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Catskill Style Dry's


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21 replies to this topic

#1 Capt. Matt C

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 11:00 AM

Hey Guys. I have never been more than the occasional Catskill style dry fly tier. I tend to favor parachute styles or compara dun, in that order of preference. However, in attempt to expand my tying capabilities I have recently been on a "Catskill Dry Fly Kick". Itís been a few years since I tied some and the last several evenings have been spent at the vise tying this style. Iím noticing a few things and remembering a few also. So here are my questions:

1. If the fly does not sit upright on the desk will it not sit upright in the water?
2. If they are tipping to the side or to the front when placed on the desk Why?
3. I am very careful to make even "non twisting" hackle rotations. I also use the same number of turns behind and in front of the wing. Is material quality a factor here? I donít have junky capes but there not the 60-90.00 ones either.
4. How accurate are hackle gauges? I have always thought they are pretty close but some of the hackles look too wide in diameter upon completion of the fly.

I should also add that Iím pretty savvy in hook and material proportions, ex. I tie the wings about 2 hook eye gaps down the shank, my wing material is measured to the hook shank etc....

Thanks in advance.

The old man had taught the boy to fish and the boy loved him. -The Old Man and the Sea

#2 sulfernut

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 11:36 AM

Hey Captain!!! For all of the reasons you mentioned in your post,I too have never had more than a passing interest in Catskill Style dries! Back when I started tying,I simply could not get good hackle into my tying budget! ( also,to be perfectly honest,I have never been able to fully MASTER the upright/divided

wooduck wing!!) dunno.gif By the time I was able to afford better hackle,in the requisite colors,I had moved on to Comparaduns, No-Hackles,etc. In answer to your indexed questions.

1. Chances are,if the fly sits upright on your desk,after being dropped there half the time,the tippet will most likely help to keep it right on the water.

2. They will tip over on the desk,due to the SLIGHTEST error in proportions....If the wings are too tall,or too far forward,the fly will fall on the "eye"...again,the tippet would likely help ammeliorate this problem. If the tail is too short,it will usually cause the fly to tip to one side.

3. In my opinion,material quality might be the single biggest help in getting these flies to behave as you want them to! There is simply no comparison between an old "Indian" or"Chinese" hackle cape,and say a Metz,or Whiting Farms cape. With regard to neat,accurate hackling,"the stem is the thing"!! On the new generation capes,they are thinner,stronger,and much less likely to want to twist upon winding. You can now buy these capes 1/2 at a time,making them a bit more affordable. Oh,and I have never seen the need to buy the #1 or "A" grade either...this "grade" usually has more to do with feather QUANITY,rather than QUALITY.

4. I have found these gauges to be pretty accurate.

5. One thing I might add,to help get your flies to "stand up"...Try getting the tail to "splay" a bit,rather than bunch together,or "paintbrush"...this helps by giving the fly a few more "contact points"with the water. It also has the added benefit of helping with flotation,by not "wicking"water into the fly,through the tail.

Hope this helps!!!

Sulphernut




Ever wonder if Ernest Schweibert could actually speak in italics!! ??


#3 Hot Tuna

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 06:38 PM

Greetings Capt Matt...our own Bruce Derington has several videos posted to youtube.
Hackling a standard Adams. dry fly tails and tying standard hackle tip wings should be really helpful to you.
These were originally done in the site's virtual classroom and now they are on demand at you tube compliments of ellet166. That's how you'll find them....type ellet166 into the youtube search bar and all the tying videos will come up that have been posted.
Hot Tuna

#4 flycaster

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 06:43 PM

I see the "Catskill" style dries a little differently. For one thing, they are awful pretty. And, in spite of current faves, they still catch fish- sometimes a lot of fish. As with any fly style, there are situations where certain styles excel. I fish parachutes, comparaduns, hairwing duns, and others. I just love tying dries with a full hackle collar, watching them float on the water and, often enough to keep me happy, get sucked down by a nice trout.

Oh- one rarely mentioned advantage to a full hackled dry fly: I like to fish creeks. With these flies, I can usually get them to glide off streamside branches, ready for another cast. Not so with parachutes, etc.

Chuck

#5 Hot Tuna

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 09:07 PM

I share flycasters fondness for Catskill dries....now many will say that they use parachutes, comparaduns...whatever. Maybe just maybe the fish aren't seeing so many Catskill style dries these days???
Food for thought(trout) wink.gif

#6 sulfernut

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 10:17 PM

Your point VERY well taken,Sir Tuna!!! I think my grapes are sour over never having been able to do the Catskill ties as they should be done!!! The local trout are starting to turn up their noses at my most carefully crafted Sparkle Duns!! Perhaps a re-visit is in order!!!
Ever wonder if Ernest Schweibert could actually speak in italics!! ??


#7 sulfernut

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 10:19 PM

And YES Flycaster,they are indeed,very pretty!!!
Sulphernut
Ever wonder if Ernest Schweibert could actually speak in italics!! ??


#8 Flytier

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 12:54 AM

sulfernut,

As an aside:

QUOTE
Ever wonder if Ernest Schweibert could actually speak in italics!! ??


Yes, I did wonder. Then I spent one evening with Ernie at an FF club in NY - no italics cool.gif

Cheers,
Hans W

====================== You have a Friend in Low Places ======================
Hans Weilenmann, The Netherlands
http://www.danica.com/flytier
======================================================================

#9 ashbourn

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 09:52 PM

Matt C,
Just because a fly does not sit up right on your desk does not mean it will sit like that in the water. The tippet is more of what will pull the fly to a correct landing, even more so with Variants and Skaters that need a little extra pull back to keep them upright right before they land, or just toss extra enery in the cast to make it pull back.
The reason for the tipping on the desk is proportions, proportions, proportions. Wings could be too far foward, short tails, or even the way the hackle is. This is what makes a Catskill dry a Catskill dry.
Non twisting hackle is the most important thing to a Catskill dry. A Catskill dry is a very neat looking tie, not real sparse like everyone says but hackle that is at a 90 degree angle to the shank to have a very clean look, that appears sparse. This is due to the feather most of the time. If a feather tends to twist is almost useless for nice looking dry, and we do not even bother with them because the extra hassle. Some feathers you can counter twist as they twist, and holding a feather close to the steam can help but sometimes there is just nothing you can do.
As for number of wraps, the wings in about the middle of the hackle. The wraps of hackle are touching or almost touching and a size 12 tend to be from 3 to 4 in front and 3 to 4 in back with each feather, most of the time 2 are used. This is not any way set in stone, a very low barb count will need more wraps where a dense barb count will require less. It needs enough hackle to hold it on the table without the barbs bending.
The hackle should be 2x the gap long and the wings a little longer, the shank length or the hook length I can never remember because I made gauges to measure easier. A good way is to find what line is 2x the gap on your gauge and then use a size bigger for the wings. O yea the tail should be the same length as the wings.
Another tip when measuring hackle is to measure both sides and go by the longer side, hackles can be quite different on each side.

I found it kinda funny the largest fish I caught this year was on a traditional pattern in a traditional style, the fish just refused the cripples and emergers I sent to him, then ate the traditional on the first cast. So it is always good to keep a few around when you need a higher floating fly.

Edit: Here is a photo of a very nice Red Quill, Mary tied this fly and the photo color is a hair off but captures the style very well.
IPB Image



Joe Fox
www.detteflies.com
www.spasegreymatter.com

#10 Hot Tuna

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Posted 09 September 2007 - 10:08 AM

Now that's the Catskills! Thanks for that picture Joe. If you haven't read it already, check out The Dettes, A Catskill legend by Eric Leiser. Eric puts copies of this on Ebay from time to time under ebay seller ID erichords. Maybe Joe has some copies for sale with all the signatures on it???
HT

#11 flyrod98

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Posted 09 September 2007 - 02:12 PM

At one time I had a copy of the Art Flick's updated 1969 edition of Streamside Guide. It was an excellent book on tying Catskill flies. Maybe a guy could find a copy on ebay and read how one of the old timers did it. Here is a little blurb about the book.

"Originally published in 1947, Art Flickís Streamside Guide was the first truly pocket-sized guide to stream entomology. Updated in 1969, this practical tutorial on aquatic insects and fly tying is still an essential reference for the serious dry fly fisherman. These classic Catskill patterns and their dressings are a pinnacle of the fly tierís art."
William M
35yrs walkin' + 36 yrs rollin' => 1 Really old fart.
I'd Rather Be Wadin' Than Rollin'

#12 Hot Tuna

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Posted 09 September 2007 - 07:09 PM

Excellent choice flyrod98...and if you want to go a step further you can get Art Flick's Master Fly Tying Guide.
This has got a great chapter of Art tying a classic Catskill dry with excellent photos; this book regularly shows up on the used market for a very reasonable price. As far as the Streamside Guide goes...look at those flies and you'll see they look a lot like the one Mary Dette tied above. I guess that's why they call it the Catskill school!


#13 Capt. Matt C

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Posted 09 September 2007 - 07:16 PM

Thanks guys, I've been at the vise here and there this weekend working on this. Some very great insight was provided here. I couldnt agree more regarding the beauty and tradition of the catskill, thats why i am determined to tie them perfectly. I still fish them and still catch fish on them when no other pattern will do. Thanks again.
The old man had taught the boy to fish and the boy loved him. -The Old Man and the Sea

#14 flycaster

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Posted 09 September 2007 - 08:48 PM

A thought: in addition to "Catskill" dries just being fine fish catchers, is it also possible that, in these days of C&R, many trout just haven't seen them? I mean, so many fishers are automatically tying parachutes, comparaduns, or various emergers to their tippets, that perhaps these old patterns may be fresh and new on some waters?

Chuck

#15 Capt. Matt C

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 08:19 AM

[attachmentid=11405]

Okay guys, here it is. I apologize for the blurry pic I used my camera phone but I think that the proportions can be seen. What do ya'll think?



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The old man had taught the boy to fish and the boy loved him. -The Old Man and the Sea