Brk Trt wrote:
By the way I've been told that Ed Shenk also tied a skater, do you have knowledge of it?
Yes--there's a picture of Shenk's Skaters on page 5 of this thread--from the March 1988 issue of Fly Fisherman
. More on Shenk below.
So--to get back to the razor edge stuff: it was Marinaro, in his article in Outdoor Life
, who described the way the hackle tips should come together. This is what he wrote:
“The most unique feature of the skater—obvious to all that saw them—was the way the hackle fibers came together at the tips, forming a knifelike edge all around the perimeter of the fly like two saucers brought together, with hollow side facing one another. Without this remarkable feature it is not a skater and will not perform as such.” (76)
The Marinaro skater pictured in Valla's Founding Flies
looks a little like this--a sharp line where the hackles come together--and this is how they are show in the Outdoor Life
Now, a fly tied like this won't pass the "Ralph Graves Test" and stand upright by itself, which is how I have been trying to tie them, and which is how Chauncey Lively's also looked, something like this one (which I showed earlier in this thread):
Generally speaking, I can get them pretty tight like Marinaro shows--but not totally quite so knifelike. What's the secret?
Shenk suggests glueing up the tips. This is what he says: "The forward feathers are wrapped one at a time, but these have the shiny side forward. They are pushed rearward and tied off. At this point I put head cement on the hackle tips and then press them together with my fingers. This adds some stiffness and helps keep the fly riding on its tip toes. That's all there is to it." (54-55).
Gotta love how he says that--"That's all there is to it!" As if it's so easy. This is how he pictures the process:
I tried using Cellire once; it was a dismal failure. Does anyone have contact with Shenk? I am curious to know exactly what he used. Some of the flies pictured in his palm on p5 of this thread don't look like they have lacquered tips to me...but who knows?
I'll close this with a picture from Hewitt's original article on Butterfly Fishing from 1937: