I often get asked about fly tying shows. Usually the shows are part of a larger fly fishing show, a state program on outdoors or something related to the sport of fishing. The questions are always around the benefit of going. My answer is the benefits are endless. Typically these shows have great presentations on fly tying that you can learn a lot from. The best aspect of these shows can be the interaction you have with individual tyers. You can often observe them tying flies and ask questions getting valuable tips that you can use when you tie. Specific questions I often get are on things like....how do you set your wings on streamer flies?.....how do you measure hackles? .....what is the best vise? These questions go on and on. For the new or the seasoned tyer your questions can get answered and its the personal touch that really can benefit those attending the show. I think I've been to over 10 shows both small and large in the last 12 months. They all have been excellent. The interaction I get from the attendees often shapes my fly tying instruction as I make modifications to the classes I volunteer teach for NH Fish and Game. A perfect example was last week someone asked me about measuring hackle on a fly. Yesterday at the NH Fly Fishing Show I decided to teach the Deer Hair Alder fly I blogged about a few months ago. It requires a hackle and can be tricky to size because you are tying in over a slight ramp made from the comparadun hair wing. Before we tied the fly we attached our Whiting Farms hackle gages to out Regal Vise's and when it was hackle time we used them to size our hackles. The class was intermediate tyers and very few of them had used this tool to size their hackle. I was able to explain sizing hackle, downsizing hacks because of the ramp on the fly from the hair and some history on catskill dry fly hackle sizes. All this came for someone asking me a question at a show. Yes there are lots of benefits attending a show some instructional, some for the presenters themselves like me and some getting great deals shopping for materials and gear.
What seems like all too long ago I was working for a big hospital in Nashua, NH. My role was to manage a number of medical facilities around the the southern part of the state. Each week I could count on a trip through New Boston which resulted in a lunch time stop at the old Hunter's Fly Shop. The crew at the shop always said they new what day it was when I showed up.
On one visit I stood in front of a wall of fly capes trying to decide which one I could afford when no other than Dick Talleur was suddenly standing beside me. He asked me what I was looking at and going to tie. I explained I was trying to buy 2 half capes to tie some Adams patterns to use on the Androscoggin River and in the Errol area. He said come over here and sat down and showed me a pattern he called the Dorato Hare's Ear. He explained that it was named after a friend of his Bill Dorato and tied correctly imitated a caddis fly trying to exit the water. He shared with me it had many of the same materials as an Adams but with a different wing and body. Two things I remember from my lesson was the tail should be shorter than normal with a slight fanning and that you should clip the hackles on the bottom of the fly. The clipping he said should not be excessive with the key to leave a gap and a half in length on the underside of the fly. He explained it allowed the fly to sit lower in the water as if it was struggling to escape and fly away.
I learned a lot that day, got what materials I needed and thanked my friend Dick for the lesson. For me the sharing of information was very important. I remember that day quite clearly and the pattern always is in my fly box and one of my go to flies.
Dorato Hare's Ear
Hook: 12-16 Partridge Dry Fly Supreme
Thread: 6/0 Olive Danville
Tail: Mixed Grizzly and Brown (short and fanning)
Wings: Wood Duck Flank
Body: Medium Hare Ear Dubbing
Hackle: Dark Grizzly and Medium Brown
I decided to branch out and try tying some patterns I have not attempted yet just for practice. I focused on three yesterday from Carrie Stevens. The Will Ketch, General MacArthur and Charles E. Wheeler. Each one incorporates a different aspect of the feather wing fly tying process. From a three colored head to multiple shoulders to gain a coloring effect. More to come!