Published Oct 18. 2019 - 4 weeks ago
Updated or edited Oct 18. 2019

An Italian take on Ora Smith

Italian fly tyer Giuseppe Finardi is intrigued by US Ora Smith's streamers featuring wings made almost exclusively from golden pheasant crest.

Since reading the article by Bob Petti here on the Global FlyFisher, about the streamers originated by Ora Smith, I got interested in the use of the golden pheasant crest, used in abundance in the creation of streamer wings, and that somewhat peculiar way of tying a wing.

Golden pheasant crest wing
Ora Smith crest wing
Giuseppe Finardi

Usually, when researching classic flies, I make use of books that describe the original dressing, so that I can follow the right tying description.
This time I have instead followed a different approach, deciding to copy from pictures.

I placed myself at my PC, and started my search, looking for everything concerning the streamers originated by Ora Smith. I found articles, discussions etc., but most of all pictures, some of these very recent, made by fly tyers using various dressings. I found many others on American online auction sites, where some of Ora Smith's original streamers from the 70's an 80's were posted for sale.

After doing some general observations, I concentrated only on the pictures of streamers with the wing made mostly from golden pheasant crests. Many streamers were shown wrapped in cellophane bags (Some signed by Smith himself) and the sharpness of the fly was often lost.
I magnified the pictures for a better view, in order to understand which materials had been used, and to learn their placement.
I've also noticed that some streamers with the same name, had some minor variations with regards to eyes, cheeks and wing.

So, starting from the pictures, and with the keen enthusiasm and interest of a fly tyer, I replicated some of the streamers by Ora Smith in my way, trying to respect their aesthetics, never forgetting the original silhouette.
I spent all of my golden pheasant crests in the process, but I have to say that it was a lot of fun!

Tying tips

Ora Smith streamer eyes
Ora Smith streamer eyes
Giuseppe Finardi

Golden pheasant crest
Sort the crests according to their length.
Partially eliminate the excessive bend and straighten them.
Wet the points of the crests to better pair them.
Tie them on in bunches of 3, 4 or 5 at a time.
The crests must be kept tight between the fingers when placed upon the hook. If well positioned and aligned, they lock down immediately. Securing them with tweezers might help avoiding excessive sliding.

Eyes
I've used colors and glues from Veniard.
Some eyes are made directly on the head.
Others are made on baking paper. Once dry, these must be removed, positioned and fixed with glue.

Thread
I've chosen the Nano Silk 30/50 D, for its strength, and for being thin enough to minimize the bulk of the head.

Hooks
Streamer hooks chosen according to the pictures of the streamers, short, medium, long.

Canary
Canary
Giuseppe Finardi
Canary
Pattern type: 
Streamer
Originator: 
Ora Smith
Materials: 
Hook
Long
Tag
Flat silver tinsel
Tail
Red hackle barbules + golden pheasant crest
Butt
Black wool
Body
Oval silver tinsel
Central “butt”
Black wool with golden pheasant barbules top and bottom
Throat hackle
White and orange cock barbules
Wing
7 crests + 2 Red Hackles
Head
Black, varnished
Difficulty: 
A little difficult

 

Canopache
Canopache
Giuseppe Finardi
Canopache
Pattern type: 
Streamer
Originator: 
Ora Smith
Materials: 
Hook
Long
Body
14 orange bucktail hairs twisted and wrapped
Rib
Flat silver tinsel
Wing
12 crests.
Overwing
Guinea fowl hackle
Head
Red, varnished, with painted on yellow eyes with red pupils
Difficulty: 
A little difficult

 

Dragonfly
Dragonfly
Giuseppe Finardi
Dragonfly
Pattern type: 
Streamer
Originator: 
Ora Smith
Materials: 
Hook
Long
Body
Oval silver tinsel + 4 bands in black paint
Sides
Teal
Wing
5 long crests, 3 medium, 3 short (in sequence) and 2 black hackles
Head
Black, varnished, with painted on white eyes with black pupils
Difficulty: 
A little difficult

 

Golden teal
Golden Teal
Giuseppe Finardi
Golden Teal
Pattern type: 
Streamer
Originator: 
Ora Smith
Materials: 
Hook
Medium
Tail
Red hackle barbules
Body
Oval silver tinsel
Wing
13 crests
Overwing
Teal
Head
Black, varnished
Difficulty: 
A little difficult

 

Gold Water
Gold Water
Giuseppe Finardi
Gold Water
Pattern type: 
Streamer
Originator: 
Ora Smith
Materials: 
Hook
Short
Tag
Oval silver tinsel
Body
4 peacock herl twisted and wrapped
Throat backle
Guinea fowl barbules
Wing
5 crests (curving upwards)
Head
Black, varnished
Difficulty: 
Medium

 

Golden Woody
Golden Woody
Giuseppe Finardi
Golden Woody
Pattern type: 
Streamer
Originator: 
Ora Smith
Materials: 
Hook
Long
Body
Oval silver tinsel
Wing
12 crests
Overwing
Wood duck + golden pheasant tippet
Head
Black, varnished, with painted on white eyes with red pupils
Difficulty: 
A little difficult

 

Maynard's Marvel
Maynard's Marvel
Giuseppe Finardi
Maynard’s Marvel
Pattern type: 
Streamer
Originator: 
Ora Smith
Materials: 
Hook
Long
Tail
Red wool
Body
Oval silver tinsel
Wing
13 crests
Cheeks
Black hackle tips
Head
Black, varnished, with painted on white eyes with red pupils
Difficulty: 
A little difficult

 

Pumpkin Head
Pumpkin Head
Giuseppe Finardi
Pumpkin Head
Pattern type: 
Streamer
Originator: 
Ora Smith
Materials: 
Hook
Long
Body
Oval golden tinsel
Wing
12 crests
Overwing
Bronze mallard flank + golden pheasant tippet
Head
Orange, varnished, with painted on black eyes with white pupils
Difficulty: 
A little difficult

 

Smith's Marvel
Smith's Marvel
Giuseppe Finardi
Smith's Marvel
Pattern type: 
Streamer
Originator: 
Ora Smith
Materials: 
Hook
Medium
Tail
Orange cock barbules
Body
Oval silver tinsel
Throat hackle
Orange cock barbules
Wing
6 long crests, 5 mediun crests
Overwing
Golden pheasant tippet
Head
Black, varnished, with painted on white eyes with red pupils
Difficulty: 
A little difficult

 

Spotty
Spotty
Giuseppe Finardi
Spotty
Pattern type: 
Streamer
Originator: 
Ora Smith
Materials: 
Hook
Long
Body
14 strands of thin silver tinsel twisted and wrapped + 5 black painted bands with red dots
Wing
12 crests
Overwing
Guinea fowl hackle + white golden pheasant tippet
Head
Black, varnished, with painted on white eyes with red pupils
Difficulty: 
A little difficult

 

Summer Gold
Summer Gold
Giuseppe Finardi
Summer Gold (simple)
Pattern type: 
Streamer
Originator: 
Ora Smith
Materials: 
Hook
Long
Body
Flat silver tinsel
Wing
7 crests, curving upwards
Head
Black, varnished
Difficulty: 
Easy

 

Summer Gold
Summer Gold
Giuseppe Finardi
Summer Gold
Pattern type: 
Streamer
Originator: 
Ora Smith
Materials: 
Hook
Medium
Tail
Red cock barbules
Body
Embossed silver tinsel
Throat hackle
Red cock barbules
Wing
7 crests, curving upwards
Head
Black, varnished
Difficulty: 
A little difficult

 

I have to say that it was a lot of fun!

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