Chris's Comments On This Pattern:
My aim in tying this pattern was not so much to follow the original recipe, but to
closely replicate the look that Lew Oatman intended. As a reference, I used the picture
of the streamer in Joseph Bates' book "Streamers and Bucktails - The Big Fish Flies."
that fly was tied by Keith Fulsher, who was instructed how to tie it by Oatman himself.
Although the construction of the "Postmaster" is fairly conventional, I offer the
I chose the 9575 loop-eye style hook, since it offers a 'shelf' on top, which can be of
help with wing placement. However, after tying these flies, I now believe that the loop
end hinders the tapering of the front of the body - a common feature in 16 of Oatman's
17 patterns. The 3665A or similar non-loop hook may be more desirable.
Achieving that 'cigar-like' tapered body that I had seen on Mr. Oatmans' originals was a
the most challenging aspect of this fly. I tied some with 4 strand floss and some with
Uni-Stretch. I did prefer the golden yellow color of the floss over the brighter yellow
of the Uni-Stretch, for this pattern. I find both easy to tie with, however, I believe
the Uni-Stretch to be superior for bare hook applications. It has some interesting
qualities with regard to streamer bodies. It is a bit more forgiving than 4 strand, in
that its stretch seems to help it to 'spread' itself evenly. Uni-Stretch can be used by
hand ( like traditional 4 strand floss) or fed through a bobbin. If the latter is used,
an occasional spin of the bobbin will prevent it from 'roping up' from twist. I find it
easier to handle in a bobbin. I realized near the end of tying my flies that since the
Uni-Stretch can be pulled tight, it can be used in place of the thread to lash the tail
and tinsel to the hook. This produces a much smoother back-end taper.
Another issue worthy of mention here, in that care should be taken to clip all the
squirrel hair from the same spot on the tail. This will ensure that all the dark
banding or marking on the hair will be aligned after stacking.
In addition, if Jungle Cock is used, it should be treated with Dave's Flexament, or
something similar. This not only makes it more durable, but also adds a bit more shine
to the nail.
For a very interesting featherwing conversion of this pattern, see "The Shushan
Postmaster Revisited" by Dick Talleur, Fly Tyer - Autumn '95.