Katterman tail?

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troutingintas
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Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:34 pm

Katterman tail?

Post by troutingintas »

Image

The above photo of a 'Katterman' (tied by Frank Kuttner) is from the Sparse Grey Matter Dry Fly Pattern Database,
posted by catskilljohn.

When I first looked at the photo, I thought the hackle tip tail was tied horizontal like a beaver tail. But, on second thoughts it may actually be vertical like a trout tail, its hard to tell from the photo. Either way, a hackle tip tail on a dry fly is unusual.

I sent catskilljohn a PM asking if he knew the reason why Dette created the tail as such?

John kindly replied, “I dont know the reason for it, but I can tell you the guy who tyed it is probably the fussiest, get-it-right, stickler for detail tyer I know. Frank lives just a 1/4 mile from the Willow, and he tyes this fly for a local club that owns water on the upper Beaverkill. In a little tying session I took place in over at his shop, he told me "the tail is tyed upright", but I didn't ask why
Frank is the last of the Catskill greats, and was very close to Harry Darbee in his last few years. If you ever see or buy a Frank Kuttner fly, be assured it is historically accurate. He has seen it all, and seen it firsthand from the ones who originated it.”

I googled around and found that the fly is often fished by drawing it across riffles. Perhaps, the hackle tip tail is there to keep the fly from rolling as it is drawn across the surface. But that’s just a thought!

Cheers
Alan
Last edited by troutingintas on Fri Jan 20, 2012 1:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

mikevalla
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Re: Katterman tail?

Post by mikevalla »

It was a common tail on all the many "Bivisible" patterns (the Brown Bi and all the others, too)

>>I have photos of a whole bunch of Dette-tied Bivisibles, an entire series--from the late 1930's--that don't show the dual hackle tip tails in the orientation you're asking about; they were essentially flat-tied, not vertical. Or canted up. (you'll see the photos in my new book, whenever I get the thing done!) Dettes tied early Bivisibles with the dual points; but they tied them with barb tails, too.

The Katterman tail was no doubt a spin-off from the tails on the Bivisibles; the Katterman is a close cousin of the Bivisible.
(Also, look at all the Bivisible patterns in Bergman's Trout. They all have the dual tails, and are more "flat".)

I watched Walt Dette tie many, many Kattermans, many years ago. I can't recall exactly (it's been a long time) but I don't seem to remember him tying the hackle tip tails vertical at all--in fact, as I remember, they were hackle barbs--not hackle points. He certainly never instructed me to tie them that way--but again, it's been a long time. However, there's a Walt-tied Katterman in my "Tying Catskill-Style Dry Flies" book, page 190--the tails are brown, not cream.

As far as Frank's Katterman. If learned from anyone how to tie it, it would have been from Elsie Darbee (not Harry), and not Dettes.
Elsie used a single cream hackle point tail--cream..at least in one era. There's a Frank-tied Katterman on page 218

You know--there are no set rules; Frank could have very well just decided to tie it per his desires.

This is what drives me nuts; there ain't just one way to tie these things, dudes.


-MV
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Eperous
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Re: Katterman tail?

Post by Eperous »

mikevalla wrote: ... This is what drives me nuts; there ain't just one way to tie these things, dudes.
Mr. Valla... are we talking about sending a rocket to Mars here, or having some fun tying a few fishin' flies... :P

Ed

mikevalla
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Re: Katterman tail?

Post by mikevalla »

That's my point....it's supposed to be fun.
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Eperous
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Re: Katterman tail?

Post by Eperous »

mikevalla wrote:That's my point....it's supposed to be fun.
Oh boy, guess I'm a bit slower than usual tonight... :oops: probably has to due with the fact I'm older now than when I woke up this morning.... :lol: :lol: :lol:

Ed

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