Just Fishing

It has been a long, long time since I posted anything here. Well, I’ve been busy. There were the scattered posts I made, the most recent but still old ones, referring to my drumming in a Classic Rock Band, my girlfriend, Mary – we got married on June 4th, and other things that have occupied my time. Between Mary and I, we have nine grandchildren. We also moved, from her home in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, where we were both living since July 2014, back to my home in Cogan Station. And that move was less than a month ago, on October 26th.

I am fairly active on Facebook, mostly for the band I am in, Pepper Street Band, and we also have a website: http://www.pepperstreetband.com. We played sixty-five bookings this year, and have twenty-five already lined up throughout 2017. But the boys have all decided we are not playing 65 times again this year. It will be closer to fifty.

I could write for days to try and get caught up, but why I am here now, well, it is because on Facebook, a friend and fellow fly tier just posted a photo of a book he bought a copy of: Ray Bergman’s first book, published in 1932, titled Just Fishing. He observed that there are no recipes for the fly patterns it contains. They were painted by Dr. Edgar Burke, who had done all the color fly plate paintings for Bergman’s books. I have been fortunate to personally see eight of the original plates Burke painted for Trout, (1938), and have a good idea of what his work represents in terms of translating that to tying materials used for specific patterns. So, thanking God for the data stored in a computer file, I can see that I created a particular Microsoft Word Document file on March 17, 2005. What is it? Ha! A detailed recipe list for all the flies in Just Fishing. I personally give this list an accuracy rating of about 99%, (Nobody’s perfect!).

So here it is:

Fly Pattern Dressings from Just Fishing (1932) by Ray Bergman – compiled by Don Bastian from close study of the color plates, since the actual dressings are not listed except for the streamer and bucktail patterns from the black and white photographs at the end of the list.

Plate 1 – Special Lures

Wet Fly Patterns:

Logan – Tag – gold tinsel; Rib – gold tinsel; Tail – red & yellow married; Body – brown floss; Hackle – brown; Wing – married yellow w/crimson stripe; Head – orange w/peacock herl at base of wing.

Brougham’s Cohoe – Tag – silver tinsel; Tail – golden pheasant crest; Rib – silver tinsel; Body -red wool; Hackle – red; Wing – dark brown turkey with thin strip of yellow at upper and lower edge; Head – black.

Never-Was – Tail – peacock sword fibers equal to body length; Body – peacock herl; Hackle – over-sized, dark green tied palmer; Wing – orange; Head – peacock herl & black.

Black Nymph Creeper – tie on 2x long hook – Tag – gold tinsel; Tail – guinea; Body – silver tinsel with sparse golden pheasant tippet at mid point, tyed as a top veiling equal to 2/3 length of tail; Wing – white hackle tyed streamer; Hackle – black collar; Horns – two fibers peacock sword.

Pink Nymph Creeper – tie on 2x long hook – Tag – gold tinsel; Tail – orange fibers; Rib – black silk; Body – pink floss with single strand of white ostrich herl as a top veil at second turn of rib; Wing – sparse peacock sword fibers; Hackle – pink and white collar intermingled.

Yellow Nymph Creeper – tie on 2x long hook – Tag – silver tinsel; Tail – two tips short yellow ostrich herl; Rib – black silk; Body – pale yellow floss with sparse golden pheasant tippet as top veil equal to end of tail tyed in just behind mid-point; Wing – yellow hackle tyed streamer; Hackle – yellow collar; Horns – two fibers of peacock sword.

Dry Fly Patterns:

Orange Fish Hawk –  – Rib – gold tinsel; Body – orange floss; hackle – badger.

March Brown – Tail – long, sparse fibers of Mandarin flank; Rib – finest gold tinsel; Body – Hare’s Ear dubbing; Wing – barred turkey; Hackle – cree with little or no white.

Brown Spider (Hewitt) – Tail – brown hackle fibers; Body – tying thread – Hackle – Brown, over-sized; fronted with white.

Nymph Patterns:

R.B. Stone Fly Creeper – tie on 3x long hook – Tail – guinea fibers; body – yellow underside, brown above; Rib – black thread; Legs – guinea fibers in three separate bunches, the first just to the rear of mid-point, second half-way to head, third just behind the head.

Grannom Nymph – tie on 2x long hook – Body – medium olive dubbing, tapered slightly larger in thorax; Legs – finely barred teal flank tyed as a collar.

Inch Worm – tie on 4x long hook – body – thin light olive dubbing; hackle – light olive collar.

Blue Olive Nymph – tie on 2x long hook – Tail – dun fibers, short; Body – gray floss; Thorax – dark gray dubbing; Hackle – dark dun hen as a collar.

Pale Olive Nymph – tie on 2x long hook – Tail – light dun, short; Body – pale olive floss; Thorax – pale olive dubbing; Overback – light slate quill section over abdomen; Wingcase – light slate quill section over thorax; Legs – light dun hen fibers swept to sides.

Iron Blue Nymph – tie on 2x long hook – Tail – dark dun fibers, short; Body – dark gray floss; Rib – black silk; Thorax – Iron Blue Dubbing; Wingcase – dark slate quill section over thorax; Legs – Dark slate fibers swept to both sides.

Carot Nymph- tie on 2x long hook – Tail – brown hackle; Abdomen – orange floss; Thorax – gray dubbing; Hackle – light dun hen tyed as a collar.

Just Fishing – Plate 2 – Wet Flies

In the book illustrations, the tying style of nearly all these patterns differs significantly from those later shown in Trout (1938), and those in With Fly, Plug, and Bait (1947). There are scattered slight differences in the dressings, but the main variation lies in the style of hackling the flies. These patterns from Just Fishing were painted by Dr. Edgar Burke from originals furnished by Wm. Mills & Son in New York. Virtually all the wet flies illustrated in Just Fishing were tied using the older, traditional style of “collaring” the hackle, even in front of the wing. Bergman was among the early 20th Century angling writers to popularize the practical form of tying a wet fly using a “throat” or “beard” hackle. Though in 1850, James Wright, creator of the Durham Ranger, wrote of a “false” hackle. Wright also created the Greenwell’s Glory. All heads are black unless noted otherwise.

Green Drake – Tail – mallard flank dyed pale green; Body – pale green dubbing; Rib – peacock herl;  Wing – Mallard flank dyed pale green; Hackle – brown; Head – Yellow with peacock herl.

Cahill (Dark) – Tail – Mandarin; Body – blue-gray fur;  Wing – Mandarin; Hackle – brown.

Montreal – Tail – red; Rib – gold tinsel; Body – claret floss; Wing- dark brown mottled turkey; Hackle – claret.

Gray Hackle (Red) – Body – red floss; Hackle – Silver-gray Badger.

Red Quill – Tail – brown fibers; Body – stripped peacock quill; Wing – light slate; Hackle – red brown hen.

Fish Fin – Body – pink floss; Wing – White quill; Hackle – dark furnace.

Maginty (note spelling variation) – Tail – red and gray mallard; Body – alternate yellow and black chenille; Wing – white-tipped turkey; Hackle – brown.

Coachman – Body – peacock herl; Wing – white quill; Hackle – brown; Head – white with peacock herl.

Quill Gordon – Tail – dark dun fibers; Body – peacock quill; Wing – Mandarin; Hackle – dark dun.

Olive Quill – Tail – light olive fibers; Body – peacock quill;  Wing – light slate; Hackle – light olive.

Seth Green – Rib – yellow silk; Body – dark green floss;  Wing – dark brown mottled turkey; Hackle – brown.

Dr. Breck – Tail – jungle eye; Body – silver tinsel; Wing – married white with wide red stripe; Hackle – scarlet. Head: white with peacock herl.

Little Yellow May – Tail – three long fibers of pheasant tail; Body – pale yellow floss; Rib – gold tinsel;  Wing – Mallard dyed pale yellow; Hackle – ginger.

Cowdung – Tag – gold tinsel; Rib – gold tinsel; Body – dubbed brown; Wing – light slate; Hackle – brown.

Brown Hackle – Body – peacock herl; Hackle – brown.

Professor – Tail – scarlet; Rib – gold tinsel; Body – yellow floss; Wing – gray mallard; Hackle – brown.

Silver Doctor – Tip – silver tinsel and yellow floss; Tail – golden pheasant crest; Tag – Red floss; Body – silver tinsel; Rib – oval silver tinsel; Wing – in order from top – Barred Mandarin, Florican, teal, yellow, blue, scarlet, topping of golden pheasant crest; hackle – beard of blue and guinea mixed; Head – red.

Orange Fish Hawk – Tag – gold tinsel; Rib – gold tinsel; Body – pale orange floss; Hackle – gray badger.

Beaverkill – Tail – long gray mallard; Body – white floss; Wing – light slate; Hackle – brown.

Royal Coachman – Tail – golden pheasant tippet; Body – peacock herl with band of red floss in middle; Wing – white; hackle – brown.

Grizzly King – Tip – gold tinsel; Tail – scarlet; Rib – gold tinsel; Body – dark green floss; Wing – teal; Hackle – badger.

Parmacheenie Belle – Tip – silver tinsel; Tail – married red and scarlet; Rib – silver tinsel; Body – yellow wool; Wing – married white with red stripe; Hackle – scarlet and white. (I corrected the spelling on this).

Montreal Silver – Tail – scarlet; Body – silver tinsel; Wing – dark brown mottled turkey; Hackle – claret.

Grannom – Tag – peacock herl; Body – buff wool; Wing – light brown barred turkey; Hackle – Brown.

Black Gnat – Body – black chenille; Wing – slate; Hackle – black.

Lord Baltimore – Tail – married yellow and black; Rib – black silk; Body – orange floss; Wing – Black with jungle eye; Hackle – black.

Red Tag – Tail – red wool; Body – peacock herl; Hackle – brown tied palmer.

Light Cahill – Tail – Mandarin; Body – pale ginger dubbing; Wing – Mandarin; Hackle – ginger.

Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear – Tail – Mandarin; Rib – gold tinsel; Body – hare’s ear dubbing; Wing – slate.

Hawthorne – Tip – gold tinsel; Tail – black fibers; Body – rear 2/3 black floss, front 1/3 black wool or fur; Wing – black; Hackle – black.

Wickham’s Fancy – Tail – brown fibers; Body – gold tinsel; Hackle – brown tied palmer; Wing – slate.

Campbell’s Fancy – Tail – golden pheasant crest; Rib – oval gold tnsel; Body – gold tinsel; Wing – teal; Hackle – brown.

White Miller – Tip – silver tinsel; Rib – Silver tinsel; Body – white floss; Wing – White; Hackle – white; Head – white with peacock herl.

Blue Quill – Tail – dark dun fibers; Body – peacock quill with light and dark bands; Wing – slate; Hackle – dark dun.

Iron Blue Dun – Tail – brown; Body – rear 1/3 red floss, front 2/3 gray dubbing; Wing – dark slate – Hackle – brown.

Just Fishing – Plate 3 – Dry Flies

Owre – Tail – gray mallard; Tag – gold tinsel; Body – cream dubbing; Wing – Mandarin; Hackle – ginger.

Light Hendrickson – Tail – Mandarin; Body – medium blue-gray fur; Wing- Mandarin; Hackle – light blue dun.

Light Cahill – Tail – Mandarin; Body – cream dubbing; Wing – Mandarin; Hackle – ginger.

Wallkill – Tail – cream; Body – olive floss; Wing – Mandarin; Hackle – cream.

Hendrickson Egg Sac – Tail – Mandarin; Body – gray floss, yellow chenille tag; Wing – Mandarin – Hackle – dark dun.

Cahill (Dark) –Tail – Mandarin; Body – dark blue-gray fur; Wing – Mandarin; Hackle – brown.

Pinekill – Tail – Mandarin; Body – gold tinsel; Wing – Mandarin; Hackle – furnace.

Bataviakill – Tail – brown fibers; Body – black floss; Wing – Mandarin; Hackle – olive.

Quill Gordon – Tail – dark dun fibers; Body – peacock quill; Wing – Mandarin; Hackle – dark dun.

Special Queen – Tail – golden pheasant tippet; Body – gold tinsel palmered with under-sized brown hackle; Wing – Mandarin; Hackle – brown.

Basherkill – Tail – pale yellow fibers; Body – light olive floss; Wing – Mandarin; hackle – pale yellow.

Paulinskill – Tail – cream; Body – white floss; Wing – Mandarin; Hackle – ginger.

Hendrickson – Tail – Mandarin; Body – dark gray fur; Wing – Mandarin; Hackle – dark dun.

Brown Bivisible – Tail – brown fibers; Body – brown hackle; few turns of white hackle in front.

Badger Bivisible – Tail – badger; Body – badger hackle, few turns of white in front.

Black Bivisible – Tail – black; Body – black hackle, few turns of white in front.

Fan Wing Royal Coachman – Tail – golden pheasant tippet; Body – peacock herl with red floss band in center; Wing – white duck breast fan-wing; Hackle – brown.

Bridgeville Olive – Tail – cream fibers; Body – white floss; Wing – mallard flank dyed yellow; Hackle – cream.

Fan Wing Pink Lady – Tail – golden pheasant tippet; Body – pink floss; Rib – gold tinsel;  Wing – white duck breast fan- wing; Hackle – brown.

Blue Spider – Tail – Mandarin; Body – gray fur; Hackle – blue dun, large.

Wickham’s Fancy – Tail – brown fibers; Body – gold tinsel with palmered brown hackle; Wing – slate; Hackle – brown.

Royal Coachman – Tail – golden pheasant tippet; Body – peacock herl with red floss band in center; Wing – white quill; Hackle – brown.

Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear – Tail – brown; Body – hare’s ear dubbing; Rib – gold tinsel; Wing – slate; Hackle – rabbit fur guard hairs.

Black Gnat Silk Body – Body – black floss; Wing – slate; Hackle – black.

Coachman – Body – peacock herl; Wing – white; Hackle – brown.

Pink Lady – Tail – golden pheasant tippet; Body – pink floss; Rib – gold tinsel; Wing – slate; Hackle – brown.

Little Marryat – Tail – ginger fibers; Body – light gray fur; Wing – light slate; Hackle – ginger.

Iron Blue Dun – Tail – two long fibers moose body hair; Body – rear 1/3 red floss, front 2/3 gray fur; Wing – dark slate; Hackle – brown.

Note: On the Royal Coachman, RC Fanwing, and Pink Lady fan wing, I also add a tag of flat gold tinsel.

Special Flies – from Just Fishing – a short list of streamers and bucktails.

R.B. Streamer – Wing – white polar bear, yellow bucktail topping; Body – silver tinsel; Cheeks – scarlet feathers.

Lady Doctor – Wing – white polar bear, black bucktail topping, jungle cock eye; Tail- yellow; Tag – red floss; Body – yellow with palmered yellow hackle; Cheeks – scarlet feathers.

Ballou’s Special – Wing – sparse red bucktail underwing, white marabou topped with 8 or 9 peacock herl tips, jungle eye; Tail – golden pheasant crest; Body – silver tinsel.

Highlander – Tail – Dominick (grizzly); Body – silver tinsel; Wing – yellow hackles under badger hackles, long jungle eye; badger hackle collar.

Conger’s Lassie – Tail – Dominick (grizzly) hackle tips; Body – gold tinsel; Wing – orange and badger hackles, long jungle eye; Hackle – black collar.

The patterns noted with the initials “RB” are Ray Bergman originals. And remember, written fly pattern directions, when correct, should be easily tied correctly without a photo or image. Married wing and tail components are always listed from the top down. And a tag is always under the tail, and a tip is at the end of the body and always encircles the tail.

Black Prince

The Black Prince wet fly is an old pattern. It is shown on the Lake Flies in Favorite Flies and Their Histories, 1892, by Mary Orvis Marbury. It is also in Trout, 1938, by Ray Bergman. It was a popular pattern and has appeared in other publications as well. The Orvis version has a body made entirely of flat gold tinsel, while the later version in Trout sports a black floss body with a gold tinsel ribbing. Both have red tails, the version in Marbury’s book also has a jungle cock cheek. Hackle and wings on both versions are black, with natural black hackle being used on the original plate fly. I have a photo of that and recognized it as natural black; more of a dark charcoal color.

The reason I am inspired to post this article is that I recently completed an order of four dozen Black Prince wet flies, for a customer for fishing. She wanted them in sizes #12, #14, #16, and #18. The surprising part, not to me, but likely to many of you, is that my customer recently fished Pennsylvania’s famed and reportedly difficult to fish, at times anyway, Penn’s Creek. This is a stream where no stocking is done in a large section of Special Regulation water. The fish are almost all wild, stream-bred brown trout. I received her e-mail message today, as follows:

“ALL HAIL THE BLACK PRINCE!!! A short time ago I had a great afternoon on Penn’s Creek above Coburn with the Black Prince.  I would lay odds that is a fly that has not been seen around here in 50 years!!  And neither have the trout.”
My customer did not specify the size(s) she used, nor did she indicate how they were fished, but it’s a sure bet the flies were simply swung down-and-across. The hooks I used to supply her fishing fly order were modern hooks; I used Tiemco wet fly hooks – #3769. I prefer vintage and antique hooks for display and collector flies; and contemporary, high-carbon steel, mini-barb, chemically sharpened points to get the job done if the flies will be getting wet. Modern hooks are unquestionably better for fishing.
Here is a photo of the version of the Black Prince from Trout:
Black Prince - classic wet fly. The hook size is #6,Mustad vintage style No. 3399.

Black Prince – classic wet fly. The hook size is #6, Mustad vintage style No. 3399. The hackle on this fly was applied after setting the wing, using an old-fashioned technique. This method combines the winged wet with the effectiveness of a soft-hackle.

Black Prince

Thread: Danville Black Flymaster 6/0

Hook: Standard wet fly hook, sizes #2 to #18 – large hooks, full hackle to replicate Lake Fly style.

Tag: Flat gold tinsel

Tail: Scarlet hackle fibers of a section of red duck quill – may be two matching slips paired, or a single slip of duck or goose wing quill, as was done almost exclusively in the 1800’s

Ribbing: Narrow gold tinsel

Body: Black floss

Wing: Black duck or goose wing quill, matched and paired; may also be natural crow

Hackle: Black

It is the tiers discretion to apply the hackle as a false or beard style hackle, or as a soft-hackle collar, which may be wound either before or after placing the wing.

If one desired to replicate the Orvis version of the Black Prince, use fine flat gold tinsel for the tag, make the body from medium flat gold tinsel, use a scarlet dyed quill section for the tail – traditionally in the 1800’s, scarlet ibis feathers were used for this – and add a jungle cock cheek.

Like so many classic wet flies, trout do not see them, and one ace-in-the-hole trick you can tuck up your sleeve is to hit the water with something different than what everyone else is fishing. How about the Black Prince?

Next on my customers custom order – the Grackle, another old classic pattern.

Classic Wet Fly Display – 483 Flies

Last Saturday I returned to Clyde’s Tower Oaks Lodge Restaurant in Rockville, Maryland, with my girlfriend, Mary Fortin. I wanted to show her the ten-frame set of classic wet flies that the owners purchased from me at the Fly Fishing Show in College Park, Maryland, in January of 2002. Tower Oaks opened in the fall of that year. We also coordinated our trip to visit a dear friend who is having health problems.

Since it has been twelve years since this collection of framed flies was placed on display, and considering that the last time I was there was in 2005, I was curious to see how they are holding up. From time to time I have friends and customers tell me they have seen the display, and they always have complimentary remarks. The wet fly collection from Ray Bergman’s book, Trout, was something I vowed I was one day going to do. This was back in 1974, and resulted when I tied my first-ever Parmacheene Belle, and mounted it in a frame for my dad’s birthday. I made this commitment to myself: “Someday I’m going to tie and frame all those flies.” That goal was a dream come true; first in replicating the entire collection of color plate wet flies for the book, Forgotten Flies, 2000, and then for Clyde’s Restaurant Group. Subsequently I have replicated this entire set two additional times for private collectors. The display at Tower Oaks is, as far as I know, the only location in the entire United States where the wet fly color plates from Ray Bergman’s 1938 book, Trout, have been reproduced and are on permanent display. Trout is the only fishing book ever written to remain continuously in print for more than fifty years, and is the most-published in that genre as well, having sold more than 250,000 copies in all its volumes and editions.

There are ten frames in the set; all flies are reproduced exactly in the order and number of the artist’s rendition, and according to the pattern recipes listed in the back of the book. The paintings were done by Dr. Edgar Burke, a close friend of Ray Bergman.

An accurate and historically correct reproduction of Henry P. Wells famous Parmacheene Belle. He originated the fly in 1876, naming it after Lake Parmacheene in Maine's Rangeley Lakes Region. This dressing is given by Wells in the 1883 book, Fishing With the Fly by Charles F. Orvis and A. Nelson Cheney.

An accurate and historically correct reproduction of Henry P. Wells famous Parmacheene Belle. He originated the fly in 1876, naming it after Lake Parmacheene in Maine’s Rangeley Lakes Region. This dressing is given by Wells in the 1883 book, Fishing With the Fly by Charles F. Orvis and A. Nelson Cheney.

The Parmacheene Belle above was tied in traditional blind eye style, with a snelled double leader; a “bite-guard,” doubled at the head, as they were sometimes called. The wings are also tied in traditional reversed style. You can see the but ends of the wings which were tied in facing forward, then pulled back over. This makes for a garish-looking and large head, but it served its purpose in the durability department. The original body is yellow mohair, the original tag is peacock herl. This fly is dressed exactly to the originators specifications. It is curious that the Orvis / Marbury version of this fly was changed to a wing of half red and white, using ostrich herl for the butt. Various pattern component alterations have transpired over the decades, but this dressing is the correct one as put forth by the creator of the pattern. I digressed a bit to add some background on the interest of classic wet flies and their history.

In examining the frames, I noticed that as a result of routine cleaning, the finish is beginning to wear on the frames, especially along the top edge. The corners of the frames and the edges are showing a nice aura of natural aging, taking on an antique appearance, giving them a natural patina that matches more appropriately compared to the age of the flies contained within. Neither Mary nor I had a camera along, so there will be no actual photos. Not this time. But we plan to go back.

Below are a series of wet flies that are framed, using my original method of wire-mounting the flies to the mat board. It is virtually invisible in the display and my frames, making the flies appear suspended and uncluttered by pins, wire, cork pegs, and certainly no cement of any kind is used.

Hopatcong - #6. This pattern was mentioned in Mary Orvis Marbury's book, Favorite Flies and Their Histories, 1892, so it is well over one-hundred years old. She indicated that she would like to have included it among the Lake Flies.

Hopatcong – #6. This pattern was mentioned in Mary Orvis Marbury’s book, Favorite Flies and Their Histories, 1892, so it is well over one-hundred years old. She indicated that she would like to have included it among the Lake Flies.

Pope - #6.

Pope – #6.

Logan - #6; another old pattern.

Logan – #6; another old pattern.

Romeyn - #6. Illustrated in Marbury's book, and also included as a Lake Fly in the 1893 Orvis Display at the American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester, Vermont.

Romeyn – #6. Illustrated in Marbury’s book, and also included as a Lake Fly in the 1893 Orvis Display at the American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester, Vermont.

Victoria - #6; the green variation. There is also a Victoria with a dark blue body.

Victoria – #6; the green variation. There is also a Victoria with a dark blue body.

The wire I use to mount the flies...

The wire I use to mount the flies…

...and the view of a Red Hackle Peacock showing the wire mounted to the hook shank. The short 5/8" to 3/4" long section is bent 90 degrees and lashed - tightly - to the shank. It is inserted after the tag, ribbing and floss is attached, while winding forward to the head. It can be bent down to place wings and throats for inch wraps, then stood out to mount. A bobbin is used to make the hole in the mat, then the wire is inserted, the fly positioned just off the surface of the mat board, and then taped down in the back with acid-free archival cloth tape.

…and the view of a Red Hackle Peacock showing the wire mounted to the hook shank. The short 5/8″ to 3/4″ long section is bent 90 degrees and lashed – tightly – to the shank. It is inserted after the tag, ribbing and floss is attached, while winding forward to the head. It can be bent down to place wings and throats for inch wraps, then stood out to mount. A bobbin is used to make the hole in the mat, then the wire is inserted, the fly positioned just off the surface of the mat board, and then taped down in the back with acid-free archival cloth tape.

Mounting area of Plate No. 3 from Trout, 1938, by Ray Bergman.

Display area of frame; Plate No. 3, Wet Flies, from Trout, 1938, by Ray Bergman. This photo is from the third set of these flies that I completed. These are available for purchase on MyFlies.com, or by contacting me personally. Available as a complete set or as individual Color Plate reproductions, and also, custom selected patterns are available.

Here is the MyFlies.com link where images of all ten frames can be viewed.

http://www.myflies.com/Ray-Bergmans-emTroutem-Wet-Fly-Series–P592.aspx

Here is the link to Tower Oaks Lodge: http://www.clydes.com/tower

If you are ever in the metro Washington, DC, area or traveling in central Maryland, this place is worth a visit. The website presents information on the decor, which is exclusive. It is like a museum – the Adirondack Lodge area with the fishing displays,art, and artifacts; the Chesapeake Bay duck hunting section with antique decoys, boats, boats, and more boats, decoy baskets, full of original duck and goose decoys, and at least ten double-barrel shotguns; and the “Horses and Hounds” section, devoted to the racing and fox hunting traditions of estates in Hunt Valley Maryland. And the food, service, and ambiance is excellent. Five Stars!

Parmacheene Belle – Antique Replica

Some of my readers have heard me say that I don’t have a “favorite” classic wet pattern, which is true; it’s so hard to pick only one from the hundreds of possibilities. But considering I first tied the Parmacheene Belle forty years ago in 1974, and the fact that it was also my first-ever married wing wet fly, it has remained at the top of a list of my favorite wet flies. I enjoy tying them; I’ve probably tied more than five hundred of them over the years,  and I also love looking at any well-tied Parmacheene Belle. The fly has a great combination of color – selection, arrangement, and balance, as well as material choice, and the best part: It catches fish! It was a successful fly back in 1876 when Henry P. Wells first created the pattern and named it for Lake Parmacheene in Maine’s Rangeley Lakes Region. Back then it was still possible to catch brook trout in the Rangeley Lakes that exceeded eight pounds in weight. The “Belle” also proved an effective fly for landlocked salmon as well. Well over one-hundred thirty years later, my fly fishing relatives, my friends, a number of my customers, and me, have all caught trout on this fly in waters scattered across the country. I have customers every year who order some to fish with. Successful catches of fish on the Parmacheene Belle also includes the unexpected bonus of brown and rainbow trout. I’ve even heard tell of anglers out west catching cutthroat trout on them as well. Hairwing versions of this fly were among some early 20th century steelhead patterns; in fact Plate No. 11 in Bergman’s Trout presents a hairwing version of the Parmacheene Belle.

I have written a number of posts on this fly during the last four years since I started my blog, and if you care to research them, simply use the search tab, type in “Parmacheene Belle,” hit the enter key and off you go! It will bring up every article that is titled or even mentions this fly. I did a married-wing streamer version of this about three years ago.

My introduction to this pattern came through Trout, 1938, by Ray Bergman. It was a favorite pattern of his for catching large brook trout. In fact, in With Fly, Plug and Bait, 1947, Ray describes an occasion when he caught a large brook trout in Canada using a tandem wet fly rig consisting of two Parmacheene Belle wet flies, I believe they were both size #4. These flies were close together, much like a miniature tandem streamer.

The research for my ongoing book project, Favorite Fishing Flies – 1892, led me to the American Fly Fishing Museum in Manchester, Vermont, where the actual fly plates used in Mary Orvis Marbury’s 1892 book, Favorite Flies and Their Histories, are stored and occasionally placed on display. I had the privilege of gaining access to and viewing, studying, and photographing these historic fly plates. My work with them allowed me to ascertain many previously misidentified components of these patterns. This includes the tying recipes listed in every known publication that has claimed to represent these old wet fly patterns that were at one time cataloged by the Orvis Company. The problem was that Mary did not include the fly dressings for the patterns in her book. My research also led to to the 1883 book written by Charles F. Orvis and Albert Nelson Cheney, called Fishing With the Fly. In that book, there is a chapter called Fly Fishing in the Rangeley Region by Henry P. Wells, the originator of the Parmacheene Belle. In his chapter he presents the complete (almost- see below) original dressing for his pattern. I found it odd that the Orvis version did not feature the original white-with-red-stripe married wing that he specified, but rather, a simpler wing of married red and white in equal parts. Subsequent variations of this pattern developed over time, some no doubt modified to make them easier to tie commercially, and others as a result of unknown reasons.

A friend provided actual, custom-dyed mohair dubbing that I could use for the body, as specified by the originator. This mohair dubbing is available on John McClain’s website: www.feathersmc.com

I also started tying and teaching the reverse-wing method that was widely used in the 19th century for mounting wings on practically all fishing flies. My reasoning for this is that the threads in use for fly tying at the time were made of either cotton or silk and lacked the tensile strength of modern threads. Therefore, to prevent wings pulling out of the flies, someone developed the method of mounting the wings to be tied in, backwards, with the butt ends facing to the rear, wrapped in place, then the forward portion of the feathers were folded over to make the wing of the fly, and a band of thread, resembling a collar, was wound in place over the folded butt end of the wings to provide the final stage of secure the feathers to the hook. This caused the heads of the fly to be large, bulky, and rather unattractive, but nonetheless, completely functional. This method also calls for longer sections of wing quills to complete the process; goose wings quills are my preference, and one must be careful regarding the proportions so that the finished, folded-back wing is properly sized to the hook.

This method also gave the flies of the day their characteristic high wing angle. My personal feeling is that too many tiers today attempt to replicate these historic flies, and they too often use the widely available goose shoulders for the wings. This material looks fine, depending on your point of view, but goose shoulder was used mostly to make “splits” or side-sections on wings to add extra colors to a pattern, and was not used on wings, according to the hundreds of antique flies that I have seen and studied. Goose shoulder was used to make wings and sometimes tails on the old lake, bass, and trout flies. Flies made like this today are perfectly acceptable in that they look fine, they display well, especially to an untrained eye, and they will catch fish, but with the inherent low, sleek-looking wing that goose shoulder renders, they are not historically accurate. I’m talking about the original patterns, not just following or substituting ingredients and then lashing them willy-nilly to the hook. I believe the accurate reproduction of these historic flies is important, and is something that should not be forgotten. Like our society and culture in general, even in fly tying, at times it seems like there is too much of an “anything goes” attitude.

Following that slight but pertinent digression, I present a historically accurate reproduction of the famous the Parmacheene Belle:

Parmacheene Belle, 2/0.

Parmacheene Belle, 2/0. The authentic silk gut leader is doubled at the head of the fly, creating what was known as a “helper” or bite guard. This was either whipped with thread and varnished, or knotted an inch or so ahead of the head of the fly, and then another loop was made on the leader to provide a snelled loop-to-loop connection. The bite guard was thought to strengthen the leader and prevent the fish from breaking off the fly at this critical joint in the connection. This specimen also features the traditional closed-wing, tip-down mounting of the quills that was most popular at the time. Red was often used as a finishing thread on old flies.

Here is Henry Wells’ written narration of his recipe description for the Parmacheene Belle, taken from the text of his chapter in Fishing With the Fly:

“This fly somewhat resembles the No Name figured as No. 15 of Lake Flies in this book. As I tie it, the tail is two strands of white and two of scarlet; the body of yellow mohair, with silver tinsel; the hackle double; first white, with scarlet hackle wound over this – capping the former, so to speak; the wing white, striped with scarlet. By scarlet, the color of the scarlet ibis is to be understood.”

Wells does not mention the tag or butt components, but these ingredients, determined by my visible inspection of the 1893 Orvis Fly Display in the American Museum of Fly Fishing, are silver tinsel and peacock herl. Cosmetically speaking, especially considering the head, this is not representative of my “cleanest, most tidy” work. But that is not the intent with this article. My desire was to accurately replicate an actual 19th century Parmacheene Belle Lake Fly, as if you went back in time. I believe this is right on to what you would find in 19th century fishing fly store bins. The 2/0 hook was not outlandishly large for a brook trout upwards of five pounds.

My friend, Roger Plourde, has vintage silk gut for sale in various sizes, the price is $15.00. His e-mail is:  rplourde01@comcast.net

I decided to include and re-post the photo of my Parmacheene Belle Streamer as well:

Parmacheene Belle Streamer

Parmacheene Belle Streamer, dressed on a 4x long hook. This older version features a yellow-dubbed body, rabbit fur. This fly illustrates is a little more “polished” representation of my fly tying.

Some of you might have noted a recent reduction in my posts here over the last few months. The reason for that is that I have been extremely busy since mid-November. I’ve added a couple new and significant and fun things to my life, one of which is drumming. I resurrected my musical ability and involvement after years  of inactivity. My rock band disbanded in 1979, and other than an occasional performance in church or at a theater musical, I haven’t played in years. My late wife, Lou Anne, and I sang in a gospel quartet for twenty-seven years, and I have not sung anywhere since our last performance in August of 2006. She passed seven years ago this month.

I started off as a substitute drummer in a local classic rock band for a New Year’s Eve gig. Considering my schedule of two November fly tying shows, Thanksgiving, deer season, and Christmas, I ended up having to learn over sixty songs in two weeks. In early February, my drumming with the Pepper Street Band suddenly became a full-time position due to the fact their regular drummer has developed a serious health issue that has side-lined him for a while.

Right after New Year’s Day I also committed to joining the contemporary praise and worship band, Firstborn, at Pine Street United Methodist Church in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, where I have the added musical experience and fun of playing an electronic drum set. I also started singing again, mostly regular visits with friends to karaoke bars where I sing anything from George Thorogood to Toby Keith to Trace Adkins, ZZ Top, Billy Joel, Georgia Satellites, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Van Morrison, Lynyrd Skynyrd, even Frank Sinatra. I’m also the newest member of Cornerstone, the contemporary choir at Pine Street church as well. Firstborn performs every Sunday at the 8:30 service, and Cornerstone sings at the same service twice a month. Plus, I sing the lead vocals on a half-dozen of the songs on the Pepper Street playlist. Here’s a link to their song list: http://www.pepperstreetband.com/song_list%20II.html

Don’t worry folks, I’m not giving up my fly tying career! Just suddenly having a lot more fun! I thank God for my renewed good health! I also found out the best thing to do with negative, toxic, trash-talking people who try to mess with or mess up your life is to forget them and not address them in any way. That’s healthy too! Besides, it is impossible to reason with people who habitually spread rumors and prevaricate the truth about someone else for their own, selfish interests and perceived personal gain. You know what they say:”What goes around comes around.”

I’ve gotten more active on facebook; my band gigs and schedule is generally posted there, along with a link from my blog as well. Anyone interested in following my more personal and / or musical activity, just let me know, besides a friend request, please include a PM.

Thank you all for your many years of support! I am personally grateful to each of you for your belief in me and what I do. Me? I’m having too much fun, doing what I’ve always done, and going back to my musical roots. I was singing and playing drums before I ever started tying flies. Adding the music and meeting so many new people who are nice, decent folk, has already brought new friends into my life. I have a feeling this is only going to get better!

Fly Fishing Show Somerset New Jersey

I wanted to post the news to my readers that I will be at the Fly Fishing Show in Somerset, New Jersey, this coming weekend, January 24, 25, and 26. I am sharing a table with Dean Myers, fellow Pennsylvanian and the new owner of MyFlies.com. As a member of the Regal Vise Company Pro Staff, I am also presenting a two-hour fly tying demonstration at the Regal Engineering Company booth on Friday afternoon from 2 – 4 PM.

I will be tying patterns such as parachute drys and scud hook nymph patterns for which the Regal non-true rotary design feature provides unique ergonomic advantages. I will also demonstrate setting of fan wings on dry fly patterns, showing how to mount, position, and align these tricky wings in less than two minutes.

I addition I will have my usual selection of classic wet flies for sale, including replicated antique flies on antique hooks with antique silk gut snells and snoods, along with my usual assortment of various fishing patterns and classic wet flies and streamers, singly and in pairs for the collector. Stop by and say hello!

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!

Classic Wet Fly – Tying Class

Last March I taught a classic wet fly class at Eldredge Brothers Fly Shop on Rt. 1 in Cape Neddick, Maine. Please check their link on my Fly Shop link list on the right. I hope they will invite me back this year; well, next year, since it would be in 2014. It’s a good possibility they’ll want me to return, since this year’s class booked full with thirteen students in less than two weeks when announced in October. Moreover, people registered on a cancellation list, and then more people were turned away because the waiting list was “a mile long.” I heard all this through eight or nine people who I spoke to at the Marlborough Fly Fishing Show and at the L. L. Bean Spring Fishing Expo, who informed me they wanted to sign up but were too late. It’s gratifying to have affirming interest like that pertaining to one’s avocation.

I have wanted to post a review of that class here on my blog, but like other topics, there is only so much time in a day, and each day seems to slip by faster than the one before. Is that me, or does time really speed up?  I intended to post each individual fly pattern and recipe for interested persons, but I’m having some trouble with my camera. Seems it will not function properly on “TV” mode, aka “Shutter Speed Priority” setting. I was forced to shoot these images on “Auto,” consequently I lost all control over depth-of-field. After previewing the individual images, I decided they are not up to my usual standards, so they won’t be included here, sorry folks. Moreover the mom-and-pop camera shop where I bought my camera has since gone out of business, a victim of “big-box store” competition.

One thing I hope to accomplish with this post was to review my itinerary and maybe have interested persons, fly shops, or organizations consider booking me to teach a class. That’s what I do, in part, to earn my living. So I hope everyone realizes that fact without me seeming to be “too commercial” or “too much like a used car salesman.”

I have also recently started teaching private fly tying lessons here at my home. This can be for a day or two, accommodate one to three persons, and include meals and lodging if desired. Depending on time of year, some fishing can also be included. Topics available are classic dry flies, classic wet flies, 19th century wet flies – including traditional tying styles of snelled and snood wet flies on authentic antique blind-eye hooks, traditional streamers and bucktails, specializing in Carrie Stevens unique Rangeley method of streamer component assembly, and general tying of all-round fishing patterns, nymphs, drys, emergers, and soft-hackles. I have almost fifty years of fly tying experience, and thirty years of teaching fly tying classes. All materials are provided for my private lessons. Please contact me for more information.

The class at Eldredge Brothers originally was to include nine wet fly fly patterns, but with experienced students in attendance, we moved along a bit ahead of schedule. The Coachman was tied to demonstrate a point in response to a student question, and when we finished about forty minutes early, I added the Parmacheene Belle as the final pattern after the student’s unanimous vote.

The list of flies included the teaching of Helen Shaw’s seven different wet fly body components; chenille, dubbing, floss, herl, quill, tinsel, and yarn. A variety of four different wing-mounting methods was included, as well and multiple methods of hackling. The patterns started out with the simplest ones first, gradually progressing in complexity, presenting increasing difficulty, and concluding with the Ibis and White, Armstrong Fontinalis, since everyone loves the Trout Fin fly patterns, and the Parmacheene Belle. You’ll also note on the Reuben Wood that I included a pattern with a gray mallard wing, since that seems to be a frequent question.  In addition to goose and duck quill wings, we also included wings of turkey wing and tail feather sections.

Below is a photo of the flies from the class:

Alder, Brown Turkey,

Starting at top row, left to right: Alder, Brown Turkey, Coachman, Black and Silver, Black Quill, Reuben Wood, Captain, Forsyth, Ibis and White, Armstrong Fontinalis, and Parmachenne Belle. All flies are dressed on #6 hooks, Mustad 3366 straight eye, except for the Coachman, it’s on a #3399 Mustad, and the Parmacheene Belle is on a #4 – 3399 hook. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

The Alder is supposed to have a wing of brown mottled turkey, but I had plenty of gray turkey, so we used that instead, since my objective in tying this pattern, besides this being a herl-bodied fly, it  was more about preparing and mounting the softer turkey wing than about having the exact color. I have mailed these flies off to Jim Bernstein, shop manager at Eldredge Brothers, and I believe they will eventually be published on their web site. These are all good fishing flies, they were historically, and still are today.