Bivisibles from the Paul H. Young Co., Detroit, MI

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Bivisibles from the Paul H. Young Co., Detroit, MI

Postby quashnet » Sun Aug 18, 2013 5:57 pm

In his book Fly Patterns and Their Origins, Harold Hinsdill Smedley noted that some people claimed Bivisibles originated in his home state of Michigan. Smedley seemed content, though, to credit E.R. Hewitt. Smedley said that he and other Michigan anglers were using the fly as early as 1921. Here are some Bivisibles supplied by the Paul H. Young Co. of Detroit, MI. Paul Young was well known as a fly tier long before he began to build bamboo rods.

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Smedley wrote that "credit for the Badger Bivisible goes to Charles Merrill of Detroit, in his day reputed dean of Detroit fly tiers and founder of the F.F.F.F. Club. Mr. Merrill died in 1940."

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This Badger Bivisible has been fished. The earliest Paul H. Young Co. catalog that I have is dated 1934. There is a drawing of a Bivisible on the cover. In a private letter Young said that fly tying brought his company through the Great Depression.

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Part of a PHY "Trik-Kutter" can be seen beside this Brown Bivisible. One of its functions was as a primitive hemostat. "Use my Trik-Kutter," wrote Young in the description of the Bivisible fly in his 1934 catalog, "to remove the hook from fish's mouth, instead of smashing the hackles flat with the finger and thumb."

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In 1934, Paul H. Young supplied Bivisibles in sizes 10 - 18 for $1.50 per dozen, and sizes 4 - 8 for $1.75 per dozen. Colors were Brown, Gray, Badger, Black, Yellow, Olive, Claret, and White.

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Re: Bivisibles from the Paul H. Young Co., Detroit, MI

Postby The Novice Returns » Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:37 pm

What an interesting and informative post, Thanks. :)
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Re: Bivisibles from the Paul H. Young Co., Detroit, MI

Postby redietz » Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:20 am

Cool! They look like they were just tied yesterday.

Young invented the Strawman nymph, and the first soft hackles that Syl Nemes encountered were tied by him. (He originally believe that PHY had invented them.)
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Re: Bivisibles from the Paul H. Young Co., Detroit, MI

Postby quashnet » Mon Aug 19, 2013 1:01 am

Although Arnold Gingrich credited Paul Young with creating the Strawman nymph, Young first learned about the fly from W.O. Stoddard of Detroit. A member of the Pere Marquette Rod and Gun Club, Stoddard said that he obtained the original from a Native American, probably on a fishing and camping trip. Stoddard showed the original Strawman to Young and asked him to tie up an order of the nymphs for him. This is a Strawman nymph from the Paul H. Young Co., shown on the printer's block illustration for Figure 3, the Strawman, for Young's book Making and Using the Fly and Leader.

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Even when he had become as well known or better known for his rods than his flies, Young was careful to say that he hadn't really invented anything, including parabolic action in fly rods. Young believed that the only thing that he might have invented - and only because he hadn't heard of anyone else doing it first - was to provide two different types of tips for a single fly rod butt, a dry tip and a "wet" parabolic tip, thus effectively giving the angler two rods in one.
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Re: Bivisibles from the Paul H. Young Co., Detroit, MI

Postby Eperous » Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:02 pm

Quashnet,

Those are gorgeous looking Bivisibles... I still fish the Brown Bivisible on the upper Neversink for wild brook trout, in honor of Edward Hewitt... In fact, I did so this Wednesday just past...

I don't want to get into any debate at all on this matter, but it seems most "angling historians" give Edward R. Hewitt credit for developing/"introducing" this dry fly... right or wrong, here's what Hewitt--- the Catskill master angler himself--- had to say about the Bivisible in HIS book, Those were the Days, published in 1943... From page 315:

"I have also made many new types of flies for both trout and salmon fishing. One trout fly, which I introduced, although it was not entirely a new design, is almost the most popular fly in use today. It is the ‘Bivisible,’ so named because I could see it and the trout could see it.”

So just maybe he didn't originate the first Bivisible, but maybe Hewitt made its use popular back "in the day"...

Just saying,

Ed
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Re: Bivisibles from the Paul H. Young Co., Detroit, MI

Postby redietz » Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:24 pm

I've taken trout on Bivisibles this month myself. It's still a great concept.

I wonder if the "not entirely a new design" he was thinking of fore-and-aft flies, and that he came up with the idea of filling in the middle?
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Re: Bivisibles from the Paul H. Young Co., Detroit, MI

Postby quashnet » Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:08 pm

The basic template for bivisibles, fore-and-afts, etc., is the palmer hackle, which has been around literally for hundreds of years. I believe that Hewitt's innovation was simply to add the turns of white hackle in front, so as to be able to spot the position of a brown or black fly in low-light conditions.
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Re: Bivisibles from the Paul H. Young Co., Detroit, MI

Postby redietz » Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:33 pm

quashnet wrote:The basic template for bivisibles, fore-and-afts, etc., is the palmer hackle, which has been around literally for hundreds of years. I believe that Hewitt's innovation was simply to add the turns of white hackle in front, so as to be able to spot the position of a brown or black fly in low-light conditions.


I was thinking that the Renegade (which also has the white to the front) might be older, but they're both from the 20's.

Plus, hackles (i.e. palmer hackles) were generally wet flies.
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Re: Bivisibles from the Paul H. Young Co., Detroit, MI

Postby quashnet » Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:20 pm

The Renegade has survived to the present day, but in the 1920s and 1930s all sorts of patterns were tied fore-and-aft. At that time Willmarth Tackle Co. of Roosevelt, NY cataloged fore-and'aft floating patterns for trout and salmon in Beaverkill, Black Gnat, Blue Dun, Brown Hackle, Coachman, Grizzly King, Grey hackle, March Brown, Olive Dun, Professor, White Miller, and Wickham Fancy. The rear hackle was always the color of the regular hackle on the standard pattern, while the front hackle was the wing color of the standard pattern, and the result was, according to the catalog, "in some patterns the bi-visible effect is obtained, which has been found very taking in dry salmon flies." Willmarth also sold "dry salmon flies, on English tested hollow point, turn-down eye hooks. Full, thick hackle," and two patterns were the Brown Bivisible and Gray Bivisible. So there was already a rich and varied expression of Fore-and-Afts and Bivisibles by that time. I think both patterns predate the 1920s; a claim is made in some books that Hewitt tied his first Bivisible in 1898. For that matter, I see no particular reason why palmer hackle flies could not have been fished dry by some anglers throughout the 1800s, or even earlier.
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Re: Bivisibles from the Paul H. Young Co., Detroit, MI

Postby redietz » Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:33 pm

quashnet wrote: For that matter, I see no particular reason why palmer hackle flies could not have been fished dry by some anglers throughout the 1800s, or even earlier.


I'm sure they were. I've read several pre-dry fly anglers (Stewart comes immediately to mind) who commented on the fact that often their flies worked better before they became water-logged and sank; they just didn't have any means of keeping them from getting that way. False casting was not something easily done before the cane rod.

I was aware that there were plenty of fore-and-aft flies in 20's. I wasn't aware of any being called bivisible, though, before Hewitt.

I'm just trying to parse what he meant when he said that he introduced them, even though the general concept was known. He must have felt he contributed something to them.
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