Wet Fly and Streamer Classes

There is still space available at two upcoming fly tying classes that I am teaching in Maine in March. The location is Eldredge Brothers Fly Shop, Cape Neddick, Maine. This is near the town of York in southern Maine. The dates are Saturday and Sunday March 15 and 16. Here is the information from Eldredge Brothers Fly Shop Class Announcement:

DON BASTIAN   When it comes to tying classic streamers and wet flies, Don’s name is synonymous with excellence. With the popularity of classic streamers and wet flies on the rise, we feel grateful to have a fly tier of Don’s caliber instructing these classes for us. Don has been tying flies for 50 years, has been a fly tying instructor for the past 29 years and tied commercially for 12 years. He has guided fly fishermen in Pennsylvania for 16 years and he has authored three fly tying DVD’s: Advanced Classic Wet Flies, Traditional Streamers and Bucktails, and Tying Classic Wet Flies. Don was the featured author of Ray Bergman biography in the book Forgotten Flies and has a combined total of approximately 765 flies published in that volume. His flies were regularly published in Art Of Angling Journal 2001 – 2003 and he has been published in Fly Tyer, Fly Fisherman, Mid-Atlantic Fly Fishing Guide, Hatches Magazine, Fly Tyers of the World, Vol. IV, (yet to be published), and Fly Fusion. Don will be instructing two full-day classes.
Many of the techniques and methods taught in this class will be of benefit to you regardless what type of flies you tie.

Classic Wet Flies       This class will focus mostly on the old Maine Lake Fly patterns dating back to the 1800’s. We will tie at least one each; a snelled pattern and one with a gut snood, both on blind eye hooks.

Date: March 15th, 2014 – 9:00am till 4:00pm ~ Full day class

Cost: $75.00 per Student ~ Lunch is included

Classic Streamer Flies      This class will focus mostly on Maine patterns which will include some of Carrie Stevens unique Rangeley Style methods of construction.

Date: March 16th, 2014 – 9:00am till 4:00pm ~ Full day class

Cost: $75.00 per Student ~ Lunch is included

Classes are limited to 13 students ~ Payment in full is required to hold a space in these classes ~ All tying materials (except thread) will be supplied ~ Students need only to bring their vises, tools & thread.

To register or for more information, please call Eldredge Brothers Fly Shop at: 207-363-9269 or 9279;
or Toll Free: 877-427-9345.

Fly Tying Classes – Eldredge Brothers, Cape Neddick, Maine

Hi everyone! Following a very successful class in March of 2013 at Eldredge Brothers Fly Shop in Cape Neddick, Maine, that filled to capacity a couple weeks after being announced, shop manager, Jim Bernstein has invited me back again this year. Two class dates are set:

Saturday, March 15, 2014 and

Sunday March 16, 2014.

The Saturday class topic is classic wet flies and will feature the heritage patterns of 19th century Maine Lake Flies, such as the Belgrade, Rangeley, Richardson, Cupsuptic, Parmacheene Belle, etc. The class will include tying patterns on eyed hooks, which became popular in the mid-1890’s, as well as dressing a fly or two on a classic blind-eye hook using both a gut snood and a snell.

Sunday’s class will focus on classic Maine feather-wing streamers and will include traditional Eastern styles of tying, with a special feature of two Carrie Stevens streamer patterns, presenting her unique Rangeley method of streamer construction, combined with my personal adaptations (for starters, unlike Carrie Stevens, I use a vise). Full details of her methods using information from classic streamer guru, Mike Martinek, Jr., and Austin Hogan’s  notes on his deconstruction of Carrie’s flies will be included.

Here is a link to the class information on the Eldredge Brothers Fly Shop site:


For additional information feel free to contact the shop or me directly at: dwbastian@chilitech.net

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.

Stripers in Maine

My friend in York, Maine, Dave Lomasney, has been getting some stripers at the mouth of the York River, just as of last weekend. Dave is one of the contributing tiers for my book in progress, Favorite Fishing Flies – 1892. Dave has sent me some photos of fish and scenes where he’s fished, and I thought I would share them here. Other locations along the Maine coast are also producing stripers as well. Check local fly shops, that is your best bet, unless you have a personal contact who lives in the area. Check the guides listed here on my blog; Greg Bostater guides in the salt. I’m not sure if Todd Towle and Kevin McKay guide for stripers or not.

Edit June 1st: I contacted Kevin McKay; he does not guide in the salt. But he recommended Mark Drummond as one of the best. I trust Kevin’s judgement. Here is a link to Drummond Fly Charters: http://www.fishlikemad.com/

Fly Shops would include Eldredge Brothers in Cape Neddick, Maine. They are very near the town of York. Shop manager at Eldredge Brothers, Jim Bernstein, created the Guitar Minnow, the fly responsible for all these fish. Here is a video link to tying the bucktail version of thew Guitar Minnow:


And Dave sent this two-part link in a comment on tying the feather version of the Guitar Minnow; that is what Dave has been using to take these fish.

Part I:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckGi75lM-ag

Part II: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B82iolPJWRQ

After sending this link, Dave said he got six more stripers there after I wrote this post.

Mouth of the York River, Maine.

Mouth of the York River, Maine. Photo by Dave Lomasney.

Mouth of the York River, Maine. Photo by Dave Lomasney.

Mouth of the York River, Maine. Photo by Dave Lomasney.

Mouth of York River, Maine. Photo by Dave Lomasney.

Mouth of York River, Maine. Photo by Dave Lomasney.

Striper caught on Guitar Minnow at mouth of York River, fish caught and photo by Dave Lomasney.

Striper caught on Guitar Minnow at mouth of York River, fish caught and photo by Dave Lomasney.

Head macro of striper with Guitar Minnow, photo by Dave Lomasney.

Head macro of striper with Guitar Minnow, photo by Dave Lomasney.

Striper caught on Guitar Minnow. Photo by Dave Lomasney.

Striper caught on Guitar Minnow. Photo by Dave Lomasney.

Another bass eats the Guitar Minnow. Photo by Dave Lomasney.

Another bass eats the Guitar Minnow. Photo by Dave Lomasney.

Head macro of striper and Guitar Minnow, photo by Dave Lomasney.

Head macro of striper and Guitar Minnow, photo by Dave Lomasney.

Congrats to Dave on his good fishing! These bass were all between 26″ and 30″. Nice fish! Thanks Dave, for permission to post your report and photos.

Here are two more photos that Dave e-mailed me after his fishing on the evening of Wednesday May 29th:

At the mouth of the York River, Maine.

At the mouth of the York River, Maine.

Another 28" striper, victim of the feather version of Jim Bernstein's Guitar Minnow.

Another 28″ striper fell victim to Dav’e rod and the feather version of Jim Bernstein’s Guitar Minnow.

Dave Lomasney

Dave Lomasney of York, Maine, and a big striper from last season. This fish also ate the Guitar Minnow. I gotta tie some of them!