Wednesday, May 17, 2017

New Posting Schedule

After four years of biweekly posting, new flies will post to Soft Hackles, Tight Lines on the first Wednesday of every month.

The blog has run from 3 June 2013 to this 17 May 2017 post. Excluding this notice, it has included 105 posts with 103 devoted to a historical account of specific, related dressings. On the whole, the posts have comprised better than 46,000 words and 159 photos of flies tied specifically for the blog. While there is plenty left to research, write, and tie, there is simply not enough time to maintain the current volume of output.

(Some content has been taken down in order to pursue additional writing opportunities outside Soft Hackles, Tight Lines, which will be noted here on the blog as they become available.)

Images here are from Charles Bowlker.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Dark Snipe and Green



Pearsall’s Green Gossamer silk

Snipe covert

The Dark Snipe and Green appears on two lists that Robert Lakeland includes in his Teesdale Angler (1858), the “List of Hackle Flies from February to November” and the “List of Hackles and Silks to Suit (Good Killers).” In both lists, the Dark Snipe and Green is dressed for August, and the name provides the directions for dressing the fly.

While it falls outside the Anglo-American province of this blog, the medieval Austrian 
Haslinger Breviary Fishing Tract (1440) lists a fly that seems at least distantly related to the Dark Snipe and Green of Lakeland's lists, although the Tract uses a dingy-olive woodpecker hackle rather than the muddy-dun tones of snipe. Richard C. Hoffman transcribes this dressing as a fly for November or “other autumn” in Richard C. Hoffman's translation of the Breviary. He transcribes the dressing or dressings thus: “und nym gruenspachen federn und wint grĂșen und gelib darunder,” which he translates as “and take green woodpecker feathers and wind green and yellow [silk] under that.” He notes that the green woodpecker is “native across temperate Europe” and that it “has dull olive green upper parts and pale gray-green beneath.” The simple breaks, und or and, between flies on the list and between materials for dressing flies suggests two possible ways of dressing the flies. Either these hackled flies are dressed with bodies from two silks—the fly would have a woodpecker hackle and body of green and yellow silk wound like the Deul Cruik or the Little Dark Watchet—or with single silk bodies that share a common hackle—a woodpecker hackle with a body of green silk or, alternately, a woodpecker hackle with a body of yellow silk. The author's economy of language suggests the latter reading is more accurate, that the dressings conflate different silk bodies that can be dressed from the same bird's hackles, like William Brumfitt's Dark Snipe and Orange or Dark Snipe and Purple.