Elsie Darbee tyed wet flies

Wets, the subtle art form where masters are few and far between.
narcodog
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Re: Elsie Darbee tyed wet flies

Post by narcodog » Mon Dec 31, 2012 10:44 am

I think Mike V.'s mantra would apply. Who, what period and where it was tyed. Or something like that.

ted patlen
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Re: Elsie Darbee tyed wet flies

Post by ted patlen » Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:53 am

thee are so many factors the tyers of yesteryear dealt with...just put yourself into their place ...

you have 10 dozen coachman wets in 3 sizes to tie. what materials do you have on hand? what if you only have enough of the coachman brown wet fly quality , meaning poor grade dry fly quality, hackles of the perfect length...how do you finish the rest? use hen? some other brown feather? defeo style throat? dry fly hackle? use a different color?

wings...the sweet spot on duck quills is very small ...that's alot of quills same question...what were the preferred options? goose wings? turkey? slightly different color? recurved ends...this could be what was in the book in another thread.

in another thread nik wanted to know about teal pin feathers...they are just about useless except for winging dries and wets in a bunched up/brush style. so he and all the others used whatever heavily barred feathers they could find...from teal, woody, mallard, anything. (i don't know if the pin feather talked about in niks thread is the feather shown. there are very small imatute feathers on skins that look like little barred artist paint brushes...about 1/2 long)

it is impossible to put out hundreds of dozens of flies that are exactly the same in color/texture etc using natural materials...all birds are similar but not exactly the same....carrie stevens did the same thing, as did oatman and bergman...

go i love this insignifcant stuff!!!!!!!

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ewpeper
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Re: Elsie Darbee tyed wet flies

Post by ewpeper » Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:25 pm

Extremely well stated Yo-Man!

Eric
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Al McClane in his Introduction to The Practical Fly Fisherman . . . often erroneously attributed to Arnold Gingrich

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Re: Elsie Darbee tyed wet flies

Post by eaustin » Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:12 pm

I've got a couple of observations. There was a comment made that Elsie's flies remind one of Irish wet flies. As to the collar, that's correct, though some Irish flies are tied with the hackle in front of the wing. Irish flies however are almost always tied tips together, I can't come up with an exception to this, though there may be one. The wet flies I remember as a kid were quite beautiful, and sold on cards and tied on snelled hooks, all tips together. I remember well how perfect they looked though, and I also remember how bad they looked after some fishing. It was always so disappointing to me. Maybe that's why I switched to dries back then.

I've seen enough of Bergman's stuff now to know that he did his flies both ways, and it looks like that might have been the case with Elsie too, not sure, can't tell from the photo. J. Edson Leonard liked tips apart, for the added action. For some time I was quite confident that tips together was "right" and now I'm quite confident that I have no confidence either way. Thanks John for the post. The flies are wonderful.
Eric

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Re: Elsie Darbee tyed wet flies

Post by Jim Slattery » Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:29 am

It sure looks as if the "Elsie Darbee" flies are tied both ways. The reason for the quotation marks is simple. The Darbee's hired out a lot of their flies, so it would not be a leap in faith to think that some of these flies were tied by others, such as Frank Cutner, who may have tied for Elsie and Harry at the time these flies were sent to Al McClain. It is at least in the realm of possibility that other tiers may have tied some of these flies as well.
As posted in the other threads on this subject, and was questioned before as to what was the proper way to tie in the wings, concave side out or in , I will offer up this: Jim Leisenring used to tie his wings depending on what stage of the insect he was trying to imitate. If it was a dun he would tie the wing with the dull side out. If he wanted to replicate a spinner he would tie the shiny side out . Perfectly logical and as Leisenring was known to fish wets on the surface or just below it with flies tied on light wire hooks, it is easy to see where he was going with this. He also did not like to use mallard for his wings as he felt it was too thick and stiff. He preferred material as such "The ideal wing material is that which has the transparency,thinness, pliableness and markings of a natural insects wings. He found these wing materials were often on the same birds that had the hackle he liked as well, so it was on hand.

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catskilljohn
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Re: Elsie Darbee tyed wet flies

Post by catskilljohn » Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:39 am

Jim Slattery wrote:It sure looks as if the "Elsie Darbee" flies are tied both ways. The reason for the quotation marks is simple. The Darbee's hired out a lot of their flies, so it would not be a leap in faith to think that some of these flies were tied by others, such as Frank Cutner, who may have tied for Elsie and Harry at the time these flies were sent to Al McClain. It is at least in the realm of possibility that other tiers may have tied some of these flies as well.
I think these actual flies were tyed by Elsie, as there is a little note on the bottom of the pages that specify who tyed the flies pictured. CJ
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Re: Elsie Darbee tyed wet flies

Post by mikevalla » Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:16 am

You can clearly see the concave in on these. I believe its the style they tye them in that sometimes gives the wing a split look.
That has always been my thought, too. Also, Elsie often used rooster hackle---not soft hen hackle (she even gave that option in the McClane dressings). That, along with wrapping hackle as opposed to a throat, makes it difficult (sometimes) for the quill slips to hold tight; they tend to flare out resembling a "split wing" tied in the convex to convex fashion---purposely making the wings "split." The hackle barbs protruding up through the wing slips cause a barrier of sorts, forcing them apart.

Here's an example: An "accidental" split wing wet fly.

If you look at my Long Shank/Long Wing Leadwing Coachman --- (my favorite for Isonychia emergences)---the wings appear as though I desired a split wing. But the wings are tied concave to concave. It just appears to be tied in "split wing" style (convex to convex).

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catskilljohn
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Re: Elsie Darbee tyed wet flies

Post by catskilljohn » Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:00 am

mikevalla wrote:
You can clearly see the concave in on these. I believe its the style they tye them in that sometimes gives the wing a split look.
That has always been my thought, too. Also, Elsie often used rooster hackle---not soft hen hackle (she even gave that option in the McClane dressings). That, along with wrapping hackle as opposed to a throat, makes it difficult (sometimes) for the quill slips to hold tight; they tend to flare out resembling a "split wing" tied in the convex to convex fashion---purposely making the wings "split." The hackle barbs protruding up through the wing slips cause a barrier of sorts, forcing them apart.
Bingo! That's what I am talking about, they may look split and convex...but they are not. There must be some examples out there tyed by the Darbee's, find one that's tyed convex and split and we will talk, I never saw one ;) 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"

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Re: Elsie Darbee tyed wet flies

Post by Jim Slattery » Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:11 pm

Cj,
Saw that the flies are attributed to Elsie, just saying it can be possible that others tiers work may be included in this set. There appears to be some inconsistencies with some of the bodies and heads. Then again Mikes mantra rings true as well, what day...
Mike,
Your photo clearly demonstrates the "accidental" split wing wet fly" .It's easy to see why there can be confusion with looking at the book scans.

Cj and Mike,
What are your thoughts of Leisenring"s approach to tying in wings on wet flies?
Jim

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ewpeper
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Re: Elsie Darbee tyed wet flies

Post by ewpeper » Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:29 pm

Jim Slattery wrote:Cj,
Saw that the flies are attributed to Elsie, just saying it can be possible that others tiers work may be included in this set. There appears to be some inconsistencies with some of the bodies and heads. Then again Mikes mantra rings true as well, what day...
Mike,

Jim
All else notwithstanding, trust me, if the book has McClane's name on it, and the book says "Tied by Elsie B. Darbee," you can be absolutely sure that the flies were tied by Elsie. Al was nothing if not obsessed with detail and accuracy when he wrote, and he was also a very close friend of Harry and Elsie. I am certain if Elsie submitted the flies for the book to be photographed, she would have been the one to tie them.

Eric
A mountain is a fact -- a trout is a moment of beauty known only to men who seek them.
Al McClane in his Introduction to The Practical Fly Fisherman . . . often erroneously attributed to Arnold Gingrich

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