Carrie Challenge II
Look Ma, No Vise... Again
By Ken Craigue, Jr., Chris Del Plato
Every once in a while some event in life comes up that causes you to slow down to consider your past. In the fall of 2009, I would have time on my hands to reconnect to my fly fishing beginnings - before I tied flies - before my mentor tied flies - and right into Upper Dam. We're talking about Carrie Stevens and big trout and salmon on streamer flies. Trying to soak up every tidbit, I would discover on Raske's New England Streamer Page something called Carrie's Challenge. I approached Chris Del Plato about the idea of a Carrie's Challenge II which he presented to the Streamer List (defined as a group of fly tyers helplessly addicted to tying streamers). Thus new life was breathed into a decade old challenge.
Bryant Freeman and Chris would be the only two to take up the gauntlet a second time. The idea was to complete the project as a tribute to the fortieth anniversary of Carrie Stevens Day. Carrie's Favorite would be the fly to quickly become the focus of discussion on the correct pattern and the color "magenta." This fly was chosen because it is shows Carrie's use of color and the simplicity of a stunning fly to attract fish. Ted Patlen's words would ring so true that: "we're gonna see a wide variety of flies called 'Carrie's Favorite.'" How fitting to see first-hand the differences in color and style that certainly form regional variations in patterns over time.
The tyers for this round would span all skill levels from new to some well-known tyers who shared their thoughts through the process. The challenge reached across continents around the world. Twenty two folks started the challenge and the flies of those who finished are found here. The question isn't if there will be another challenge, but when. These folks "put up" and found some spots to reflect upon the trail to Upper Dam.
Ken Craigue, Jr, Nov 2011
You have one shot to tie a Carrie's Favorite in hand, without a vise - just as Carrie Stevens herself did
Chris Del Plato (host): You have one shot to tie a Carrie's Favorite in hand, without a vise - just as Carrie Stevens herself did. You are allowed one try only. One shot, one fly. No practice, No 'do-overs', No backtracking. No special tools should be used. Bodkin, Bobbin (for thread only) and scissors are the only tools allowed. Feel free to do without them, if you wish. If you must, a protective cup may be worn.
Please adhere to the original pattern as given here:
Any size is fine (size 2 would probably be typical), but about an 8x long shank would be true to form for a Carrie Stevens streamer.
You may pre-assemble the wings (by hand), just as Carrie did. In fact, I would encourage this in the interest of being true to her methods. The use of glue in this process is also permitted, as there is evidence that she employed it. Please limit your use of glue to only the actual construction of the fly, especially if you are pregnant, or expect to become pregnant.
Cramping, cursing, bleeding, spasms and fits of rage are all permitted, encouraged and expected. Crying is not allowed. There is no crying in fly tying.
Please document your trials and tribulations. A short paragraph describing your difficulties or what you learned by the experience is required. Please either private message your comments to me here or email to: firstname.lastname@example.org Do not use vulgarities in the subject line of your message, such as "To the #$@%&*! arse who dreamt up this torture", lest it be sucked up by my spam filter. Video documentary of your attempt would also be of interest and great humor to the group.
All photos by Chris Del Plato, copyright 2011