The Grey Eagle
Another one from the fishing box of classics. This is probably my favorite variation of a Grey Eagle as it’s dead simple, has nice colors and is one of the oldest variations of the pattern. The fly is from the Fishing Gazzette 1884, 23rd of February issue.
I’d usually add a counterrib or tie the flat rib over the hackle as a counterrib to protect the hackle stem but on this fly I wanted to follow the pattern closely. Also use Turkey marabou instead of Eagle as it’s protected pretty much everywhere. The thicker the fibers the better and the best feathers are found near the tail of the bird for this purpose. If you don’t have access to them there are couple stores specialized in classics that offer Eagle substitute which is exactly those marabou feathers usually with a nice tip-dye like in the ones I’ve used.
If you are interested in more variations of these flies check out Colin Innes’s site Feathers Flies and Phantoms. It’s a great source and has some beautiful vintage examples of many patterns.
WM - 23rd Feb, 1884, “The Dee Aberdeenshire Flies (2nd Article)”, Fishing Gazette.
Tag: Silver tinsel.
Tail: Golden pheasant rump feather.
Body: Black mohair well picked out.
Ribbing: Broad silver tinsel.
Hackle: Grey eagle.
Wing: Mottled turkey wing, brownish tinge.
On the article the Grey Eagle is noted to be best suited for the cloudy evening sky on the Aberdeenshire Dee.
Another staple classic that has appeared in one form or another in most of the books that are considered classic today. The shot is from a fly that I tied some years ago for fishing on an old Partridge M 5/0 hook. I have to note that the GP underwing is easier to tie in if you select smaller feathers. The rachis changes shape towards the tip and becomes very hard to tie in if you use a large pair and strip the lower fibers off.
Here’s the pattern and notes from Kelson’s The Salmon Fly
Tag. Silver twist and yellow silk.
Tail. Topping, Teal and powdered blue Macaw.
Butt. Black herl.
Body. In four equal divisions of Seal’s fur, light red-claret, light blue, dark red-claret and dark blue respectively.
Ribs. Silver tinsel (preceded on large hooks by silver lace).
Hackle. A natural black, from light red-claret Seal’s fur.
Throat. A yellow hackle and Gallina.
Wings. A tippet and breast feather of the Golden Pheasant (back to back) veiled with Teal, Golden Pheasant tail, Gallina, Bustard, and Peacock wing; strands of Parrot and Swan dyed yellow; and Mallard.
Horns. Blue Macaw.
Head. Black herl.
This old standard is used everywhere. For my own worl I always add a topping to the wing.
We continue with another Finnish classic Supertinseli. Designed by Hannu Pakarinen it has been a favorite for many years when targeting big brown trout in our streams. The idea behind this flashabou streamer is to imitate a wounded baitfish struggling in the surface. Usually most effective when casted upstream and retrieved as fast as one can to make a fast and staggered action but this is a fly that you can use in many ways.
As with all flies that I use they evolve through time and this is the latest installment I’ve been using. It has given some nice trout again this year and I’m sure it continues to do so. It differs quite a lot from the original but is close enough to be called by that name.
I’ll have to do a step by step or a video of it some day because the tying although simple is quite hard to explain. But I have to note that although I use Flashabou or similar flash and tie it in straight I then twist and crush it on the finished fly to give it a look that is more similar to Angel Hair. The stiffer Flashabou doesn’t tangle with the hook as much and is more lively in the water. By twisting it I get a larger profile with less material that also adds to the swimming motion.
Hook: Large streamer hook like Mustad C52S BLN as pictured
Wing/Body: Flashabou in the color of your choice, usually silver. You can also mix colors.
Dubbing(optional): Ice dub or similar.
Head(optional): 3d eyes covered with small amount of epoxy or UV resin.
Probably the most used dry fly in Finland at the moment. It is so popular that it’s usually referred to just with the name Caddis. Basically it’s a parachute variation of the Goddard Caddis developed by John Goddard and Cliff Henry (Originally G&H Sedge). Here in Finland the fly(parachute variation) is usually contributed to Janne Nyblom who introduced it in a magazine article in 2000 and sometimes referred to as Nyblom’s Caddis.
The most important part of this pattern is cutting the deer hair body/wing to the correct shape of a caddis wing. I’ve added photos both from the side and above to give you an idea of the shape that I prefer. The more dense the body the better and longer the fly floats. The original was tied using natural colored deer hair and that works really well but I’ve been using more and more of these dark brown variations that replicate the natural caddis colors a little better. I usually carry a good selection of both colors in sizes 12 and 16 and cover most situations with those. I probably need to add some larger ones as well in size 8 and I’m covered for good.
With a parachute hackle the fly floats a bit lower in the surface and seems to appeal even better to the fish than the regular Goddard Caddis. The parachute hackle is tied around a piece of poly-yarn which is then melted to a short stub that keeps the hackle in place. Some people leave a regular parachute post as an indicator on the fly. Both methods work well. Especially for the darker colors the post is a good idea since they are harder to see in fast water.
Hook: Regular dry fly hook like TMC 100 or Mustad R50
Body/Wing: Spun deer hair cut to the shape of a caddis wing.
Parachute post: Poly-Yarn.
Hackle: Dry fly hackle to suit the pattern.
Classic Finnish Salmon Flies
From left to right Malli 64, Iso Sorsa and Teno 10. These are some of favorite patterns from the old Finnish masters. Finnish salmon flies were usually tied with a much slimmer and longer profile than their British cousins.
Malli 64 (as per Erkki Honkavuori)
Tag: Oval silver tinsel and orange floss
Tail: Golden Pheasant crest
Butt: Black Ostrich herl
Ribs: Oval silver tinsel
Body: In three sections orange floss, veiled with tippet fibers and butted with black Ostrich herl
Wing: Red Golden Pheasant breast feather, Finnish Squirrel tail, Golden Pheasant, Amherst Pheasant and orange Goose. Over thin strips of bronze Mallard and Golden Pheasant Crest.
Cheek: Red Golden Pheasant breast feather.
Horns: Blue & yellow Macaw
Iso Sorsa (as per Wiljo Saaristo)
Tag: oval gold
Tail: Partridge tail
Butt: Red floss
Rib: flat copper
Body: mid brown floss
Wing: brown turkey and bronze mallard
Teno 10 (as per Erkki Vaalama)
Tag: Silver wire and red floss
Tail: Golden Pheasant crest
Butt: Black Ostrich herl
Rib: Oval silver tinsel followed by yellow floss.
Body: Grey floss
Wing: Tippet in strands, 10 fibers of Amherst Pheasant tail and 10 fibers of Grey Heron. On top Golden Pheasant crest.
Horns: Blue & yellow Macaw
We’ll return to our regular scheduled program after a short message from our sponsor
Helsinki Spey Clave’s traditional spring demoday.
Wasn’t working yesterday but managed to sneak couple hours to my day to go and take some photos at Helsinki Spey Clave. They had Håkan Norling, Tuomas Rytkönen and Heikki Turunen tying flies at the shop during the day and in the evening moved to the close by river to test out new rods and lines for the coming season. They had a quite good turnout but there was of course room for even more guys to come and cast the rods. I don’t even want to try and guess how many rods were available to test but they had pretty much the entire lineup from Vision, Guideline and C.F. Burkheimer plus some rods from Scott and G. Loomis as well. Plenty to choose from.
The most interesting stuff for me and possibly the readers of this site happened however indoors at the shop during the day. Håkan doesn’t need much of an introduction to guys familiar with tubeflies but he’s the guy who brought the Templedog style to fly tying which his friend Mikael Frödin helped to popularize. He’s very inventive tyer and not as much of a showman as Micke which explains why he has never reached the worldwide fame of his friend, but I think he prefers it that way. I’ve seen Håkan tie numerous times but it has been many years since last time and it was nice to see how he used the new SSS materials on his latest flies.
Heikki and Tuomas are probably better known only in Finland but both have been working in the industry for a long time. Tuomas works at Vision as a product manager and was preparing for the pike season which fully starts any day now. He tied some Hollow Deceivers with a fairly large head formed from Tuffleye UV-resins. Heikki is also known as an innovative fly tier and was showing Letrajet Airmarker, an airbush for Promarker pens, to make stripes and coloring on his flies. Interesting stuff and even intrigued Håkan to tie a white fly which was then painted with olive and blue stripes and little pink glow under the wing. Take a look at the photos to see some of the flies.
More of my photos from the day can be found at Helsinki Spey Clave’s Facebook Page.
Spring is here!
Was fishing yesterday and the stoneflies are starting to hatch finally with the temperature rising above zero for the first time since last fall. Not too many active fish eating them yet but that’s just about being in the right spot at the right time. Now all I need is more time to be at the river when all pieces of the puzzle fall in place.
Frederic Tolfrey’s Jones’s Guide to Norway from 1848 is perhaps the most sought after book for salmon fly tyers collecting 1st editions of the classics. Not least because the book has some of the most beautiful fly plates by the Adlard brothers. You can expect to pay 5000-7000$ for a good copy when you find one. There are re-prints that you can get for much less and of course free pdf on archive.org.
This fly is also one that I tied in hand without a vice as the originals were made. I was fortunate to find such thin tippet feathers for the wing to give it a low profile that I like. Almost always I tie tippets full length from the very base so that I get a bit slimmer profile. When done correctly with a good base you don’t have to do those exaggerated Z-bends many tiers do today on their display flies. Most of my flies that are meant for display I try to do as I would do a fishing fly and those Z-bends will straighten when the fly wets thoroughly. So I doubt they were tied like that originally so why do it now?
Here’s the pattern straight from the book.
Hook: No. 7,8 or 9
Tail: Golden Pheasant Topping
Tip: Silver twist and Crimson silk
Body: Pale blue, yellow, claret and dark blue Pig’s wool at the shoulder.
Legs: Claret hackle
Throat: Guinea-hen and blue Hackle.
Ribbed: Gold Tinsel and silver Twist.
Wing: Two Golden Tippets, a little Bustard, and two golden Toppings over all.
Horns: Blue Macaw
Head: Yellow Mohair
GoExpo Fishing Fair 2013 in Helsinki
I was again working at the Helsinki Spey Clave stand during the fair. This year we had invited Mikael Frödin to tie his beautiful tubeflies at our stand and also Tommy Aarkvisla from C.F. Burkheimer pro team to do casting demos on the pool.
As usual the fair had pretty good turnout and it was great to catch up with fly fishing friends that came to the show. Micke always draws a big crowd so we had some good buzz at the stand when he was tying flies. He has some new materials coming to the Salar Salmon Series very soon and was excited about the new glow tube on F.I.T.S.. Håkan Norling was also demonstrating the Guideline rods and lines with his massive set of demo gear.
It was a true pleasure to meet and spend time with Tommy who is a skillful caster and instructor. I didn’t have time to watch the casting demos that much but I’m sure that many visitors left the fair with a healthy dose of new casting info. I’ll be watching closely on the results of Spey-O-Rama this year where I’m sure Tommy will place on the top podium.
As promised we also had the Bug Launcher Challenge accuracy competition and had some Finnish actors and celebrities competing with the visitors. All the profits from the competition are going straight to salmon conservation. The winner was Dmitri Borovkov from Estonia who’s been regularly showing Finn’s how to cast in our competitions. He’s a great fly tyer as well I might add.
Another pleasant meeting was with Tim Volk, the product manager from Waterworks-Lamson, who had come to see what the Finnish fair is like. Great guy and because he spent most of the weekend with us at our stand and the after party I had plenty of time to chat about the reels and fishing with him. I only have one of their reels the ULA Force in use but the new Speedster has been staring at me in Spey Clave’s reel cabinet and I have to consider taking it with me this summer to the river.