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.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Modern Spey fly - The Cockroach Spey

What inspired me to tie this was a style of winging I found in John Shewey’s book, “Spey Flies and Dee Flies, Their History and Construction.”  Frank Amato Publications Inc, Portland OR. 2002.  It is a take off on a style I first encountered tying the Syd Glasso Spey-style flies and having the hoodie available, thanks to a friend, I decided to see what it would inspire. 

The pattern is as follows:
Hook: Partridge CS10/1
Body: 2/3 flat copper tinsel, 1/3 black seal
Rib: medium oval copper tinsel, cross rib with fine gold tinsel over the hackle
Hackle: Blue eared pheasant all the way up
Throat: 2 turns black and white spotted guinea
Wing: four hooded merganser flank feathers tented low and wide
Cheeks: jungle cock, short
Head: red

Why I called it the Cockroach I do not know except that it does look buggy and at the time I was tying up imitation cockroaches for a costume.  I present two views of it in order to show how the wings should look, and because I think the photograph turned out pretty neat.  I can see this one tied with real black heron.  It would look even better I think.

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