Just wanted to share these treasures with you guys. I just tyed these babies, back in 1884!
Actually, they are from Reverend Davies collection. Mint and unfished. Currently on loan for a book.
Amazing how well they tied a fly without a vise or bobbin.
Great flies, Dave. Would love to see you post more flies from your collection. Do you have any flies tied by Glasso or Walt Johnson?
Have enjoyed reading about you in Trey Comb's book and in Wild Steelhead and Atlantic Salmon, especially the Wild Steelhead and Atlantic salmon story about finding some unexpected "materials" in a package from Asia addressed to Vinnie. It sent me back to my old Fly Fishermen magazines to look for the ads for the place you used to work at.
Gee! I sure wish someone would publish a book of Antique salmon fly patterns!
Are you threatening us with something like that Dave?
Youd sure be the person to do something like this! I mentioned this idea to Les Johnson at the Eugene show a number of years ago, and I shouldnt really repeat what he said!
Go for it Dave! I for one would get in line!
While there is a plethora of good books on the market on antique Atlantics, I'd sure love to see a definitive publication on 'fancy' Pacific Northwest Steelhead and Salmon flies. Combs's book, while considered by many to be the 'Bible' for Steelhead fishing and flies, is lacking IMO because of the tiny photos of the flies themselves.
I take it that Les Johnson was less-than-enthusiastic about a Salmon fly pattern book? I wonder why?
Hey Dave, thanks for posting those. The "G" flies are exquisite examples of the craft. What size are the two fully dressed flies? We've got it made these days with our micro threads over the Tyers in the day.
Mr. Lucas is here too. This is getting to be quite the spot for great tyers. I say all of you should post several of your oldest and most prized flies. No holds barred. You guys should really go all out and out do the other. I mean really commence to struggling and battling and we will just sit back and cheer you on.
The size of the D. Ranger is 3". The Jock is a full 2 1/2".
About the head size. I remember in the 50's every one tying in Oregon was using NYMO.. I have trout flies size 16 with small heads. These tyers used their fingers always, no other tools. Look at the flies Polly Rosborough tied in the 50's and 60's, they were tied with NYMO thread.
The salmon flies that I have taken apart for feathers all had heavy silk thread, and their heads were nice in size. Dont complain because you tie a fly with a small head. I saw several of Polly's old steelhead flies from when he sent flies to A.J. McClaine in 1963. These few flies I still think are the BEST OF THEIR KIND, but tied with NYMO the heavy thread.. hooks also make a difference in the head size.. ALLCOCKS tapered eye is what Polly preferred. Later he tied on Wright & McGill and his head size increased, due to the hook wire size.
Nice round head, well laquered, is always beautiful.
Have you seen the work of B.A. & Frier Gulline? Magnificent, round, and not small but perfectly proportioned to the size of the fly they were tying.
Scotty, I for one think the Combs book is considered a "bible" by most because of the info and recipes, not the "pictures". When I started flyfishing for steelhead around 80/81' that was all there was to find on the subject. Taught me alot, and helped the learning curve. Plus, alot of the info is still good, even in todays world (still have my old copy from back then that's nearly in pieces now). So don't think it's the pictures, it's the content. I know when I suggest it, it's mostly for the fishing info and some patterns, not purely on patterns alone.
Not sure why Les would mind, unless he had an antique book in mind. Thought his book was centered off NW salmon flies. I could see how he'd be ticked if he had a classics in the works. I for one would LOVE to see a book full of old antique flies. Think that would be awesome. I'd buy it for sure. Been plugging away at the full dressed, thanks to Ronn here. I got fed up, and he convinced me to keep plugging away. Can't say thanks more for the pep talk.
:ray1: I guess Id better clear this one up, so I dont step on anyones feet! We were sitting at his table and I asked him if hed given any thought to publishing a book of antique flies. He kind of looked at me and said: its a waste of time. Noones interested.
Apparently he had a pretty nice collection and was rebuffed by publishers, etc.
Of course, I felt pretty deflated, and just chalked it up to a bad day at the show.
But you guys are right about there being books with antique flies in them: I just dont think there is a coffee table type of reference book with pictures and history that would justify the beautiful flies Dave has displayed above.
I sure hope someone like DAve can come out with a definitive reference book of such flies with clear pics and iteresting and informative text!
I thought Id attach a pic of a genuine W. Blacker fly from his 1842 book held in the BYU rare books vault! (the hooks were like glass!)
If a guy was to write a book about antique flies and the making of them, I sure would like to see how they did it with no vise. If a guy could go back in time with a video camera, most people would hit all the great events in our history from the 1800's forward. I'd say, to hell with that, let the world fall apart, I'm going looking for fly tiers without vises.
Thank you Dave McN and Davpot for sharing these flies.
I have a question or two.
Regarding the Jock Scott, what type and color is the tinsel between the mid body butt and the tail butt?
It is interesting to see the low wing profile on the ranger. Is this more typical on older ranger type flies or just the personal style of this tier?
Davpot and Dave McN - The more Blacker flies that I see, the more I come to appreciate his contribution to history of Salmon flies. I know that there are many who believe that Blacker represents the pinnacle of salmon fly artistry. However, since no one, no matter how creative, creates in a vacuum. I would like to gain a better understanding of his influences. Can either of you guys suggest readily available sources that could shed some light on those influences? By "readily available", I mean without my purchasing rare books or manuscripts.