in Pennsylvania, and they have contacted me telling of their success using it on my home waters of Spring Creek and Penn’s Creek…both hard-fished waters, and places I confess, I have mostly dry fly fishing and used nymphs for the last many years…they tell me the RSP works very well there, so I better start giving it a whirl come Spring. ūüėČ

The RSP can be purchased from me on

The RSP - tied by Don Bastian. We almost always tie and fish this fly in a #8 or #10, 3x long shank hook.

The RSP – tied by Don Bastian. We almost always tie and fish this fly in a #8 or #10, 3x long shank hook. The wing is red squirrel. Scott posted that he used fox squirrel, which I have also done. They are both marked the same, but the red squirrel is shorter, making it better suited for the small sizes the RSP is normally tied in.