Re: I Met Myself Last Night...
The sorting process of the flies from "The Community Jar" continued this morning, despite my limitations to an hour here, an hour there sort of schedule. Separating the lots into individual bins has been good "therapy" for yours truly, a pleasant distraction from the eye drops, the doses of an optical salve to speed the healing, and the fact that the limitations on my choice of "activities" are being strictly enforced by The Speaker of the House-- my wife, Debbi --and her "back-up"-- my chief oncologist. Thankfully, Jesse is fishing/camping in the Upper Peninsula for two weeks, or I'd be overwhelmed with "female concern..."
As I inspect each fly before slotting it into its appropriate holding bin, I'm amazed by how the flies were tied. Back in the day, so to speak, there was much more of a reliance on quill wings of almost every description-- upright,
"side wings(wings that run parallel to the hook shank)," and a great many quills that sweep back over the main body of the fly.
More than that, the colors used in some instances are what one might call "bright," and the collar hackling is huge by today's standard. There's little doubt that the flies do look "buggier" than most I've been privy to, and with the liberal usage of herl, foams and even a few bodies that feel almost cast in metal, the sorting continues to be both an eye-opener and a learning experience. Many of them have inspired some adaptations that I intend to try out when my "leash" comes off and I can return to "active duty" once again.
If there is one fly that has stood out from the rest, it would have to be a different take on the old Royal Coachman. Rather than the standard crimson body tied between the herl ends, these have a yellow body tied in its place. As I looked it over this morning, it drove home the point that much of the tying style back then was done by both observation-- what the fish were taking --and an approach that the late Montgomery Jackson called "scrapping" in his own journal-- taking "scraps" of whatever was handy and figuring out a way to incorporate it into a productive fly.
"Scrapping" was/is a direct reflection on the fact that the "Trail's End Gang" was both resourcefull and unafraid of innovation. Plainly put, they tied what worked until the flies didn't work any longer, and then their ties were adapted to the conditions as they saw fit. Come my release from "the leash," I intend to try and incorporate a little "scrapping" of my own into the next batch of flies to come from my vise, an homage, if you will, to those who've gone before me, as well as a "hoped-for" inspiration for those who will follow in the footsteps of my elders and me...