Wednesday, December 3, 2014


This dressing assigns black thread for dressing the fly, since James Chetham prescribes black silk for securing the wings to the hook shank, and it is hackled rather than winged with starling. 




Raw New Zealand Romney - black sheep’s wool with some gray mixed in


The Hearth-fly heads the list of flies for August angling that James Chetham includes in the second edition (1700) of his Angler’s Vade Mecum (1681). It is a part of the list following his reprint of Charles Cotton’s flies. He describes it as a “Catalogue, of Flies, practiced by a very good Angler, and useful to be known by the young Anglers in clear, Stony Rivers.” Chetham explains that the fly is "Made of the Wooll of and Old Black Sheep with some Grey Hairs in it for the Body and Head, Wing's dub'd with Black Silk, wing's of the light Feather in a Shepstares Quill." Chetham's preference for "shepstare" over starling is evocative of a North Country dialect. The Oxford English Dictionary cites an entry from an 1848 zoology text that lists "shepstare" as a Yorkshire variant of starling.

In the 1758 edition of the Art of Angling, Richard Bowlker includes the Hearth Fly in a list of “other Flies taken notice of in some treatises of angling, which may possibly be of use in some rivers” in order “to satisfy the curiosity” of other anglers, but Bowlker asserts that he does not “think it worth while to make any of them artificially.” The later edition (1774) by Bowlker's son Charles make no mention at all of the Hearth Fly in the “CATALOGUE of FLIES seldom found useful to fish with.”

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Neil. Just checking in too see what I have missed reading about over the last couple of posts. Been busy on my end just dealing with life in general. As always, appreciate your effort.