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New England Streamers
Atlantic Salmon Conversion
Raske's New England Streamers
By Bob Skehan
Although the subject of this article may seem like heresy to dedicated tyers of classic atlantic salmon patterns, I thought it might be a fun exercise this winter to adapt some of these classic patterns to New England streamers. It was indeed a challenging and enjoyable tying experience.
Converting The Patterns
Full dress salmon patterns typically have a complicated wing assembly consisting of married strips of quills, veilings, and toppings. I decided on a few general guidelines for these conversions:
1. The body materials pretty much matched those called for in the classic patterns with a few variations. The Lady Amherst salmon pattern has a palmered hackle but this was eliminated due to the length of the 8X long hook, and a general impression of this material was adequately given by the white bucktail.
2. Wings on the resulting streamer matched the general color scheme of the classic atlantic salmon pattern. For patterns such as the Lady Amherst and the Butcher, this was fairly easy to do. I decided early on after looking at the classics that many either had two equally dominant colors, or one dominant color and a secondary, or hilight color. For these patterns, I decided that the wings would consist of a long pair of one color, flanked by a pair of slightly shorter hackles of the second color. This served a dual purpose on the Jock Scott adaptation, which uses a white-tipped black turkey feather as the base for the wing.
3. The throat (or belly) of the streamer consisted of bucktail that was the same color as the classic pattern throat. If that wasn't practical, a color was selected that was the same as, or complemented the color scheme used in the wing.
4. Tailings and Toppings were added using the same material called for in the classic pattern, though the strict proportion rules of matching the tips and "framing" the wing wasn't practical for long flies. I decided to approximate this frame shape with the tailing and topping, but allowed the wing to extend beyond the joined tips by sandwiching the tailing between the hackle wings.
5. Shoulders added to these patterns were a major wing component of the classic salmon pattern. In the case of the Lady Amherst and Durham Ranger, the lady amherst and golden pheasant tippets are the dominant wing component. For the Butcher and the Jock Scott, I thought that married strips of goose shoulder, present in the composite wings of the classic patterns would serve to break up the solid wing color and dress it up nicely. It's also a nicely-tapered shape that gives the resulting pattern a sleek look.
6. Miscellaneous "hilights" of the classic patterns that would adapt directly to the long flies, such as the Blue Chatterer(substitute) cheeks were added when deemed appropriate.
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