Speaking of Ghosts…

Due to an inquiry from a customer a couple years ago, with his desire to have me create a frame of all the streamer patterns named “Ghost” – specifically “Something Ghost” as opposed to “Ghost Something” – which was the dividing line I decided upon, I expected to maybe find about, three dozen. Nope. Sixty-four by my count, including four original Ghost patterns that I have created. Two of these have been published here; you can use the search tab at top right of my page, for “Carrie’s Ghost” and “Wheeler’s Ghost,” type that in, hit “enter” and it will take you right to those articles.

I am tying Bubgee’s Ghost and the Rangeley Ghost next week to fill an order for a collector. All four of these patterns are part of a large series of thirty-six original streamer patterns I created about two years ago, using the Rangeley Region of Maine as the source for these patterns. I also created each pattern in the authentic style of Carrie Stevens, using her fly design concepts, use of materials, placement and layering of throat hackles, and shoulder selection from her body of work.

I have not been “on the stick” to get these flies finished, but I need to get crackin’. There are several totally new streamer / Lake Fly conversions in this collection, and the four Ghosts; Carrie’s Bugbee’s Wheeler’s, and Rangeley, were inspired by Carrie’s Gray Ghost and Ghost patterns of other tiers. Other locales and places in the Rangeley region were also used in choosing names and making these streamers come to life.

I thought that would be one frame of “Ghosts” —  looks like it will need to be two… 😉

I will have streamer materials with me at the 24th International Fly Tying Symposium this weekend, in Somerset, New Jersey. I can tie a streamer for you on custom order, do a demo, or you can place an order for me to fill later on.

Carrie’s Ghost – Original Rangeley Style Streamer Pattern

Right on the heels of Carrie’s Killer, I present Carrie’s Ghost. Why not add another “Ghost” pattern to the nearly three-dozen already in existence? And especially one to honor the First Lady of Streamer Tying, Carrie G. Stevens. Part of my group of original Rangeley style streamer patterns, here is Carrie’s Ghost:

Carrie's Ghost - original streamer tied and photogrphed by Don Bastian.

Carrie’s Ghost – original Rangeley style streamer, created, tied, and photographed by Don Bastian. Hook is a size #2 – 8x long, Gaelic Supreme Martinek / Stevens Rangeley Style Streamer.

Carrie’s Ghost

Tag: Flat silver tinsel

Ribbing: Flat silver tinsel

Body: Orange floss

Underwing: Four to six strands peacock herl, then a golden pheasant crest

Underbelly: White bucktail

Throat: Blue hackle fibers, then yellow hackle fibers

Wing: Two pink hackles flanked on each side by one light blue hackle and then one yellow hackle

Shoulder: Lemon wood duck breast

Cheeks: Jungle cock

Head: Black

Carrie's Ghost - a Don Bastian Rangeley style original streamer pattern.

Carrie’s Ghost – a Don Bastian Rangeley style original streamer pattern.

Carrie’s Killer – Original Rangeley Style Streamer Pattern

Last June, I conceived the idea of creating a few Rangeley style streamer patterns. The first fly was White Nose Pete: https://donbastianwetflies.com/2013/04/04/white-nose-pete/ then that was followed up with the creation of Wheeler’s Ghost: https://donbastianwetflies.com/2013/04/04/wheelers-ghost/

Those two patterns started me on a bent of creativity; the end result is thus far, thirty-five original streamer patterns, all themed on the Rangeley Lakes Region of Maine, and tied in traditional Carrie Stevens Rangeley streamer fly tying style. Two more additions added here today are Carrie’s Killer and Carrie’s Ghost, posted separately. I confess to heavily relying on the tying style and creativity of Carrie Stevens for inspiration in the development of these patterns; I utilize some of her components, methods, and uses of materials. For example, many of these patterns have peacock herl and / or bucktail bellies, some have golden pheasant or silver pheasant crest underwings, most have shoulders of various feathers, and some have two-color throats. These were components that Carrie Stevens used, in variety, on her patterns.

Here is Carrie’s Killer:

Carrie's Killer - original Rangeley style streamer patterns - created, tied, and photographed by Don Bastian.

Carrie’s Killer – original Rangeley style streamer pattern – created, tied, and photographed by Don Bastian. The hook is a size #1 – 8x long, Gaelic Supreme Martinek / Stevens Rangeley Style Streamer.

Carrie’s Killer

Tag: Flat silver tinsel

Ribbing: Flat silver tinsel

Body: Black floss

Underbelly: White bucktail

Underwing: Four to six strands peacock herl, then a golden pheasant crest

Throat: Yellow hackle fibers, then claret hackle fibers

Wing: Two pink hackles flanked on each side by one yellow-dyed grizzly hackle, flanked on each side by one claret hackle

Shoulders: Silver pheasant body feathers

Cheeks: Jungle cock

Head: Black

These components are listed in the order in which I attach them to the hook. Tied in Rangeley style, the throat is the last component to be attached just prior to the mounting of the wings. My listing of components differs from that presented in the Hilyard’s Carrie Stevens book. As far as mounting the wings, I once did that together, but now I place one wing at a time, the far side first, then the near wing. The tapered, flattened with tweezers or pliers to tie in better without rolling or twisting, butt ends of the wing feather tips are placed on the side of the head, at a slight downward angle. I also add a good-sized pinch of schlappen fibers, of whatever color the inside of the wing is, on the top of the head just before mounting the wing. This is an abbreviation of the technique of layered schlappen on both top and bottom of the hook developed and used by streamer guru and original Rangeley style streamer expert, Mike Martinek, Jr., of Stoneham, Massachusetts.  Mike has a great video demonstrating his technique.  Here is the Amazon.com link to buy his DVD:  http://www.amazon.com/Classic-Maine-Streamers-Mike-Martinek/dp/1604900148/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1369941739&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=classic+maine+sytreamers+martinek

Carrie's Killer

Carrie’s Killer – originated, tied, and photographed by Don Bastian

Parachute Adams

The Parachute Adams is a great variation of one of the greatest and most popular dry fly patterns ever created. I presently have a custom order for eight dozen trout flies for a client in eastern Pennsylvania, and the Parachute Adams, a dozen in size #12, was the first pattern on his list. The fellow has been buying flies from me every year, for at least ten years. It’s nice to have customers who give you repeat business! He fishes the Beaverkill and Delaware a lot, plus makes trips to Colorado.

The Parachute Adams is a great attractor pattern, it is also a good searching pattern, especially in broken water on big rivers and smaller freestone streams of both east and west. It is effective in sizes from #8 to #18 or even #20, though I personally prefer not to tie them smaller than a #16. An excellent variation of the Parachute Adams is to substitute olive dubbing for the usual gray body. As I tied these flies this morning, I was inspired to take some photo sequences, sort of a tying tutorial of sorts. And I also want to add a little fly tying diversification to the posts I make here. Keeping more on topic than stories and photos of white-tailed deer fawns, this dry fly pattern post is an effort in that direction. Also, be on the lookout soon, maybe even later today, for two of my original Rangeley style streamers, as promised: Carrie’s Killer and Carrie’s Ghost. (Hope you folks are not tiring of my spate of recent posts).

I still have seven more dozen flies to tie to finish this order – all drys – likely they’ll end up here too – plus I plan to knock off later this afternoon to head to Spring Creek near Bellefonte, because I figure this hot weather will produce a heavy sulphur spinner fall this evening. Among the tying and fishing yet to come today, I also need to squeeze in a little time with the mower on the yard. OK, tying the Parachute Adams:

#12 standard dry fly hook, the wing is attached but not yet posted around the base.

#12 standard dry fly hook, the wing is attached but not yet posted around the base. The wing is calf body hair – presently it’s kind of like a calf-hair Comparadun. The next step will be to post around the base of the hair fibers to gather the wing together.

I tie on a regal Stainless steel C-clamp vise. One advantage on the non-true rotary feature of the Regal vise is that when inverted, it presents the upright wing in this angle.

I tie on a Regal Stainless steel C-clamp vise. One advantage on the non-true rotary feature of the Regal vise is that when inverted, it presents the upright wing in this angle. This allows me to post the base of the wing while keeping my right arm and elbow comfortably and more naturally low at my side, instead of having to raise my elbow high if I had to post the base of the wing when in a vertical position. Calf body hair has no underfur and it is very slippery. What I call a Balanced Thread Wrap is required to post the base of the hair without having your thread slip off.

A Balanced Thread Wrap is when you balance the thread tension according to match the material being tied in, or wrapped around. In this case it is a taut, but not tight tension. You can also add a bit of head cement to the base of the wing before starting your wraps, this helps prevent the thread from slipping off.

Attach the hackles

Attaching the hackles: Once I get eight to twelve wraps around the base of the hair and have wound the thread to the base of the wing, I make one wrap over the hook shank – this helps prevent the thread from slipping off the wing during the next step – attaching the hackles. Take two previously prepared, clipped hackles and hold them with your right hand to the base of the post. Using your left hand for the bobbin, make a few balanced thread wraps over the hackle stem butts. Then wind back to the top (or bottom since this is inverted), of the wraps and grasp the wing post with my right hand then apply a few tight tension thread wraps to secure the thread around the hackle stems. Then switch the bobbin to your right hand and make a few more tight wraps. Return vise jaws to upright position and advance thread to hook point.

The hackle stem butts are comparable to a phrase associated with a Martini at this stage, shaken, not stirred, but in this case they should be clipped, not stripped. This leaves little butt ends of hackle barbs that help the thread bite into the feather stems more securely.

For production purposes, all 24 hackles for these flies were sizes, selected, and prepared in advance.

Vise jaws returned to upright position, ready to attach the tail fibers.

Vise jaws returned to upright position, ready to attach the tail fibers. Advance the thread to the hook point.

A mix of brown and grizzly spade hackle fibers (spade hackles comes from the outer edges of dry fly necks or capes.

A mix of brown and grizzly spade hackle fibers is used for the tail. Tail length should equal hook shank length, minus the eye. Spade hackles come from the outer edges of dry fly necks or capes, and is free of barbules or webbing. The fibers are attached at the hook point, then wound over the butt ends toward the wing post, then back to base of tail, with the end of the body vertically positioned slightly ahead of the hook barb.

Tail fibers wrapped over and secured, ready for dubbing.

Tail fibers wrapped over and secured, ready for application of dubbing. No need to make a solid winding of thread; tight, palmer wraps can be used to lock ‘er down. Saves time.

Hareline Dark Gray rabbit dubbing applied. Originally the Adams was tied with natural gray muskrat dubbing.

Note: you could wait until after the tail is attached to mount the hackles around the base of the wing post. But that means a forward advance of the thread, then back to the tail to apply the dubbing. Extra time. I always attach the hackles right after posting the wing. But in this case I forgot. Senior moment? Apologies for the less-than-sharp images, I hand held the camera and did all these images in “one take.”

Hareline Dark Gray rabbit dubbing applied. Originally the Adams was tied with matural gray muskrat fur.

Hareline Dark Gray rabbit dubbing applied. Originally the Adams was tied with natural gray muskrat fur.

The finished fly.

The finished Parachute Adams.

Very important tip here: From my fellow tier and friend, Tom Baltz of Mt. Holly Springs, Pennsylvania, for you right-handed tiers, wind the hackles counter-clockwise. This changes the angle of the barbs when wound to point away from you when you finish the thread wraps to lock the stem in after being wound. No more trapped hackle fibers! The tying thread can be wound almost normally, because the hackles fibers, now pointing away from the direction of your thread wraps, simply slide out of the way. Left-handed tiers, you would wind clockwise if you tie in normal left-handed fashion.

I still prefer to use a finishing technique that I perfected years back when I wound the hackles clockwise, and needed to get fibers out of the way to wind off the head. I use the little finger on my left hand to hold the tube of the bobbin. Holding the bobbin back out of the way, I load my Materelli whip finisher while having the use of my left thumb and all three remaining fingers to pull the hackle fibers out of the way. I then use the Matarelli, making 5 – 6 turns. Clip thread off, add a small drop of head cement for extra durability,  and you’re done.

A "studio shot" of the Parachute Adams.

A “studio shot” of the Parachute Adams.

Parachute Adams:

Hook: Standard dry fly hook, sizes #8 to #16

Thread: Danville Flymaster 6/0 #31 Gray or Uni-Thread 8/0 Gray , brown thread could also be used

Wing: White calf body hair

Hackle: Brown and grizzly mixed

Tail: Brown and grizzly mixed

Body: Dark gray rabbit or muskrat dubbing

Head: Gray

If you have never fished the Parachute Adams, I suggest it’s high-time you tie some and give them a try!

Don’s Delight – Carrie Stevens Pattern

Just so you all don’t think I’ve lost my marbles and turned this blog into Wild Kingdom – Cogan Station, with all the recent deer sightings and fawn births, I am posting the Don’s Delight, a Carrie Stevens pattern, as promised, “before too long,” from a few days ago when I posted the Don’s Special.

The Don’s Special was one of three streamer patterns that Carrie G. Stevens, of Upper Dam, Maine, created for George Donald Bartlett. Don Bartlett first visited Upper Dam in 1909 at the age of nine. He made annual trips there for thirty-six consecutive years until his untimely death in 1945 at the young age of forty-five. Don was from Willimantic, Connecticut, as were a couple other notable Carrie Stevens friends, customers, and guide clients of her husband, Wallace. These included Frank Bugbee, for whom Carrie never created a fly, but it was he who thought of the name, Gray Ghost, for Mrs. Stevens most famous fly, indeed, the most famous streamer ever created, bar none. The third individual was Alfred “Allie” French, for whom Carrie created the Allie’s Delight and Allie’s Favorite.

I mentioned not too long ago that among thirty-five Rangeley style streamer patterns I have recently created, one of my patterns, designed in honor of Frank Bugbee, is called Bugbee’s Ghost. I promise to tie Bugbee’s Ghost and get it on here “before too long.” As part of that collection, I have also tied my original patterns – Carrie’s Ghost and Carrie’s Killer. They have been sitting here for weeks, patiently waiting for their photo shoot.

On to the Don’s Delight:

Don's Delight - hook is a Gaelic Supreme Martinek / Stevens Rangeley Style sttreamer. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

Don’s Delight – hook is a size #1 – 8x long, Gaelic Supreme Martinek / Stevens Rangeley Style streamer. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

Two card-mounted Don's Delight streamers. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

Two card-mounted Don’s Delight streamers. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

 

Don's Delight - tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

Don’s Delight – size #1 – 8x long, tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

Don’s Delight

Thread: Black or white Danville 3/0 Monocord or Uni-Thread 3/0, for under body build up on larger hook sizes, 6/0 can be used on smaller hooks

Hook: Any standard long-shank streamer hook, sizes #1 to #8, 6x to 10x long.

Tag: Flat silver tinsel

Tail: Red hackle fibers

Body: Flat silver tinsel

Throat: White hackle fibers

Wing: Four white hackles

Shoulder: Golden pheasant tippet

Cheek: Jungle cock

Head: Black with a red band, finished with Danville #100 Black and #56 Red Flymaster 6/0

The Don’s Delight, as a predominantly white streamer pattern, is an effective baitfish imitating fishing fly.

YThese are the three patterns Carrie Stevens created for Donald Bartlett: Top to bottom: G. Donald Bartlett, Don's Delight, and Don's Special

This photo presents the trio of patterns Carrie Stevens created for Donald Bartlett: Top to bottom: G. Donald Bartlett – #2 – 8x, Don’s Delight – #1 8x, and Don’s Special – #2 – 8x. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian.