Streamers From a Left Coast Tyer - Original streamers - Global FlyFisher

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Streamers From a Left Coast Tyer


Published Jun 6th 2012

Original streamers

By

Growing up on the West Coast, I learned about East Coast fly patterns and tyers mostly from books, and the occasional television show. I remember seeing Lee Wulff and Joe Brooks on the American Sportsman show as a youngster, fishing for Brookies. I somehow learned about Carrie Stevens and the Gray Ghost fly early in my tying, though I didn't have the materials to tie her patterns until much later. I always thought it was such an impressive looking fly.

You can see more of Mike's flies at his web pages:
http://www.favoriteflies.net/mikes_site/page/home.htm
http://www.displayfliesmarket.com/marketplace/the_marketplace.html

In the 1980's, my tying interest had progressed to West Coast Steelhead flies and their history. Many of the Steelhead patterns had their roots in Atlantic Salmon flies, which led me to collecting books and materials needed to tie these complex and demanding flies. One of the books I found was the Joseph Bates book 'The Art of the Atlantic Salmon Fly', which led me to his 'Streamer Tying & Fishing'. Both books are full of important fly tying information and history. Along the way I picked up the two booklets by Mike Martinek, which influenced me greatly. For many years, I 'paid my dues' tying mostly Atlantic Salmon flies, Steelhead flies, and the occasional Streamer fly.

1999 was an important year for my tying outlook. That was the year that Paul Schmookler and Ingrid Sils groundbreaking book 'Forgotten Flies' came out. I got to see an advance copy of the book brought to the Oregon Fly tying Expo by Paul Rossman. He was tying some of the flies from the Mary Orvis Marbury chapter (he tied all the Marbury flies in the book). I hardly moved from his table that day. Besides sending me down the Marbury tying path, the book opened my eyes wide to streamer tying, both in the Carrie Stevens chapter, but also in the general streamer chapter. The varieties and possibilities were seemingly endless. The creative flies of Mike Martinek, Tom Fawcett, Kevin Perkins, Matt Crompton, Derl Stovall, and Mark Kieras were quite inspiring to me. Marcelo Morales, Don Bastian, Pedro 'Pep' Dieppa, Paul Rossman, and many others tied a lot of the traditional Streamer patterns. The book has been open on my desk since 1999, and still provides inspiration.

I really see my creative flies as an exercise more than for fishing, though they could be fished and are based on traditional methods.

I do tie the traditional streamer patterns: Stevens, Welch, Quimby, Hogan, et al, but somewhere along the way started tying creative streamers. I really see my creative flies as an exercise more than for fishing, though they could be fished and are based on traditional methods. I enjoy combining different materials and colors to make a pleasing composition, as one would in a painting. Harmony on a hook is what I strive for. People say they can recognize a fly tied by me, whether it's a Streamer or an Atlantic Salmon fly. I guess somewhere along the way, with all the countless hours of tying, my hands and eyes have developed a rhythm and a style that translates to a hook. That, and all the great examples and help I've been given along the way.

Some notes on materials:
I bring the same materials and applications to tying a Streamer as I do when tying featherwing Atlantic Salmon flies. I use silk floss and metal tinsels (although I do have a weakness for pearl mylar on occasion). I've collected quite a few different feathers along the way, so I try to incorporate them when tying streamers. I look for well marked feathers for tail veilings, shoulders, and cheeks. For hooks, you can't beat the Gaelic Supreme Mike Martinek streamer hooks. The Sproat bend suits me. I prefer them in 6xl and 8xl.


The Big Orange

Tag: flat gold tinsel
Tail: Golden Pheasant crest veiled with slips of a dark barred feather dyed orange
Body: orange silk floss
Ribs: flat gold tinsel followed by black silk floss
Belly: orange Bucktail and GP crest
Wing: orange hackles
Throat: orange schlappen
Shoulder: Wood Duck flank over red dyed goose shoulder tip
Cheeks: Jungle Cock

NOTES: I built a layered shoulder on this one, using the tip of a goose shoulder feather underneath the Wood Duck for a different look. I don't glue wing assemblies together before mounting. I know it's traditional, but find it faster and easier to tie in each material separately. I may use a drop of cement to hold a feather in place after the thread wraps on occasion, but not before.

Bandit

Tag: flat silver tinsel
Tail: Wood Duck strips
Body: yellow silk floss
Ribs: flat silver tinsel
Belly: grey Bucktail and Golden Pheasant crest
Wing: orange and yellow dyed badger hackles
Throat: red schlappen (black schlappen on top)
Shoulder: French Partridge
Cheeks: Jungle Cock

NOTES: The French Partridge makes a bold shoulder on this one. I used the Mike Martinek method of adding schlappen over the shoulders. I think it helps frame the shoulders visually.

Fall Special

Tag: flat gold tinsel
Tail: Golden Pheasant crest
Body: orange silk floss
Ribs: oval copper tinsel
Belly: a mix of pink and white Bucktail and GP crest
Wing: a pair of claret hackles flanked by bronze dun hackles
Throat: yellow schlappen
Shoulders: Wood duck flank
Cheeks: Jungle Cock

NOTES: I built a pronounced taper in the body by first using UTC 140 denier thread (keeping the wraps flat by counter spinning the bobbin every 10-12 wraps). I then add a layer of flattened UTC 70 denier or Danvilles 6/0 white, and burnish the underbody well before wrapping the silk floss. For ease of application and because of rough hands, I roll the silk floss onto old thread spools and load it into the bobbin holder. To keep the floss flat, I take it over the hook and pass it to the other hand so no twist occurs (all the way up the hook), flattening the hanging silk with a smooth bodkin every few wraps. There are no shortcuts to a smooth tapered silk body that I know of.

Pintail Darter

Tag: flat gold tinsel
Body: red silk floss
Ribs: flat silver tinsel
Wing: Pintail
Throat: yellow schlappen
Cheeks: Jungle Cock

NOTES: The Pintail duck has many well marked, beautiful feathers. Tying any Duck feathers on vertically (on top of the hook) like in this fly is difficult because of the elliptical shape of the rachis. I find the easiest way to make them work is to flatten and twist each of the stems 90 degrees with flat pliers, which can take several tries. I usually mount the far wing until it's sitting straight, then work on the near wing. Once they tie in straight, a drop of cement on the thread wraps helps hold them permanently.

Faulkner Streamer

Tag: flat silver tinsel
Tail: orange dyed goose shoulder
Body: flat silver tinsel overwrapped with pearl mylar
Belly: orange then grey Bucktail, GP crest under
Wing: golden olive hackles
Throat: black schlappen (bottom and top).
Shoulder: speckled Lavender Guinea fowl
Cheeks: Jungle Cock

NOTES: I tied this one for my friend George Faulkner who passed away not long after he retired. RIP, George. The hook is a Chesterton. I straightened out the kirbed bend. The 'eye' is twisted silk gut. The lavender Guinea fowl doesn't have the big white spots like the Pearl variety, but rather a finer speckling, and an overall lavender/grey coloration.

Fall Streamer

Tag: oval copper tinsel
Tail: Wood Duck strips
Body: flat gold tinsel
Ribs: oval copper tinsel and orange silk floss
Belly: orange Bucktail and GP crest
Wing: bright orange and dark orange (terra cotta) hackles
Throat: white schlappen
Shoulder: Wood duck flank
Cheek: Jungle Cock

NOTES: A pleasing combination of materials, in my eyes. I like to finish my heads off well. I use UTC 70 denier or Danvilles 6/0 kept flat by counter spinning every few wraps, and well waxed. I'm using some nice wax from my friend Mike Norwood at the moment. I use white thread colored with a black marker, and finish the head off with at least three coats of Sally Hansen's Hard as Nails for a smooth look.

Saint Paddy's Streamer

Body: 'scotch' embossed silver tinsel
Ribs: oval silver tinsel followed by green silk floss
Belly: yellow Bucktail, GP crest
Wing: dyed green Golden Pheasant crest between dark green hackles
Throat: bright green schlappen
Shoulder: dyed yellow Ringneck Pheasant
Cheeks: Jungle Cock

NOTES: I tied this one in honor of Saint Paddy's day. The common Ringneck Pheasant has some great feathers for many uses, from Streamers to Spey flies. I have a skin dyed yellow, which gives the fly a good look.

Gold and Olive Streamer

Tag: flat silver tinsel
Tail: Golden Pheasant crest and orange Weaver
Butt: black Ostrich herl
Body: gold silk floss over wrapped with pearl mylar
Ribs: oval silver tinsel
Belly: olive and lavender Bucktail
Wing: shell pink, golden olive, and dun hackles (outside)
Throat: olive schlappen
Shoulder: Wood duck
Cheeks: Jungle Cock

NOTES: I like trying different colors of hackle to create multi color wings. I use both strung saddle hackle and Rooster neck hackle, depending on the colors or shape I want. The pearl mylar over the silk floss was an experiment. It has a nice look in hand.

Amherst Streamer

Body: embossed silver tinsel
Ribs: oval gold tinsel
Belly: orange Bucktail and GP crest
Wing: badger dyed yellow hackles with GP crest over
Shoulder: feathers from the base of an Amherst Pheasant tail
Cheeks: Jungle Cock

NOTES: The Amherst Pheasant has a few of these well marked feathers at the base of the tail, which give a distinct look to the shoulder. I designed the rest of the fly around these feathers.

Claret Raider

Tag: flat gold tinsel
Tail: Argus Pheasant and claret dyed Turkey "married"
Butt: black Ostrich herl
Body: claret silk floss
Ribs: flat gold tinsel followed by oval gold tinsel
Belly: purple and white bucktail, GP crest
Wing: claret and bronze dun hackles
Throat: white schlappen (brown schlappen above wing)
Shoulder: Wood duck flank over red Golden Pheasant flank
Cheek: Jungle Cock

NOTES: Dual colors on the tail, wing, and shoulder make for an interesting look. I used Turkey with the Argus Pheasant because the texture of the fibers are similar, making it easier to marry the two. All the claret in the fly is Chris Del Plato approved.

Aggravator

Tag: flat silver tinsel
Tail: Wood Duck and orange goose shoulder strips "married"
Body: orange silk floss
Ribs: flat silver tinsel followed by oval copper tinsel
Belly: white Bucktail
Wing: dark orange, bright orange, and ginger hackles
Throat: yellow schlappen
Shoulder: Wood Duck
Cheeks: Jungle Cock

NOTES: Wood Duck is always a winner on a streamer, I think. The tail has strips from the barred feather "married" to orange goose. I used goose because it closely matches the Woody's fiber size, making it easier to marry together.

Smelty

Tag: flat gold tinsel
Tail: Golden Pheasant tail
Butt: black Ostrich herl
Body: red silk floss
Ribs: oval gold tinsel
Belly: white Bucktail and GP crest
Wing: lavender hackles and thinner gold badger hackles
Throat: yellow schlappen
Shoulder: Wood duck flank
Cheeks: Jungle Cock

NOTES: My version of a Smelt-like fly, somewhat in the Rangeley tradition. Golden Pheasants have so many useful feathers, used both in streamers and Atlantic Salmon flies. GP tail is used a lot in Atlantic Salmon flies, but not so much in tying Streamers. I like the look.

Silver Interceptor

Tag: oval gold tinsel
Tail: Wood duck strips
Butt: black Ostrich herl
Body: two sections of flat silver tinsel, the first butted with Jungle Cock and black Ostrich herl
Ribs: oval gold tinsel
Wing: black saddle hackles
Throat: Jungle Cock and black schlappen
Shoulder: Wood Duck
Cheeks: Jungle Cock

NOTES: This one was tied for my friend Dave in Maine. He likes any fly with Wood Duck in it, so I included that and some extra Jungle Cock.

Tiger Streamer

Tag: flat silver tinsel
Tail: GP crest and Amherst Pheasant tail dyed orange (strips)
Body: orange silk floss
Ribs: flat silver tinsel followed by oval copper tinsel
Belly: dark orange and grey Bucktail, dyed red GP crest
Wing: bright orange, terra cotta, and 'dark antique' saddle hackles
Throat: orange schlappen
Shoulder: bronze Mallard dyed orange
Cheeks: Jungle Cock

NOTES: Lots of interesting orange dyed feathers on this one (if you can't tell by now, I like the color orange). Thanks to John McLain for all the choice in hackle colors.

 


User comments
From: Jerri Bullock · jerribull·at·comcast.net  Link
Submitted July 2nd 2012

Beautiful work. I especially like your style of ribbing the flies with two materials. Very eye-catching, very unique. And thanks for the instructional narrative with each pattern. It's really generous to share your tips like that.


From: Ed Null · e.null·at·sbcglobal.net  Link
Submitted June 8th 2012

Very, very fine work! Nice designs, also. Inspiring.


From: Robert T · retaylor1·at·msn.com  Link
Submitted June 8th 2012

Mike these and all your flies have always been an inspiration to me.

The streamers are just beautiful and tied by a master craftsman.


From: Kelly - Full name and email anonymized  Link
Submitted June 7th 2012

Mike, this whole article is simply outrageous. The whole thing is a jaw dropper. The flies are so outstanding that I can barely contain myself. You outdid yourself on these beauties. I see your handwriting all over these flies. Impeccable tying, beautiful color combinations....10+ for me on all of them.


From: Robert - Full name and email anonymized  Link
Submitted June 7th 2012

I tried to tie the big orange as showed but didn't have the right material but came as close as I could, I used it for sea run in Cape Breton. I was amazed on how well it worked. I will get the right material for the next run.


From: Ronn Lucas, Sr. · ronn·at·ronnlucassr.com  Link
Submitted June 7th 2012

Very cool article and beautiful flies Mike!!!!!!!


From: Bob Frandsen · bobfly372·at·gmail.com  Link
Submitted June 6th 2012

Top notch article Mike . Excellent


From: Marc - Full name and email anonymized  Link
Submitted June 6th 2012

Inspirational tying Mike. Very well done.

Marc


From: Arkle - John T. Horsfall · jthorsfall·at·hotmail.co.uk  Link
Submitted June 6th 2012

All the right boxes ticked here, well done - again - Mike.


From: Geert - Full name and email anonymized  Link
Submitted June 6th 2012

This is a superior article !...the streamers Mr. Boyer delivered here are I am sure functional everywhere ...and as he says 'classic' styled in every sense. Simply superb in all his facets !. THANKS anyways to the writer of this beautyful article and Mr. Boyer.



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