Speaking of Ghosts…

Due to an inquiry from a customer a couple years ago, with his desire to have me create a frame of all the streamer patterns named “Ghost” – specifically “Something Ghost” as opposed to “Ghost Something” – which was the dividing line I decided upon, I expected to maybe find about, three dozen. Nope. Sixty-four by my count, including four original Ghost patterns that I have created. Two of these have been published here; you can use the search tab at top right of my page, for “Carrie’s Ghost” and “Wheeler’s Ghost,” type that in, hit “enter” and it will take you right to those articles.

I am tying Bubgee’s Ghost and the Rangeley Ghost next week to fill an order for a collector. All four of these patterns are part of a large series of thirty-six original streamer patterns I created about two years ago, using the Rangeley Region of Maine as the source for these patterns. I also created each pattern in the authentic style of Carrie Stevens, using her fly design concepts, use of materials, placement and layering of throat hackles, and shoulder selection from her body of work.

I have not been “on the stick” to get these flies finished, but I need to get crackin’. There are several totally new streamer / Lake Fly conversions in this collection, and the four Ghosts; Carrie’s Bugbee’s Wheeler’s, and Rangeley, were inspired by Carrie’s Gray Ghost and Ghost patterns of other tiers. Other locales and places in the Rangeley region were also used in choosing names and making these streamers come to life.

I thought that would be one frame of “Ghosts” —  looks like it will need to be two… 😉

I will have streamer materials with me at the 24th International Fly Tying Symposium this weekend, in Somerset, New Jersey. I can tie a streamer for you on custom order, do a demo, or you can place an order for me to fill later on.

Wheeler’s Ghost

Wheeler’s Ghost is an original streamer pattern I created last summer. It is one fly among a list of original patterns I developed that presently contains thirty-five Rangeley style streamers. These patterns are all themed on the Rangeley region; it’s history and personalities. Some are wet fly conversions that have not been previously done, like the Mooselucmaguntic and Magalloway, and others are my own inspiration, such as Bugbee’s Ghost. Frank Bugbee was the man who thought of the name Gray Ghost for Carrie Stevens’s most famous streamer fly, though she never named a fly after him. Hence my inspiration for creating Bugbee’s Ghost. Another Ghost pattern I created but have yet to tie is Carrie’s Ghost. In all there are four ghost patterns on my list. I’d like to continue tying these patterns, but trout season is upon us, and I’ve had fishing fly orders more or less streaming in. That’s a good thing. So for now the streamers will have to wait.

My inspiration for Wheeler’s Ghost is Charles E. “Shang” Wheeler, friend and fly tying mentor to Carrie Stevens of Upper Dam, Maine. Carrie created three patterns and named them after Shang Wheeler; the Charles E. Wheeler, Shang’s Favorite, and Shang’s Special. All three have shoulders of red dyed duck or chicken breast feathers, two have red floss bodies, the Shang’s Special has a red head with a black band. The Shang’s Special is unique among early streamer patterns with its jungle cock wing. I combined some of these features as components along with my ideas to create Wheeler’s Ghost. I believe it’s a safe guess that Shang liked the color red. Hence, Wheeler’s Ghost sports predominantly red colors.

Wheeler's Ghost

Wheeler’s Ghost – size #1 -8x long – Gaelic Supreme Martinek / Stevens Rangeley Style streamer hook. Originated, tied, and photographed by Don Bastian.

Wheeler’s Ghost

Tag: Flat silver tinsel

Tail: Red hackle fibers

Ribbing: Flat silver tinsel

Body: Red floss

Underbelly: Four to six strands peacock herl; then white bucktail

Underwing: A golden pheasant crest

Throat: Red hackle fibers

Wing: Two grizzly hackles flanked on each side by one white hackle flanked by a jungle cock feather extending to hook bend

Shoulders: A red-dyed duck or hen breast feather

Cheeks: Jungle cock

Head: Red