Barnes Special Streamers – One Dozen

The Barnes Special is a classic Maine streamer pattern that was among six featured on my 2007 DVD, Traditional Streamers and Bucktails.

I recently got a custom order from

for a dozen Barnes Special streamers for a fellow heading to Maine later this month. I also tied the Barnes Special for There are several archived posts here featuring the Barnes Special, (you can go to the search tab and type the name in, then hit “enter” and locate the older posts), but I thought the new and different twist with this post would be to show the completed order of a dozen streamers. And I also decided to add the photos of the completed bodies, something I generally do when tying streamers of the same pattern, make the bodies ahead of time as part of a separate production run.

Here are the bodies:

A dozen streamer hooks, sizes #4 and #6, "bodied up" ready for tcompletion of the rest of the pattern. The hooks are Gaelic Supreme Rangeley style streamers,

A dozen streamer hooks, sizes #4 and #6, “bodied up” and ready for completion of the rest of the pattern. The hooks are 8x long Gaelic Supreme Rangeley style streamers. The tail is two paired jungle cock body feathers, as ore the original recipe by C. Lowell Barnes, a Maine guide in the Sebago Lake region.

The bodies were whip finished and head cemented. Here are the dozen patterns, placed pretty much as I dropped them in preparation for insertion into plastic sleeves.

One dozen Barnes Special streamers, sizes #4 and #6.

One dozen Barnes Special streamers, sizes #4 and #6. Tied by Don Bastian.

I have posted the recipe on the archived topics with this pattern, but I have included the recipe here as well.

Barnes Special

Hook: 6x or 8x long streamer hook

Thread: Danville Flymaster 6/0 #56 Red; black or any color may be used for the bodies.

Tail: Two jungle cock body feathers, paired, just a tad over the hook gap in length

Ribbing: Oval silver tinsel

Body: Flat silver tinsel

Underwing: Sparse red bucktail followed by sparse white bucktail, to end of tail or a very short distance past tail

Wing: Two yellow hackles flanked on each side by two grizzly hackles

Hackle: White, tied as a collar

Head: Red

The heads have four coats of clear ProLak cement, though I sometimes use a single coat of Wapsi Red lacquer coated with clear lacquer. The yellow hackles were selected from a saddle and the grizzly hackles came from a cape (or neck). The tinsel body is medium sized Mylar, double-wound by starting at the head, winding back, then forward. This provides better coverage and is more durable. The white collar hackles were made from schlappen feathers, using the tip sections, chosen for proper barb length. Schlappen feathers are great for this because of their very small stem diameter and flexibility, and also the softness and webbing of the barbs. When tying this and other streamer patterns with bucktail bellies or underwings, it’s best to keep the hair sparse. Here is a macro of a single fly:

Barnes Special, size #4 - 8x long. All flies tied by and photographed by Don Bastian.

Barnes Special, size #4 – 8x long. All flies tied by and photographed by Don Bastian.

The Barnes Special is still a very popular streamer pattern in Maine. These are going to a customer in Wisconsin, who is heading to Maine later this month. I wish him luck and success with these streamers!

One final group shot, set up in nice rows:

One dozen Barnes Special streamers - sizes #4 and #6.

One dozen Barnes Special streamers – sizes #4 and #6.

Thank you for the order Scott! Tight lines on your trip!

Barnes Special

The Barnes Special is the post of the day on  Here is Darren MacEachern’s posted photo of the Barnes Special that I tied:

Barnes Special -dressed on a #2 – 8xl Martinek / Stevens Rangeley Style Streamer Hook.

Originated by: Dr. C. Lowell Barnes
Source: Tandem Streamers: the Essential Guide – Donald A. Wilson pg. 80, 96. The Barnes Special is also listed in Joseph Bate’s Streamer Fly Tying and Fishing – 1950-1966, 1996; and Trolling Streamers for Trout and Salmon – 1980, by Dick Stewart and Bob Leeman.

Hook: #2 Gaelic Supreme Mike Martinek Rangeley streamer hook
Thread: Red Danville Flymaster 6/0
Tail: 2 short jungle cock body feathers
Body: Flat silver tinsel
Ribbing: Oval silver tinsel
Underwing: A small bunch of red bucktail over which is a very small bunch of white bucktail
Wing: 2 yellow hackles flanked by grizzly hackle
Hackle: Several turns of white hackle, tied on after wing, applied as a collar
Head: Red – Wapsi lacquer was used

Notes: The Barnes Special is an adaptation from a streamer called the Hurricane (aka the Wonder) created by Fred Fowler. The Barnes includes a yellow hackle, a change from a peacock sword throat to a wrapped white hackle and a change of head color from the Hurricane, from black to red. Barnes was a guide in the Sebago Lake area and was known to examine the stomach contents of his catches. The Barnes Special is one of the most popular eastern streamers and is credited with the capture of thousands of salmon. It is said to be particularly effective when trolled in the spring. The Hurricane will be featured in the project later in the year.

Below follows a short bio that I copied from the site and expanded as well. This is a little update since most folks recognize my fly tying achievements in the classic wet fly genera.  I have a pretty extensive background and experience in streamers and bucktails as well. I love tying and fishing streamers and bucktails, and I also love the history of streamers about as much as I love the same aspects of wet flies.

I was born and have lived in Pennsylvania all my life. I started fishing at about the same time I learned to walk. It must have been that way, because I can’t remember ever not fishing. I have been tying flies and fly fishing since 1964. I have taught fly tying classes since 1987, have 16 years guiding experience, and have been operating my business, Bastian’s Angling Specialties since 1983.

I was tying the Gray Ghost, Black Ghost, Light and Dark Edson Tigers, Warden’s Worry, Bumble Puppy, Black-Nosed Dace, Mickey Finn and other patterns, and catching trout on them in local streams – Lycoming Creek, Gray’s Run, and Slate Run, while I was still in high school in the late 1960’s. New England and Rangeley style streamers have been a part of my fly tying passion and interest since the mid-1980’s when I first bought a copy of Joseph Bates’s book, Streamer Fly Tying and Fishing.

My first-ever slide program was presented in October 1987 – and was on the subject of history, origins, and use of predominantly New England streamers. This program was a photographic review on a few dozen patterns selected from Bate’s streamer book.

I have approximately 265 stream and bucktail patterns published in the 1999 book, Forgotten Flies. The styles of these patterns cover a wide-range of styles – single hook patterns, tandems, traditional featherwing streamers and bucktails, the entire series of Keith Fulsher’s Thunder Creek Minnow patterns, Joe Brook’s Blonde series of saltwater bucktails, and the entire “Tiger”  series of bucktails originated by Portland, Maine, fly tier Bill Edson, for which his authentic brass eyes were provided to me for the purpose. That was cool.

One of my DVD’s is titled, Traditional Streamers and Bucktails, August 2007. Five of the six patterns in it were originated in Maine. If you are interested in purchasing a signed copy, here is the permalink to the ordering page on

All the orders placed on are received directly by me, processed, and shipped by me. Custom and personalized attention is given to all orders.

Thanks Darren, for the photo and for your permission to use it. For more information on Streamers.365 please visit the site.

Here is one of my file photos of the Barnes Special. There’s nothing wrong with your eyes; it’s a a double shot. :mrgreen:

One of these flies is the same one Darren posted, the other was sent to Kevin McKay for the free drawing on his site:

A pair of Barnes Special Streamers

PS: I was supposed to head to Vermont for some fishing today, but I had some personal matters to attend to. But tomorrow, I’m on my way!

I had a great time yesterday at The Mayfly Club Event at The Riverside Cafe in Horton, New York. Great food, beverages, and camaderie with new and old friends!

Traditional Streamers and Bucktails

Gray Ghost, Supervisor, Barnes Special, Black Ghost, Footer Special, Mickey Finn. Dressed by Don Bastian on Gaelic Supreme Mike Martinek / Carrie Stevens Rangeley Style Streamer Hooks, size #2 - 8x long.

These streamer flies were recently tied by me. These six patterns are the ones from my DVD, Traditional Streamers and Bucktails. This is the first time I have ever taken a group shot of them. The gray feathers in the Gray Ghost wing are from an old natural dun neck I had, bought probably well over twenty-five years ago. Unfortunately the larger feathers for big hooks are depleted, though I may be able to tie up some size #6 and smaller streamers from it yet.

The DVD, Traditional Streamers and Bucktails, is available on Here is a direct link to review the DVD information or place an order on my merchandise page of the site: Each order comes direct to me and will receive my personal attention.

In comparing this shade to some of the original Gray Ghost streamers tied by Carrie Stevens, this shade of dun gray feather is very similar to some of those that she had used when she was dressing her original Gray Ghosts. (Source for the photo comparisons: Carrie Stevens: Maker of Rangeley Favorite Trout and Salmon Flies, 2000, by Graydon Hilyard and Leslie Hilyard, and Forgotten Flies, 1999 – Complete Sportsman.

Carrie originated the Gray Ghost, and also was known to have tied the Supervisor and Black Ghost for her customers, as she tied numerous popular patterns of the time that she did not originate.

The Footer Special was originated by Maine taxidermist David Footer, the Mickey Finn by fellow Pennsylvanian John Alden Knight (who also originated The Solunar Tables), and the Barnes Special is the creation of C. Lowell Barnes as an adaptation of the Hurricane streamer. Mr. Barnes was a guide in the Sebago Lake Region of Maine.

The photo below is a double-shot version of these patterns:

Double-vision photo of the Black Ghost, Supervisor, Mickey Finn, Gray Ghost, Footer Special, and Barnes Special. I had not previously noted that these Black Ghosts are a wool-body version. I saw that somewhere, and for the sake of patterns and tying variation, included this version in my DVD, Traditional Streamers and Bucktails. These hooks are size #2 - 8x long Gaelic Supreme, Mike Martinek / Carrie Stevens Rangeley Style Streamer hooks.