Fly Order (SPAM)

Perhaps I’m getting a little creative in an odd sort of way, by throwing the word SPAM into the title of this article. I have actually gotten quite a few laughs over the last couple years by reading the ever increasing volume of some of the SPAM that comes into Not that I spend a lot of time reading it, I don’t. It comes from everybody and their brother and their mother and their aunt and uncle and their in-laws and cousins and their lawyer and the pool boy and the plumber and brothers and sisters and where to buy shoes and drug companies and your credit score and porn sites and new windows and easy loans and online dating and Viagara and Cialis and Levitra and loan me money and best new food recipes and a host robotic cyber morons pretending to be a real person…ugh…it is actually pretty ridiculous.

This morning, after not checking here for several days, I had a new record-high for SPAM; 574 items. Course I don’t read these, I just fly through them ASAP and hit “delete, delete, delete, delete…” until they are gone into the trash bins of cyberspace. Or where ever it is that they end up…

So, getting back on topic, here are a couple pictures of a recent fly order that I shipped out, one of many that I have recently received through the site,


Flies…a mixed-bag order that went out to a single customer. Extended Body (my design) of closed-cell foam; Slate Drake duns and spinners in multiple styles, Green Drake Spinners, a few of my Floating Caddis-Mayfly Emergers, the RSP, my Low-water Inchworm, and also my own design of the Floating Inchworm. The gray wings on the Slate Drakes might look like CDC, but it’s actually plain, old poly yarn.

Macro of previous photo.

Macro of previous photo. Note the olive body on the Floating Caddis-Mayfly Emergers.

And a macro of the BXB (Bastian Extended Body) Green Drake Fan Wing pattern:

Fan Wing Coffin Fly

Fan Wing Coffin Fly. The Hook is a Tiemco 2488 light-wire, wide-gape, up-eye scud.

BXB Green Drake Coffin Fly, inspired by the Dette Coffin Fly

BXB Green Drake Coffin Fly, my original design; inspired by the Dette Coffin Fly and the Coffin Fly from Trout (1938) by Ray Bergman. Since these flies were tied, I figured out how to put three tails on these patterns, just like the real Ephemera guttulata mayflies have. I clip the hackle on the bottom so the fly floats lower in the surface film, and this also helps it ride right-side up.

An authentic original Dette Coffin fly, tied by the Dette's Fly Shop, Roscoe, New York. It is not known whether Mary Dette tied this fly or not.

An authentic original Dette Coffin fly, tied by the Dette’s Fly Shop, Roscoe, New York. It is not known whether Mary Dette tied this fly or not. This pattern is tied on a 1x long dry fly hook. This fly was a gift from a friend, fellow Pennsylvanian, Bill Havrilla. Thanks Bill!

As I slowly gain ground on my fishing fly orders, I am catching up a little bit. I shipped five orders so far this week, but I also received three new orders. Right now I still have twelve orders from stacked up, plus some other custom orders waiting to hit the vise. That’s the main reason why I have not been out fishing yet. In fact on Saturday April 12th, I was out late the night before, got awake at 3:15 AM, started thinking about stuff, never got back to sleep and got out of bed at 4:30, and by five AM I was already tying. It wasn’t until I went to the post office and drove past the Quiggleville Community Hall at 10:30 AM and noticed that I had missed the Annual Fishermen’s Breakfast. Dang. See:

It wasn’t until that moment when I drove by and realized I missed the Annual Fishermen’s Breakfast that I even remembered it was the Opening Day of Trout Season in this part of Pennsylvania. I missed out…more so on the breakfast than on the fishing. The water was high and kinda muddy, but I bet that locally grown, home-made sausage, farm-fresh eggs, and pancakes was real tasty!

Fanwing Coffin Fly

A while back I posted a Green Drake Coffin Fly pattern that I developed with the white foam extended body. It was patterned after the Dette Coffin Fly, which has a white body, short-clipped palmered white hackle, teal breast feathers for wings, and a silver badger hackle. A few weeks ago I also had the inspiration to tie that same fly, but instead add the curved, short teal center breast feathers to create a classic, fanwing pattern. I recall that idea came to me by simply noticing a single teal “fanwing” breast feather lying among my fly tying stuff, and as I picked it up and looked at it in my hand, I decided to make my extended body Coffin Fly pattern into a fanwing version. I know, it’s way past green drake time and that won’t come again for another ten-and-a-half months, but I just today added this pattern to along with my BXB Green Drake Coffin Fly, and I also will be adding the classic Fanwing Royal Coachman as one of my patterns there before too much longer. I seem to be in a mood to tie and call attention to fanwing patterns, and I and some of my customers have had some great fishing this year on my extended body March Brown, Slate Drake, Green Drake, and Yellow Drake patterns in a number of locales in several states, so here is the Green Drake Fanwing Coffin Fly:

Fanwing Coffin Fly

Fanwing Coffin Fly – the imago, or spinner pattern for the eastern green drake, Ephemera guttulata. The hook is a Tiemco 2488 #10. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

Fanwing Coffin Fly

Thread: Danville Flymaster 6/0 #4 Pale Yellow

Body: White closed-cell foam, cut into strip about 2mm wide from 2mm sheet

Tails: Three moose body hairs

The Abdomen with tails is made on a mandrel held in the vise; I upgraded to a tube fly jig for this procedure several months ago, but I used to use a simple straight pin or needle. Once the abdomen is made, and I generally make these by the half-dozen at least, usually more, that is attached to the rear of the TMC 2488 hook, just ahead of the barb. But first:

Before mounting the abdomen to the hook, switch tying thread to Danville Flymaster #100 Black, then mount the wings on the hook, just ahead of the mid point of the body. It takes practice to get the wings straight, and they seldom tie on straight, but I discovered a method long ago of using the thread to my advantage. I care not for how they set on the hook; I just want to get them on there, both at once. Once they are mounted, stand them up by damming thread in front of the stem butts, and when they are about vertical, if one or both wings are curved at all to the left or right – which they most likely will be – you start with one feather, post the thread three times taut, but not tight, around the base of that feather. You have to think which way to wrap, because you’re going to use increased thread tension to twist the crooked wing into perfect alignment. This means you have to think and analyze which way you need to spin the feather to straighten it. After posting around the base of the wing, then wrap around the hook shank once, making sure you’re back to clockwise winding, and then pull slowly. The taut, but not previously tight thread will tighten and s-t-r-e-t-c-h around the base of the feather stem, and from this action, the wing feather will twist right or left as needed (and premeditated by the tier, um, that would be you) into the proper position. Repeat this for the other wing, if necessary.

If either wing needs to be turned or twisted to the left, then you post around the base of that stem counterclockwise. If either stem needs to be turned to the right, then you post clockwise. Don’t forget to wrap once or twice around the hook shank before to attempt to tighten the thread to straighten out the wing. It’s a snap. Guess I’ll have to make another video…

After doing this to both wing feathers, if necessary, I then post around the base of both stems together. Doing this means you also have to mount the feathers to the hook with some bare stem on both feathers above the hook and tie-in point. This prevents you from wrapping over any barbs at the base of the wing stems, which if you did, there would be barbs askew at the base of the wings. Not pretty.

Wings: A matched pair of curved teal breast feathers

Body: Black rabbit dubbing

Hackle: Silver badger

Head: Black

This pattern and most fanwings of any size, should be fished on 4x tippet to minimize twisting.

Here’s a front-view of the wings:

Fanwing Coffin Fly -

Fanwing Coffin Fly – front view of divided, over-sized wings, characteristic of fanwing patterns.

Here is a link to the product page for my BXB Fanwing Coffin Fly and this new, Fanwing Coffin Fly on–P806.aspx

I’m sure some of you will want to see that fanwing tie-in procedure, so I will attempt to make another video, but I’ll also be happy to demonstrate it at any of the shows where I’m appearing. Thanks for reading!

BXB Green Drake Coffin Fly

This post presents my BXB Green Drake Coffin Fly pattern. It has the same closed-cell foam extended body that I use on my Slate Drakes, March Browns, Green Drakes, Yellow Drakes, and Floating Inch Worm pattern.

This design will also be eventually found on my Brown Drake patterns. I noted on the other post that this pattern design was inspired by both the Dette Coffin Fly and the Coffin dry fly presented on Plate No. 13 in Trout by Ray Bergman.

Dette Coffin Fly - an original tied by The Dette's Fly Shop in Roscoe, New York. the hook is a size #12 - 3x long.

Dette Coffin Fly – an original tied by The Dette’s Fly Shop in Roscoe, New York. The hook is a size #12 – 3x long. This fly was a gift from my friend Bill Havrilla, of Pennsylvania.

The pattern design of my BXB (Bastian Extended Body) provides for the creation of a larger mayfly, but on a smaller hook. The short-shank hook allows for more realistic imitation of the natural, and also enhances presentation by providing a lighter weight fly, that presents and drifts on the water more naturally than a standard large-hook fly pattern. The soft-flexible closed-cell foam abdomen does not impede setting the hook. In fact the smaller hook results in more hookups, not less.

Four BXB Green Drake Coffin Flies, boxed up for sale.

Four BXB Green Drake Coffin Flies, card-mounted, ready to be boxed up for sale.

End view of the boxed Coffin Fly selection.

End view of the carded Coffin Fly selection. That rather messy line drawing under the tails is my signature.

BXB Green Drake Coffin Fly.

BXB Green Drake Coffin Fly.

BXB Green Drake Coffin Fly

Hook: Tiemco #2488 fine wire, 3x wide gape, 2x short shank, straight eye, scud / dry fly hook, size #12

Thread: Danville Flymaster tan for abdomen, black for finishing on the hook

Abdomen: White closed-cell foam, cut into strips about 1/8″ to 3/32″ in width – the foam section of the body is made on a mandrel. I used to use a pin, but I recently graduated to  tube fly tool. Cut a 45-degree angle point at the end before attaching to the mandrel

Tails: Moose body hair, two fibers

Thorax: Black rabbit dubbing

Hackle: Silver badger, clipped on the bottom halfway between hook shank and point

Wing: Two teal flank feathers, placed one at a time, concave (bottom) side up

Head: Black

The best solution for tying instructions of the foam abdomen is for me to do a video…yes, it will be forthcoming. In time. It’s actually very easy to make these. I make these bodies, with tails, in less than two minutes. The tails are the hardest part.

Start by making 4 – 5 wraps of tying thread on your mandrel. Then do a two turn whip finish, cut tag end. Take the foam strip, size it to be about 3/4″ in length, and make one wrap, straight across and over the top. Advance your tying thread at a 45-degree angle underneath, then make another wrap, straight across the top of the foam. Repeat, making 7 – 9 segments, evenly spaced, and then a bit closer near the tail, until you arrive at the base of the abdomen.

Take two fibers of moose body hair, make the tails about an inch long, even the tips, and using a horizontal finger pinch with your thumb and middle finger on your left, or opposite hand, bring the tail fibers close to the foam, holding them on the sides, and make a balanced thread wrap, that is, use just enough tension to catch the moose hair and pull it into place alongside the abdomen, but not so much tension that the hair is forced to move out of position ahead of the tying thread. Once both fibers of hair are captured with the thread, pull tight to flare them, and then advance the thread forward, repeating your forward wraps over top of the same segments created on the first series of wraps.

When you arrive at the final front segment, make a two-turn whip finish and slide the body off your mandrel. I make these up ahead of time by the dozen, by the score, even by the half-gross.

To finish the fly, start the black tying thread at the hook eye, wind a thread base, and then attach the abdomen above the barb, using maximum wraps to secure the body with no spinning and no rotation of the body. It’s got to be lashed down tight. Then I place a very small amount of dubbing, enough to make just 3 – 4 wraps in place, right ahead of the abdomen at the attachment point.

Next attach the hackle, having about 3/16″ of the fibers clipped off the stem at the tie-in point. Make sure you leave some of the clipped section of the stem behind or to the rear of the tie-in point. This will ensure that the hackle fibers do not start to flare until you have made at least a half-wrap with the hackle stem.

Then mount the wing feathers, one at a time, sizing them to be about 3/4″long. Stand them up by damming thread in front, then make a figure-eight wrap, and post around the base of each wing. Add head cement to lock the wraps down. Finish the fly by applying the dubbing. I go through the wings with lightly-dubbed thread once. Wind the hackle, making a total of eight to ten wraps, evenly spaced. Make a nice, small, smooth head, and the fly is ready to fish!

This pattern is a good Green Drake fly to have in addition to spent-wing Green Drake spinner patterns.

This fly is listed for sale on my product page of

Thank you for your interest!

Roscoe Beer Company and The Barley Hopper

Last weekend, I was in Roscoe, New York, to participate on Saturday April 20th for the 13th Annual Fly Tyers Rendezvous, sponsored by the Catskill Fly Tyer’s Guild. It was a fun time! I arrived on Friday afternoon, passed the single traffic light in town, and drove out Rockland Road, heading west. Right before arriving at The Rockland House, I saw this sign:

Roscoe Beer Company sign.

Roscoe Beer Company sign. This was new since the last time I was in Roscoe.

Whether you drink or not might be irrelevant, but if you fly fish, you gotta love a company sign that has a leaping trout, a flowing stream, a nice whitetail buck, and fishing flies on it. And I’m guessing this image must be in the autumn, when the buck would actually have its antlers. And for that time of year, it also stands to reason the large mayfly that trout is after is most certainly a Slate Drake. But that’s just my take on it.

I had not yet phoned “Buffalo Bill” Newcomb, with whom I was sharing a room at The Rockland House Motel. Not knowing whether or not he had arrived, what room we were in, etc., and after a three-plus hour trip, I was thirsty. So I made straight for The Rockland House barroom. Lo and behold, one of the beers on tap in The Rockland House bar was Roscoe Beer Company Amber. I ordered up one of those. And then I got another nice surprise – the barmaid placed an upside down shot glass at my spot and said, “That’s a two-fer.” So two beers for the price of one, cash in the shot glass and get another beer. Nice! The equivalent of Happy Hour. This weekend was getting better by the minute.

After I ordered a beer and took a few sips, very good by the way, I thought I better contact Bill. I stepped outside and dialed his cell number, but before it started ringing, Bill came out of a second floor door at the motel and started walking across the balcony and down the steps. After exchanging pleasantries, he joined me at the bar. Not long after that, we noticed a large painting of a fishing fly in the corner on the wall. The lettering read, “The Barley Hopper.” Turned out it is part of the logo for Roscoe Beer Company.

The Barley Hopper

The Barley Hopper

As we sat and enjoyed our drinks, I noticed a hand-made sign above the bar that I thought humorous. It read:

“Caution: Tommy Shots may cause you to think you can sing, dance, and talk to girls, but remember – they’re alcohol, not Magic.” We found out that Tommy Shots are served in a plastic cup, 4 ounces. That could explain why singing, dancing, and talking to girls is the focus of the message.

Saturday at the show, even though I was prepared to tie some wet flies, I tied all dry flies; extended body Green Drake Spinners, and an extended body Coffin Fly pattern that I had just designed a couple days earlier last week. I am including a photo of the pattern here, but I am going to place the pattern on a separate post.

BXB Green Drake Coffin Fly

BXB Green Drake Coffin Fly. The inspiration for this design is the Dette Coffin Fly, with its white body, teal wings, and badger hackle. I also considered the Coffin Fly pattern from Trout, by Ray Bergman in creating my Coffin Fly version. The Trout “Coffin” pattern has a tail of pheasant fibers or black, a white floss body, black hackle tip wings, and a golden badger hackle.

Rather than mimicking a spent-wing spinner pattern, the Coffin Fly imitates the Green Drake Spinner or imago that can sometimes be seen on the water with upright wings, still fairly active before and during the mating ritual. My extended body Coffin Fly pattern incorporates these features into its design. The pattern recipe and more information on the fly will be in a separate post.

For those visiting Roscoe, New York, at any time, I recommend The Rockland House. It was also interesting to discover that Roscoe Beer Company has been in business barely three weeks as of the date of our visit. Currently the Amber is their only product, but there are plans to expand that. They are open for tours, the beer is for sale, and you can also buy six-packs of Roscoe Amber at The Rockland House.

The Rockland House Sign.

The Rockland House