Why are they Different?

The original Speys, Dees and Tays were distinguished mainly by the slender, long shanked hooks, the materials used in the construction of the body, hackle and the wing, and often by multiple flosses and tinsels used in complex ribbing patterns, as well as by the arrangement and alignment of the wings themselves. Of course there were exceptions to these criteria, but those came to be more in later flies, not the early ones. The main criteria I will introduce here in the introduction though is the wing arrangement and the long hackles. All of them were simple strip wings, to use Pryce-Tannatt's vernacular. The Speys however were winged with a pair of bronze mallard (usually) strips, humped low over the body, producing an effect like a "keelless racing-boat placed upside down." Dees usually had a narrow strip of cinnamon or white turkey, tied horizontally, splayed wide in a V, and Tays, the best way to describe them would be to send you over to http://nwflytyer.wordpress.com/ and look at Monte's rendition of the Black Dog.
Most of them used either herons hackle, tied as long as possible, or Spey cock hackle. These days heron has given way to smaller hooks and Blue eared pheasant as a sub, and Spey cock is now schlappen, our best guess at what Spey cock was back then. There was a certain group of Dees that even used eagle thigh feathers or marabou(from the marabou stork), neither of which we can use today at all. Fortunately, turkey thigh 'marabou' is indistinguishable apparently from the real thing, so we have that covered also.
I shall show examples of all of these styles, with exceptions eventually as time allows for tying, writing and posting.
For those readers wanting a complete, in-depth, up to date history with tying instructions, of the Spey flies, I urge you to visit the best site I have seen for this: http://nwflytyer.wordpress.com/tying-notes/an-introduction-to-spey-flies/ It has everything.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Dee Fly - The Tricolour

The Tricolour.  This fly, from George M. Kelson's book "The Salmon Fly" is a typical Dee fly of the day.  Long shanked, slender in profile, with widely splayed wings of cinnamon turkey tail.  It's perhaps distinguishing feature is the long grey heron hackle, where the usual was a long black heron on most standard Dee flies of the time. 
Mikael Frodin in the "Classic Salmon Flies..." 1991, states that he is unable to determine any origins for this fly but that it "originates from the first two or three decades of the 19th century."  Of this I have no doubt myself.  I have perused the books and the web and likewise find little enough mention, and nothing really helpful.  It certainly has all the hallmarks of an older pattern like most of the Dees were.  The pattern is as follows:

The Tricolour, as per Kelson
Tag: silver twist
Tail: red breast feather of the golden pheasant
Body: yellow, light blue and scarlet seal's fur
Ribs: silver lace and silver tinsel
Hackle: natural grey heron from the blue fur
Throat: widgeon (teal in large patterns)
Wings: two strips of plain cinnamon turkey

The only other author I found to mention this pattern besides Kelson and Frodin was Dr. T. E. Pryce-Tannatt in his book "How to Dress Salmon Flies"
My third edition (the 1977 ed.) lists it as the Tricolor and has the pattern as follows:
The Tricolor, as per  Dr. T. E. Pryce-Tannatt
Hook: 1 1/2 - 3 inches
Tag: silver tinsel
Tail: topping and tip of a red breast feather of the golden pheasant
Body: pale yellow, light blue and scarlet seal's fur
Ribs: flat silver tinsel and twist
Hackle: natural grey heron from the third turn of tinsel
Throat: teal
Wings: (As in Akroyd) two strips of plain cinnamon turkey

A photo will be posted here soon of this albeit slight variation from the older Kelson version.

No comments:

Post a Comment