The Silver Doctor - Step-by-Step - The Wing
As described by T. Pryce-Tannatt in his book: How to Dress Salmon Flies: A Handbook for Amateurs.
Here’s the step-by-step for the wing on the Silver Doctor pattern.
1. The first two steps make up the sub-wing. Take two Golden Pheasant tippets from opposite sides of the neck, pair them up, strip the barbs from the top and cut the back at a slant by cutting through the stem. Then, mount them and tie them onto the body using 5 flattened wraps.
2. Take a pair of Golden Pheasant tail feathers, select matching strips from one left-side feather and one right-side feather, cut out about ¼” from each strip (keep the stem attached to each side), pair them up and mount them “tented” on top of the Golden Pheasant tippets. Tie in the tail sections with 4-5 flattened wraps.
3. The next few steps make up the primary married wing. There are several ways to make a married wing for the Silver doctor pattern; depending on whose pattern recipe you follow. Tom used what I consider to be the most complex way for this married wing; he used single barbs from 6 different feathers and duplicated them; ending up with 12 barbs in each wing “sheath”, which is what each side of the married wing is sometimes called. This is also known as Kelson’s married wing technique. Here are the feathers that you need to tie this married wing to Tom’s recipe:
Florican Bustard (usually a substitute; most often double-dyed white Turkey tail)
White Turkey dyed Silver Doctor Blue (or any light blue)
White Turkey dyed Red
White Turkey dyed Yellow
This is also the order in which the individual barbs are married; top to bottom.
I use strips that are about 5-6 barbs wide. Be sure that you take feather strips from the same side of each feather type; to form first the right side sheath, then the left side sheath (the order in which you form them isn’t important, but it is important to be sure that your feather strips are all from the same side of the feather).
4. Tom stripped off individual barbs from each feather and married them between his fingers and thumb. I don’t have the dexterity to do this, so I’m using the method that Mike Radencich teaches; which is to marry the strips to each other and then reduce one of the strips to a single barb using your bodkin. Here’s the first two strips married; the Kori Bustard is on top and the Florican Bustard substitute is on the bottom.
5. Once they’re married, then use your bodkin to separate all but one Florican barb from the Kori strip; like this:
6. After you’re separated the married Florican strip with the bodkin, your wing will look like this; with the Kori Bustard strip on the top and the single Florican barb underneath it:
7. Next, marry the dyed blue Turkey to the single barb of Florican Bustard. Then, use the bodkin again to separate all but one blue barb from the married wing. Next do the same thing for the dyed red Turkey, then the dyed yellow Turkey, and finally the cinnamon Turkey. When you have those 5 different barbs married to the Kori strip, then repeat the entire process, by adding another 6 barbs below the cinnamon Turkey barb. When you’re all done, go back to the top and use your bodkin to separate all but one barb of Kori Bustard from the first strip. After you’re done with that, your married wing “sheath” will look like this:
8. Now, do exactly the same thing with feather strips from the other side of the 6 different feathers. In the end, you’ll have two married feather sheaths, like the below (shown upside down vs. the way that you'll tie them in):
9. Now, pair the married wings just the same way that you did with the strip wings for the March Brown pattern. [Note: a married wing is just an elaborate version of a simple strip wing; with the married wing you re-assemble the barbs back into a strip wing.] Once they’re paired, “tent” them over the Golden Pheasant underwing and tie them in with 5 flattened wraps.
10. Now you’re ready to make up the cheeks; which for this pattern calls for barred Summer Duck (Wood Duck) married to Pintail Duck. I tried marrying the Pintail to the Summer Duck and it didn’t work for me; not at all. So, I left off the Pintail and simply made my cheeks from paired strips of barred Wood Duck. Tie them in at the side of the hook and wing with 4 flattened wraps.
11. The final pair of feathers is the Mallard “roof”; the protective covering for the married wing. This is made from matched strips of Bronze Mallard (the same as what you’ll use on the Spey pattern); about ¼” wide, tied in at the side of the wing with 4-5 flattened wraps.
12. Next, add a Golden Pheasant topping as you did for the last couple of patterns (Black Ranger and Silver Nurse).
13. Finally, put a drop of dilute glue (I use Zap-a Gap, thin) on your bodkin and put it onto the wraps that hold the wing assembly together. [Note: if you’re careful, you can put a small drop of dilute glue on your wraps after each major addition to the wing; this helps keep the materials in place, but it’s not by any means traditional.] Then, holding your wing materials between your left thumb and forefinger, trim up the waste ends, finish the head with thread, dub some more red wool onto your thread and finish the head the same way that you formed the butt. The wool dubbing gives a big-headed fly, but the pattern calls for the wool head.
And that’s it! You’ve just tied up James Wright’s famous Silver Doctor pattern.