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!

Slate Drakes – aka “Isonychias”

Fall fishing is a time of year when aquatic insect activity is minimal compared to the spring hatches. Therefore any hatch activity at all is usually met with anticipation and eagerness by the trout. Oftentimes windy weather and or rain will dislodge terrestrials from trees and bank-side vegetation; these include inchworms, ants, beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, bees, caterpillars, and spiders. This activity can be sporadic, heavier at some times than others from resulting conditions; consequently autumn dry fly fishing with terrestrial patterns can be effective. Beetles, ants, and my original Floating Inchworm pattern are my fall favorite terrestrial patterns. Among the buffet of terrestrial activity, there are still a few aquatic insect fall hatches that we anglers can take advantage of. One of my favorite mayflies in the spring, the Slate Drake, or Isonychia bicolor, also begins to emerge in the fall as the second brood of this species begins to hatch in mid-to-late September. Common in the Eastern United States on freestone waters, Slate Drakes can run almost to the end of October, often providing a near-exclusive aquatic insect match-the-hatch, dry fly fishing opportunity.

Floating Inchworm - extended body designed and tied by Don Bastian. The hook is a #16 Tiemco 2488, short shank,wide gape. This is a great fall terrestrial searching pattern.

Floating Inchworm – extended body designed and tied by Don Bastian. The hook is a #16 Tiemco 2488, short shank, wide gape. This is a great fall terrestrial searching pattern.

The first hatches of Isonychia bicolor in spring begin as early as mid-may and continue through July, sometimes sporadically, but there can be periods when these large, dark, slate-and-brown colored mayflies emerge in fairly heavy numbers, inciting trout to feed vigorously on the emergers and duns. The Slate Drake Spinner is also a significant element of this hatch and should not be overlooked. Typically these nymphs migrate to the shallows, but the nymphs living in large streams and rivers far from shore simply emerge from the water when their hatch time is ready.

A Slate Drake dry fly pattern in various styles is a good dry fly searching pattern whenever they are in season, but they are especially good in the fall when competition from other hatches is not as intense as the spring and early summer. Some traditional Slate Drake dun patterns include the White-gloved Howdy and Dun Variant. I like my BXB (Bastian Extended Body) Slate Drake Thorax Dun, Parachute, and Spinner patterns better than any other pattern style for this hatch. I’ve been fishing these patterns for nine years with wonderful success. Below is a photo of my BXB Slate Drake Thorax Dun pattern, still wet after it was removed from the jaw of an eighteen-inch brown that confidently took it on Big Pine Creek in May of 2012.

BXB Slate Drake Thorax Dun pattern. The hook is a size #14 but the fly is actually what would normally be considered a #8 or #10.

BXB Slate Drake Thorax Dun pattern. The hook is a size #14 but the fly is actually what would normally be considered a #8 or #10. The length of the pattern not including the tails is a good 3/4″ to 7/8″ in length. This fly was knotted to 4x tippet because I was fishing a fairly heavy riffle section, and I expected to encounter big trout. I did!

And here is a photo of that trout:

18-inch brown trout taken on my Extended Body Slate Drake Thorax Dun pattern, Big Pine Creek, May 2012.

18-inch brown trout taken on my Extended Body Slate Drake Thorax Dun pattern, Big Pine Creek, May 2012.

Here is a nineteen-inch brown I took fifteen minutes after the fish shown above:

19-inch brown taken on Big Pine Creek,May 2012, on my Slate Drake Thorax Dun pattern.

19-inch brown taken on Big Pine Creek, May 2012, on my BXB Slate Drake Thorax Dun pattern.

This article started off with the intention that it would be only about Slate Drake nymphs, but it obviously morphed into a work to also include dry fly patterns. These insects are large, often requiring size #8 hooks. That size may sound too large to some anglers, but if you consider the actual body length of a Slate Drake dun and compare it to the shank length of a standard dry fly hook, that’s what you would need to use. Too many fly anglers dislike large drys; they don’t know what they are missing by not using them. Large imitative or attractor dry fly patterns like the Fan Wing Royal Coachman or Royal Wulff can really stir up some excitement on the water. I’ve read the words of some writers who say that the fall Slate Drakes are as small as a size #14, but I personally have never seen a Slate Drake that small in my life. I would not tie this pattern smaller than a size #12 standard hook length for fall fishing, and I have full confidence fishing my large extended body patterns that imitate the spring hatches of the Slate Drake. Though I generally dress them on a #14 Tiemco 2488 hook, these flies are the equivalent size compared to a standard dry fly pattern in a size #8 or #10. Some of the same line of thinking by other fly tiers and anglers expresses surprise at my devotion to size #14 Sulfur patterns for Spring Creek, when most other anglers fish #16’s. Heck, I’m just imitating the actual size of the bugs I see on the water. And it’s not that #16 Sulfur dry flies don’t take trout, but a larger fly is easier to see under most conditions, and floats better. Most importantly, it works!

Here are two similar Slate Drake nymph patterns; the first one was tied by my friend Bill Shuck, of Jarretsville, Maryland. Below that are photos of the same pattern that I tied. Bill made a couple modifications because he did not possess all the same materials that my recipe calls for.

This is essentially the Slate Drake nymph pattern conceived by my friend Dave Rothrock, but I made a few modifications to it in the interest of making it tie easier and faster.

Slate Drake Nymph - tied and photographed by Bill Shuck.

Slate Drake Nymph – tied and photographed by Bill Shuck.

Here’s a side view:

Side-view - note the bulge of the wingcase proflie

Side-view – note the bulge of the wing case profile. This is Dave Rothrock’s pattern design, with some tying modifications, but the use of poly yarn for the wing case is Dave’s accurate material usage to simulate the natural high wing-case profile of the Isonychia nymphs. This imitative design is a “strike-trigger” to the trout. Tied and photographed by Bill Shuck.

Isonychia / Slate Drake Nymph – Bill Shuck version

Here is Bill’s list of materials in order of tie-in::

Hook: Daiichi 1760, Size #10
Thread: Uni-Thread 6/0, black
Tail: Three natural grey ostrich herl strands, trimmed short
Rib: Pearsall's Gossamer silk thread, brown, doubled and twisted
Median stripe: Uni-Thread 6/0, white, doubled and twisted
Over Back: Medallion sheeting, dark dun
Abdomen: Blend of hare's fur, 50% claret/25% brown/25% black
Wing case: Black poly yarn, two strands
Thorax: Same dubbing as abdomen
Legs: Badger hen cape feather barbs

Bill wrote me in his e-mail with the recipe: “All typed out like that it seems like too much stuff to
bother with, eh?”
To which I replied, “Not when you consider how well this pattern works. The extra tying time 
pays off."

Today, Monday morning, two days after I initially published this article, Bill sent me another 
Isonychia nymph pattern, this is the same fly with the addition of a single strand of natural ostrich
herl wound as a rib. 
Isonychia nymph variation - tied with natural gray ostrich herl gills. Tied and photographed by Bill Shuck.

Isonychia nymph variation – dressed with natural gray ostrich herl gills. Tied and photographed by Bill Shuck.

Slate Drake Nymph - tied and photographed by Don Bastian.
Slate Drake Nymph – tied and photographed by Don Bastian.
Slate Drake Nymph - top view

Slate Drake Nymph #10 – 2x long – top view. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

Isonychia / Slate Drake Nymph – Don Bastian version

Hook: #10 - 2x long nymph hook, or 3x long TMC 200R or Dai-Riki 270
Thread: Danville Flymaster 6/0 #100 Black, or #73 Dark Brown
Tail: Three fibers of natural ostrich herl
Median Stripe: Danville Flymaster 6/0 #1 White
Ribbing: One strand of Uni-thread 6/0 Dark Brown
Overback: Black scud back 1/8”
Abdomen: Haretron Dubbing #16 Dark Brown
Gills: Abdominal dubbing picked out and trimmed parallel to body.
Wingcase: Black polypropylene yarn, two strands
Thorax: Haretron #16 Dark Brown
Legs: Natural mottled hen back, short and sparse
Head: Black
The main design of this pattern goes to my friend, Dave Rothrock, guide, and fly tier, from Jersey 
Shore, Pennsylvania. He uses a stripped cream hackle feather for the median stripe; the use of
thread is obviously a huge time-saver. I also use ostrich herl strands from anywhere along the 
stem, Dave uses only the tips, which are limited in number on any feather or bundle of ostrich
herl. I can make several sets of tails from just three strands of ostrich. I cut the tips at an angle with
my scissors, trimming only the outside edge of the barbs.

I also chose to change the dubbing to Haretron; my reason is that the increased density of fine fibers – 
under fur and the Antron – makes it easier to pick out the gills. Dave’s use of poly yarn for the wing 
case is a stroke of genius in imitative pattern design. Its bulk simulates the natural profile of the live
nymphs. This is a trigger-point for the trout and significantly contributes to the inducement of strikes,
if not being the primary reason that trout take this pattern with voracity.
Below is a photo of my Slate Drake Parachute Dun:
Don Bastian's BXB Slate Drake Parachute Dun.

Don Bastian’s BXB Slate Drake Parachute Dun.

Any of these pattern can be ordered by visiting my product pages at

or the Slate Drake Nymphs may be ordered by visiting my Custom Order page:

If you get a chance to venture out for some fall fishing, most streams in the Eastern United States have Isonychia populations – be prepared, and have some of these patterns to fish with.

I meant to include these photos yesterday when I wrote this post…the wordpress format was having “issues,” giving me technical difficulties, and I forgot. Here is a soft-hackle Slate Drake Flymph tied and photographed by Bill Shuck:

Isonychia Flymph - tied and photographed by Bill Shuck.

Isonychia Flymph – tied and photographed by Bill Shuck.

Here is the recipe for this pattern:

Isonychia / Slate Drake Flymph

From Bill: “This was a pattern that I posted on the Flymphforum in April 2012. The vintage hook is one given to me be a friend in Virginia, and the European hare dubbing was dyed by another friend who lives in Holland, the same guy I hosted for two weeks this past spring and who gave me an excellent 5 wt. bamboo rod he made himself.

Hook: Vintage Mustad 3913B. Size #12

Thread: Pearsall’s Gossamer silk thread, #14 claret

Hackle: Medium dun hen saddle

Tail: Three moose body hairs

Body: European hare dyed claret, spun in a dubbing brush with claret silk thread

Nice that you got a bamboo rod for hosting your friend! Such a deal!

I close this with image of a half-dozen Slate Drake Nymphs:

Slate Drake Nymphs, tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

Slate Drake Nymphs, tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

And one final shot, lined up in a row:

#10 3x long Isonychia - Slate Drake Nymphs. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

#10 – 3x long Isonychia – Slate Drake Nymphs. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian. These are dressed on Montana Fly Company Curved shank straight eye nymph hooks, #7002 Stimulator Hook.

Extended Body Mayfly Duns

These extended body mayfly patterns are what I refer to as the “BXB” Extended Body Series. “BXB” is an acronym for Bastian Extended Body. The Slate Drake pattern was created about eight or nine years ago; the Coffin Fly, likewise, and in there somewhere I also tied a few Green Drakes and March Browns with extended bodies. The early Green Drake prototype had a dubbed body over closed-cell foam, but back then one could not get cream colored foam, so I “improvised.” The Floating Inchworm pattern body is made the same way. These bodies are made on a pin mandrel; from closed-cell foam of different colors. Last weekend at the Lancaster Fly Fishing Show, I upgraded through the kindness of my friend, Jim Kennedy, who saw a tube fly tool and thought I could adapt it to my method of tying extended foam bodies. Indeed, Jim was right, since I was tying on a pin, I had to remove the pin from the vise with each body to slide it off, because I was using a pin with a head on it. Now the tube fly tool makes it easy; I simply make the body and slide it off, ready for the next one. Thanks Jim!

These flies are effective on the water, and excel as fishing patterns. Last June, my neighbor Jim Latini and I made ten evening fishing trips to Lycoming Creek, just over the hill a few minutes away. We fished the Slate Drake Thorax Dun pattern predominantly, since it was their season. See also:

There are photos there of trout caught on the Slate Drake BXB Thorax Dun. These patterns excel as fishing flies for several reasons: The short shank hook makes the fly lighter in weight, therefore they present on the water more delicately, and also drift and act more like a natural mayfly. Hooking capability with this design is not impeded, but in fact enhanced. This is because trout can take the fly easier with the smaller hook, resulting in fewer missed strikes than are normally encountered with standard hooks. The extended abdomen is flexible, not stiff as on some other extended body patterns. The design is more realistic than standard dressings, and each pattern style – Thorax Dun, Parachute, Comparadun, Hackled Comparadun, and Spinner – always land right side up every time.

BXB Slate Drake Thorax Dun

BXB Slate Drake Thorax Dun, Don Bastian original pattern.

BXB Slate Drake Thorax Dun

Hook: Tiemco 2488 Up-eye scud hook, size #14

Thread: Danville 6/0 Flymaster #47 Brown

Abdomen: Brown closed-cell foam

Tails: Moose body hair

Wing: A post of Dun colored Enrico’s Sea Fibers, aka Beck’s Poly Fluff (1990’s), or Hi-Vis. (Same product).

Thorax: Rusty Dun rabbit dubbing

Hackle: Sandy dun, clipped on the bottom half way between hook point and shank.

This pattern, plus a Spinner, Comparadun, Hackled Comparadun, and Parachute are available individually or as a set of five patterns on

BXB March Brown Thorax Dun

BXB March Brown Thorax Dun, #14 hook, size ten fly.

BXB March Brown Thorax Dun

Hook: TMC 2488 straight eye scud hook, #14

Thread: Danville 6/0 Flymaster #47 Brown

Abdomen: Tan closed-cell foam

Tails: Moose body hair

Thorax: Tan rabbit dubbing

Hackle: Brown dyed grizzly and grizzly

Wing: Light tan Enrico’s Sea Fibers, or Poly Fluff, or Hi-Vis; same product different names.

Soon to be available on

These extended bodies take me between 00:01:20 to 00:01:40 to make; the rest of the fly is made in under two minutes, so these are extended body patterns you can crank out in under four minutes, once the tying procedure is learned. I apologize that it’s dang near impossible to do a step-by-step for the extended abdomen that would be feasible. This will be another reason for me to do a video tying segment.

BXB Green Drake Hairwing Thorax Dun

BXB Green Drake Hairwing Thorax Dun. I know, the Green Drake dun has three tails, but that third tail that should be in the middle is almost impossible to attach; besides I’m counting on the trout not to count.

BXB Green Drake Hairwing Thorax Dun

Hook: TMC 2488 straight eye scud hook, #12

Thread: Danville 6/0 Flymaster tan for abdomen, yellow for thorax and head

Abdomen: Cream closed-cell foam, olive Pantone marker over the top of abdomen. Use the marker before making the body, otherwise the ink bleeds into the thread and discolors the ribbing.

Tail: Yellow-dyed gray mallard fibers

Thorax: Pale olive rabbit dubbing

Wing: Yellow-dyed deer hair

Hackle: Olive green-dyed grizzly and ginger

BXB Green Drake - Coffin Fly Spinner

BXB Green Drake – Coffin Fly Spinner

BXB Green Drake Coffin Fly Spinner

Hook: TMC 2488 straight eye scud hook, #12

Thread: Danville 6/0 Flymaster Tan for abdomen, Black for thorax

Tails: Moose body hair

Wing: Clear Enrico’s Sea Fibers with two strands of pearlescent Krystalflash

Thorax: Black rabbit dubbing

BXB Yellow Drake

BXB Yellow Drake

BXB Yellow Drake Parachute

Hook: TMC 2488 straight eye scud hook, #12

Thread: Danville #47 Brown for abdomen, Yellow for thorax

Abdomen: Cream closed-cell foam

Tail: Yellow dyed deer hair

Wing: Bleached deer hair, later versions used tan Enrico’s Sea Fibers

Hackle: Ginger

Abdomen: Cream rabbit dubbing

These Yellow Drake patterns were tied on the spot at Wantastiquet Lake Trout Club in Vermont last June. I arrived for the trip of a few days and the Yellow Drakes were hatching. It’s an evening hatch and I got there early afternoon, so I sat on the porch of the cabin and cranked out a dozen of these for five anglers to use that evening. They worked like a charm! See also:

Floating Inchworm Pattern

Floating Inchworm Pattern, size #16 TMC 2488 hook.

The Floating Inchworm was developed last June. During a few of the evening trips that Jim and I took to Lycoming Creek, we successfully tested this Floating Inchworm pattern.

I hope you enjoy these patterns. The Floating Inchworm is available on; the March Brown, Green Drake, and Coffin Fly Spinner will soon be available there as well.

Last Night’s Fishing

Last evening my neighbor Jim and I went over the hill again to fish Lycoming Creek. It’s nice because it is only a four minute ride from where we live. He picked me up at 7:00 PM. I had developed an extended body floating inchworm pattern about a month ago, and had not had a chance to fish with it until last night. In fact until yesterday, only the prototype fly was in existence. In a word, success! My Floating Inchworm pattern will eventually be listed for sale on Some tying information and photos will be placed here on my blog after that time, but until I get the pattern officially on the site these images of the pattern in the jaws of a trout will have to do. The same goes for these pictures of my Extended Body Slate Drake Thorax Dun. A five-pattern Slate Drake series will also be placed on, featuring a Thorax Dun, Parachute, Comparadun, Hackled Comparadun, and Spinner. Take your pick, they all catch trout. Er, I mean fish, as noted by the accompanying photo of a smallmouth bass that inhaled one during last night’s fishing.

A Lycoming Creek brown trout that ate my new Extended-Body Floating Inchworm pattern last night. The fly is tied, or finished, rather, on a Tiemco size #16 – 2488 short shank, wide gape hook. Overall length is 3/4″ so officially the pattern in not quite an inchworm.

Jim and I arrived at the water’s edge to find a spin angler in “our spot,” but there’s plenty of good water here so we just moved up a little. I had tied the inchworm on at the car and was soon in position, making short casts into the current. We were there barely a minute when I spotted a rise. I worked this spot to no avail, but downstream a few feet from that section there was a good-looking lie beside an exposed rock. I made three drifts, just inches away, right past that rock when on the fourth cast I saw a trout turn to follow the fly downstream, actually chasing it, and take it without hesitation. I set the hook. Jim was still tying on a fly when I hollered, “Fish on!” There would have been a photo of that rainbow but he threw the hook close in before I could bring it to hand. No matter. I landed three of several more that I rose on the inchworm, and Jim also took at least one trout on it too. In fact his first trout on it was about a 15″ brown, but it was rather uncooperative for a photos so rather than stress the fish, we released it. At about 8 o’clock I decided to tie on the Slate Drake. Thinking the highly visible chartreuse inchworm would act as a “sighter” as darkness set in, I tied an Extended-Body Slate Drake Thorax Dun onto the bend of the inchworm hook with about 18″ of 5x tippet, fishing a tandem dry fly rig. That worked well. It really helped me see the drake, but after tying on the Slate Drake the trout selectively homed in on that fly exclusively for the remainder of the evening.

A nice Lycoming Creek brown taken on my Extended Body Slate-Drake pattern. The hackle is clipped on the bottom. Brown closed-cell foam abdomen. Wing post of dun E. P. Fibers. Moose body hair tail. Rusty dun dubbed thorax. That’s about it. It lands right side up every time. No exceptions.

A seven inch smallmouth bass also took the Slate Drake.

Another brown on my Slate Drake Extended-body Thorax Dun pattern.

It was a lovely evening. We were again serenaded by the veery. There was no wind. It was cooling off very nicely. Several different mayflies, caddis, and stone flies were about. There was no abundance of flies but starting around 8:30 the trout began rising fairly well. I landed about a dozen trout in the evening. Jim also did well. But not until after I gave him a couple of my Slate Drake patterns. What are friends for?

Right before we finished for the evening, I took one last photo, a downstream view toward the west.

Dusk on Lycoming Creek. The Powy’s Curve on Rt. 15 is straight down the stream corridor, over a half-mile distant. A serene view to close the day.