While I was at the Fly Fishing Show at Marlborough and Somerset this year several people asked me about my “gator clips”. As you can see in the pic they come in pretty handy when heads are drying and also for display. It’s easy to hand the fly over for viewing, it can be seen from all sides easily, and MUCH easier than passing over a size 20 for someone to get a look at. You can buy these already set in little weighted blocks but I prefer to make my own. You can buy the clips at the hardware store, but from experience I can tell you this…..if you can’t find them few folks will know them as “alligator clips”, which is what they actually are called. You’ll have better luck asking for “roach clips” (yeah, I know that’s funny) as everyone seems to know what that means. You can glue them onto dowels or stiff wire but you really need a stand with holes in it to keep them seperated. You’ll love having these on the tying bench too for hanging onto materials in between ties.
This is a pic of a Mickey Doodle streamer (in the works) and a few of my “double wing” fan wings all on my handy gator clips. Taken by Peter Frailey at the Marlborough show.
It’s always a tiers nightmare when you discover something living in your tying materials. Mites and little “friends” that move in without notice until they’ve practically taken over. It’s hard to resist those free goose quills, grouse feathers, deer hair patches and bucktails that friends bestow upon me when the season is right. Being that I am a typical Yankee, and enjoy the thriftiness of locally harvested materials, I’ve learned to take a few precautions to protect my valued “collection”.
Years ago a friend gave me a little tip to treat a few houseplants that had the same issue……unwanted guests. It was a no-brainer for me to use this same tip when I acquired by first donation of “spare parts”. I have used this trick successfully MANY times and haven’t had any trouble with it affecting my materials in any way. Please read ALL THE WAY THROUGH BEFORE YOU BEGIN……..
Take a large trash bag….those large, heavy black ones work great…..and toss your tying materials in.
Don’t be shy. Hackle, bucktails, full skins, quills…..any of it.
It’s best to do the next part outside if you can.
Gather up a little of the top so you have about a 12″ or so opening.
Take an aerosol can of bug spray…..I prefer Raid…….spray some into the bag. Don’t spray so much that the materials get wet with it, just enough to make the air inside smelly.
Quickly tie the bag up and let it sit overnight.
By the next day anything in there will be “terminated”. Even though there may be a residual odor at first, believe me, after a few days you won’t even know it was “Raided”.
You can use this same trick for travel bags, boxes, fly wallets…..anything that will fit in the trash bag. Make sure that you treat whatever contained your materials to begin with before you re-introduce them.
Two seasons ago I had the privilege of meeting the great flyfishing icon Lefty Kreh at the Expo at L.L.Bean. He was so gracious about chatting with me and sharing his knowledge of casting. He got me tied up in a few knots …..and stories….that’s Lefty for ya! He signed a book for me….something about a “shy” girl, and he doesn’t know it, but we’ve been pals ever since!
As a newcomer to this industry I find him so incredibly inspiring. He continues on….. not only sharing what he’s discovered over the years, but learning, adapting, growing, rethinking, revisiting, reinventing. We could all stand to learn not only from his experiences but from his willingness to continue to be “in the game”, to be open to sharing with all of us, those of us that he has so ably and kindly built that bridge for. So today, I thank you, Mr. Kreh….not just for myself but for all of the others that you’ve given your time and consideration to. I’ll see you at the Expo.
In search of the ultimate hackle……aren’t we all! Selecting hackle for streamers can be a real challenge for tiers not familiar with tying them. There ARE some tricks to it AND some others that I have learned the HARD WAY that I’d love to share. From being selective at the store to the actual “wing-set”, I’ve discovered a few things along the way that can make all of it alot easier. I’ll post a few helpful tips here but for a close up and thorough presentation come to a class geared specifically toward tying Rangeley Style Streamers………hold that thought……
It’s very hard to resist tying married wing wet flies. They’re fun to tie and so effective in the water. Here’s the Little River version.
This is an original streamer pattern named after the Little River in Lisbon Falls, Maine. At one point in time the area was divided and that portion was called the Little River Plantation. The Little River bordered the neighboring town. Nice little spot for small mouth and browns. (Of course, my best friend and I went swimming there on numerous occasions ignoring Mom’s warnings and threats!)
This streamer was originally tied without jungle cock cheeks and the hackle is a beautiful black with a dark irridescent green. The shoulder of yellow grizzly substituted for the barring on the jungle cock, presenting a nice contrast, making the fly effective without it. This particular hackle is difficult to obtain. I’ll introduce a substitute in the pattern recipe for anyone who wants to give it a try.
Hook- Mustad 3665A size 6-1/0
Tag- Flat gold tinsel
Tail- Peacock sword
Body- Peacock herl
Belly- Yellow bucktail extending just beyond the bend of the hook
Hackle- White schlappen tied in as a throat
Underwing- White bucktail extending to the end of the tail
Wing- 2 Gray saddles over which are 2 irridescent black saddles
Opt: Wing- 2 Gray saddles over which are 2 black over which are 2 dark green saddles
Shoulder- Yellow grizzly hen tips
Opt: Cheek- Jungle Cock
Note: If you look closely at the belly you’ll see the uneven ends on the bucktail. This is intentional. Because the bucktail is very wiley I’ve left it “unstacked”. It makes for a more tapered presentation when wet. On presentation flies I stack it, but for fishing……UH, UH.
I will be presenting several of my custom streamers at the LLBean Spring Fishing Expo this year! I’m excited to be included in their 100th Anniversary Celebration and I’m REALLY looking forward to spending the weekend with friends and my buds from the Hunt and Fish Lodge.
Some of you might know that I got my start in tying at the LLBean Friday night clinics. The people that work at Beans are a very talented crew even though most of them are pretty humble about it. They have given me endless amounts of support and encouragement, and for that I’ll always be grateful. They have classes that start every January, taught by the folks that work there. Any Friday night you can just show up with your vise and join in. Classes are at 7PM and a schedule is available upstairs in the fishing dept. Maybe I should tell the vise story at some point…….
All that being said….it will be so cool to be there exhibiting and wrapping with my homies! For anyone who hasn’t seen my magical “wing-set”, feel free to ask at the show. I’d love to pass on my tricks and tips. Some of you have seen my “ghost”…….yes, I learned to tie THAT one there!
Gray Ghost, originated by Carrie Stevens, tied by Sharon E. Wright
Originated by Carrie Stevens, tied by Don Bastian and Sharon Wright- photo by David Klausmeyer