Emerging March Brown Soft-Hackle – Flymph

My friend Bill in Maryland sent me this photo of a March Brown Soft-hackle / Flymph that he recently tied all in the style of and following the recipe of Vernon L. “Pete” Hidy. Bill is an excellent tier and does great work on these patterns. Here is the e-mail message from Bill. I started off asking him a question about this fly, was it a soft-hackle or a flymph? Here is Bill’s reply, the fly photo, and recipe.

“Technically it’s both; all flymphs are soft hackles. “Flymph” is the term coined by Pete Hidy to describe the type of pattern that Jim Leisenring developed to imitate the stage between a nymph and an adult. Here’s the recipe for this Pete Hidy version of an emerging March Brown as published in T. Donald Overfield’s Famous Flies and their Originators. (Note: Both Leisenring and Hidy used large ribs on many of their patterns, so I substituted for the ribbing in the Overfield recipe to make it look more like their original flies.) Great tying Bill!

Pete Hidy style Emerging March Brown, dressed and photographed by Bill Shuck.

Pete Hidy style Emerging March Brown, dressed and photographed by Bill Shuck.

Emerging March Brown Soft-hackle / Flymph

Hook: Long shank mayfly, Size #12 Mustad R50U

Thread: Pearsall’s Gossamer silk, #19 hot orange

Hackle: Brown partridge

Tail whisks: Brown partridge

Rib: Gudebrod “D” rod winding thread (sub for Primrose silk or gold wire)

Body: Blend of hare’s poll (90%) and orange-brown wool (10%) spun in orange silk thread on a Clark spinning block.

Very nice tying job, Bill! Thanks for sharing the photo and information!

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Soft-Hackle Wet Flies and the Fly Fishing Show – Marlborough, Massachusetts

This is a brief report on the Fly Fishing Show last weekend in Marlborough, Massachusetts. I had a great time, but then I always do at these events. I met some new customers and made some new friends, and I saw a good number of my old friends and customers. We shared stories, family news, and had lots of laughs. Laughing is always important.

In particular I want to note that I had a very nice, long visit and pleasant conversation with Lance Hidy. Lance is the son of Vernon S. “Pete” Hidy, who along with one of Pennsylvania’s fly fishing legends, James E. Leisenring, helped pen Leisenring’s book The Art of Tying the Wet Fly in 1941. A later revised edition of Leisenring’s book, titled The Art of Tying the Wet Fly and Fishing the Flymph,” was co-authored with his friend, Vernon S. “Pete” Hidy, and released in 1971.

During our conversation Lance informed me of some very interesting information; that Jim Leisenring had only an eight-grade education, and his spelling and grammar was not sufficiently proficient to write a book without some assistance, which came from Pete Hidy. More interesting was the fact that another fly tying legend, Reuben R. Cross, author of Tying American Trout Lures, 1936, actually was responsible for introducing Leisenring and Hidy; the two of them became friends and fishing companions, consequently, without that introduction perhaps Leisenring’s book would never have come to pass. (This is what I initially wrote from memory. Lance Hidy sent me the following corrections when I sent him this link).

“Reuben Cross recommended Pete Hidy to his editor at Dodd, Mead, and then mentored Pete through the process of producing the Leisenring book. Without Rube’s support, it is unlikely that the book ever would have been published. Pete introduced Rube to Jim Leisenring. The two men admired each other’s tying, and in particular, shared the same high standards for hook quality. So you see, Jim and Pete were not introduced by Rube, but met each other the old-fashioned way, while fishing. Young Pete watched Big Jim land a fish on Brodhead Creek, and then asked to see the fly Jim used.”

I also asked Lance if he had already or was going to record this information. He replied that was working on a book to that effect. That will be great!

Lance had a sample Olive Soft-hackle fly that he had tied, and also showed me a card of prepared dubbing loops that he had made. It is significant to note that the method Lance uses for these dubbed, twisted thread sections is the same method used by his father. He also showed me a replicated wooden block that Pete made out of pine; Lance’s fellow soft-hackle addict, William Anderson, is making the blocks from hardwood. They are available for fly tiers to use, if one is interested in replicating soft-hackles and flymphs with the same methods used by Leisenring and Hidy. Here is a link to purchase the spinning blocks:

http://www.williamsfavorite.com

More info from Lance: “Leisenring spun his bodies on his knee. Dick Clark, a friend of Pete and Jim, invented the spinning block, which was modified by Pete, and then fine-tuned again by William and me.” Here are a couple photos sent to me by Lance:

Lance Hidy and William Anderson at the Danbury Arts of the Angler Fly Fishing Show in November, 2013.

Lance Hidy and William Anderson at the Danbury Arts of the Angler Fly Fishing Show in November, 2013. The wooden spinning blocks made by William can be seen lying on the table.

And a spinning block that Pete made. He gave these away to anybody who showed a serious interest, including to Dave Hughes and Rick Hafele who continue to demonstrate the method at fly shows.

A spinning block that Pete Hidy made. He gave these away to anybody who showed a
serious interest, including to Dave Hughes and Rick Hafele who continue to
demonstrate the method at fly shows.

Below are a couple photos I took of Lance’s fly and dubbing loops:

Olive Soft-hackle Wet Fly, dressed by Lance Hidy. Photo by Don Bastian.

Olive Soft-hackle Wet Fly, dressed by Lance Hidy. Photo by Don Bastian.

prepared dubbing loops, made by Lance Hidy from olive wool and seal fur.

Prepared dubbing loops, made by Lance Hidy from olive wool and seal fur. Photo by Don Bastian.

And last but not least:

Photo of yours truly, taken by Lance Hidy at the Marlborough show. My friend and Lance's friend Bill Shuick from Maryland,

Photo of yours truly, taken by Lance Hidy at the Marlborough Fly Fishing show. My friend and Lance’s friend, Bill Shuck, from Maryland, is a fellow soft-hackle tier and member of the Flymph Forum. Bill sent this photo to me, titled, “Donnie at Marlborough.” All of my family and most of my close friends call me Donnie. But some of you already know that.

I know, that boy can lose a few pounds, but considering that last year at Marlborough, I had no gut and weighed 160 pounds. This year, after my bout with Crohn’s Disease last year, I’ll take the few extra pounds and the belly – and my health!

For more information on Flymphs and Soft-Hackle Wet Flies, check out: http://www.flymphforum.com/

Finally I could not write about Marlborough without thanking my friends, Angie and Jim Kennedy from Ashland, Massachusetts. They were my hosts for the weekend, and among the great meals they provided and bottle of Wild Turkey 101 Single Barrel bourbon, (Thanks Jim!), I have to say Angie’s brownies and chocolate creme pie, both made from scratch, were hands-down, the best I have ever had! Thanks Angie! You guys are great! Now my mouth is watering, I need a brownie! Wait, I still have two left!

The Second Annual Flymph Forum

The Second Annual Flymph Forum will take place Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, May 25th, in the new Wulff Gallery and Heritage Craft Center at the  Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum in Livingston Manor, New York. Hours are from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM.

The purpose of the Flymph Forum is to unite an international community of fly tiers who share an interest in the wingless wet fly. At http://www.FlymphForum.com they exchange not only photographs and tying instructions, but a broad range of historical and practical information. They are sponsored by The International Brotherhood of the Flymph, whose website http://www.Flymph.com honors the fly tying of James E. Leisenring, Vernon S. “Pete” Hidy, and related tiers. It was Pete Hidy who coined the term flymph in 1962 representing the swimming nymph and emerger stages of various mayflies, caddis flies, and stoneflies.

The expected Flymph Forum tiers this year include: Ray Tucker (letumgo), William Anderson, Bill Shuck (tie2fish), Lance Hidy (Gingerdun), Carl Sanders Old Hat), Roger Phillips (chasecreek), Ruard Janssen (Ruard), Chris Stewart (Tenkarabum), Tim Didas (tjd), Bob Dietz (rdeitz), John Shaner (Greenwell), Tom Park (Izaak), Eric Kelley (Smuggler), Jason Hilbourne (jaydawg), Art Friedlander, and Bob Kern (narcodog).

William Anderson will be demonstrating the Clark spinning blocks that he has hand-crafted out of hardwoods; John Shaner will have his North Country Spiders; Chris Stewart is bringing his Tenkara gear; and Lance Hidy will show photographs of flies tied by his father and Jim Leisenring, along with other memorabilia.

Please log onto http://www.FlymphForum.com to learn more about this congenial community of fly tiers from countries as far-ranging as Serbia, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, The Netherlands, England, and Scotland.

Please visit Livingston Manor on May 25th to participate in this lively exchange of of fly tying craft and lore. The Flymph Forum website and logo were designed by Mark Libertone. (This information was copied from the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum website). While in the area, be sure to stop by The Rockland House for a glass of Roscoe Beer Company Amber Lager. Or better yet, stop by the brewery next door for a tour. And Saturday night is prime rib night at The Rockland House; their prime rib is just about as good as it gets.

Following are some beautifully-tied soft-hackle flies by my friend in Jarrettsville, Maryland, Bill Shuck. I am happy to have Bill as one of the contributing tiers for my upcoming book, Favorite Fishing Flies – 1892. Bill is one of the featured tiers at The Second Annual Flymph Forum.

Biot and Plover March Brown - tied and photographed by Bill Shuck.

Biot and Plover March Brown – tied and photographed by Bill Shuck.

Body Weave

Body Weave Soft Hackle Nymph – tied and photographed by Bill Shuck

Easternized Green Drake - tied and photographed by Bill Shuck.

Easternized Green Drake – tied and photographed by Bill Shuck.

Ginger Dun Peccary - tied and photographed by Bill Shuck.

Ginger Dun Peccary – tied and photographed by Bill Shuck.

Grizzled Flymph - tied and photographed by Bill Shuck.

Grizzled Flymph – tied and photographed by Bill Shuck.

Grouse and Quill - tied and photographed by Bill Shuck.

Grouse and Quill – tied and photographed by Bill Shuck.

Just Emerged PMD (Pale Morning Dun) - tied and photographed by Bill Shuck.

Just Emerged PMD (Pale Morning Dun) – tied and photographed by Bill Shuck.

Snipe and Purple - tied and photographed by Bill Shuck.

Snipe and Purple – tied and photographed by Bill Shuck.

Soft-hackle Cadis Worm - tied and photographed by Bill Shuck.

Soft-hackle Caddis Worm – tied and photographed by Bill Shuck.

Sulphur Flymph II - tied and photographed by Bill Shuck.

Sulphur Flymph II – tied and photographed by Bill Shuck.

Those are some great looking soft-hackle flies, Bill! Excellent tying! Your representations are well-proportioned, sparse, and fishy-looking. You do the Flymph tiers proud! Keep up the good work, and have a great weekend in Roscoe!