I see where Andy Brasko is attending TroutFest this year tying his beautiful wet fly patterns.
You are all in for a treat.
Andy is well know up north here, When my monthly copy of the Catskill Fly Tyers Guild
Newsletter would come, the first thing, and I mean the first thing I did was turn to
Andy's monthly column and read it.
As you can see by the few posts he has put up he is very honest and
passionate about his art. If any of you are lucky to get to watch him tie,
ask questions about his techniques and such, you will not get a quick and
easy answer, he will take his time to fully explain it. No short cuts here.
The detail of his flies are something to behold.
Another thing that you won't find him posting about, Andy is an
Officer in the Ray Neirle, South Jersey Chapter of Trout Unlimited,
and he also an Officer of New Jersey State Council of Trout Unlimited.
So reading about him going to Townsend, TN to help out a very worthy cause for TU is nothing new.
Wet Fly History in East Tn.
AK and Andy,
Let me share with you some of the history of the Wet Fly in this part of the country and maybe it will give you some perspective as how to deal with speaking about your flies on this board and when you are at Trout Fest in the Summer. You can probably count on one hand all the people who frequent this bulletin board and who fish in the Smokies who go back far enough to have any experience with fishing Wet Flies. This is my 60th year at Flyfishing and it began in the early 50s. Wet Flies were the fly of choice at this time and I fished them for 3-4 years. In my world, Nymphs began to replace them and Dry Flies as well. In just a short peroid of time the Wet Fly disappeared completely in the Smokies until about 12 years ago. I and others began to tie some Emerger and Wet Fly patterns that were used to some extent in the GSMNP and on area Tailwaters. To sum it up, very few people in this area have any exposure to Dressed Wet Flies like the Ray Bergman selections so you are going to be on new ground and many explanations will need to go with your flies to help others understand how and when to use them in this area.
Thanks again for sharing time with us.
Hugh is absolutely spot on when it comes to the historical use of wet flies; I might mention that this was a nationwide use however. When I was a teen the few fly shops I was able to visit feature tradiional wets and "traditional catskill drys".
About the only "place" I saw nymphs was in the Orvis catalog in those days and there were only a few "traditional" offerings.
What's most remarkable is that traditional wets worked well and my generation gravitated away from them! My belief is that trout strike them out of curiosity or perhaps they create an instinctive desire to bite.... much like an Atlantic Salmon Fly.
Who really knows?
My bet is that Hugh, myself and several others have bits of this and that in our fly tying supplies that demonstrate the progression away from the tying and use of traditional wet flies.
Matching the hatch became everything thirty years ago and wets match nothing.....
Funny how we all figure trout to be so smart as to "require" hatch matching when they have a brain the size of a pea.... traditional wets are BLING and trout like BLING as everyone is now adding FLASH to nymphs.
What goes around comes around.
Although I know absolutely nothing about catskill & new england aquatic insects, I'd imagine you're correct about the crazy looking wets with married wings of 3 different colors being nothing more than bling....and its possible that these are the wets you were referring to.
Yes Grannyknot..... referring to the Bling colors; not the hendrickson, blue quills or other wets that are essential a wet version of a Darby or Dette dry fly or some of the UK/Ireland drys.
Traditional wets and American Landlocked streamers (I believe) likley evolved from the Atlantic Salmon patterns used in Western European Countries.... Andy may correct me if I'm incorrect!
In my youth I was fortunate enough to visit a bunch of the old school catskill, pocono and connecticut "fly shops" owned by guys who tied all the beautiful wets and dries that originated nearly 100 years ago. These guys had billions of flies in the walk out basements, garage shops or outbuildings... it was like a visit to CandyLand.
When I moved up to Maine in the early 80's the few shops around the State where Landlocked Salmon were in the Rivers (Rangley area and Moosehead as well as LLBean) sold magnifcent Streamers.... like Grey Ghost, 9-3 Supervisor, Magog Smelt and all the Carrie Stevens Patterns.
I used to tie many of them but over the years like my friends I bastardized the "True Patterns" with more modern materials and synthetics and used marabou in place of saddle feathers because they held up better and seemed to catch more fish.... don't know that I have any Silver or golden pheasant left any more.... heck I may not have virtually any duck quill for that matter... time to go hunting! Where can I shoot an IBIS?
Andy.... have you ever considered marabou to replace matched Quills on your wets.... OR would this be blasphomy? I may try it and you can beat me with an old Fenwick glass rod or piece of bamboo.
Hi Hugh & Corbo:
Let's take a stroll a long time ago, the scene is Theodore gordon moves to the Catskills and fishes streams like the Willowemoc, Beaverkill, Esopus Creek and the Neversink. What type of fly is he using, a classic wet fly that was the norm for his era an extremely big acoss the pond in England and where abouts. So one day he starts noticing that while making the first cast with a wet fly, the fly just barely hit the water and he gets a strike. Not sure he he caught a Trout, but the point here he learned a thing or two. Then he starts fishing wet flies up stream and stripping the fly line at the speed of the stream and start catching fish, So why is this important. Because this is where Gordon starts learning the first basic ideas of Dry fly fishing. Gordon has numerous talks with G.E.M Skues and Halford. Skues at this time is considered a rebel because of his theory on nymphing and that color plays and important part in catching fish. Halford hears Gordons stories and sends his dry flies that Halford fishes with on the chalk streams ( slow moving really no riffles and such). Gordon when he receives these flies realizes the fly will not float and get pulled under current by the tougher Catskill streams. Gordon goes on a 5 year mission and developes the first origional Catskill dry fly and is believed to have thrown it on the Beaverkill that is now marked with a sign next to the Beaverkill covered bridge today. The fly by gordon was the Quill Gordon that took about 5 years to create that he is satisfide with. Gordon went in search of feathers that were stiff and durables that could with stand the tougher streams of the Catskill. So from this era, Christianson comes about and see's Gordon's flies and later Rubin Cross a little further down the Road LaBranch and the Dette's and Darbee's are about as well as John Atherton and Lee Wulff. Also you can see Bergman about who also loved wet flies and Dry flies. The Dry fly Era was born and the wet fly started dying a slow death. But the funny part is that the supposed father of the Dry Fly was really a wet fly fisherman. Tomorrow night I will post again and start talking about wet flies and why this dying art is not practiced today and how really affective are the Bergman wet fly collection on Trout really is. Until I start breaking this down with detail and experience I will tell you the patterns found in Bergman's book are highly affective. We will also talk about what some of the patterns imitate.
I am enjoying this topic. I think my greatest strength fly fishing is with wet flies and a 'dynamic' method of fly fishing. There are many days when I absolutely kill it on wet flies. However; it is not my favorite type of fishing. I truly enjoy stalking a trout with a dry fly and watching the take. I would rather catch one fish a day on a dry fly than 30 fish on another.
Man O Man, Andy!
Theodore Gordon would love to be here in the Smokies right now. The Quill Gordons are pouring off and I had a great time this week fishing with one. You've got my attention completely with this post and I'm looking forward to the next installment. I am going back in time thinking of my youth as you speak of these men who began this journey. I'm sure it will open doors from an earlier time with others who had the opportunity to share in this trivia of the past. When you get down here this summer you will see what an influence it has had on the fly fishing world. I'm looking forward to seeing you and watch you tie.
After Rutgers Camden 1984 I moved to Maine from South Jersey (Cherry Hill) so I could fly fish for trout at will and not need to travel great distances or only enjoy an occassional weekend.
Then the fishing on my favorite tailwater went to **** and the stripers stopped coming to Maine.....
Hence I moved to East TN where I can actually flyfish year round.....
SO; when are you going to move HERE?
Brothers on the board; a call to action... let's get Andy onto lotsa fish during his visit and s[poil him rotten in the Park and on a few tailwaters!
Southern NJ is no place for a fly fisher!
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