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.

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4wHIoapm3L8N2RLbXZXZ1hQcFU/edit

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

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Wet Fly and Streamer Classes

There is still space available at two upcoming fly tying classes that I am teaching in Maine in March. The location is Eldredge Brothers Fly Shop, Cape Neddick, Maine. This is near the town of York in southern Maine. The dates are Saturday and Sunday March 15 and 16. Here is the information from Eldredge Brothers Fly Shop Class Announcement:

DON BASTIAN   When it comes to tying classic streamers and wet flies, Don’s name is synonymous with excellence. With the popularity of classic streamers and wet flies on the rise, we feel grateful to have a fly tier of Don’s caliber instructing these classes for us. Don has been tying flies for 50 years, has been a fly tying instructor for the past 29 years and tied commercially for 12 years. He has guided fly fishermen in Pennsylvania for 16 years and he has authored three fly tying DVD’s: Advanced Classic Wet Flies, Traditional Streamers and Bucktails, and Tying Classic Wet Flies. Don was the featured author of Ray Bergman biography in the book Forgotten Flies and has a combined total of approximately 765 flies published in that volume. His flies were regularly published in Art Of Angling Journal 2001 – 2003 and he has been published in Fly Tyer, Fly Fisherman, Mid-Atlantic Fly Fishing Guide, Hatches Magazine, Fly Tyers of the World, Vol. IV, (yet to be published), and Fly Fusion. Don will be instructing two full-day classes.
Many of the techniques and methods taught in this class will be of benefit to you regardless what type of flies you tie.

Classic Wet Flies       This class will focus mostly on the old Maine Lake Fly patterns dating back to the 1800’s. We will tie at least one each; a snelled pattern and one with a gut snood, both on blind eye hooks.

Date: March 15th, 2014 – 9:00am till 4:00pm ~ Full day class

Cost: $75.00 per Student ~ Lunch is included

Classic Streamer Flies      This class will focus mostly on Maine patterns which will include some of Carrie Stevens unique Rangeley Style methods of construction.

Date: March 16th, 2014 – 9:00am till 4:00pm ~ Full day class

Cost: $75.00 per Student ~ Lunch is included

Classes are limited to 13 students ~ Payment in full is required to hold a space in these classes ~ All tying materials (except thread) will be supplied ~ Students need only to bring their vises, tools & thread.

To register or for more information, please call Eldredge Brothers Fly Shop at: 207-363-9269 or 9279;
or Toll Free: 877-427-9345.

Silver Doctor and Golden Doctor – Classic Wet Flies

I recently added a couple new items to my product page at MyFlies.com, and I wanted to share these items with my readers. The items are Boxed Collector’s Sets of paired classic wet flies. The first to go up was the Silver Doctor and Golden Doctor, then a couple weeks later, this past weekend actually, the second set was posted – The Parmacheene Belle and the Trout Fin. All four are classic wet flies that were (or could also be) classic Lake Flies. In fact only the Trout Fin is not confirmed by my research as an authentic historic or heritage-style “Lake Fly,” but I believe that pattern, sent to Ray Bergman in the mid-1940’s by Bert Quimby of South Windham, Maine, for inclusion in Ray’s fourth book, With Fly, Plug, and Bait, 1947, is of Maine origin and was probably fished in lakes. So there you go. Classic logical conclusion arrived at by deduction of the facts.

These wet fly sets are actually what got me started on the path to being more or less a professional fly tier. I started selling them back in the mid-nineties when I was doing shows as an exhibitor; selling tying materials, flies, fly selections, hooks, tackle accessories, and – boxed pairs, sets of classic wet flies. Back then they were not even called “classic wet flies” because the term had not yet caught on, and I was about the only tier, or one of the few fly tiers around even tying those old “forgotten” brook trout patterns. It’s like at one time, Classic Rock music was just “rock music.” So these old “classic” wet flies were at one time, just “wet flies.”

I had sent the first set of the “Doctors” to a customer in Canada. Then I got another order just last week for a customer in Australia, which could be another story in and of itself, but suffice it to say that it’s amazing to think there are classic salmon and trout fly tiers in the land Down-Under. Bob Frandsen for one that I can think of; member of http://www.classicflytyingforum.com and TheStreamerList.com. (That reminds me of Men at Work, a favorite classic rock band from Australia. I love The Essential Men at Work, it’s one of my favorite CD’s).

So back to doctors in the house – the Silver Doctor was published in Favorite Flies and Their Histories, 1892, by Mary Orvis Marbury. Not once, not twice, but four times. The first Silver Doctor in Marbury’s book is among the Salmon Flies, then there are three different versions included on the Plates of Lake Flies, the Orvis version, and two more patterns of the Doctor, designed by Henry P. Wells, creator of the Parmacheene Belle, and J. G. Shearer. The Golden Doctor is not as well known as the Silver Doctor, but it is mentioned in Marbury’s book, dating it to the 19th century, certifying its probable use as a fancy Lake Fly pattern.

Here are some photos of the patterns:

Silver Doctor - Don Bastian pattern variation.

Silver Doctor – Don Bastian pattern variation. Dressed on a #4 Mustad 3906 vintage wet fly hook. I added the jungle cock cheek for extra appeal. The basic pattern – tail, tag, tip, body, hackles came from Trout, by Ray Bergman.

This pattern of the Silver Doctor is included in my second DVD, Advanced Classic Wet Flies, though that version has a slightly simpler five-strip wing. I got the idea for these original wing-quill versions of the Silver Doctor by examining commercially-tied Silver Doctor wet flies in The Maine Guide Fly Shop, in Greenville, Maine, about ten years ago. Those patterns were tied with duck wing quills, simply yellow and blue, married together. Up until then I had always tied the Silver Doctor using flank feathers of teal, barred wood duck in some cases, and mottled turkey or bustard, along with goose shoulder for the red, blue, and yellow. Seeing those simple quill-wing versions got me thinking; why not use more durable wing quill slips in place of the harder-to-use – not to mention grading and selecting – and less durable flank feathers? I used plain brown goose for turkey, and guinea fowl for a replacement for the black and white teal feathers. The rest was plain old goose and duck wing quill sections, readily available and easy to marry.

Here is the Golden Doctor:

Goldemn Doctor - dressed and photographed by Don Bastian. This pattern is the one taken from Trout, 1938, by Ray Bergman.

Golden Doctor – dressed and photographed by Don Bastian. The hook is a Mustad #4 vintage 3906. This pattern recipe is the one taken from Trout, 1938, by Ray Bergman.

Silver Doctor and Golden Doctor, card-mounted, boxed and labeled.

Collector’s Set – Silver Doctor and Golden Doctor, card-mounted, boxed and labeled.

Here is the link to this set of wet flies: http://www.myflies.com/Classic-Wet-Fly-Collection-Silver-and-Golden-Doctor-P837.aspx

When I was tying the Silver Doctor for the customer in Australia, I got the inspiration to change the mottled turkey in the wing to light and dark brown mottled peacock wing quill. The mottling of brown is bolder and more contrasting in the peacock feathers, and my reasoning was that it would look better. And I believe it does. All of these flies are tied with the wing tips curving downward, in popular 19th century fashion.

Here is the Silver Doctor, my latest variation:

Silver Doctor - dressed and photographed by Don Bastian.

Silver Doctor – dressed and photographed by Don Bastian. This pattern also differs from the one above in the lack of a tip; both the flat gold tinsel and red floss are part of the tag on this version. Sorry the photo is a little lackluster; I’m still having to shoot on “auto” which severely limits my options for lighting, focus, color, and depth-of-field. I may still decide to change the plain brown-dyed goose to mottled brown turkey for a little more variegation of color.

The Golden Doctor:

Golden Doctor - this version has a full collar hackle applied after the wing was mounted.

Golden Doctor – this version has a full collar hackle applied after the wing was mounted. These wing slips were cut from a matched pair of mallard flank feathers; that is a left and a right, so that the webbed fibers are balanced, left and right. Historically this pattern would have been tied with a pair of whole gray mallard flank feathers for the wing.

Golden Doctor

Thread: Danville Flymaster 6/0 #56 Red

Hook: #2 Mustad 3906, any standard wet fly hook will suffice

Tail: Red, yellow, and green goose or duck quill sections; married

Body: Flat gold tinsel

Hackle: Claret

Wing: Gray mallard with “splits” of narrow married blue and red goose shoulder

Head: Red – Wapsi lacquer was used over the red thread, and finished with a couple coats of clear Grif’s Thick

Below are both flies together on the wood:

Golden  Doctor and Silver Doctor - size #2 Mustad wet fly hooks, vintage 3906.

Golden Doctor and Silver Doctor – size #2 Mustad wet fly hooks, vintage 3906. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

Here are the #2 Doctors, card-mounted, labeled, and ready to be sent off to Australia; thank you Brett!

Silver Doctor and Golden Doctor - Mustad #2 vintage 3906 wet fly hooks. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

Silver Doctor and Golden Doctor – Mustad #2 vintage 3906 wet fly hooks. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

Silver Doctor

Thread: Danville Flymaster 6/0 #56 Red

Hook: Mustad 3906 wet fly hook, any standard wet fly hook will suffice

Tag: Flat gold tinsel

Tail: Golden pheasant crest and short dash of blue schlappen, or kingfisher

Tip: Red floss (see footnote differentiating tip and tag)

Ribbing: Oval silver tinsel

Body: Flat silver tinsel

Hackle: Blue fronted by guinea fowl

Wing: Brown turkey or mottled peacock, brown goose (or mottled turkey), guinea fowl, red, blue, yellow goose; married

Cheek: Jungle cock

Head: Red – this has a coat of Wapsi red lacquer, with a couple coats of clear Grif’s Thick over

The definition of tag and tip is as follows: A tag is always at the end of the body, but always behind and underneath the tail; whereas a tip is also at the end of the body but always encircles the tail. This definition is clear; taken from J. Edson Leonard’s 1950 book, Flies. However, in his own excellent Fly Nomenclature drawing, he contradicts himself by, according to his written definition, labeling part of the tag as the “tip.” The pattern in his diagram, p. 37, 1988 edition, actually has no tip. I believe my readers will appreciate this clarification.

Here is a photo of the married wings before mounting; I didn’t count barbs, but figured four each was about right. The individual wings may be off a barb here and there. Two contradictory definitions can not both be correct.

Silver Doctor wings

Silver Doctor wings – married, prior to mounting on the fly.

Silver Doctor wings set in place with two or three thread wraps.

Silver Doctor wings set in place with three or four thread wraps.

Macro-image of the wing set. Notice how the quill sections have compressed perfectly, with not fluting, pleating, or folds. Something I just learned in March of 2012. Read below for that technique.

Macro-image of the wing set. Notice how the quill sections have compressed perfectly, and they are centered on top of the hook shank, with no fluting, pleating, or folds. Something I just learned how to do in March of 2012. Read below for that technique.

I shall endeavor to explain this as succinctly as possible. However, without a photographic step-by-step, or until I can make another video, this is the best I can do. If you don’t quite get it the first time, try reading it slower a second time, and go through the motions with your hands as you read. That should do it.

At the Annual L. L. Bean Spring Fly Fishing Expo in March of 2012, my friend from York, Maine, Dave Lomasney, showed me a “new” method of mounting wet fly wings. I had met Dave just one year earlier. Since he was interested, I spent some time teaching him the basics of tying wet flies and marrying wings. In a few months Dave was turning our great wet flies (see this post in my archives):  https://donbastianwetflies.com/2012/01/02/bee-1900s-orvis-wet-fly-pattern/

In 2012 Dave came up to me as I was tying at Bean’s and announced he had discovered a new way to mount wet fly wings. I did not express too much amazement, because in typical “experienced” fly tier fashion, having tied wet flies for years, I figured there wasn’t much new under the sun. I was about to be enlightened! I’ve learned more than once not to be too stubborn and set in my ways. Most anyone who has tied a few flies can probably teach you something. Dave’s method has actually been around, but to my knowledge and surveys taken since, it was not normally used on feather wing wet flies. It may have been used by salmon fly tiers, but it was primarily developed to tie in bucktail hair wings, a small bunch at a time, the idea being to get a better grip on the hair fibers by tying in smaller bunches in stages. With bucktail, the tying thread is brought completely around the butt ends of hair, then around the hook shank, so two wraps are made over the butts before they are lashed down to the hook. So it is with the feather wing slips on wet flies.

Pinch and hold the wing in the usual position, but elevate it slightly above the hook shank as you make the first wrap, then the second thread wrap is brought underneath the butt ends of the quills, but not around the hook. Two wraps are made over the butt ends of the wing quills before you make the third wrap that takes the thread around the hook shank.

The two wraps over the wing must be made directly above the rear of the head, which is where your tie-in point would and should normally be. They must also be made in place, right on top of each other. Once the two wraps are made over the butt ends of the wing, let go of your bobbin. Then the left hand holds and only holds the wing proper (do NOT make any other motions); while the right hand grasps the butt ends of the wing and makes a slight up and down motion with the exposed butt ends. This action, combined with the gravity weight of the bobbin, relaxes and collapses the thread looped around the wing. Once this is accomplished, 50 to 75% of the wings butt ends will be compressed and collapsed down.

Next stabilize the wing with your left thumb and middle finger, holding the wing vertical, and tight (but not too tight to have the thread cut the fibers of the wing), and maybe even tilted slightly toward you; grasp your bobbin, and tighten the thread slowly, gradually bringing it to up to maximum tension, before making the third wrap. Make two more wraps at max tension, then check your wing attitude.

With practice this method will improve your wing setting by 100%. It may take a few flies and wings and some effort to get it down. And I have learned that it is particularly useful for wider wings on large hook sizes. This technique excels in setting perfect wings on #2 and #4 hooks. I use it all the way down to #8’s; on #10 and smaller it is not necessary. I dare say thank you Dave! I have used this method on virtually every size #8 and larger wet fly wing I have tied in the last year-and-a-half.

One result this method accomplishes is this: It gathers the bottom of the wing quill sections completely together, pulling them in place and centering them top-dead-center on the hook shank. It eliminates any slippage or “creep” of the bottom of the wings down over the sides of the fly body. And it virtually eliminates pleating and folding of the wing. It also ties in the wing at the exact point where the thread initially makes contact on the top of the quill sections, eliminating the forward thread-slippage that almost always occurs when setting wet fly wings with the conventional finger-pinch-wrap method. I still teach the conventional method of setting wings, but in every class I have taught since Dave showed me this trick, I teach this method more than any other. My students unanimously love it better than the old method.

Oh, and yes, I use the same method on the Golden Doctor and other flank-winged wet flies in setting the two opposing sections of gray mallard flank. Works like a charm!

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.

Silver Doctor – Trout Wet Flies

#10 Silver Doctor Wet Flies

These Silver Doctor wet flies were tied for a custom order of fishing flies. They are tied on Mustad #10 style 3399 Sproat Bend wet fly hook. (the phone number on the card is no longer current).

I used my version of component variations for the wing (posted elsewhere on this site, and incidentally the same used on the Silver Doctor in my second wet fly DVD, Advanced Classic Wet Flies. Here is a link to the product page on MyFlies.com where this DVD may be purchased: http://www.myflies.com/Advanced-Classic-Wet-Flies-DVD-P623.aspx  All orders placed on  MyFlies.com are personally received and processed by me.

I also changed the usual tail of golden pheasant crest to yellow hackle fibers because it’s easier to use on small hooks. Here is the recipe, ingredients are listed in order of tying sequence:

Silver Doctor

Thread: Danville Flymaster 6/0 #56 Red

Tag: Flat silver tinsel

Tail: Yellow hackle fibers

Tip:  Red floss

Rib: Oval silver tinsel

Body:  Silver tinsel

Hackle: Mixed guinea fowl and blue

Wing: Duck wing quill married in order from top down, except for the guinea: Brown, guinea fowl wing quill, red, blue, yellow.

Head: Red thread, also lacquered with red

The Silver Doctor was one of Pennsylvania author Jim Bashline’s favorite night flies.