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.

 

Don’s Special – Carrie Stevens Pattern

The Don’s Special is one of three patterns created by Carrie G. Stevens of Upper Dam, Maine, in the 1930’s or early 1940’s for her friend and guide client of her husband Wallace, George Donald Bartlett. Don, as he was known, was extremely proud of the fact that Carrie named three flies after him, this according to his daughter, Lucy Bartlett Crosby.

The Don’s Special is very similar to another Stevens pattern, the Blue Dragon. Here, I must interject: The Blue Dragon, in the photo of an original tied by Carrie Stevens in the Graydon and Leslie Hilyard book, Carrie Stevens: Maker of Rangeley Favorite Trout and Salmon Flies, 2000, is quite clearly shown wearing the blue hackles on the outside of the wing, though the written recipe in Hilyard’s book has the blue hackle inside the outer wing of grizzly. I have studied the photo of Carrie’s Blue Dragon fly with a magnifier, and also asked several other fly tiers their opinion on the wing of the Blue Dragon. We all concur that the hackle order of the wing on the Blue Dragon, inside out, is: gray, grizzly, blue. This also makes so much more sense for the pattern name, Blue Dragon, as opposed to the placement of grizzly hackles on the outside of the wing. Finally there is a very noticeable difference in the appearance of the Don’s Special when compared to the Blue Dragon. Both patterns in the Hilyard book are Stevens originals; the Blue Dragon is obviously quite blue in its overall color scheme, while the wing of the Don’s Special is predominantly grizzly.

The other two patterns Carrie named after Don Bartlett are the Don’s Delight and the G. Donald Bartlett. I recently posted the G. Donald Bartlett, and I will follow up here on my blog before too long with the Don’s Delight. All the Carrie Stevens patterns I post here are placed in my Carrie Stevens Pattern Dictionary category, under the heading category of Streamers and Bucktails. Don’t forget to use the Search Tab when you may want to locate something here on my blog.

All three of the Bartlett patterns are part of a set of Carrie Steven’s Collector’s Edition Flies that I package and sell on MyFlies.com. http://www.myflies.com/Carrie-Stevens-Streamer-Patterns-Collectors-Edition-Set-No-6-P785.aspx

Here are some photos and the recipe:

Don's Special - tied and photographed by Don Bastian. The hook is a Gaelic Supreme Martinek / Stevens Rangeley style streamer, No. 2 - 8x long.

Don’s Special – tied and photographed by Don Bastian. The hook is a Gaelic Supreme Martinek / Stevens Rangeley style streamer, No. 2 – 8x long.

Don's Special - card-mounted. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

Don’s Special – card-mounted. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian. (Note: that’s not my current phone number). It is: 570-998-9124.

Don’s Special

Hook: Standard long shank streamer hook, 6xl to 10 xl, size #1 to #8

Thread: Depending on hook size, heavier thread such as Danville 3/0 Monocord or Uni-Thread 3/0 may be used for the underbody beneath the tinsel. The advantage of using heavier thread on the hook shank is a quicker build of the thread underbody because fewer thread wraps means faster tying. Since this pattern has a tinsel body, black thread could be used. The Uni is much heavier than the Danville 3/0 due to inconsistencies of the aught thread rating system among thread manufacturers. For accurate thread ratings refer to the Denier system.

Tag: Flat silver tinsel

Tail: Yellow hackle fibers

Body: Flat silver tinsel

Throat: Yellow

Wing: Two blue hackles, flanked on each side by two gray hackles flanked on each side by two natural grizzly hackles

Cheeks: Jungle cock

Head: Black with a red band

The wings were cemented beforehand using Elmer’s Rubber Cement. I have found this the best cement to use. It is inexpensive, readily available, it lasts underwater, – and I know because of a 36-hour soaking experiment, and it is durable – because of three-hundred violent hand shakes of rubber-cemented wing after aforementioned 36-hour soaking. It does not bleed through, it sets quickly but not too fast, and it can be used right from the bottle without the time of leaving it sit to “cure” as some cements / tiers prefer to do with other brands of cement or nail  polish, until it reaches the “desired consistency.” I tend to build my streamers wings from the inside out. I prefer to cement them, after 48 years of fly tying, as opposed to assembly separately as illustrated in my DVD Traditional Streamers and Bucktails, 2007, Bennett-Watt Entertainment. http://www.myflies.com/DVD-Traditional-Streamers-and-Bucktails-P622.aspx

Don's Special -

Don’s Special – tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

Third Annual Fly Tiers Reunion – Seven Springs Resort

The Fly Fishing Show promoter, Chuck Furimsky, has hosted a group of show fly tiers for a weekend at Seven Springs Mountain resort near Pittsburgh ever since the Fly Fisher’s Symposium at the resort was discontinued in 1998. The attending fly tiers used to hang out, tie flies, swap fish stories, partake in the good food at the resort, enjoy libations of beer, Scotch, and bourbon, and fish Lake Gosling, a ten-acre lake on the resort stocked with trout. There are also some hold-over hybrid striped bass that are hardly ever caught, but you can see them from time to time. Resident largemouth bass, crappies, and bluegills round out the fish population in the lake. One year we had a fish fry with bluegills. A friend of Chuck’s brought a gas cooker. He filleted the fish and also made fresh-cut French fries. Talk about good eatin’! Lakeside, fresh-caught fish, and then factor in that inestimable element that makes food taste better when  prepared, cooked, and eaten outdoors. It was one of those times that makes you say, “It doesn’t get any better than this!”

For the last three years, the attending fly tiers have put on an evening fly tying show at The Sporting Clays Grille on the resort. It is open to the public, and people come from the surrounding area to attend. Personally, I have attended the past two years. A year ago, during the outing, I had orders from MyFlies.com for a few dozen of my RSP’s, the red squirrel, silver-body Picket Pin. Tying the RSP requires the use of a hair stacker. On the first evening I was there I was tying the flies for my orders. It was an easy gig; one fly pattern to tie in a single size didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the camaraderie of the gathering. Fellow tier Tom Baltz from Mt. Holly Springs, Pennsylvania, was also tying, and perhaps a few others. Gradually, though everyone drifted off to bed except for Tom, Bob Mead, and me. It was near or after midnight by the time I retired for the evening. Next morning, I was the first one up, and started tying again. As the rest of the fly tiers gradually got out of bed, you would not believe the grief, complaints, and hassling I got from “fellow fly tiers,” practically every one of them, who complained about the noise of my hair stacker – tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap. I would have thought that of all people, fly tiers would be the most supportive, complicit, and understanding of the use of a hair stacker. A number of guys made comments, but fortunately no one was really serious. I think they were just jerking my chain. In self-defense, I simply jerked back, all good-natured fun.

This past March, a group of fly tiers again attended the resort, revisiting the depths of winter that still gripped the region. On Sunday night, before my Tuesday March 26 arrival, the area received eight inches of snow. Tuesday night, another three inches fell. On Wednesday, yet another two to three inches of new snow fell. It looked like mid-January. The ski lifts were still open. A few diehard individuals fished the lake on Wednesday, and even Thursday, but I decided to get ready for Thursday evening’s tying show and did not fish until Friday. By the way, several comments were made about “someone using the hair stacker last year.”

A highlight of the menu was that spey caster Michael Maury made ribs and homemade bar-b-que sauce for everyone for dinner on Wednesday. They were really good, let me tell you!

The fly tying show on Thursday evening drew a record crowd. There were probably about one-hundred fifty in attendance. The place was packed with people almost as soon as the show started. There were twelve tiers seated at two rows of tables at opposite ends of the room. Folks were two and three deep all evening until closing time. People came from towns in Maryland to attend. It was encouraging to see a good number of young people there who were interested in fly tying.

The attending fly tiers were: Tom Baltz, Don Bastian, Joe Humphreys, Bob Clouser, Bobby Clouser, Eric Stroup, Reggie Regensburg, Michael Maury, Randy Buchanan, Scott Loughner, Chuck Furimsky, and Dave Allbaugh.

Here are some photos, all photos by Reggie Regensburg’s friend, Jim. Sorry, I don’t have Jim’s last name.

Lake Gosling - Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Champion,Pennsylvania.

Lake Gosling – Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Champion, Pennsylvania.

Lake Gosling - still some ice on the lake as of March 26th.

Lake Gosling – still some ice on the lake as of March 26th. Snowflakes in the air, too. I stayed in the chalet that day where it was nice and warm.

Chuck Furimsky wetting a line in Lake Gosling.

Chuck Furimsky wetting a line in Lake Gosling. The snow accumulation is a foot deep.

Over the shoulder view of Joe Humphreys tying.

Over the shoulder view of Joe Humphreys tying at the Thursday evening, March 28, Fly Tying Show at The Sporting Clays Grille, Seven Springs Mountain Resort.

Reggie Regensburg of New Jersey.

Reggie Regensburg of New Jersey.

Tom Baltz, right, and Eric Stroup.

Tom Baltz, right, Eric Stroup, and Reggie Regensburg.

Don Bastian, front, and Dave Allbaugh, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, owner of Wet Fly Water Guides.

Don Bastian, front, and Dave Allbaugh of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, owner of Wet Fly Water Guides. http://www.wetflywaterguides.com/

Randy Buchannan of Johnstown, of Pennsylvania,and Scott Loughner

Randy Buchanan of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and Scott Loughner, also from Pennsylvania.

Scott Loughner and Bob "Bobby" Clouser, Jr.

Scott Loughner and Bob “Bobby” Clouser, Jr. Bob Clouser Sr. is in the background.

Michael Maury, Chuck Furimsky, and Bob Clouser.

Right to left: Spey Casting expert Michael Maury, Chuck Furimsky, and Bob Clouser. Bob seems to like hiding behind that lamp…

Michael Maury

Michael Maury and Chuck Furimsky. It’s nice to see these youngsters interested in fly tying.

Bob Clouser

Bob Clouser – tying, what else? Clouser Minnows!

Bob Clouser, out from behind those lamps!

Bob Clouser, out from behind those lamps!

Scott Loughner

Scott Loughner

Reggie regensburg and Joe Humphreys.

Reggie Regensburg and Joe Humphreys.

Tom Baltz of Mt. Holly Springs, Pennsylvania.

Tom Baltz of Mt. Holly Springs, Pennsylvania. Two of Tom’s framed pieces are on display. The one on the right contains six Carrie Stevens streamer patterns. Yes, it’s true, people from states besides Maine can, have been, and DO tie Carrie Stevens streamer patterns. Just like, you don’t have to be from New York to tie Catskill drys. Mrs. Stevens fly tying career has has an international impact and influence. Tom operates Angling Adventures Guide Service. To book a trip with Tom on south-central Pennsylvania’s famous trout streams, contact him at: baltzte@aol.com

Eric Stroup of Spruce Creek, Pennsylvania.

Eric Stroup of Tyrone, Pennsylvania. http://www.ericstroupflyfishing.com/guide_trips.html

Michael Maury, close-up of  tube fly.

Michael Maury, close-up of tube fly.

Tube fly tied by Michael Maury.

Tube fly tied by Michael Maury.

Tube fly-tied by Michael Maury.

Emily Maury’s daughter, Emma, makes the fly “move.”

Bugskin fly tied by Chuck Furimsky.

Bugskin fly tied by Chuck Furimsky.

Clouser Minnow - tied by Bob Clouser.

Clouser Minnow – tied by Bob Clouser.

Clouser Crayfish - tied by Bob Clouser, Jr.

Clouser Crayfish – tied by Bob Clouser, Jr.

Fly tied by Scott Loughner.

Bass fly, Hellgramite pattern tied by Scott Loughner.

Stone fly nymphs tied by Randy Buchannan.

Stone fly nymphs tied by Randy Buchanan.

Helen Shaw's Brookie Fin wet fly pattern - tied by Don Bastian.

Helen Shaw’s Brookie Fin wet fly pattern – tied by Don Bastian.

Dry fly

Dry fly, I think an Adams, tied by Reggie Regensburg. If this fly is not Reggie’s, by process of elimination, it was tied by Joe Humphreys.

Soft-hackle wet fly tied by Dave Allbaugh.

Soft-hackle wet fly tied by Dave Allbaugh.

Parachute Emerger

Parachute Emerger and BWO dry tied by Eric Stroup.

Sulphur Parachute tied by Eric Stroup.

Sulphur Parachute tied by Tom Baltz.

Thanks to a comment by my friend, Tom Baltz, I was able to positively identify the last handfuls of flies.

At any rate, this event was a fun-filled evening. The crowd and their interest in our tying made the time pass quickly. Hopefully next year, I’ll have more information ahead of time and I can get the announcement out in a timely fashion before the event. Thanks for your visit and viewing of this post.

Governor Alvord Wet Fly

I just added this part right here, after most of what is below starting, “Last Saturday…” was written. This turned into more than I envisioned at the start, but I attribute it to artistic inspiration. You could say I got a little bit carried away. Hope you don’t mind my expanded post.

Last Saturday I attended 14th Annual Bear’s Den Fly Fishing Show at their new shop in Taunton, Massachusetts. My friend Peter Frailey, who posted some photos of the Marlborough, Massachusetts, Fly Fishing Show this past January, was also present at The Bear’s Den Show.

When Peter happened my by table Saturday morning, I was tying a peacock herl-bodied wet fly pattern that is listed in Bergman’s book Trout, where I first learned of it, but it can also be found in Mary Orvis Marbury’s 1892 book, Favorite Flies and Their Histories. In fact, before starting to tie the Governor Alvord (I did three of them), I pulled out my traveling copy of Favorite Flies… and referred to the dressing therein. I wanted to put a gold tinsel tag on the fly; Bergman’s recipe does not list a tag. Ah, ha! In Marbury’s book, with no recipes of course, hence my reason to write a new book on the 291 illustrated flies in her book, including both photographs and written recipes; I found upon examination of the color plate, a gold tinsel tag. Before I get too much farther, I better point out that Peter took some photos during the show and posted them on his blog;

http://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/bearsden2012  but the reason for the title of this post is that he took the photo that appears below.

A curious fact of the Governor Alvord is that it is one of very few peacock herl-bodied wet flies that has a married wing. The Orvis version is on Plate Y of Marbury’s book as a Bass Fly, and its component parts are almost identical to the version in Trout, and having said that, before I present the pattern recipe, I feel compelled to note that this pattern, like many others, is not a “Bergman wet fly.” That phrase is a bit of a misnomer. Bergman’s “wet flies” were simply patterns that were popular in his day, many long before his day, and some of them he tied, sold through his mail-order business, and of course fished with and wrote about in his many articles and four books.

I am probably in part responsible for this situation, because of my association with the reproductions of 499 wet flies that I tied from Ray Bergman’s books that were published in 1999 in the book Forgotten Flies. I wrote the biography on Ray Bergman that appears in Forgotten Flies, and I still consider that work one of my most significant accomplishments. But the publishers selected the title, Ray Bergman and the Wet Fly, for my chapter of that book. Part of the reason the publishers selected that particular title may lie in the fact that Trout had over 600 illustrated fly patterns in it; more than any other book previously published, and a distinction that it held for almost sixty years. I am grateful to have had that opportunity; the timing and fortuitous nature of the project was a concert of cooperation between The Complete Sportsman and myself. I had decided in 1974 when I first tied the Parmacheene Belle that one day I was going to tie all the wet flies from Trout. I was elated when Paul Schmookler approached me in 1997 to inquire of my interest in reproducing the Trout wet flies. You bet I was!

There is though, an undercurrent of belief in the fly tying and fishing industry that clings to the notion that Ray Bergman was responsible for many of the wet flies – 440 in Trout alone – that were published in his book. Trout was a monumental work, as it holds a record of being the only fishing book ever published to remain continuously in print for over fifty years. Trout, in its three editions and multiple printings, has sold over a quarter of a million copies. This is unprecedented for a fishing book.

Some of this is my personal view of course, but in addition to the matter of Ray Bergman being so strongly associated with wet flies, I also feel that the term “MOM flies” slightly and inaccurately misrepresents 19th Century wet fly patterns. Mary Orvis Marbury wrote Favorite Flies and Their Histories, and by the time the book was published, she was head of the Orvis fly tying department, but it is important to note that the Orvis Company was founded in 1856, and it was not until thirty-six years later that Mary penned her epic work. The “MOM fly” or “MOM style flies” references seem to lump all 19th Century wet flies into “her” style, or Orvis style, while in fact there were many other companies creating patterns and selling fishing flies. I prefer the term, 19th Century Wet Flies.

The only wet fly pattern that Ray Bergman originated was the Quebec, which is not listed in Trout but is published in With Fly, Plug, and Bait. The rest of the “Bergman” wet flies were created and published by other individuals and companies, many years prior to Bergman’s writing, with the exception that some of the patterns, such as the creations of Michigan angler Phil Armstrong, Bergman Fontinalis and Fontinalis Fin debuted in Ray’s book. Some flies, like the Professor, pre-date Bergman’s Trout by over one-hundred years. I realize I am getting going on this topic, but am about to wrap it up if you’ll please bear with me.

My reason for discussing this is that many other 20th Century fly tying and fishing authors have been somewhat overshadowed by Bergman’s popularity and his association with wet flies. I merely want to recognize – at the risk of missing a few individuals – because I am not researching any of this information, but rather, writing from my memory – these individuals have also published wet fly patterns, some of their own origin, but most, with recipes identical to or differing from the recipes published in Trout. Bergman’s dressings were most likely representative of the patterns commercially produced in his day.

These individuals and their books have also made significant contributions to the history of wet flies. I also wish to recognize Mike Valla for his recent wet fly book, and his recognition of other fly tiers and authors. Some of these individuals are, in no particular order: George Harvey, Bill Blades, Helen Shaw, Donald DuBois, J. Edson Leonard, Elizabeth Greig, E. C. Gregg, Poul Jorgenson, Ray Ovington, Dave Hughes, Charles F. Orvis, John Alden Knight, Harold J. Noll, Ken Sawada, Sylvester Nemes, and I am sure there are others I have missed. My point is that the origin of some of the hundreds and hundreds of wet fly patterns are known, many others are obscure.

Macro - Don Bastian whip finishing a #6 Governor Alvord wet fly. Photo by Peter Frailey, of Massachusetts, taken Saturday February 25th at The Bear's Den Show. The exposure and lighting makes the red tail and brown hackle appear a little lighter than they are. This version from Marbury's book includes a hackle that is tied palmer from the mid-point of the body. This is a bit of a trick to pull off; actually, pulling it off may not be a trick but instead, a problem, if the feather stem breaks after you have wrapped the body. It is a bit of a trick to tie in the hackle and winding the peacock herl around the feather, but I like the effect. Other 19th Century patterns used this technique.

Governor Alvord – Marbury Dressing:

Tag: Fine oval gold tinsel

Tail: Scarlet quill section. I used a matched pair for a double tail, but most of the 19th century patterns used a single slip of quill.

Body: Peacock herl

Hackle: Brown, tied palmer from middle of body, extra turns in front.

Wing: Slate married to cinnamon or brown

Head: Black

The version of the Governor Alvord in Trout is the same, except minus the tag, and the hackle is either a beard or collar tied in at the head.

I tied three Governor Alvords at the show; the 19th century pattern in a 20th century version. I want to coat the heads with cement to finish them off. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll add the photos to this post.

The View From Fish in a Barrel Pond – LL Bean Post

My friend “Quill Gordon,” the caretaker at The Wantastiquet Lake Trout Club in Weston, Vermont, where I believe I will be visiting again this year in June – has posted a very interesting, intriguing, tinged with his usual dry humor, and informative post on his blog, The View From Fish in a Barrel Pond. The post is titled; When Art Imitates Art, Good Fish Die.” In this blog he writes about the photographic recreation / replication / digitized reproduction of the cover of a 1933 LL Bean Catalog. This artistic effort was done by photographer Randal Ford, in conjunction with the 1912 founding of L. L. Bean Company in Freeport, Maine. This year – 2012 – is the 100th Anniversary Year of L. L. Bean.

Quill mentions at the end of his post that Don Bastian (that would be me) is tying flies there on March 16th, and suggests you may want to drop by. I would enjoy that, and thanks, Quill, for the plug. I appreciate your support and enthusiasm, and I look forward to seeing you there!

The date mentioned in his article is the first day of the L. L. Bean Annual Spring Fishing Expo, to be held on March 16 – 18. In addition to demo tying from 1 PM until 5 PM on the 16th, I will be leading the regularly scheduled Friday evening tying class at 7 PM as we collectively dress a Maine streamer pattern, the Footer Special. I am also one of the 2012 Expo Featured Fly Tyers and I will be tying classic wet flies and traditional streamers on both Saturday and Sunday from 10 AM until 4 PM.

Here is the permalink to Quill Gordon’s entertaining post; it is worth checking out!

http://ghoti62.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/when-art-imitates-art-good-fish-die/#more-2788

I hope Quill won’t mind, but I borrowed one of the photos from his post so you would at least have something to look at here on my blog, since my picture files currently have nothing relevant for inclusion anyway. Besides I wouldn’t want to take anything away from his writing and photos. Thanks Quill, and as usual, nice work!

Original (left) and reproduced version of 1933 L. L. Bean Catalog Cover. The fish are or should I say, were, real and alive...but if Quill's facts are correct, PETA won't like the end result.

Commercial and Production Fly Tying

This is a short post on some of my experience with commercial and production tying.

After tying flies for 25 years, I began a four-year stint of commercial tying for Cathy & Barry Beck at their former shop, Fishing Creek Outfitters, near Benton, Pennsylvania. From autumn of 1989 to 1993 I produced over 3,000 dozen flies; a combination of patterns that were primarily drys, including: Marinaro Style Thorax Duns, Polywing Thorax Duns, Hackle and Synthetic spent-wing spinners, Comparaduns, Tricos, Catskill drys, Wooly Buggers, traditional dry fly patterns, mayfly nymphs, Elk Hair Caddis, Wulffs, bead heads, and more. During this time period I changed my preference from using hackle fibers for dived tails on drys to preferring Microfibetts exclusively. I like them because of their consistent quality and ease of use. Also, after watching Barry Beck demonstrate his technique, I modified and (in my opinion), improved on his figure-eight method of dividing Microfibetts with only the tying thread. Using Microfibetts, I can tie in and divide a three-fiber tail for Tricos and Baetis, or a double split: 2/2 – #18 – #22 Baetis; 3/3 – #14 – #16 PMD’s, Sulphurs, Olives; 4/4 – #10 – #12 Hendrickson, March Brown, Slate Drake; or 5/5 – #10 – #8 Green Drake, Brown Drake, Yellow Drake; in less than ten seconds. Speed of secure attachment to move to the next step is important to me in tying split tail drys.

I have said this for years – the amount of tying I did in the first year of commercial tying was way more than in the previous twenty-five years. I learned so much from the sudden intensity of commercial fly tying. That is when I learned to hold my scissors in my hand while tying. I was still using my original Thompson A vise, but in the first year I wore out the original set of jaws and bought new ones. In 1991 I bought my first Regal vise and am still tying on a Regal.

I still have half the skin of an entire deer hide with most of the hair cut off – all of which went one fly at a time, into the tying of Comparaduns. I also tied commercial orders for other fly shops, including Slate Run Tackle Shop in Slate Run, Pennsylvania, and The Maine Guide Fly Shop in Greenville, Maine.

More than once I went through an entire Metz hen back in one day tying Marinaro style Thorax Duns. More than once I went through a full spool of Monocord in one day tying woolly buggers. Many times, in a single day, all the size #14 hackles from a dry fly cape were pulled off and tied into flies. This experience was of great benefit to my tying ability and I am grateful to have had the opportunity.

The last time I produced a big batch of flies was in the fall of 2009, during a time period where I tied almost 300 dozen flies in about six weeks. No traditional wet flies were tied during this period, but rather I tied a wide range of nymphs and drys in the form of dun and spinner patterns, all for speculative sale. I have been selling some of these flies, but I still have about 175 dozen. I tied 12 dozen #22 and #24 Trico spinners; about 30 dozen Flash-back Pheasant tail nymphs from sizes #12 to #22; about eight dozen Male and Female Hendrickson Comparaduns, another six or so dozen same pattern Polywing Thorax Duns, twenty dozen BWO Thorax Duns from size #14 – for the E. cornuta, to diminutive #22’s for tiny Baetis imitations, and dozens more Sulphurs, Pale Evening Duns, Pale Morning Duns, Light Cahills, Stonefly and Caddis drys, Griffith’s Gnats, Baetis Spinners, and Rusty Spinners. I enjoy tying, and I can’t explain why but it is gratifying to see fly box compartments fill up to the point where you can’t see the bottom.

Here is a link to a forum with my original Hare E. Rooster nymph pattern – http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=64579 This fly is a really good attractor – searching pattern. I devised it using the best characteristics of two of the best nymph patterns ever created; the Gold-ribbed Hare’s Ear and Pheasant Tail Nymphs. I tie it in natural, olive, black, dark brown, and tan.

I have several more original patterns that I would like to present; my Goose Quill Nymph, my XB Larva, and my floating caddis emerger patterns. In the future I plan to expand my traditional wet fly and streamer offerings here with some of these recipes and photos.

Shang’s Favorite – Carrie Stevens Streamer Pattern

Shang's Favorite - Carrie Stevens streamer pattern tied by Don Bastian on Gaelic Supreme Mike Martinek / Carrie Stevens Streamer Hook, Size #1 - 8x

My earlier post today about fly tying weekends at my family cabin was partly occupied with my diligent work on these flies. This is the Carrie Stevens pattern – Shang’s Favorite.

Shang’s Favorite

Tag: Flat silver tinsel

Body: Red floss

Rib: Flat silver tinsel

Belly: White bucktail

Throat: White hackle fibers

Wing: Four to six strands of peacock herl and four natural grizzly hackles

Shoulder: Duck breast feather dyed red (I used chicken – Whiting American Hen Cape). Nice and rounded, and I had the benefit of selecting them from the “file cabinet” of the cape.

Cheek: Jungle cock

Head: Black with a red band

Below are some more photos of the Shang’s Favorite in mixed hook sizes:

Shang's Favorite streamers - an eight-pack mix of hook sizes - #1 - 6x and 8x, and #2 - 8x.

Shang's Favorite streamers - head-to-head. Four coats of head cement.

Shang's Favorite streamers - Heads, shoulders, and cheeks...I believe the use of the banded head is a tribute to and in honor of Carrie Stevens, designating the patterns as being her original creations.

These streamers were all made by assembling the complete wings, shoulders, and cheeks ahead of time. I prefer Elmer’s rubber cement for this. You can use it from the bottle without letting it sit, thereby avoiding the “wait” before you can begin having the fun and excitement (really!) of wing assembly a la Stevens style. When I started these I didn’t make plan to make eight because I knew, or thought I knew, I was not going to make that many. I started with three sets of wings. As noted in my earlier post today, I got on a roll. Glad I have them made, my inventory is in a bit better condition. At least on this item…

The additional Steven’s patterns named after Charles E. “Shang” Wheeler, the Shang’s Special and Charles E. Wheeler will follow along behind these flies, eight of each of those patterns too. These are the first sets of this series in the numbered collector’s editions Carrie Stevens streamers that are I am placing on my selling page of MyFlies.com: http://www.myflies.com/ 

This Collector’s Set No. 2 featuring the flies named after Charles E. “Shang” Wheeler are currently listed on MyFlies.com.