This popular Maine pattern was created by Dr. J. Hubert Sanborn of Waterville, Maine. It is a classic smelt imitation named for the first salmon caught on it by the good doctor. It weighed nine pounds, three ounces!
This pattern is often dressed in tandem or traditional feather-wing style but the original pattern called for “three medium green saddle hackles tied on flat”. This gives the fly alot of action in the water indeed, making it a deadly temptation for unsuspecting trout, togue, bass, and landlocked salmon.
Here’s the classic recipe-
Hook: 8XL streamer hook, size 8-2
Thread: Black 6/0 (70 denier)
Body: Flat silver tinsel
Wing: Sparse white bucktail extending beyond the bend, over which are three medium green saddle hackles tied on flat, over which are two natural black hackles tied on upright. (the hackles and bucktail should be the same length)
Cheek: Jungle cock
Chief Worumbo (Chief Worumbo of the Sabattus) was a local native American chief of the Abenaki tribe. He was initially known for his friendly negotiations with the first settlers here in my home town of Lisbon, Maine. However, during the Indian uprisings he became an enemy to the whites. It’s said that one night he was fooled by the local settlers, became confused, and his canoe was swept over the falls of the Androscoggin at Little River. He was never seen again.
The great Worumbo Mill, where fine woolens were manufactured for many years, was given his name. The mill is for sale and its future is uncertain. Like the multitudes of salmon that once filled the waters of this great river, it too might fade into lore, becoming only a story of bygone days.
Here is a close-up of the L.L.Bean streamer, framed and presented to L.L.Bean on March 17th at the L.L.Bean Spring Fishing Weekend. It will be featured on the cover of Fly Tyer magazine’s summer issue which will also feature an article I’ve written about my custom designs, including photos.
I’d also like to mention a HUGE thanks to David Klausmeyer for the beautiful photo and unwaivering support.
On March 17th I had the privilege of presenting Bill Gorman (L.L.Bean’s great-grandson) with a very special custom-designed streamer to commemorate L.L.Bean’s 100th Anniversary. It was a challenge to express 100 years of L.L.Bean heritage on ONE fly! I carefully selected materials from Maine animals including moose, bear, deer, pheasant and duck…….. and incorporated several custom-dyed materials as well. It is a beautiful trout imitation with 5 pairs of wings! L.L.Bean provided several photos from their archives for me to include in the finished frame. I made a brief statement thanking staff for all of their encouragement and support and of course, congratulated L.L.Bean for 100 years of success!
Maine is my home state and I live about 20 minutes from the flagship store. I started tying on a Thompson AA vise that I bought at a yard sale. I learned my basic skills at the L.L.Bean Friday night clinics at the Hunt/Fish Lodge from the great staff that work there.
I would really like to thank all of the people that showed up to support me that weekend including my family, my Facebook friends, customers, and folks I’ve met at shows this season. It was really crazy but none of you went unnoticed….thanks!
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.
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.
Gray Ghost, originated by Carrie Stevens, tied by Sharon E. Wright