Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Red Ass; or, the Arkansas Red Butt




Silk buttonhole twist - Coats & Clark's 184, red, size D

Peacock herl


L. J. DeCuir lists the Red Ass as the Arkansas Red Butt in his Southeastern Flies (2000), noting that “peacock herl flies have always been good producers on the mountain streams of the Southeast and this one is no exception. This pattern is from Jerry Cobb. He’s had great success with it on the streams in the higher elevations in the Smokies as well as the Northern Arkansas trout streams.” DeCuir dressed it as a heavily hackled wet fly:

“Hook: Mustad 3906, TMC 3976 #8-16
Thread: Red
Tag: Red thread
Body: Peacock herl
Hackle: Partridge tied as a wet fly collar
Head: Red thread built up fairly heavily”

DeCuir points out that the Arkansas Red Butt works equally well on trout in Southern Appalachian mountains or the tailraces of east Tennessee as it does on panfish and bass in farm ponds and warm water impoundments.

Cobb’s combination of peacock herl, red thread, and a black and white barred hackling recalls dressings like the Gray Hackle Peacock and its precedents; dressed without a tip, the fly bears a strong resemblance to Sylvester Neme's Syl's Nymph.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Black and Blae

This version is dressed with black tying thread and a blue rib to emphasize the attributes of the fly’s name. It substitutes black plastic canvas yarn for dog's fur. The blue thread rib is taken from a spool and not teased or stripped from "some fair damsel's gown.". 




Blue 6/0 thread

Muskrat without the guard hairs and black plastic canvas yarn

Snipe covert

Robert L. Smith includes fly list taken from Thomas Charleton’s poem The Art of Fishing (1819) in his The North Country Fly: The Soft Hackle Tradition (2015). Smith notes that Charleton's poem "offers further evidence of the ubiquitous use of the soft-hackled fly in the northern counties of England during the late 19th century." A rather unique fornat for an angling text, Charleton's poem draws on an earlier precedent that Smith locates in Thomas Scott'smid eighteenth-century poem The Anglers and "entwined the locally used fly patterns of Northumberland into his lengthy poem on the joys of angling in northern rivers."

Charleton recommends fishing the Black and Blae when "March comes in." The dressing is 

Dubb’d with the fur of black dog’s skin,
And water rat’s blae down;
For wings snipe hackles far excel,
Blue silk its rib can mimic well,
From some fair damsel’s gown.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Red Shiner Fly

This dressing substitutes American woodcock covert for British woodcock and the same peacock herl for the rib as the head. 




Peacock herl

Burnt orange Madeira Classic Color rayon embroidery thread, 1021

American woodock covert

Peacock herl

John Turton describes the Red Shiner Fly as no. 31 in his Angler’s Manual (1836). He notes that it is "For April: made with orange silk: wing, red woodcock’s feather from butt end of wing; body, light bright orange silk, ribbed with green peacock’s feather; and peacock's head."  He also notes that the fly is a " good killer after rains." 

Turton also describes variant dressings: "It  changes these colours: -  if there be bright days, the red owl'sfeather, from butt end up wing, is used for wings; if a dark day, the brown owl's feather must be used from outside of wing; if clear low water, the partridge's rump feather is best."