I may have found a Treasure

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Jay Wirth
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2016 7:33 am
Location: Vestal, NY
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I may have found a Treasure

Post by Jay Wirth »

As a production jig tyer dad had a habit of picking up neat and unusual things he found during his bait shop deliveries. Usually it was a tying technique or style he planned to copy (I still do the same thing). Dad was also a fly fisherman and told me of his 8 hr drive (I think it was closer to 2 1/2) from Binghamton, NY to the West Branch of the Delaware and Beaverkill Rivers - before the quick-way (rt 17) was built. As a tyer in the 60's he also processed and dyed his own tails & feathers and did tell me of the Catskill farmers he knew that raised their own hackle chickens.

SO...

Going through a file drawer of old jigs I found a bunch of nicely tied flies but one in particular makes me a little excited (bare with me my wife just rolled her eyes and asked if I was going to show my fly fishing friends).

This could possibly have been tied by Lee Wulff this fly looks to have a porcupine quill body with a few fibers of grizzly hackle for a wing and collar tied in the Catskill style with space behind the eye of the hook. It looks like the quill was put onto the hook shank and the hackle tide around the quill itself.

I have been in possession of this file cabinet since 2000 and have even added some of my own jig finds to the mix (mostly forum swaps). I enjoy going through and looking at all the real old 'must have' lures. It is quite possible this box has been sitting in the file drawer since the 50's - though being a plastic hook box maybe 60's.

Ill have to check for the next Catskills Tiers meeting to see if I can maybe get a better ID on this fly.

Ill get more pictures up later this afternoon.
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“Everyone has a responsibility to not only tolerate another person's point of view, but also to accept it eagerly as a challenge to your own understanding. And express those challenges in terms of serving other people.”

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Jay Wirth
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2016 7:33 am
Location: Vestal, NY
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Re: I may have found a Treasure

Post by Jay Wirth »

I had some time for a few photos along with a few other flies from the same file drawer.
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“Everyone has a responsibility to not only tolerate another person's point of view, but also to accept it eagerly as a challenge to your own understanding. And express those challenges in terms of serving other people.”

Arlo Guthrie

catskilljohn
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Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2009 7:03 am
Location: Yardley,PA- Jeffersonville,NY

Re: I may have found a Treasure

Post by catskilljohn »

I couldn't say for sure who tied it, but the body looks almost to be made of plastic? That could be a clue and if so, Lee, always the innovator, tied many flies with plastic, rubber etc bodies. Matter of fact, and I have it here somewhere, at Fly-Fest a few years ago we had a little contest to tie a fly using one of Lee's preformed plastic bodies as the foundation.

You should bring it along and let Dave Brandt look at it. He has been associated with Lee from way back and I guess he would know as well as anyone. Good luck, CJ
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Jay Wirth
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2016 7:33 am
Location: Vestal, NY
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Re: I may have found a Treasure

Post by Jay Wirth »

Possibly plastic though my first guess before opening the box was porcupine quill
“Everyone has a responsibility to not only tolerate another person's point of view, but also to accept it eagerly as a challenge to your own understanding. And express those challenges in terms of serving other people.”

Arlo Guthrie

SgtMajUSMC
Posts: 666
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:25 pm

Re: I may have found a Treasure

Post by SgtMajUSMC »

Jay,

As CJ stated, it sure looks like one of Lee Wulff's "Flies of the Future", that had injection molded plastic bodies and had the materials melted into the plastic using solvent instead of being tied with thread. Agnes Van Put tells a great story about making these flies for the Wulffs. Too funny.

Best,

Tim

Jay Wirth
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Location: Vestal, NY
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Re: I may have found a Treasure

Post by Jay Wirth »

So the word from Royal Wulff Products Is that this fly is consistent with flies Lee made. Because of the plastic flash on the body it is likely tied by Lee Wulff himself (flies that were sold were first cleaned up). The plastic box is also the type used by Lees company at the time (early - mid 80s). I didnt get a 100% certain but I was more than happy with the 99% certain that this was a fly tied by Lee Wulff.

A very nice keep-sake.
“Everyone has a responsibility to not only tolerate another person's point of view, but also to accept it eagerly as a challenge to your own understanding. And express those challenges in terms of serving other people.”

Arlo Guthrie

ted patlen
Posts: 1995
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:03 am

Re: I may have found a Treasure

Post by ted patlen »

timmy, if i remember correctly, agnes said that she as well as a few other women in the area were recruited by Lee to mold the bodies then he attached the feathers later on...no thread was used they were melted on...i don't know the exact process but i guess he partially disolved the bodies then ayyached the feathers.

SgtMajUSMC
Posts: 666
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:25 pm

Re: I may have found a Treasure

Post by SgtMajUSMC »

Hey, Teddy,

Yes, spot on. She told me a great story how Lee recruited her to make up the flies. Then she haggled with him regarding payment.

They were done up by melting the plastic with solvent, then wrapping the hackle or placing the hair into the melted body.
I remember reading about them in an article in Fly Rod & Reel, probably late 80's or so by Lee Wulff. He proclaimed them to be the flies of the future as they used no thread. Strange concept, but who would argue with him (except maybe Joan and Agnes!)

So, he has also written in other places that the Surface Stonefly with the molded body was a favorite fly of his for Atlantic salmon.

I also remember getting a flyer from Royal Wulff products that was advertising kits for these flies. I got a couple of them from J. B. Martin during a Fly Fest, they were the basic ingredient for the "contest fly" that year, as CJ said.

Interesting concept. There was talk that the molds were destroyed in a flood at some point, and there wasn't enough interest to have the dies made again, as I recall.

Interesting topic.

Tim

bearbutt
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Re: I may have found a Treasure

Post by bearbutt »

SgtMajUSMC wrote:
I also remember getting a flyer from Royal Wulff products that was advertising kits for these flies.
Yes, the No. 6 Streamer Fly Kit "for making flies by Lee Wulff's new and better method"

Indestructible! Easy to Make!
No Vise--No Thread--No Tying

Image

The molds must have been pretty interesting--four bodies at a time--the clear body shows the hooks had kinked shanks. Using these we could easily replicate the molds if we wanted to--but I am not sure it would be worth the effort.

Image

But I love the colors of these bodies! The finished streamers looked like....streamers:

Image

OK, optics. Shushan NY had more than a famous postmaster--it had the Form-A-Lure Co. as well!

bb

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quashnet
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Re: I may have found a Treasure

Post by quashnet »

Here are some examples of the Lee Wulff "Surface Stonefly," with molded bodies and parachute hackles.

Image
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