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Researching Stimulator History

Posted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:07 pm
by Frequenttyer
I'm hoping the collective knowledge here can help me out with some research I'm doing on the stimulator. I'm tying a demo of this pattern next Saturday and I thought it might be fun to put together a display that traces the fascinating (at least in my opinion) genealogy of this well known pattern. So far I have traced the history back to the original hairwing dry fly the Trude (Carter Harrison 1903) which appears to have influenced Pat Barnes Sofa Pillow and Improved Sofa Pillow (1940s). From what I can gather, it seems Jim Slattery first tied a fly he called a Stimulator in the 1980s which was later modified by Randal Kaufmann to become the pattern we know associate with the name. So far I have been able to recreate every pattern and tie examples or each fly except the Slattery version. Does anyone know what the differences were between Slattery's and Kaufmann's stimulator? As best I can gather Kaufmann was the first to use a curved hook, but I would guess there was something a bit more substantial changed.
If there is interest, I'll post some photos and commentary on the series of flys when I finish. Probably wont be until after the event because I'm moving kinda slow right now.
Thanks in advance for any insight you all might have,
Mike.

Re: Researching Stimulator History

Posted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:27 pm
by narcodog
You can contact Jim at http://www.jimsflyco.com I'm sure he will fill you in.

Re: Researching Stimulator History

Posted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 12:34 am
by Frequenttyer
Thanks Narcodog. I didn't realize he was still in business. I sent an email and hope to get some information from the source.
Mike.

Re: Researching Stimulator History

Posted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 12:39 pm
by Jim Slattery
Hi Mike,
To be honest the Stimulator really wasn't influenced by the Trude or the Sofa Pillow per se, as I only had vague knowledge of those flies at the time of the Stimulators inception. The real influence on the flies design was a live giant eastern stonefly that I had captured that the fish were murdering on the Musconetcong River in NJ. In the span of two consecutive evenings of late night tying sessions the fly came to being. The first version came about the first night of tying and is basically the same bug you see everywhere, There visually wasn't any "modifying" done by Kaufman. There may have been short cuts taken but visually no difference. The second version , the fly that started the "Stimulator" excitement was different in 2 ways. First the wing was tied in strictly at the center point of the fly. When you look at the underside of the bug the thorax clearly starts half way on the fly, just as it does on the natural. Also importantly the wing material ( Deer body hair) was NOT stacked as it was in the first version. this gave a fuller wing that looked as if they were moving. Secondly is the head of the fly, a smallish head did not look like the natural so a larger dubbed head was put on it past the palmered thorax hackle. The protruding head looked like the natural. The curved hook was also a part of both versions as imitating an ovipositing stonefly was the goal . You could see the curved body as the flies dipped down on the water or tried to break free from the surface film once they got caught in it. . The hooks were hand bent Mustad streamer hooks.
FWFW the Montana Fly Company is going to have Slattery's OD Stimulator in their catalog in 2015

Re: Researching Stimulator History

Posted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 10:45 pm
by Frequenttyer
Thanks Jim, That is fantastic information and I really appreciate it. I know that many of us enjoy the back story behind a pattern and knowing what the tyer was thinking when he came up with a new fly. The fact that you started with the captured stone fly is much better than the story I was piecing together, and I'm glad that Montana Fly will make the original more readily available.
Mike.