Fly Order (SPAM)

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

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

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


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

Macro of previous photo.

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

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

Fan Wing Coffin Fly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Liar’s Bench at The Angler’s Nook, Shushan, New York

I received a fly order from a customer in Delaware last month. Our back-and-forth e-mail correspondence eventually turned his initial dozen-and-a-half order for my Floating Caddis / Mayfly Emerger into a very sizeable order, as he kept adding more patterns until his order reached ten dozen, including some sulfur Comparaduns and Thorax Duns, and a few dozen of a pattern by Jim Slattery, originator of the Stimulator, called the Triple Threat Caddis. Here’s a link to Fly Angler’s On Line (FAOL) with that pattern:

The TTC, as I call it, while I’ve never fished it, looks like a great pattern. I’m definitely going to tie some up for my personal fly box. And I had fun tying it. I did them for my customer in tan with orange thread as the FAOL article suggests, a ginger-brown version, and olive. Anyway, to The Liar’s Bench at the Angler’s Nook. My customer in Delaware and I have been in contact and he has sent me some photos. One from earlier this past week caught my attention because of the names painted on the wall. This was all new to me, but I recognized a couple names in the photograph. Investigation that I’ve done led me to this post on Sparse Gray Matter:

Here is why this simple contact for a fly order morphed and grew into a fascinating bit of fly fishing nostalgia. The photo sent to me by my customer in Delaware is something that I have not been able to find on line, that is, a photograph of The Liar’s Bench at The Angler’s Nook, which was George Schlotter’s fly shop in Shushan, New York. Originally the shop was owned by Ralph Entwhistle. Two names jumped out at me: Lew Oatman, who lived in Shushan, creator of numerous baitfish streamer imitations, including one of my all-time favorite streamer fly patterns – the Brook Trout, sometimes called the Little Brook Trout, and John Atherton. Here is a link to the Brook Trout tied by Chris Del Plato, along with several of Lew Oatman’s other original patterns.

John Atherton, 1900-1952, is the author of The Fly and the Fish, published in 1951. Here is a link to a site with detailed information about John Atherton:

Atherton was a very talented artist as well as a fly tier, angler, and author. I encourage you to read the information about his life, it is fascinating. One of his famous award-winning paintings, The Black Horse, hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. John Atherton had more than one-hundred covers published on The Saturday Evening Post.

Here is the photo sent to me by my customer in Delaware. He and his family visited there and he fished the Battenkill River as a young man. The photo was taken in the 1970’s. Don’t forget folks, you can click your mouse on the image to view an enlarged version.

The Battenkill - The Angler's Nook Liar's Bench

The Battenkill – The Angler’s Nook – Liar’s Bench. Photo courtesy of Richard Gordon. Chris Del Plato informed me that Al Prindle was the Shushan Postmaster, for whom Lew Oatman’s pattern of the same name was created.

The remaining names on the bench did not turn up anything on a google search, but I only checked the first page that came up. I’m sure there are some folks who might be familiar with them. Possibly author Mike Valla, who spent some time in The Angler’s Nook, can shed some light on the remaining names. I am very pleased that my customer gave his permission to post this photo. As I noted, I failed to find a single image online of this particular Liar’s Bench. Most of them led to various bars and pubs across the country with this name. Thank you Richard, for sending the photo. This is an incredible bit of fly fishing history for the Vermont – New York area.

An edit with additional information: The comment below posted by Chris Del Plato corrected my original statement (edited above to reflect the correct info) that Lew was the postmaster in Shushan. Chris informed me that Al Prindle was the Shushan Postmaster. If I had looked this up in Joseph Bates Streamer Fly Tying and Fishing, 1950, 1966, 1996, I would have read this: “This bucktail (Shushan Postmaster) was originated by Lew Oatman of Shushan, New York, about 1953 and named for the postmaster of the town (Al Prindle), who was one of Lew’s favorite fishing companions on the Battenkill River, which flows from Vermont into New York state.” Thanks Chris!

Another edit: Rich Norman, in the comments below, corrected the name Peggy as the family dog.

Additionally, I found a photo of a Normal Rockwell cover painting from The Saturday Evening Post. Subsequent research that I did, again sparked by information provided by Chris Del Plato, led me to discover that Al Prindle was the subject of at least two Norman Rockwell paintings. This one is titled “Catching the Big One” though I read online that the original title was “Fishing Lesson.” It was the cover of The Saturday Evening Post in on August 3, 1929.

Catching the Big One - painting by Norman Rockwell. This was originally titled Fishing Lesson. Al Prindle,the postmaster in Shushan, New York, for whom Lew Oatman's Sunshan Postmaster fly was named, was the subject for the painting.

“Catching the Big One” – painting by Norman Rockwell. This was originally titled “Fishing Lesson.” Al Prindle, the postmaster in Shushan, New York, for whom Lew Oatman’s Shushan Postmaster fly was named, was the subject for the painting. This photo came from