Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Orange Flie; or Orange Brown

This dressing substitutes dark orange hare's poll for the orange wool Charles Cotton lists and a crow primary tied hacklewise for the nebulous "wing of a black feather."



Burnt orange rabbit fur

Crow from the neck or head

In Part 2 of Izaak Walton’s Compleat Angler (1676), Charles Cotton includes the dressing for the Orange Flie at the head of the list for July: “1. We have then the Orange Flie, the dubbing of Orange Wool, and the wing of a black feather.” Following suit in his reprint of Cotton’s flies, James Chetham includes the Orange-fly in his list of dressings for July in the Angler’s Vade Mecum (1681), although he inserts another fly ahead of it.

In Fly Fishing: The North Country Tradition (1994), Leslie Magee reprints a pattern that is similar, including the Oringe Black in John Swarbrick’s “List of Wharfedale Flies” (1807): “The Flie is very Small a Hackle The feather is taken From a Starling Neck Harld at the Head with Marpie feather orange Silk.” This dressing is almost an exact match for the Orange Black No. 56 that John Turton includes in his  Angler’s Manual (1836). It is a silk-bodied dressing for July that Turton includes alongside the Wasp Fly, No. 57, which is dressed in darker orange-brown tones.

Alfred Ronalds includes the Orange Fly, No. 39, in his Fly Fisher’s Entomology (1836) as a dressing for a small orange scorpion wasp. He explains that it “is one of the best flies that can be used both for Trout and Grayling. There are a great many varieties, some larger, some smaller than the representation [on the color plate]. It may be used all day. Although discovered alive with difficulty, it is found abundant in the stomachs of the fish. It is furnished with an apparatus call the sting, used for the purpose of piercing the skin of caterpillars, in which it deposits its eggs, the grub from which grows in, and ultimately kills, the insect in which it was hatched.

BODY. Orange floss silk tied on with black silk thread.
WINGS. Dark part of the starling’s wing, or feather of a hen blackbird.
LEGS. A very dark furnace hackle.”

Michael Theakston, likewise, includes an Orange Brown, No. 83 in his List of Natural Flies (1843). In Theakston’s entomological parlance, a “brown” is a stone fly.

This dressing uses silk buttonhole twist by Talon, orange 455, size D, and substitutes reddish brown cock hackle for landrail.

Theakston’s dressing calls for the Orange Brown to be “Hackled or winged with a landrail’s feather; bright orange silk, for body; with a few fibers of mohair or squirrel’s fur, at the breast.”

In addition to representing a small summer wasp and a late season stonefly, the dressing also stands in for an the ant. Oddly enough, T. E. Pritt, in North-Country Flies (1886), traces the lineage of his Large Ant, No. 58, to the Orange Stinger that John Jackson dresses as No. 51 in his Practical Angler (1854). Jackson’s comment on the fly, however, and the dressing in particular align it more with Ronalds’ dressing for the small wasp than an ant: “This, though apparently a scarce insect, is greedily taken by both Trout and Grayling, from the middle of August to the end of September.” The dressing itself matches Ronalds’ almost verbatim. The “stinger” in the name, too, recalls the egg-laying stinger Ronalds describes.

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