Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Some nymphs from Fran Betters

 Alan, over at Small Stream Reflections and I have been messing around with some nymphs from the well known Adirondack tyer, Fran Betters.  I have a particular interest in the impressionistic approach to fly design and is the reason for my interest in the North country spiders.  Fran was well known for a similar approach in his buggy, impressionistic flies.  This post is about two lesser known nymphs that Fran tied that I ran across when trying to figure out what Alan's "mystery fly" was.  Fran called this fly the Muskrat Beadhead.  He used two colors of dubbing for this fly, a gray muskrat fur dubbing and an rusty orange possum dubbing.  Fran explained the addition of the deer hair wing as follows "by adding the deer hair and the herl behind the bead, you are making the fly much more productive and representative of a stone fly plus a host of other insects".  Here's my version of Fran's nymph in both orange and gray.  I've also tied a version without the bead for fishing small streams where the weight is a disadvantage.  Notice the fire orange thread and rough appearance, two hallmark's of Fran's flies.

Muskrat Beadhead
size 14 2XL nymph hook
Fire orange thread (it would be authentic without it)
3.2mm brass bead
natural possum dubbing
Deer hair wing
peacock herl thorax
I've experimented with the dubbing a bit since I wanted a lot of the guard hairs of the possum in the dubbing but this darkened the color quite a bit so I blended fire orange rabbit dubbing in until I was able to have a burnt orange colored dubbing.

Burnt orange dubbing - blend of orange possum and fire orange rabbit
Orange possum version with same materials as the gray
Small stream version
What's up next ?  Well, I'm planning on doing a couple posts on some of Fran's lesser known patterns as well as finishing up the series of "top flies of 2012" with another of Fran's flies so stay tuned !

11 comments:

  1. Mark
    I feel one can't go wrong when adding a bit of bright color to a lot of fly patterns. Simply put it get attention. You have convinced me to use more wet flies this coming season. Really like your pattern on both flies ---thanks for sharing

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    1. Thanks Bill, good fishing with the wets! I sometimes tie a wet off the bend of a dry about 18" or more behind. It's a good way to start

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  2. Mark, those are some great flies. I'm looking forward to what's coming next. I really like the small stream version.

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    1. Kiwi - thanks, I know you love Fran's flies too !

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  3. Gotta love the muskrat! I have a secret stash of grey and brown belly fur I like to save for my better patterns! Stuff is the best! Any line on fisher cat belly fur? I really want some . Great looking flies, can't wait to see your next Fran-fly. I especially like the non-bead head approaches you guys have been twisting. Nice touch!

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    1. Swamp Yankee - Thanks! I have no idea where you could get some fisher cat belly fur

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  4. Nice ties Mark.
    With all that hot orange, I hope we don't start a stream fire.
    That small stream version is sweet.

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  5. Very funny Brk Trt ! I think we're safe

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  6. Just adding my two cents worth. Very nice. I also tie a lot of impressionistic patterns. These two would fit right in. I tend to use orange or read as a trigger color on a fly. Looking forward to more to come.

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    1. Rainbow Chaser - Thanks for stopping by. I bet these would get some attention out your way

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  7. This pattern keeps the net wet. Solid pattern and very well tied.

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