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PostPosted: April 12th, 2019, 8:07 am 
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Joined: November 13th, 2012, 9:32 am
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I've been tying up Greenwell's dries with duck slip wings and Pearsall's Gossamer/cobbler's wax bodies.
Does anyone have good suggestions for alternative materials for this pattern? I'm thinking about (a) medium dun turkey flats or cut hen hackle wings (a la Poul Jorgensen) and have no good thoughts about body materials.
Help!


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PostPosted: April 12th, 2019, 8:51 am 
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This is only my opinion and I bear no ill will toward classic catskill style enthusiasts.

For wings, if you don’t like duck quills, you could try goose quills which are cheap and readily available. Though, I might be concerned about their durability... which would be my same concern for turkey flats. I think they would easily become unmarried, and once that happens, you might as well just move to bunched wings like a Cahill or wulff. I lack almost all of the patience required to tie in split slip wings on dries. I think duck quills which are sturdy and strongly married were the preference for these reasons.

For the body, any floss, uni stretch or thread (small sizes) would work... of course you might also get a little more durability and buoyancy out of dubbing the body...

But, by the time you have changed the wing and body, we would just be calling it any other generic hackled dry fly... at which point, I would suggest you look at comparaduns and cdc flies, which I find more effective than hackled flies.

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"Fishermen...spending their lives in the fields and woods...are often in a more favorable mood for observing her, in the intervals of their pursuits, than philosophers or poets even, who approach her with expectation." - Thoreau


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PostPosted: April 12th, 2019, 10:08 am 
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You might try biots for the body. And maybe reverse tied cdc for the wings. Or- just forgo the hackle and use cdc instead. A lot depends on the size fly you're tying and the water you'll be fishing these on. If I were fishing a freestone- I'd run with the traditional Catskill style. For flat water- probably either a cdc or comparadun wing.

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PostPosted: April 12th, 2019, 7:05 pm 
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Just remember "A fly catches the eye of the fisherman long before being caught by the fish."

Ron

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The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of something that is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.

Sir John Buchan


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PostPosted: April 13th, 2019, 8:24 am 
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Years ago -- many years ago -- Art Lee wrote a piece for Fly Fisherman Magazine suggesting alternative materials for Catskill ties. It was brilliant. But so was Art. The next issue carried a brief letter to the editor saying, "Don't fart with the old patterns."

I'm with the letter to the editor guy. Tie 'em up as a tribute to an era or just admit that you're farting with the old patterns and turning them into something else, in which case you might as well tie a newer pattern that's equally (or more) effective.

I started tying flies in the very early '50's when virtually all dries were Catskill ties. In the mid '60's when I lived in the Catskills, I stood in Walt Dette's and Harry Darbee's home studios and marveled at the way their flies looked as if they'd all take off at any moment and fly away. The old patterns, tied according to specs, are a link to how we got this way. I even leave some bare shank showing between the head and the eye -- in Catskill fashion -- to accommodate a Turle knot which I never use. Just take them as functional museum pieces, stepping stones on the way to today when we pollute the planet manufacturing plastic substitutes instead of killing animals for materials -- either way isn't pretty, but that's fly tying. I'm with Jack Gartside, "If every fish on earth disappeared I'd still tie flies."


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PostPosted: April 13th, 2019, 8:28 pm 
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Jonieson, you have a lot of cool history under your belt. Please continue to share. I particularly like the Gartside quote and admit that I largely feel the same way.

And to your point, I also agree with keeping to the classics.

Thanks for sharing.

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"Fishermen...spending their lives in the fields and woods...are often in a more favorable mood for observing her, in the intervals of their pursuits, than philosophers or poets even, who approach her with expectation." - Thoreau


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PostPosted: April 14th, 2019, 9:39 am 
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If getting mallard quills is what's causing you to look for alternatives Ebay may be your friend. But whole wing sets. I got a couple of sets and broke one of them down. You can see the yield in the photo. The whole paired wings at the bottom are an example. Lost a couple of the quills to pellet holes.
Image
Silk Thread is available it just isn't Pearsalls. Hard for me to tell the difference.
https://www.needlenthread.com/2017/03/h ... -silk.html


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PostPosted: April 14th, 2019, 1:31 pm 
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Yes, my local shop has mallard wings... I think they were $7 for a pair when I bought them many moons ago. but as I said when discussing Hemingway and Henryville caddis, I find them simply brutal to work with.

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"Fishermen...spending their lives in the fields and woods...are often in a more favorable mood for observing her, in the intervals of their pursuits, than philosophers or poets even, who approach her with expectation." - Thoreau


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PostPosted: April 14th, 2019, 6:33 pm 
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Mike,
As a kid did you tear your bike apart to see how many parts there were. Spoke by spoke, link by link, ball by ball. Oh look dad only two fenders!

Ron

PS Waiting to see a whole Wood Duck broken down. Your wife will love you for it.

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The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of something that is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.

Sir John Buchan


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PostPosted: April 27th, 2019, 2:42 pm 
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Joined: June 22nd, 2015, 2:11 pm
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There is something to the classic Catskill flies that just works. I've seen Dette flies catch fish when nothing else would.


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