Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Doctor Lyte Palmer

Rather than using “dingy-orange worsted wool” for the body, this dressing uses orange hare’s mask to give the body a slightly scragglier look. It also substitutes a ginger hackles for honey dun and a braided tinsel that seats more deeply and securely in the hare's mask body than the prescribed flat tinsel. Braided tinsel aligns with earlier precedents.



Rust brown

Peacock herl
Rib 2:

Vintage, fine gold twist wound along front edge of peacock herl rib

Ginger cock hackle slightly smaller than front hackle

Orange hare’s mask

Ginger cock hackle with a faint, medium dun list, slightly larger than the palmer hackle

James Leisenring includes the Doctor Lyte Palmer in The Art of Tying the Wet Fly & Fishing the Flymph (1941) that he has “found at times very deadly.” It was originally dressed by one of his “fishing companions, an expert flytier, Dr. H. W. Lyte of Allentown, Pennsylvania.” 

 Leisenring's dressing of the Doctor Lyte Palmer calls for:

“HOOK  13,14
SILK  Orange.
HACKLE  Pure honey dun of rich color and medium stiffness—two turns.
RIB  Fine peacock herl of the sword feather—one of the very long, thin fibers.
RIB #2  Very narrow gold tinsel wound right alongside of the peacock herl rib and in front of it.
RIBBING HACKLE  Pure honey dun hackle slightly smaller than the front hackle.
BODY  Dingy-orange worsted wool.”

Sylvester Nemes leaves Doctor Lyte Palmer out of the dressings he included in his coverage of Leisenring’s Art of Tying the Wet Fly from his Two Centuries of Soft-Hackled Flies (2004), but it is likely the sort of fly Joe Humphrey had in mind in his phenomenal textbook, Trout Tactics (1981), in his observations on fishing  the wet fly, particularly in his Pennsylvania limestone home waters:  “When caddies hatches are heavy in April or early May, try this: fish only heavy, broken pocket water—forget the flats. Use a short line and work downstream and fish only the pockets in behind boulders and breaks. Use a well-dress palmered #10 or #8 wet fly, and bounce the flies in the pockets. A long rod of nine feet or better can be an advantage when trying to hold wet flies in one specific area. Heavy riffs or currents push through the middle of a line and drag your flies out of productive water at edges of the currents. The trout never get a good look at your fly or refuse them as they drag; a longer rod can hold them there since there is less line on the water.”

Leisenring’s Doctor Lyte Palmer recalls one of the four palmer flies, the Golden Palmer, that Richard Bowlker included in his 1757 edition of The Art of Angling, but which his son Charles excluded from his own 1774 edition: “His body is made of orange-coloured silk, ribbed down with a peacock’s harle and gold twist, with the red hackle of a cock wrapt over the body: The hook, No. 5, or 6, according to the water you fish in.”