Oatman Streamer Swap

A Oatman Streamer Page illustrating the SHUSHAN POSTMASTER streamer pattern(s)submitted by Chris DelPlato

By Bob Skehan

Oatman Streamer Logo

Submitted By Chris DelPlato

HOOK Mustad 9575, 3665A or equivalent. Sizes 6 - 10.
THREAD Black, 8/0 Uni-Thread
TAIL Mottled brown turkey feather, as long as hook gap.
BODY Light yellow floss or Uni-Stretch
RIB Flat gold mylar tinsel, size 14.
THROAT Small section of goose quill.
WING Small bunch of fox squirrel tail hair, extending to end of tail.
CHEEKS Jungle Cock, small & short.
HEAD Black

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 following insights:

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.

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