Comando Streamer – Percy Tackle Company

My friend, Alec Stansell, in Massachusetts, sent me this picture of a streamer pattern that was previously unknown to me. It’s an original carded fly from the Percy Tackle Company, formerly of Portland, Maine. Percy’s Tackle received plenty of mentions in Joseph Bates’ Book, “Streamer Fly Tying and Fishing,” 1950, 1966, 1995. I like sharing this kind of vintage, classic information on our fly tying heritage with my readers, so here it is:

The Comando:

 

Comando Streamer, carded and sold by The Percy Tackle Company. Gardiner Percy was the company founder.

Comando Streamer, carded and sold by The Percy Tackle Company. Gardiner Percy was the company founder. Photo courtesy of Alec Stansell.

The recipe:

Comando

Tag: Flat silver tinsel

Tail: Red hackle fibers

Ribbing: Flat silver tinsel  – this is very tarnished, but at my suggestion Alec did a little fly tying archeology with his bodkin, scratching a small section of the surface to reveal the silver tinsel rib 😉

Body: White angora or spun rabbit fur

Throat: red hackle fibers

Wing: Two brown hackles over which are one black hackle, slightly shorter

Cheek: Jungle cock

Head: Black

Thanks Alec for sharing this photo with me!

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Vintage Stuff

A friend of mine, and one of my blog followers, and occasional commenters, Alec Stansell, of Massachusetts, posted this picture on his facebook page. I liked it and decided to share it with my readers. It is some carded streamers and a bottle of head cement from the Percy Tackle Company, of Portland, Maine. Percy Tackle Co. was started by Gardner Percy, I believe, back in the 1920’s.

The flies are a Mickey Finn (left), unknown (center) – I have put in a message to Alec to identify it, and a Gray Ghost. The head cement is pretty cool too. Wonder how it would work?

Old collectible items from the Percy Tackle Company, of Portland, Maine.

Old collectible items from the Percy Tackle Company, of Portland, Maine. The flies are attached to the card with a staple over the hook bend. This was the most common method of attaching streamers and bucktails to cards.

Don’t forget, you can click on the picture, and it will enlarge for a bigger image. If you have a new touch-screen laptop like I do (still getting used to it), then you can also make the pic bigger just by moving your fingers…either way works.

Alec just messaged me, this pic was on eBay. He bought the items, but has not yet received them. He offered to take macro pics of the items when he gets them, and we’ll get the name for that unknown pattern. He thinks it’s called “Commando.” Which is interesting because I do not know of a fly with that name…course, sometimes I just don’t know… 😉

Victory

This Carrie Stevens pattern was originally included in another post I wrote last August; https://donbastianwetflies.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/carrie-stevens-streamer-patterns/

This Victory is more recently tied, and I am experimenting with a different type of set up for the photos, placing the fly upright rather than flat against a background. This allows me to play with depth-of-field, which can place more emphasis on the fly. This fly is another addition to my Carrie Stevens Pattern Dictionary. Below is the Victory:

Victory – Carrie Stevens pattern, tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

The Victory

Thread: White Danville 3/0 monocord for the body.

Carrie Stevens used white buttonhole thread for her body work. I discovered that while visiting the American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester, Vermont on June 13, 2012. Part of the present display, A Graceful Rise, a tribute to women in fly tying and fishing, included photos of Austin Hogan’s notes and drawings that he painstakingly made in the early 1960’s of Carrie’s fly tying methods. I also recently learned from Mike Martinek that Austin actually deconstructed some of Carrie’s streamers to validate his work. Later on Mike became friends with Austin, and together the two of them also deconstructed some of Carrie’s patterns. He told me they had a few with hook points broken off, or were missing a cheek, etc. The use of the buttonhole thread is just one of the discoveries I made there. I know I am going to keep everyone in suspense, but I’m will reveal this information at a later date, after I’ve had time to study it more thoroughly.

Hook: This pattern is dressed on a Gaelic Supreme Martinek / Stevens Rangeley Style Streamer Hook. Any long shank streamer hook may be used.

Tag: Flat silver tinsel

Tail: Red hackle fibers, about equal to hook gape

Rib: Flat silver tinsel

Body: Red floss

Belly: White bucktail

Throat: Red

Wing: Two light blue hackles flanked on each side by one gray hackle

Cheeks: Jungle cock

Head: Red, white, and blue, in that order back to front. I use Danville Flymaster 6/0 #47 red, #1 White, and Blue 3/0 monocord, which since it is not listed on the Danville Chenille Company web site, I assume is discontinued. I also have a couple spools of Danville Blue Flymaster 6/0 that is not their #507 flourescent blue. That must also be a discontinued color.

Victory – mounted, carded. I have loved this traditional style streamer and bucktail carded packaging ever since I saw it the first time thirty years ago. Nowadays we use plastic sleeves. Before that there was cellophane, and before that, in the days when Carrie Stevens, Herb Welch, Gardiner Percy of Percy Tackle Company, Bill Edson, Chief Needabah, and other Maine and New England fly tiers sold their streamers, the favored material in use was a wax paper-like substance called glassine.

There is just something classic about the look of carded streamers and bucktails.