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.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Dee fly - The Moonlight

The Moonlight is in my opinion one of the most sublimely beautiful of the Dee flies.  It was designed by Dr. T. E. Pryce-Tannatt, and found in his book "How to Dress Salmon Flies," A & C Black, 1914.  The pattern is listed below:
Hook: 1 1/2 to 3 inches
Tag: silver tinsel
Tail: topping and a pair of Jungle Cock feathers (back to back)
Body: in two halves- first half, silver tinsel veiled above and below with a pair (or two pairs) of blue chatterer feathers (back to back); second half, black floss
Ribs: fine oval silver tinsel over the flat silver tinsel; broader oval gold tinsel over the black floss
Hackle: a black herons hackle over the black floss
Throat: speckled gallina
Wings: (as in the Akroyd)
From the Akroyd in Pryce-Tannatt,
"Wings: a pair of cinnamon turkey tail strips (set flat) White Turkey tail strips are often used,... in which case it is known as a White Winged Akroyd"
In this rendition I have used kingfisher as I simply do not have chatterer, and kingfisher is the accepted sub.

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