Wood duck

From Halford's early dries to the Catskill dry and everything else that floats on the surface.
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mvalbano
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 12:51 pm

Wood duck

Post by mvalbano »

Hi All,

I have been tying about two years and I have become obsessed with the Catskill dry fly from tying them to the history, maybe its because I live only a few hours away. I was wondering if anyone knew a good source for how to correctly size Catskill style feathers specifically Lemon Wood Duck for upright and divided wings. I have some wonderful flies tied by Mary Dette and I have a fly by Mike Valla and I really admire how they do there wings. They are nice and full and distinctive and they curve away from each other very nicely. I have been trying to get the technique down and I think I have it pretty good but the one thing that keeps happening is that the wings are not nice and compact (the tips flare) like theirs are and I think it has something to do with the type of feather I'm using. I know you want a broad wood duck feather with a even top and no broken tips, is there anything else I am missing? Maybe the age of the bird (older better)? I have Mike Valla's Catskill book and he touches on how important it is to pick good material but not much more. I have the Dette book as well and it doesn't get into the specifics of the perfect feather and how to size it correctly. I have tried the web as well but no luck, any tips would be appreciated. Thanks!

Mike

Allan
Posts: 812
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:00 pm

Re: Wood duck

Post by Allan »

Mike,

There are several techniques to tying wood duck wings. Now I'm not sure if these 'names' are correct but they are reasonably descriptive: (a)Rolled; (b)Dbl Slips; (c)2 Feather; and, (d)Single Slips. I'm sure there is/are more techniques but I think if you get one or two of these down you'll be satisfied with the results. Personally what technique I use depends on the size of the fly, the size of the feather and sometimes how much of the feather is lemon flank vs. barred.
Yes, the age of the bird does matter and if you connect with some duck hunters from the southern flyway you'll be taken in by the size, coloring and distinct barring of the feathers. The woody season up here starts when the birds are still somewhat young.
Historically, even Theodore Gordon lamented the difficulty in getting wood duck. He even wrote that he feared the bird might become extinct. Fortunately hunting has been managed better and the feathers, while expensive, are available. Oh, if you can avoid using the dyed mallard substitute, do that. Woodie flank is better to work with and much more pleasing to our eyes. Does it make a difference to the trout? No. As far as the correct 'sizing' of the wing feather - It was always expressed to me, and I've always read, that the wing should be a tad higher then the hackle. As far as the density of the wing, I'd lean towards 'less is better then more' because too much will cause the fly to be front heavy and land head first. Oh, make sure you leave enough room in front of the wing for some hackle and to tye off with a neat head.
I'm sure others will chime in on this topic.

Allan

Bamboo&Brookies
Posts: 737
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 4:44 pm

Re: Wood duck

Post by Bamboo&Brookies »

Mike,

Valla's book goes into great detail about tying in the WD wings from slips.

Since I don't tie presentation flies, I just use the one-feather method of folding the WD flank in half, measuring it and tying it in, then dividing it with thread wraps.

This has always worked for me, but then again, I'm just tying fishing flies, and my aim is a well-balanced, well-crafted fly that will last at least several fish each.

-Rob
Give a man a fly rod, a shotgun and a bird dog and he'll never be worth a d*mn.
-Old New England saying

Allan
Posts: 812
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:00 pm

Re: Wood duck

Post by Allan »

Mike,

Another thought would be to do general searches and also on YouTube for specific Catskill patterns. You'll find many videos by numerous tyers and key in on the various ways to prepare the wood duck feather, tying it in and ways to separate and get the wings right. In this last step, 'right' depends on the tyer.
On YouTube here are a few searches: Tying the Quill Gordon, Tying the Hendrickson, Tying the Cahill - Get my drift?
Here's one from a Yahoo search, and there are many more: http://www.scottcesariflytying.com/reso ... ll-gordon/

Allan

mvalbano
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 12:51 pm

Re: Wood duck

Post by mvalbano »

I am going to attach a couple of pictures. In them, the wings look good but the tips flair to much for my liking and that what im trying to remedy. Sorry I dont know why the pictures are not in the correct orientation, let me know if there is anything I can do to get the right. Thanks
photo 1-1.JPG
photo 1-1.JPG (60.22 KiB) Viewed 1595 times
photo 1-1.JPG
photo 1-1.JPG (60.22 KiB) Viewed 1595 times
Attachments
photo 2-1.JPG
photo 2-1.JPG (67.26 KiB) Viewed 1595 times

catskilljohn
Posts: 4312
Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2009 7:03 am
Location: Yardley,PA- Jeffersonville,NY

Re: Wood duck

Post by catskilljohn »

Those wings look fantastic from here!

To address your photos, there should be a way to crop them to both make the image closer and larger. There is also a rotate button to position it correctly. What means are you loading them up from?

Anyway, those wings are NICE! 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"

mvalbano
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 12:51 pm

Re: Wood duck

Post by mvalbano »

I use the upload function of the forum. Is there a better way?

catskilljohn
Posts: 4312
Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2009 7:03 am
Location: Yardley,PA- Jeffersonville,NY

Re: Wood duck

Post by catskilljohn »

Joe likes us to use that so the photos don't get deleted over time. I haven't figured out how to edit the photos from my computer without downloading them to photobucket though. You should be able to rotate them though. 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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