Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Light Dun Hackle




Narrow flat gold tinsel

Yellow thread

Starling flank

Slyvester Nemes included the the Light Dun Hackle as an example of Roger Woolley’s dressings in Two Centuries of Soft-Hackled Flies (2003). Woolley included it under the heading of “Yorkshire and North Country Wet Flies” in the third edition (1950) of his Modern Trout Fly Dressing (1932). He dressed it with:

Body.—Waxed yellow tying silk, ribbed fine flat gold.
Hackle.—Small pale dun feather from under starling wing.”

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Carrot Fly; Carrot and Black Nymph; or, Carrot Nymph

This dressing substitutes yellow-green dyed quail undercovert for the green parrot Skues prescribed for the tail and yellow-green dyed covert in place of the poultry hackle.




Olive dyed quail covert fibers

Rear 1/3—pale yellow wool; Middle 1/3—hot orange wool; Front 1/3—green seal fur

Olive dyed quail covert

G. E. M. Skues introduced anglers to the Carrot Fly in the journal of the London Flyfisher’s Club in 1912 as proof of “what asses trout are.”  In 1975 winter issue of Fly Fisherman magazine, T. Donald Overfield notes that the response to the fly was mixed. Some anglers questioned whether Skues was having a laugh; others, “perhaps shamefacedly, cast it to the trout, with surprising results.”

Overfield notes that the “tying is not difficult,” but advises fly tiers to “aim for a steeply tapered body, as shown in the ‘natural,’” a carrot: “The silk is waxed primrose (1). Tie in two strands of green parrot feather-fiber, or its equivalent, (2) and return the silk up the hook three turns. Tie in a length of pale yellow wool (3), bringing the silk forward to one-third the length of the body. Wind the wool forward and secure (4). Tie in a length of hot-orange wool (5) and take the silk up the hook for another third. Wind the wool up to the silk and secure, (7). Now tie in a length of greenish seal’s fur dubbing (8), and a short, fibred hackle dyed olive-green (9). Wind the dubbing and secure. Take a few turns of the hackle round the hook shank and secure with a whip-finish (10).”

Jay Zimmerman traces the history of the Carrot Fly in The Best Carp Flies: How to Tie and Fish Them (2015). He credits Skues with developing the first, but notes that Skues only casually mentions his Carrot Fly in the The Way of a Trout with a Fly (1921), where he called it "the famous Carrot fly." (Presumably, Skues deferred to this short-hand reference because of the fly's popularity following its introduction in the journal of the London Flyfisher's Club nine years earlier.) 

For whatever reason, American fly tiers have exhibited a strong inclination to imitate garden produce in the pursuit freshwater species. Zimmerman notes that "Reuben Cross from Neversink, New York, introduced a nymph in his book Tying American Trout Lures (Dodd, Mead & Company, 1936) he called the Carrot and Black" fifteen years after Skues' Way of the Trout with a Fly (and twenty-four years after Skues' club journal article). Zimmerman cites Cross's directions: "'The Carrot and Black is tied with brown hackle tail, carrot-colored body with black Chenille shoulder and dun hackle wound on the same as with a wet fly. After you have finished off with the tying silk take your scissors and clip out the top and bottom whisks, leaving the side legs." Later a similar dressing, the Carrot Nymph as Elsie Darbee tied and named it, showed up in A. J. McClane's classic McClane's Standard Fishing Encyclopedia (Holt, Rinehart And Winston, 1965).  

Zimmerman also suggests that Randall Kaufmann further confused the dressing in American Nymph Fly Tying Manual (1975) by calling it the Carrot Fly and giving it a dubious lineage. Kaufmann noted that the an "old standby for years in the east" and, incorrectly, only recently in the west, and his dressing emphasized "halloween colors" untrue to Cross's American original that "account for many fat rainbows and brookies from pond and stream alike" More confusing was that Kaufmann's explanation of the dressing "is a slight variation from the original," presumably Cross's. His fly uses black hackle for the tail and unclipped front hackle, and orange tying thread with a black chenille thorax for the body.