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Questions about our Traditional Flys


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#1 TomTrout

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 08:40 PM

I'm starting to replace the materials and flies I lost to a fire. Buying fresh materials, especially feathers , got me thinking of why we are using some of them. So I thought to start a topic asking some Q:s that I"ve asked myself for years. Please don't answer it's tradition. I tie traditional flies but for day in and day out fishing I tie toward my own ideas.

 

I love the look of the wood duck flank wing but why are we using a light brown material to represent the

grey wings ? I.E. Quill Gordons, Red Quills, Hendricksons etc. Wouldn't Mallard dyed different shade of grey or duck,goose quill be more accurate?

 

Tom



#2 andy

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 01:24 PM

I suspect a lot of the traditional materials originated because of what was readily available, served the purpose and was easy to use.  The English used grey wing quill feather segments for many of their mayfly wings but those weren't easy to tie with and not very durable.  A clump or two of wood duck flank was durable, easy to use, and best of all it suggested wings and worked.  Then, too, feather dying for fly tying was probably in its infancy in America during those early years and few people practiced or were proficient at it.  I'm saying this from my own experiences of trying to dye Chinese and Indian dry fly necks a light blue dun color before all the genetic breeding took place creating the beautiful necks we have today.  I could be wrong, but dying feathers to more closely imitate the naturals doesn't seem to become popular until more recent years when anglers started concentrating on selectivity and closely matching the hatch.



#3 idryfly

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 06:18 PM

While tradition is "quaint" to me - my tying style is guided by my on the water success (or failure).  For instance......while I love the way Turkey or goose Biots look.....I get my abdomens done quicker and more realistic by tying in various nylon/polyester threads......twisting them tight...and wrapping them forward like a segmented body (and then hitting it with some sally hanson hard as nails).  I even showed the salesperson at my local fly shop a few years ago and he thought I was lying....he thought he was looking at a red biot body.     I have now started using DNA Frosty Fiber for tailing material on my mayflies...or of course -good old antron if you prefer a shuck.     This all being said.....there are traditional materials I find "irreplaceable"......re:  Hungarian Partridge feathers.....CDC (actually only traditional to the French)  and Hen and Rooster feathers  (especially Hen which I use for many of my soft hackles that I fish just like Dry Flies).   I was going to add Peacock herl.....but I have found a suitable replacement -   peacock UV dubbing.        I think the most confusing thing to beginners is reading some of the ridiculous recipes.......like calling for the urine stained fur of a white fox   (I forget what traditional fly that was).   if I didn't know any better and I read that.......I'd stick with spin fishing...LOL



#4 TomTrout

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 11:39 AM

Thanks for the thoughts guys,

 

Got to say I still love using my versions of the traditional patterns. I don't always split the wing, only use 1 hackle unless mixing colors. Our genetic hackle is so dense I don't feel the need for 2 and I too will use synthetics. Traditional flies are very effective in the right water types though.

But including our host they still use wood duck and no one questions it. I know the Dette's and Darby's ,Flick to name a few all dyed their own materials but we all keep using that light brown or shall I say onion color to imitate the wings we dye mallard flank to get that color.

I hate using duck and goose myself I tend to tear it up before getting it on the hook.

That fly is the Hendrickson (female) I believe its the urine stained belly fur of the female red fox. It had the pink cast.

 

Tom



#5 catskilljohn

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Posted 17 April 2016 - 10:06 PM

To answer your question, we use wood duck because its a traditional material for wings. And tails. Guys love wood duck flank, love that its a classic material and love using it.  Honestly, there are so many more practical materials for wings, the poly, zelon,or foam that are way more durable, waterproof and some even keep a fly from ever sinking.  They don't however make a Hendrickson look very traditional, practical yes but traditional no. So for the guys who love a fly that looks like it did in 1930, its worth the price and effort to acquire WD flank, urine burned fox, spade feathers, old hooks, etc.   CJ 



#6 Alex Argyros

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Posted 21 April 2016 - 04:13 PM

First, hello everyone.  

 

I grew up in NYC and learned to fly fish in the Catskills.  I've not lived in the area for a long time, but have begun to come back in the summers.  

 

The beauty of those little mountains and their streams has haunted me through the years, and I feel a great sense of joy at the thought of making them a regular part of my life again.

 

Now, a thought about traditional flies.  I love them intensely, and the ones I've seen CatskillJohn tie are particularly beautiful.  But I also am amused by the thought that these flies were once iconoclastic, and that, in a way, we show proper respect to their originators by continuing to innovate.

 

At any rate, I'm really happy to be on this board.  I've already learned tons from your posts and look forward to learning a lot more.

 

Alex






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