Elsie Darbee tyed wet flies

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

Post by Allan » Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:32 am

catskilljohn wrote:
bobpetti wrote:You can see how she tied the wings concave side in trapping some of the hackle collar between rather than tying down the hackle
This is how they describe the technique in their book, "the two wings should be placed on the hook with the curves pointing up and in" That would be with the concave sides facing each other and the longer tips on the top. I cant imagine the Darbee's tying in both styles, as once you can zip a fly together as fast as they could, you were beyond experimenting.

I used to tye wets in what I call the Don Bastian style, with the wings splayed but I found they would sometimes spin in the water. Also, tyed in that manner, the "good side" is showing to the outside, which is desirable in a framed fly, but the fishing aspect is more important.

Shakey, start one up man, we haven't hashed over the wing dispute in over a year :lol: CJ

John,

I am not describing what the Darbees wrote in their book nor trying to define or justify the better way to position the wings. My comment is solely based on what the position of the wings on the majority of the wet flies photographed look like. I'm extrememly open to correction if that's the case but the wings I'm talking about, duck quill slips, look as if they are tyed with the 'concave side OUT. I'd be interested in your or others' response simply based on what they actually see on these flies, not what they anticipate seeing based on previous readings.
What do you see :?:

Allan

catskilljohn
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Re: Elsie Darbee tyed wet flies

Post by catskilljohn » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:12 am

Allan wrote:[What do you see :?:
Allan
I see the same thing you do, where some of the wings look like they are concave side out, but we are looking at a picture of a photograph in book. Some of them actually look to have a shadow behind the wing making it appear to be split, but again, its a photo so who knows. Thats the reason I posted the other 2 shots, you can better see on the L Beaverkill that if that fly was viewed from a distance in different light, it could be perceived as split, which its not.

I guess the point I am making is, while they look split on some, that's not the way they tyed them. It doesn't make sense that they would do some one way and others another, especially at the production level they were known for.

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"

ted patlen
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Re: Elsie Darbee tyed wet flies

Post by ted patlen » Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:28 am

so many points here. all the wings are set about the same with a few with the tips flaired outward ...maybe the author wanted a few in a different style. some flatter, some cocked higher.......

some of the wing angles are directly caused by the body material look at the mcginty,

BUT ALL have very sparse throat hackling all flies are sparse ...just like the dry flies AND streamers of that era for the catskills...

very cool thread

Soft-hackle

Re: Elsie Darbee tyed wet flies

Post by Soft-hackle » Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:21 pm

Hi John,
Does it surprise you that these flies were tied by Elsie? I know that in the Catskills, the dry fly is king and most revered, however, I taken more trout on the Beaverkill and Willowemoc on wet flies than I ever have on dries. That doesn't surprise me!

Mark

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Re: Elsie Darbee tyed wet flies

Post by reservoirman » Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:10 pm

Back in the 80s when I first started to fish the beaverkill and the willow,one of the first shops I went to for flies was Darbys. Unfortunately he was at the end of his run, and there was a guy in there selling off what was a very limited amount of flies. When asked about Harry he said he was not doing well and was in the hospital. A little further down the road there was another fly shop ,and Im sure there was more then a few,but there was a young lady in there that was tying wet flies.She was about 24 or 25 and she was placing the wings concave side out. I asked her why she placed them like that as I had thought wet flies were tied concave side in, and she told me that she had tied flies with Elsie Darby in her shop and she said thats the way she showed her,Funny how you remember small things but if you look at her flies I think she tied them both ways.Great thread. Reservoirman

Soft-hackle

Re: Elsie Darbee tyed wet flies

Post by Soft-hackle » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:18 pm

There's another wonderful lady in the Catskills that ties a great looking wet fly!

http://www.danica.com/flytier/mdette/gr ... ry_wet.htm

http://www.danica.com/flytier/mdette/montreal.htm

Mark

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Niklas Dahlin
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Re: Elsie Darbee tyed wet flies

Post by Niklas Dahlin » Mon Dec 31, 2012 5:58 am

CJ... behave I dont have the time to come over and put you over my lap and give you that spanking you seem to need :D

I have played with these beautiful wets for a couple of weeks and have spent more time that I really have thinking about how too put the wings. Can it be like this that the tyers from the past used both ways to cover different situations? I think the style when you put the wings splaying out (dull side visible) gives the fly more character, and for the fishing more to cover a hatch situation? I can imagine that the fly tied this way have a tougher job to get subsurface? than if you tie the fly with its wings tied more flat?

Btw... Really fun to see really nicely tied flies from our heroes from the past. I think many of them dont look half as nice as many of us (sorry) produce today.

Little of topic...
The more I dig into the past of flytying the more I think that much of the thing we discuss about how the tyers from the past did or didnt do just are stories that we create ourselves. I think it was much about business, what their customers asked for. In Sweden when you come to a water and meets an older guy that fished the water before you always gets that "son, the only fly that really works here are a Red Tag with a god tag... nothing else will work", so in Sweden the tyers from the past created series of flies for the paricular area that they were stationed, proborably to get a chance of sell more flies. Another thing the tyers from the past searched for as I believe was to find that special trick to get their flies to stand out among all the other flies, Darbee had their odd sizes for example, Cross made his flies thin and Sparse.
Flyfishing is more than just catching fish.
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catskilljohn
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Re: Elsie Darbee tyed wet flies

Post by catskilljohn » Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:38 am

Niklas Dahlin wrote: Can it be like this that the tyers from the past used both ways to cover different situations?
Yea, absolutely. They would tye the wings on backwards if someone requested it. :lol: Again, it was a buisness, so they did what they did to make it. I was not around there to see it first hand, and would never swear they didn't do anything, but from the examples I have seen, it seems to me that the concave sides in was the Catskill way. The low wing, hugging the body was the style.

Did they tye them different at times? Maybe. I just dont think that the flared out wings depicts the style they tyed in. The pictures of Mary's flies are done in the Catskill style too [of course ;) ]

Hey this is my opinion, and I love talking about this stuff :D 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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Bud
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Re: Elsie Darbee tyed wet flies

Post by Bud » Mon Dec 31, 2012 9:52 am

Niklas Dahlin wrote: I think that much of the thing we discuss about how the tyers from the past did or didnt do just are stories that we create ourselves.
Nik--

That's what history is: stories that we tell ourselves about traces that linger from the past. ;)


--Bud
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. And inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.
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Eperous
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Re: Elsie Darbee tyed wet flies

Post by Eperous » Mon Dec 31, 2012 10:20 am

Niklas Dahlin wrote: ... Btw... Really fun to see really nicely tied flies from our heroes from the past. I think many of them dont look half as nice as many of us (sorry) produce today. ...
Nik... that's a very interesting statement, one with which I often think about and totally agree with--- and I don't put myself in the category of "as many of us produce today"...

A couple things here... first, as CJ mentioned--- these tyers were trying to scrap by, doing a business, producing flies that caught FISH, and not necessarily the "angler's eye"... one of the most prolific fly tyers in our time was the late Fran Betters... his flies caught trout, several of his patterns like the Ausable Wulff & Usual (in variations) have withstood the test of time, yet the flies he often produced appeared to a mess tied to a hook--- and this is not meant to be a slight towards a man I greatly admire... secondly, "in the day" of the time period you folks are talking about, I don't think "framing flies" was an "art form"... somewhere along the line, "the art" of fly tying took off--- IMO--- and some tyers started tying "framing quality" flies... I know several noted tyers who tie flies differently depending upon their intended use... thus just perhaps when we look back into the past at flies tied long along, the question might be asked what was the intended use of a particular fly? Was it for a customer, did the tyer keep it for him/herself cause it didn't quite meet "their production standards", or was it intended for a shadow box????

As I alluded to, somewhere along the line "trout flies" became an "art" form--- IMO--- like salmon flies... I think we could go down an interesting discussion here on a tangent path... which is more important to the "everyday flyfisher"... the fly??? the fish??? OR, the river as Roderick Haig-Brown might suggest??? I vote for the river...

And before I end this rambling, I think it would be very interesting to put a few tyers in a room, give them all five minutes max and the use of the same materials to produce a fly--- the same fly.. then have a third party take a photo with a point-and-shoot camera with which we judge the end result... I believe Allan made a comment in another thread that spawned this one... most folks who post here try posting their best work, regarding of their individual abilities... when we view a fly tied decades ago by one of "the masters", we might not always be juding them in the same standards we judge ourselves...

As I mentioned Nik, I agree with your comment wholeheartedly, but just maybe their are some factors involved... AND, I truly hope that these comments are viewed as "discussions points" and not a slam at anyone at all... it's a very interesting topic...

BTW - Ray Smith put a dab of unslightly head cement on his wet fly wings to--- I believe--- enhance durability and shape... this stained the wing, but served a purpose in the tyer's mind...

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