The Carrie Challege

By Hosted by Chris Del Plato

Chris Del Plato

Chris Del Plato's Gray Ghost

I was pleasantly surprised at how well the fly turned out. In hindsight, maybe it really shouldn't have surprised me as much as it did, since the majority of the fly's visible attributes are in the wing assembly. Whether tied in a vise or by hand, if one is tying this style of fly in the manner it was conceived (pre-assembling the wing/shoulder/cheek by hand), there should probably be little or no noticeable difference. Alignment and setting of the wing is a different matter. While it didn't give me great trouble, I think it is easier to view the alignment of the wing assembly in a vise, when you have the luxury of moving your hands/fingers away from the fly. Belly and herl also weren't too bad, though, as usual the crests did their best to misbehave. The most challenging and painful (hand cramps) part for me was the body and tinsel. Keeping a good steady grip on the hook while also keeping tension on the materials being wrapped was tough. My approach was to hold the hook in my left hand and wrap with the right, and then pinching or holding each wrap with free fingers from the left hand. Worse than any writer's cramp I ever had! I bet ol' Carrie had a helluva handshake! :) Anyway, the resulting body was, shall I say, less than smooth. And the rib spacing was anything but uniform. Good thing the Rangeley style partially conceals the body! The decent look of the wing assembly belies the actual difficulty of tying these flies without a vise. Heck, they're difficult enough WITH a vise. After this, I must admit that I am spoiled by the tools I have at my disposal. Can't say I'll be in a rush to do another, but I am glad the experience gave me a connection to our streamer tying roots and a greater appreciation for the talents of Mrs. Stevens.


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