Hi Grahame. Michael Mc B. said it all, elegant is the word. This is how I was taught to try and tie this style. Notice I said "try" because it isn't a given even after all these years.
The best compliment I can offer is that you managed that ultra tiny head on this fly. Superb look !
Bill thanks for that I've been reading up online the man was obviously a genius when you think of the materials available seen a couple of great looking books on the original tiers of the Catskills flys I think I will order one any recommendations
Hi Grahame. I guess it depends on what you hope to gain from the book purchase. If it's both a history lesson and a tying manual, Mike Valla's book, Tying Catskill-Style Dry Flies is a good bet.
Personally, based on this photo of your Catskill style, I'd say invest in the hackle rather than the book. You don't seem to need much in the way of instruction.
We are lucky to have access to materials we had to sell our souls for not all that long ago. My first "dun" cape was something called a "photo dyed" neck. It wasn't a natural dun color but had been dyed by some mysterious process to attain the color. The cape was very uniform on both hackle size and feather length. There was virtually no variation in the color scheme. Today's genetic saddles are of a far better quality than those I used to try to tie with. The Whiting Farms "100" packs are cheap enough and will tie more than the magic "100" flies if you use them to tie the sparse Catskill style flies. These saddles have very uniform hackle length but for me, their true beauty is in the subtle color variations. This makes a very natural (read realistic) fly with only a few turns.
To me, your skills are obvious. Not everyone can claim "mastery", but if you can tie them as this photo indicates, skip the instruction book, but the hackle.
I'm going to repeat myself Grahame. This photo example tells me one thing. You really don't need tying instruction for Catskill style dries. You've captured the simplicity and yet the elegance of this style.
As I progressed in my tying efforts, I felt a well tied Catskill style dry was the penultimate. When I finally found that I could produce them with some consistency, I gave myself a congratulatory pat on the back. Having a pattern that sat only on the tips of the tail and the tips of the hackle windings was my Holy Grail. Have I found this style to be the "superior" dry? I have to say no, not even close. I catch far more fish on newer styles. Catskills are pretty, they still catch fish, the availability of genetic hackle and synthetic materials makes tying them so much easier. I don't give a tinker's damn about any of that. Give me a buggy, bedraggled pattern that consistently provokes the trout to strike any day.
Thanks Bill and not for any praise but for your advice it is much appreciated I've read the reviews of Mike Valla's book and found the history of the patterns and there tiers most interesting.Whiting 100s I think the way for me to go I would never use a whole saddle or a half Bill your best advice of course is the last part of your last post spot on.
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