Phil Chase’s Catskill Clipper

Some call them Bottom Dredgers. They are too often over shadowed by the dry fly, but have their place here.
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Eperous
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Phil Chase’s Catskill Clipper

Post by Eperous »

Since there’s been another discussion about Catskill classics of late again, and also other prominent nymph patterns, I thought some SGM board members might like to know a bit about this classic Catskill nymph, a Catskill Clipper tied by Phil Chase, ardent conservationist and well respected angler. After Bamboo & Brookies dusted off some grey matter above my shoulders by recalling the correct name of Phil Chase’s nymph—the Catskill Clipper, I found an Email from Phil dated Feb. 9, 2011. I only kept a hard copy of that Email, so I retyped most of it below.

Parts may require some figuring out by the reader, and I think you’ll sense a bit of Phil’s sense of humor also.

Subject: Catskill Clipper – first tied in the early 1980’s

Hi Ed,

I don’t know if the CC is any more production then your Black Leech but here we go.

Hook: Tiemco R 200, size 8 and larger
Weight: about 8-10 wraps of lead wire, hook diameter thickness
Thread: a strong black thread so to put pressure on spinning the deer hair
Black deer hair, I like the Texas deer hair dyed black (rather fine)
Black marabou for tail (I break off with my fingers the fine ends so abrupt in shape)
Woodchuck skin or work off a dead chuck—tough if alive – lots of road kills when they first come out. You don’t have to skin them, usually they put their head under the tire to check the tread so not flattened. First I like to prepare the hair—trim off the white tips of guard hairs—using an electric razor (your wife’s) and then trim off the hair for the dubbing (I don’t go all the way down the skin as almost black hair.) Half an inch long is good. Then put the hair into a quart bottle that you can shakeup with a little detergent. Using your wife’s good sieve, wash off the hair with cold running water to get rid of the soap. Place hair in cheese cloth (save) and air blow dry it. Put in a zip lock bag and label it—date, location, etc. IF you want to dye it black, good but not necessary.

Tie in tail about length of the body.

Wrap the lead wire from the tail to about ½ to 2/3 the length of the hook (up to where the head should start.)

Loop the thread, wax and spin the woodchuck into a fur loop (with a spinner, what else?) covering to front of lead and tie off.

Tie in 2 smallish clumps of stacked black deer hair in a “V” shape collar, the fine endsof the hair only reaching to the hook point in length (A Clipper has a collar? It confuses the trout.) I tighten the thread but try not to spin it. Of course coarse hair ends will flair, let that spin—add another clump to the front to finish the head—spin around the hook to the eye, put on a drop of your favorite cement (Zap-a-gap) prior to spinning so the head doesn’t rotate around the hook when fished.

Trim off top and bottom (you may want to trim the body the same,) a new, double edge, razor blade. Shape the head sort of like a heart or head of a hellgrammite. If the eye is covered a little—Ok.

I lost a BIG trout below the Neversink Thompsonville Bridge just before dark after a 15 minute fight. And way back in the mid 70’s fishing with Doc Cinberg at Callicoon had on a pair of CC. Doc had caught 3 nice rainbows on Hair Winged Royal Coachman—dries—and then I hooked and played the biggest trout I ever had on. Finnaly, after a long fight, got the brown into shllow water—looked 25+ with spots the size of dimes with Doc yelling, “Get below him!” and me yelling back, “He’ll be down to Port Jervis if I go any more downstream!” And about that time the top of the tail was breaking the surface about 10” out and it was as big as your hand. The dropper must have hit a rock and it was all over. Even the good Doc couldn’t break the silence. But great memories.

Thanks for asking about the CC as I don’t think I even tied one last year...

Phil


It has to be at least ten years now, but once I had Phil fishing the Esopus Creek with me down at the Chimney Hole. Once shadows started creeping across the fast water inflow to this legendary pool, there was Phil standing in the fast water fishing a Catskill Clipper catching wild rainbow after wild rainbow, a sight I’ll never forget. And last summer while fishing the West Branch of the Delaware after coming off the river at day’s end I got into a discussion with three older than me – hard to believe – fly fishers who were ending their day also. I had caught several browns on my Black Leech, which they asked to see. So I showed them and gave each angler one, whereby they told me the fly looked a little like a Catskill Clipper – not really. But that prompted me to ask if they knew Phil Chase. Turns these three gents were from Port Jervis and were friends of Phil’s. In return I got a Catskill Clipper from each of the two tiers among them. Both showed lots of wear and fish got the best of them. Phil did not tie these flies, these gents did but I’m posting an image of the best one to give SGM viewers an idea what this nymph looks like.

Image

Ed

catskilljohn
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Re: Phil Chase’s Catskill Clipper

Post by catskilljohn »

Eperous wrote:I lost a BIG trout below the Neversink Thompsonville Bridge just before dark after a 15 minute fight. And way back in the mid 70’s fishing with Doc Cinberg at Callicoon had on a pair of CC. Doc had caught 3 nice rainbows on Hair Winged Royal Coachman—dries—and then I hooked and played the biggest trout I ever had on. Finnaly, after a long fight, got the brown into shllow water—looked 25+ with spots the size of dimes with Doc yelling, “Get below him!” and me yelling back, “He’ll be down to Port Jervis if I go any more downstream!” And about that time the top of the tail was breaking the surface about 10” out and it was as big as your hand. The dropper must have hit a rock and it was all over. Even the good Doc couldn’t break the silence. But great memories.
Thats one of the coolest stories I think I have ever heard, how would I love to have been on the bank watching that unfold! Great stuff Ed!

I somehow think I have seen that fly before, maybe in a magazine? Reminds me of those little black catfish you see in the shallow water on the Delaware. 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"

Allan
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Re: Phil Chase’s Catskill Clipper

Post by Allan »

Eppy,

I know the lower Neversink quite well , up until the gorge, but am not familiar with the 'Thompsonville Bridge'. Is that the one at Bridgeville or the one about 2 miles upstream on the backroad?

Allan

SgtMajUSMC
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Re: Phil Chase’s Catskill Clipper

Post by SgtMajUSMC »

Ed,

As CJ said, that's a great story-and a very interesting fly pattern.

Is there significance to the name, such as a "clipper" being a local name for a Hellgrammite? Having been pinched by them a couple of times, I could understand why it would be!

Great big trout stories.

Best,

Tim

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Eperous
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Re: Phil Chase’s Catskill Clipper

Post by Eperous »

Allan wrote: I know the lower Neversink quite well , up until the gorge, but am not familiar with the 'Thompsonville Bridge'. Is that the one at Bridgeville or the one about 2 miles upstream on the backroad?
Seems to be a favorite discussion topic... the old timers like Phil Chase and Catskill Bill Kelly called this the Thompsonville Bridge, like I do - learned the name from them... I think Bamboo & Brookies calls this bridge the Dennison Hill Road Bridge... others I know call it the Glen Wild Bridge... now there are actually two bridges here, the old steel "Thompsonville" Bridge and a brand new one, next to it... yes, it's a couple/few miles upstream of NY 17 & Bridgeville...

Ed

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Eperous
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Re: Phil Chase’s Catskill Clipper

Post by Eperous »

SgtMajUSMC wrote: ... Is there significance to the name, such as a "clipper" being a local name for a Hellgrammite? Having been pinched by them a couple of times, I could understand why it would be!
Good question Tim, to which I do not know the answer... but will try to find out someday..

Ed

catskilljohn
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Re: Phil Chase’s Catskill Clipper

Post by catskilljohn »

I just know I have seen that fly before, and it was used as a smallmouth fly in the Delaware. I for the life of me cannot remember the name of those little fish that it imitated [at least the ones refered to in the story] but I will look around. I even tyed some of those flies, but bigger, like #4's. 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"

Jerry G
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Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2010 10:42 pm

Re: Phil Chase’s Catskill Clipper

Post by Jerry G »

CJ here in Wisconsin it might do very well as a sculpin.

Regards, Jerry

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Eperous
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Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 3:20 pm
Location: Catskills

Re: Phil Chase’s Catskill Clipper

Post by Eperous »

catskilljohn wrote:I just know I have seen that fly before, and it was used as a smallmouth fly in the Delaware. I for the life of me cannot remember the name of those little fish that it imitated [at least the ones refered to in the story] but I will look around. I even tyed some of those flies, but bigger, like #4's. CJ
Could be CJ, could be... Phil is well known up and down tthe Delaware plus for many years he wrote a great outdoor column in the Midddletown Record, and I believe his name has appeared in several national magazines... thus it's very possible someone wrote about this fly, including Phil himself... the other point I'd make is I'm not sure the fly I posted, the one given to me, was tied according to Phil's instructions... he mentions tying the deer hair in like a "V", I believe pointing back to the barb, not perpendicular to the hook shank... small point, or maybe I read it wrong...

Ed

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luzerne
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Re: Phil Chase’s Catskill Clipper

Post by luzerne »

CJ
Mad Toms, Stone Cats, Clippers all the same bait fish on the Susquehanna for smallmouth. Although far from a classic Clouser ties a Mad Tom fly for the lower Susquehanna.
"Fly fishermen are born honest, but they get over it." - Ed Zern

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