Fran Betters' dry fly

From Halford's early dries to the Catskill dry and everything else that floats on the surface.
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Eperous
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Fran Betters' dry fly

Post by Eperous » Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:19 pm

I tied a few of Fran Betters' dry fly today, the Ausable Wulff--- which IMO is withstanding the test of time...

I first started tying/fishing this dry fly in the late 1960's... mostly I fish it on freestone streams like the West Branch of the Ausable River in the Adirondacks, plus the Esopus and Beaverkill in the Catskills... BUT, there have been numerous occasions in the retreating light of late afternoon, or early evening, on tailwaters like the lower Neversink, plus the East and West Branches of the Delaware--- all below their respective dams--- that a few good trout have sucked down an AW when taking little to nothing else... and in the the day when I was more a Beaverkill regular, when that fabled Green Drake hatch took place, a #10 AW was all I needed fishing pocket water...

Below are a few #12's AW's with two #14's & a #16 mixed in...
FB-dry fly.jpg
FB-dry fly.jpg (92.19 KiB) Viewed 3038 times
A #12 AW tied on a Mustad 94840 is my favorite size, but I tie/carry them in sizes 10 to 16, plus a few smaller... I couldn't imagine starting another trout season w/o several dozen of Fran Betters' dry fly tied up and ready to fish...

Ed

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Re: Fran Betters' dry fly

Post by SgtMajUSMC » Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:22 pm

As Fran states in his book-"a den of Ausable Wulffs!"

They look good, Ed. One of my favorites, also.

Best,

Tim

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Re: Fran Betters' dry fly

Post by greyfox » Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:00 pm

I have a lot of success on his flies, my favorite being the Ausable Bomber, anyone who likes fishing dries in fast water should look at his flies.
"There's mosquitoes on the river Fish are rising up like birds"
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Re: Fran Betters' dry fly

Post by reservoirman » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:00 pm

Back in 1989, I took my first trip out to Fran Betters Adirondack fly shop.Id always wanted to fish in the Ausable and I had been reading about Fran Betters, and I was surprised when I walked into his fly shop and saw him sitting there tying up mini muddlers which I have been fishing from that day on.I found him to be a first class gentleman.This was the month of August,and trout fishing was not in its best month,even tho we wer tent camping and it got downrite cold that week we were there.I asked him where he thought I could get into some trout and he told me to go down below the dam on the Ausable about a half mile below his fly shop.I went down there the next morning about 7 am and there must of been a hundred fish jumping all around that white foam to a black caddis hatch.What impressed me the most was how fast he could tie those mini muddlers.I think he tied 3 while I was in there and thats waiting on customers too.I bought a bunch of those ausable wullfs, and found them pretty effective around here too.I saw that he passed awile back,I was wondering if anybody ever bought his fly shop,as I saw it was for sale and I dont think it sold before he died. Stan

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Eperous
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Re: Fran Betters' dry fly

Post by Eperous » Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:25 pm

reservoirman wrote:... walked into his fly shop and saw him sitting there tying up mini muddlers which I have been fishing from that day on. ... I saw that he passed awile back,I was wondering if anybody ever bought his fly shop ...
Stan, I agree with you about Fran being a super individual and his Mini-Muddler a deadly fly pattern... I said that on the board a while back, here: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=2365&hilit=+muddler+minnow in fact, it's a top ten trout fly in my book...

When I met Fran back in the late 1960's, he told me to put a little mucilin on the Mini-Muddler... fish it with a strip... tug it under the water's surface, then pause the fly line allowing the little streamer/wet fly to pop back up to the stream's surface... the entire process stimulates a "hatching something"... haven't done this in years, but it did work for me in the past...

I believe Fran sold his shop once after years of trying, but then ended up getting it back again before he died... I think his shop closed since his death, but a few other members of this board would probably have definite info on this question...

Ed

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mickalo
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Re: Fran Betters' dry fly

Post by mickalo » Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:55 pm

I've never had the pleasure of meeting the man but have always admired his patterns. I tie allot of his Usual & Haystacker. I like his use of the natural materials, which I favor myself.
Mike
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reservoirman
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Re: Fran Betters' dry fly

Post by reservoirman » Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:55 pm

You know Ed Ill tell you a funny story about Fran Betters. He alsso did a little guiding on the Ausable and he probably knew every hole on that river. He told me for 25 dollars he would show me some of the most productive spots on the river.He tole me to meet him at 2 oclock the next afternoon. This was also the first trip I ever took my wife on when we first met so I couldnt leave her in the tent at the campground so I took her along.Well this was about a 2 hour trip and we went in Frans pickup truck.What a ride we did the whole river in those 2 hours doing about 60 on those country roads.He was talking and smoking the whole way and we just held on for dear life.He must of known them roads by heart because he didnt look at the road very often.When we got back to the adirondacl fly shop we thanked him because he showed me some pretty fishy places, the kind that locals know, but my wife got back to the car and said thats why you never accept rides from a stranger.He was a great guy and left his own kind of footprint on flyfishing and tying. Stan

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Eperous
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Re: Fran Betters' dry fly

Post by Eperous » Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:58 pm

mickalo wrote:I've never had the pleasure of meeting the man but have always admired his patterns. I tie allot of his Usual & Haystacker...
Yikes Mike, my very next post on this board... :| the Haystack :D

Ed
Last edited by Eperous on Sat Feb 09, 2013 6:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Fran Betters' dry fly

Post by squish67 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 7:46 pm

There are many great Fran Betters stories, but the best I remember is around 1975, when he got tired of his toupee falling off. He had some Barge Cement lying around, slaped it on the toupee and his skull, let it set 15 or 20 minutes and slapped them together! Didn't come off, even when he wanted it too. I think he finally went to the ER to get it removed. All you need is Wulff's, Mini Muddlers and Haystax's! he used to say, and he was pretty much right!

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Re: Fran Betters' dry fly

Post by Barleywine » Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:54 pm

Great looking Ausable Wulffs Ed. I'm a bit late getting to this post, but wanted to share about one of my favorite flies and Fran Betters. Fran encouraged me to tye it parachute style, saying that it worked better that way. I did this for awhile since I don't split hair wings very well. After fishing both styles, I'm partial to the original, and sometimes just leave the wing in an unsplit clump to simplify the pattern. Just like Fran told you to grease up the mini-muddler and pull it under, he told me to fish the Usual the same way. He must have liked that emerging caddis concept. One time I went to Fran's shop with a Haystack I tyed that I was proud of. When I showed it to him, he pointed out 3 things that I should have done differently, and handed me one of his. His fly looked like somebody's first fly :)
But that was the beauty of Mr. Betters. He was always helpful, memorable, and tyed flies that were designed to catch more fish than fishermen.

I've often seen this fly tyed with a creamish tan body in fly bins and catalogs. Strange that a pattern created by such a well-known angler would get changed that way.
"The secret to life is honesty and fair dealing. When you can fake that, you've got it made." ---Groucho Marx

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