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First Catskill Style Dry Fly

Joined:
2011/3/3 15:14
From Nazareth, PA
Posts: 14
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Good afternoon guys. I wanted to post this up here to hopefully get some constructive criticism and some feedback. I've only really been tying for the past year or so, mainly nymphs, haven't really ventured into dries mainly due to the "hackle crisis", which when combined with my grad student budget, made hackle unattainable. Long story short, I ran across a guy selling off some stuff last week and picked up a cape and a saddle (yellow/dun) pretty cheap (the guy said they were Metz #2, not sure how true this is) so I figured id try to tie something up. I went for a Light Cahill more or less, given the materials I have. I'm not real happy with the way the hackle lays, I'm not sure if this is a function of the hackle (the barbs feel soft, rather than stiff), or my lack of skills, or maybe a combo of both. Thanks in advance guys.

Click to see original Image in a new window

Posted on: 2013/4/20 13:35

Edited by Maurice on 2013/4/20 22:13:57
Edited by Maurice on 2013/4/20 22:15:26
Edited by Maurice on 2013/4/20 22:16:47
Edited by Maurice on 2013/4/20 22:46:21
Edited by Maurice on 2013/4/20 22:46:43
Edited by Maurice on 2013/4/20 22:56:59
Edited by Maurice on 2013/4/20 22:57:23
Edited by Maurice on 2013/4/20 23:39:58
Edited by Maurice on 2013/4/20 23:41:24
Edited by Maurice on 2013/4/20 23:42:11
Edited by Maurice on 2013/4/20 23:43:23
Edited by Maurice on 2013/4/20 23:43:45
Edited by Maurice on 2013/4/20 23:47:28


Re: First Catskill Style Dry Fly

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2013/1/15 12:02
From Pipersville Pa.
Posts: 546
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For a first dry it looks very good. Proportions look ok. Can't really see wings. But again if that is your fist keep up the good work.

Good job,

GenCon

Posted on: 2013/4/20 15:59


Re: First Catskill Style Dry Fly

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2011/4/12 17:23
From Lancaster Co.
Posts: 1125
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Tail is a little long. I think your hackle wraps need to be a little closer together and it looks like maybe the hackle itself is too long for the hook size. Try for a neater head too.

Your hackle tips look like they were trimmed. Does not look like very good quality dry fly hackle. All that being said, for a first try, pretty darn good.

Posted on: 2013/4/20 20:00
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Re: First Catskill Style Dry Fly

Joined:
2011/3/3 15:14
From Nazareth, PA
Posts: 14
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Thanks for the input McSneek. When it was on the vise the tail looked fine, but looking at the picture it's definitely long. As for the hackle, I'm thinking it is poor quality hackle, and when combined with my newbness it becomes bad, and you were spot on with the trimmed look. I wasn't sure what else to do, because that was essentially the smallest feather I could find on the cape, and it was still 2x the hook gape. My girlfriend got me the Whiting introductory cape pack, with four half capes in four different colors, so I'm hoping that will be much better quality than what I'm working with now. If anyone has any recommendations on budget minded dry fly hackle feel free to chime in, because I love to tie, but the price of the good stuff I'm finding just doesn't jive with my situation. Thanks again!

Posted on: 2013/4/20 21:33


Re: First Catskill Style Dry Fly

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2009/5/26 8:36
From York & Starlight, PA
Posts: 569
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PM me your address and I will send you some Hoffmann saddles #1 grade in medium dun, ginger, cream, honey dun, and brown. I have grizzly too but the barbules are so small/short they are only good for #18 - #22. Each feather will be long enough to tie at least three flies. Remember usually with dry flies the adage "less is more". I tend to follow this advice particularly when tying my dry flies. On hooks #14 - #18 I never, ever use more than three turns. Usually one behind the wing and two in front. On some #18's and all #20 - #22 I only use two turns. On #8 - #12 I will use four turns.

Overall your fly is quite good for the first attempt. Much better than the first dry fly I tied over fifty years ago. Tails are typically one shank length, or 1 1/2 the gape width, hackle barbule length is typically 1 1/2 times the gape width. I like my wings to always be a little longer than the hackle.

Clipping hackle barbules to "size" the feather to the hook is generally not done and it looks unprofessional. That being said I don't know if a trout is smart enough to refuse it because the barbules are clipped. It's just something I would never do.

As time goes by you will figure out ways to keep those errant fibers out of the eye and create well proportioned flies. If you ever have any questions relative to tying PM me and I'll help you out.

Posted on: 2013/4/20 21:59
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Re: First Catskill Style Dry Fly
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2006/9/9 19:16
From Dallastown, PA
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That fly is fine. Don't clip your hackles, use the right size. It should be a hook size larger than the Gape of the hook.

If yo draw a line from the bottom of your hackle to the tip of the tail it should not touch the bottom of the hook bend. Yours does. Congratulations.

Now drop it on the table from a foot or two and see how it lands. It should land in a three point stance. Tail, and hackle with wings up. Hook not touching.


Posted on: 2013/4/20 22:12
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Re: First Catskill Style Dry Fly

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2011/3/3 15:14
From Nazareth, PA
Posts: 14
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PM sent, thank you.

Posted on: 2013/4/20 22:17


Re: First Catskill Style Dry Fly
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Well Redvtec, I fudged up your post. PM me the link to the pic you posted and Iwill try to get it back into your post. I tried to downsize it and appear to have missed something.

Anyway, nice tie and thanks for posting.

Posted on: 2013/4/20 22:21
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Don't hit me with them negative waves so early in the morning. Think the bridge will be there and it will be there. It's a mother, beautiful bridge, and it's gonna be there. Ok?


Re: First Catskill Style Dry Fly

Joined:
2011/3/3 15:14
From Nazareth, PA
Posts: 14
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Maurice, Is there a general size that you would like posted pictures to be? I know some forums prefer like the 640x480 range, just so I know for future reference. I'll PM you the link.

Posted on: 2013/4/20 22:24


Re: First Catskill Style Dry Fly
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Joined:
2006/9/9 19:16
From Dallastown, PA
Posts: 6985
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Yes like 500 wide doesn't blow the margins.

Posted on: 2013/4/20 22:26
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Don't hit me with them negative waves so early in the morning. Think the bridge will be there and it will be there. It's a mother, beautiful bridge, and it's gonna be there. Ok?


Re: First Catskill Style Dry Fly

Joined:
2011/3/3 15:14
From Nazareth, PA
Posts: 14
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Good stuff, now I know.

Posted on: 2013/4/20 22:31


Re: First Catskill Style Dry Fly

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2008/1/21 13:28
From South Central PA
Posts: 823
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Hackle from a #2 Metz rooster neck should be fine. A Metz # 2 rooster saddle will not be as good but still can tie decent dry flies # 14 and larger. If not sure if you have a neck or a saddle, look at photos online for any major brand neck and saddle-- the difference will be readily apparent. If we are talking about a hen neck or saddle, all bets are off at least as far as a Catskill style dry is concerned.

Some stems on some necks or saddles are simply thicker than preferable. It happens. Grizzly is like that more than most. That can make wrapping cumbersome. Some hackles have a wicked twist to them and are likelwise a pain.

Before WBranch generously offered to send you hackles, I was going to suggest you try # 12 or larger for your first attempts at Catskill style. Sizing is a matter of draping and rolling a few hackles over the hook before you tie on the thread and look for barbs that are 1.5 X the hook gap. No need to pluck these from the cape to do this sizing.

Talleur Ties Wulff Style

Video posted in a previous thread on Wulff winging though he ties the entire fly and provides excellent rationale for what he does with materials. Youtube is good for HQ video on quick and dirty ties, but the educational aspects are generally lacking simply because most of the tyers are not pros. After watching Talleur, look up Dave Brandt tying the BG dun on Youtube. His approach is acutally cleaner but the wing technique is not shown well.

Posted on: 2013/4/20 22:42


Re: First Catskill Style Dry Fly

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2009/12/17 20:43
From Souderton PA
Posts: 866
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I'll start by saying that you are off to an ambitious and promising start. Once you master this style of tying you will be able to tie to match any mayfly.
Now for some hopefully constrictive criticism which may have zero impact on the number of fish you catch but is intended to help you become a better tyer. These are in the order that I would tie the fly.

Tail: as noted, it might be a bit long, but I wouldn't worry too much about that. One shank length is standard. I can't tell from the picture how the tail is sitting. It looks nicely splayed, but should stay on the top of the hook.
Wings: It is hard to see the wings, but they look short to me. They should be at least the length of the shank and I like to make them a bit longer. If the do not stick above the hackle they are really not worth putting on because he fish is unlikely to be able to see them buried in the hackle. Wing placement is a more complicated issue and I'll get into that below.
Body: Mayflys don't have much of a body really, so yours is a bit too heavy with minimal taper. Try to keep the tail end just a bit thicker than the hook and build a slight taper to just behind the wing. Leave space behind the wing for your hackle wraps. Do not dub the thorax area, or at least try not dubbing it and see how it works for you. Some people say that dubbing under the hackle makes it easier to get the hackle to lay correctly. I find that it is more difficult.
Hackle: Your hackle quality is clearly an issue. Cutting is a bad idea because it will change the impression the fly makes sitting on the water. The light pattern produced by the hackle tips (or natural legs) dimpling the water surface is the first thing that the fish can see as the fly approaches. Blunter cut tips are more likely to break through the surface tension, so it will be a very different effect. Standard length is 1.5x the gap, a bit longer is okay on a Catskill style (up to 2x the gap). Try to wrap each wrap tightly in front of the previous wrap. 3 turns behind and 2-3 in front should be enough. If the hackle twists as you wrap, try to compensate for this. You can tie good drys with the type of hackle you are using as long as the size is correct. Lastly, your hackle looks a bit too close to the eye and that makes it tough to cleanly finish the fly. This is set by the placement of the wings, so you might try moving them back a bit.
Additional thoughts on wing placement: I get a bit tied up in detail on this, and you may not care to even think about this at this stage in your tying, but I find it helpful to organize the mess in my head and keep the terms straight. No one has ever really codified it, but basically there are 3 “common” types of winged hackled dry flies, and the type is largely determined by wing placement. The first is the most commonly seen in fly shops today. I don't know if there is a formal name for the style, but I think of it as “modern” or possibly “western” style. The wings are placed at about the 25% shank point and it looks like you hit this dead on. The problem with tying this style is that it pushes the hackle towards the eye and makes a bit of a mess when you have lower quality hackle to begin with. I'm not sure why it evolved to be so common, but I'm guessing it has something to do with the availability of genetic saddle hackle. The Catskill style places the wings a bit further back at about the 30% point and leaves a bit of space behind the eye of either bare hook or a thread head. This style evolved pre-genetic hackle, and I think is the best way for a beginner to get his dry fly merit badge without spending a fortune on hackle. Finally, there is the thorax style which places the hackle at about the 50% point. This style when tied correctly does a fantastic job of cocking, riding properly, and imitating the natural, but tying it correctly is really difficult.
That's a really long way of again saying that you should try tying a few with the wings moved back a bit on the hook shank.
Keep at it, you are off to a great start!
Mike.

Posted on: 2013/4/20 22:48
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Re: First Catskill Style Dry Fly

Joined:
2011/3/3 15:14
From Nazareth, PA
Posts: 14
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Thanks for the input DGC. The hackle that I was using definitely has that wicked twist you were talking about, now that I think about it, it's most likely what's causing some of the barbs to flare in either direction. I'll definitely check out that video, YouTube has really been my main fly tying teacher, along with a book here and there, which may be good or bad?


Posted on: 2013/4/20 22:51


Re: First Catskill Style Dry Fly

Joined:
2009/5/26 8:36
From York & Starlight, PA
Posts: 569
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"Some people say that dubbing under the hackle makes it easier to get the hackle to lay correctly. I find that it is more difficult."

I've been wrapping hackle on built-up fur thoraxes for three decades and have had no problems. I tie 70% thorax duns, 25% compara-duns, and 5% Catskill style duns. I believe Catskill style duns have their place, it's just not in my fly box LOL!

The entire concept of a well tied thorax dun is to built up the thorax prior to winding the hackle - at least that's my concept.

Attach file:



jpg  Matt's Green Drake.JPG (29.49 KB)
2548_5173598b4b3d5.jpg 480X318 px

jpg  Green Drake Emerger.jpg (365.89 KB)
2548_51735a00debf8.jpg 2048X1370 px

Posted on: 2013/4/20 23:17
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