Spey and Dee Fly Pattern, Material...

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by yuhina, Dec 5, 2007.

  1. FT

    FT Active Member

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    Kerry and Fred,

    Right on about having heron feathers in your possession.

    As has been stated here on this and other sites many times, it is illegal to have them and it is not worth the risk of having them when there are other suitable feathers to use as spey feathers. What you two guys didn't mention is that it is a US federal felony to have heron feathers punishable by a fine of up to $10,000.00 and/or 10 years in federal prison. So please everyone, do yourselves a favor and don't use heron feathers.

    Also, keep in mind that the original spey and dee flies were not tied with heron, they were tied with feathers from the Scottish Spey Cock, a chicken variety that unfortunately has been extinct for over 100 years.
     
  2. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

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    Spey/Dee flies are a bit like wine.

    To some it is the background, history, construction and aesthetics that give them (Wine and Flies) thier value.

    To others its about how well it works (flies) or how good it tastes (wine/beer/etc).

    If your looking for pretty working flies, there are many useful spey hackles. From stiff burnt goose shoulder to floppy ole marabou you can get just about any length of fiber, fiber stiffness and resullting action you could want. Colors are endless.

    Heron, like many materials of the past, has probably gained a certain aura as time has gone by.

    In terms of functionality to a fishing fly Heron is completely replaceable. In terms of "I have to use the exact material that XXXXX used" it is completely irreplaceable. But then so is Spey Cock hackle.

    So if you're looking for fishing flies..."Heron Schmeron."

    If your dying for "authentic spey materials" then go chop up a rooster. Heron is not what the majority of the original Spey/Dee used anyway.

    Back on the Spey file materials options...here are my (possibly useless) suggestions for certainl applications...

    - Deep running big flies on a floating line: Use stripped, burned goose shoulder. With a slim body, heavy wire hook and a sparse wing you can get a large profile (goose is so stiff it won't collape much) and good depth if you want it.

    - Action rich fly run shallow or on a head: Various phesant hackles (Ringneck, Golden, Blue Ear, etc.). Again by working on the body mass, hook weight and wing size you can get a very active fly that will sink or ride to your desired depth.

    -Action tastic: Marabou. In softwa water it looks all wiggly and in fast water it collapses and shimmers like a swimming fish.

    Have fun!
     
  3. HauntedByWaters

    HauntedByWaters Active Member

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    Hey! Call me crazy but if I found a dead blue heron on a beach and it had a couple nice looking feathers popping up, I would STILL SNAG A FEW.

    I will take that risk.

    You can all go net-nanny ape-shit on me now.

    And BTW, anyone who thinks blue heron feathers are easilly replacable hasn't seen some that I have.

    I grew up on a beach and have seen few dead blue herons with hackles beyond your wildest dreams.

    Why do you think the fine for having a dead one in your posession is 10,000$? Because their feathers are easilly replacable? I don't think so....

    Give that bird some credit. It is beautiful and has some unbelievable feathers.

    AND is a better fisher than any of us.


    On another note to the net-nannies: it is illegal to not have a trash reseptacle in your vehicle. Better get to work! I think their are lots of shameless law breakers without trash receptacles in their cars on this forum!
     
  4. FT

    FT Active Member

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    All I can say is if the federales come a-knocking, you will not find them to be very sympathetic or understanding.

    Instead, like an artist from Wisconsin a few years ago who used some found heron and hawk feathers in some artwork she took to an arts and crafts fair, the federales arrested her, put her in jail for a night, charged her with violating federal law through possession of the heron and hawk feathers. The end result was she was convicted, fined $10,000.00 for the hawk feather and another $10,000.00 for the heron feather possession charges, and given 5 years of federal probation.

    It just isn't worth the risk.
     
  5. Marty

    Marty New Member

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    So true about the Heron, however there is some legal Heron out there it is just hard to find. If I remember right it comes from outside the country and is not listed so they can import the feather. I bought 6 feathers for $20 10 years ago and still have 4 left. Can’t stand to use them because of the cost. White and blue eared pheasant is also an option but I have found Whiting’s Spey Chicken saddle (Bird Fur) to be a great substitute when I am looking for a long fiber. The stems are perfectly fine and easy to palmer. The fibers are a little soft but move a lot like marabou in the water. Just got done tying this fly. The long orange is bird fur, the dark color is died black ring neck. The wing is 4 feathers from a Whiting rooster cape.
     
  6. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

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    I think the feathers are beautiful, but they were protected not becasue of flyfisherman and thier desire for hackles. I believe (from what I read) they were used widely to decorate hats and nearly wiped out by commercial hunters.

    From a functionality standpoint (a fishing fly) heron's not that special. I've examined them in the field (both the barbless hackes and some of the smaller webby variety). I'd surely buy some if it was legally available. But it's not.

    FWIW, if you want to use them (and retain them in your personal collection) I honestly doubt you have anything to fear.

    I also think Herons are kick ass birds. There is a rookery near where I fish on the Walla Walla and I see them all the in the Summer and Fall. There is a local (Great Blue) on the Umatilla R. who called me names all Oct and Nov when I was fishing there. I often turn a corner and find one staring right at me. Then barking at me. Then pooping and flying away :) I see them eating mice in the fields in winter. They look like dinosaurs (or so I imagine). So I don't mean to talk trash about them as an animal at all.

     
  7. obiwankanobi

    obiwankanobi Active Member

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    Marty, again you tie a nice fly. To me, I have seen heron feathers on the river banks and of the few I have seen, they are not in that great of condition to use(i.e. floating in the water or in the mud). John Shewey talks about using Asian Purple Heron feathers in his book and I have never researched this, but I assume they are legal at a fine price.
     
  8. Daryle Holmstrom

    Daryle Holmstrom retiredfishak

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    That brings up a question, if you wander into a heron rookery and find some mottled feathers on the ground, what do you do? Also Seagal (the bird, not the good looking ones) feathers that they shed seem to be rather waterproof.
     
  9. obiwankanobi

    obiwankanobi Active Member

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    Daryle, you have to leave them alone. I know a Idaho Fish and Game warden and he advised me to leave them on the ground. On the Clearwater River there are a few nests that I have seen and would be good hunting grounds for feather scavaging. Before I looked, I called my friend and just like eagle feathers, you have to leave them alone since they are illegal to possess no matter how obtained.

    Now as we know, I would doubt that if you found one and tied up a beautiful fly with it, you would ever have a problem. Lets face it though, if you had this one feather, you would want to dress the best fly you could tie. With that, you would never fish this fly and maybe show a friend and that friend may tell another friend and you see where I am going.
     
  10. 1morecast

    1morecast Active Member

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    Marty,
    Beautiful fly!! That wing is near perfect, I like how the fly has that heart shape..
     
  11. Marty

    Marty New Member

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    Couple more to show that for me there is need for heron or the need to find the perfect substitute, I like my freedom. I have never tied with heron so I guess I have never needed to search for something to replace it. I know it is difficult to find good substitute for some of the old classics and will agree that even a good substitute never looks just right. But I think the key is learning how to master the materials that are available. Let’s take schlappen as an example. When I first started tying I would not even look at the feather, I would just grab one and tie it on. Now I may only find a dozen or so perfect feather in each bag. Selecting and preparing a feather takes a little effort but the results are what make the difference. I thought I was pretty good with feathers until I watched Dec H. tie one of his Mahoney’s (the red one) last week. It took him a few minutes to get the hackle prepared and by the time he was done you could not tell it was schlappen. I used the same technique on a feather from dyed black pheasant on the purple fly with the dubbed body. If you want to take your tying to the next level the material are out there and I am finding the dyed pheasant skins to be one of the answers.

    The first fly was tided with Bird Fur and Pheasant, the second fly was tied with pheasant for the hackle and the wing, the third fly was tied by Dec using schlappen for the body hackle. the purple flies are on 3/0 AJs and the Mahoney is on a 1. For me there is nothing like catching a fish on a well dressed fly and creating the fly is as much fun as catching the fish.
     
  12. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    Beautiful flies. I'd have a hard time putting those on my leader and fishing them.

    As for legal materials, it depends. Some species are protected by the ESA, like polar bear, fur seal, and jungle cock. A lot of feathers are prohibited in trade under CITES. I forget what the acronym is exactly, but it's about the international treaty that applies to migratory birds, even crows. Some of these materials are legal if they are pre-embargo. Of course it can be hard to prove when certain materials were imported or harvested. I have a pre-embargo jungle cock cape, but now we can buy exempt farmed jungle cock capes. I also have some pre-embargo heron and a piece of polar bear, but the only evidence of their age is the goofy old paper bags they came in. They're large size hackles, so I seldom tie with them. As rare as they are, I should save every fiber from used hackles and tie them in one at a time on subsequent flies.

    It's illegal to collect eagle, hawk, heron, and most desirable feathers even by picking them up off the ground when you're out fishing or hiking. It's probably a low risk activity, but I used to know a USFWS Special Agent, and if they want to make an example of someone, they send a sample to the forensics lab in Ashland, and make expensive trouble for them.

    Sg
     
  13. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

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    Marty your work is beautiful.

    Decs is sharp too. Any chance on sharing his prep secret? Dec, you lurk about here...how do you prep your Schlappen?

    :)
     
  14. Kevin Giusti

    Kevin Giusti New Member

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    Great flies Marty (and Mr. Hogan). I use ringneck rump alot and really like it. Walt Johnsons Deep Purple spey is one of my favorites and one of my go to patterns for sure. Its a fairly easy tie as speys go and the color combo in the water looks great. Heres a few I tied up using some "alternatives". While not speyish in the classic sense, speys were the inspiration. They incorporate amherst tail and rhea fibers. I bunch tied in the hackles as opposed to wrapping them. I like bunch tying certain materials as for one they arent the easisest to wrap(at least for me!) and two I have good control of both the length and fullness of the hackle. Many of the pheasant species tail fibers make for some great hackles including amherst,silver,argus, ringneck and I have a BEP skin that has a few black tail feathers that have some CRAZY long fibers on them, but havent found the need for using 10/0 speys as of yet so they remain untouched for now. Theres definatly a lot of variety out there as far as spey hackles go. Kevin
     
  15. Marty

    Marty New Member

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    Kevin awesome work and nice touch with the duck over wing.

    David I would let Dec explain it but I know he is a little busy right now so here goes.
    Step 1 is to pull all the fluff off both sides of the feather, with the stem in hand and the convex side of the feather facing you, pull off the left side fibers all the way to the tie in point. Now the work begins, using spit and your fingers work the remaining fibers until the barbs (Velcro) lay down on each individual fiber. This will take some time but it is pretty cool to see the fibers separate.

    It’s great to see tiers like yuhnia taking on new challenges like spey and dee flies. I rarely fish a fly tied with synthetics, and I know some would find it stupid but I get the most joy out of catching a fish on a old traditionally dress fly. It’s just cool to see that tradition is still alive.