Hewitt's Neversink Skater

From Halford's early dries to the Catskill dry and everything else that floats on the surface.
catskilljohn
Posts: 4287
Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2009 7:03 am
Location: Yardley,PA- Jeffersonville,NY

Re: Hewitt's Neversink Skater

Post by catskilljohn » Tue Sep 06, 2016 7:22 pm

bearbutt wrote:I've been tying Skaters again, looking at various unresolved issues with more attention, and will be updating this thread shortly. Meanwhile, here's a picture of some of the latest ties:

Image

bb
My Lord Joe, what an assembly of lovelyness!!! That should be on the cover of the New York Times tomorrow morning! Well done sir! CJ

ps...I found the quote and you got a pm.
"Gentlemen,remove your hats,this is it"
"This is where the trout was invented?"
"Oh he existed in a crude,primitive form in Waltons England"
"But this is where they painted spots on him and taught him to swim"

Barleywine
Posts: 323
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:38 am
Location: Wyckoff, NJ

Re: Hewitt's Neversink Skater

Post by Barleywine » Tue Sep 06, 2016 8:13 pm

Brk Trt and bearbutt, those are great-looking flies! A lot of hard to find hackles must have gone into those beauties. Brk Trt, is that Coq de Leon?

-Chuck
"The secret to life is honesty and fair dealing. When you can fake that, you've got it made." ---Groucho Marx

Brk Trt
Posts: 113
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2016 9:23 pm

Re: Hewitt's Neversink Skater

Post by Brk Trt » Tue Sep 06, 2016 8:26 pm

Chuck
It's coq de leon.
It works well.

Brk Trt
Posts: 113
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2016 9:23 pm

Re: Hewitt's Neversink Skater

Post by Brk Trt » Tue Sep 06, 2016 8:31 pm

Today on a spring creek in Connecticut.
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DSCN4656.JPG (558.71 KiB) Viewed 1017 times

tie2fish
Posts: 620
Joined: Mon Dec 23, 2013 4:39 pm
Location: Harford County, Maryland

Re: Hewitt's Neversink Skater

Post by tie2fish » Wed Sep 07, 2016 7:43 am

Oh my ... what a great fish!

catskilljohn
Posts: 4287
Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2009 7:03 am
Location: Yardley,PA- Jeffersonville,NY

Re: Hewitt's Neversink Skater

Post by catskilljohn » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:16 am

Wow, that is a beautiful brook trout! Great pictures too, thanks for that! CJ
"Gentlemen,remove your hats,this is it"
"This is where the trout was invented?"
"Oh he existed in a crude,primitive form in Waltons England"
"But this is where they painted spots on him and taught him to swim"

bearbutt
Posts: 484
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:36 pm

Re: Hewitt's Neversink Skater

Post by bearbutt » Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:39 pm

BrtTrt--

Nice tie and also very nice fish! I love brookies when they are wearing their black fall lipstick--they are at the Goth-like best at this time of year.

I like the look of Coq de Leon, but find that the barbules are too soft for my preference. They are readily available, though, and work well as a 'facing' hackle for Bivisible skaters--and obviously they catch fish!

Getting good spades is harder that I thought. My first efforts focused on the pointy spades, that look like these:

Image

But in time I found the best spades look a little like actual garden spades--they are trapezdoidal in shape, like these:

Image

The dilemma is this: not only are they hard to find--you can go through fifty spade patches to find 10 good feathers--they are also hard to wrap well. On a 14 hook I'll have 4-5 hackles, sometimes 6; on a 16, 4 hackles. Each hackle will get between 3-5 turns (because you do not want much, if any, webbing, except maybe on some badgers and the face hackle on Bivisible Skaters). So you are looking to have, on average 15-20 turns (or more) of hackle. Given that spades have thick stems, that's a really tight bunch, but if you follow Marinaro's instructions, and wrap slightly loosely, and then pinch together the wrapped sections one at a time, you can make it work well. It takes patience though, and now and then a hackle will pop loose--so as you tie off a pinched section, give it a half hitch to hold it down in case the next feather goes awry.

Also, be careful when doing the pinching so you don't jam a finger on the hook. And when you goof a fly and want to start over, be careful cleaning off the hook with a razor blade--I bobbled the razor blade once, and it landed on the floor like this:

Image

I was barefoot too, so take this was a warning that tying Skaters is a dangerous activity.

I'll write more later this week about Marinaro's theory of the "razor edge".

bb

Brk Trt
Posts: 113
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2016 9:23 pm

Re: Hewitt's Neversink Skater

Post by Brk Trt » Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:28 pm

bearbutt
Thanks for the information. I just started taking an interest in Hewett's flies. I did not realize so many capes were needed to get a few good hackles.
I am looking forward to your next installment.
By the way I've been told that Ed Shenk also tied a skater, do you have knowledge of it?

Brk Trt

bearbutt
Posts: 484
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:36 pm

Re: Hewitt's Neversink Skater

Post by bearbutt » Wed Sep 07, 2016 5:05 pm

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 article:

Image

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):

Image

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:

Image

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:

Image

Happy tying,
bb

Brk Trt
Posts: 113
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2016 9:23 pm

Re: Hewitt's Neversink Skater

Post by Brk Trt » Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:45 pm

bearbutt that's great.

On a couple of my skaters I used a little Sally Hansen to help stiffen the hackle. It was OK but I think real stiff natural hackle would be best.

I would also say that many of my presentations were very much like the last photo and they drew strikes.

Brk Trt

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