Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Favorite flies - Haystacks/comparaduns

Hendrickson comparadun
 At the start of the year, I review my log book to see which flies were my top flies in the previous year so that I check my box to see if I need to tie some more.  This past year, I fished the same flies as the previous year with a couple new additions.  My favorite dry fly by a wide margin is the Haystack or comparadun.  I tie them using a variety of dubbings to cover the prevalent hatches in southern New England.  I really like using spectrumized dubbing which is a blend of several colors of dubbing.  This dubbing can be obtained from the Delaware River club.

The comparadun is really a modification of the Haystack which was originated by Fran Betters.  The Haystack replaced the traditional catskill style hackle with a deer hair wing.  Fran used a deer hair tail to add more buoyancy.  The comparadun uses a micro fibbet split tail to replace the deer hair tail of the Haystack. There is also a sparkle dun variation that uses a few fibers of emerger yarn for the tail.  Personally, I find split microfibbet tail to work best on larger flies (hendricksons, sulfurs, and isonychia) and use the emerger yarn for dries size 20 and smaller (olives).

Here why I like the comparadun so much.  It sits low in the water,  it can be fished as an emerger, dun, or spinner, uses simple and inexpensive materials, is quick to tie, durable, and floats really well.  You can see the recipes for the Hendrickson, sulfur, and isonychia comparaduns in the fly box to the right.  Just click on the link.


#24 olive snowshoe variation
One new variation that worked very well for my in the late fall for small olives (#20-#24) is the olive snowshoe emerger.  This simple little fly uses an olive thread body, 4-6 strands of brown emerger yarn for the tail and snowshoe rabbit for the wing.  The snowshoe rabbit wing has less bulk behind the wing compared to a deer hair wing and this helps keep the fly’s body slender, key for these tiny flies.  The snowshoe rabbit wing makes it easier to see this fly.  

12 comments:

  1. I would be so tempted to add a hackle when making those, but maybe sometimes the simplicity of the comparadun is what is it's advantage is. It's footprint on the film must be great looking to the fish! easy and quick to tie.... I'm tempted to fill a few rows in my box with different colors like you said.

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    1. SY - I haven't fished a catskill style dry in years! I still use fish Royal Wulffs on small streams but the comparadun covers all my dry fly fishing to rising trout these days on larger streams and rivers. I've even caught fish swing them on the end of the drift like a wet fly. I like simple flies I can fish a number of ways

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  2. The Haystack is one of Fran's master pieces. It is also the first fly I ever tied myself and caught a wild brookie on. Nice post.

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    1. Kiwi - agreed! He's known for the Ausable Wulff and the usual but the Haystack was probably his most innovative design that challenged the established tradition of dry fly design resulting in the number of variations we have today

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  3. Love the Haystack.
    Pull it from the box, and fish on.
    Nice tying.

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    1. Brk Trt - it's definitely tops in my box

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  4. Mark
    Like most fly fisherman; I sometime get locked in on just fishing surface dries, but the more I fly fish the more I have discovered that the sub surface flies are really productive on slower days. The Comparadum would be a fly I would choose when trout are sipping. I am really impressed with this pattern Thanks for sharing

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  5. Bill - you can even pull them under and the end of the drift like a wet fly. This has work several times for me when the fish were taking small olive emergers

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  6. Mark
    Alan said that you might be able to help me with a recipe on how to fulrled leaders....I had a link on how to make a peg-board for it....but I didn't save it soon enough..it "timed-out"....as they say...
    any help would be much appreciated...
    Dave

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    1. Dave - I would recommend getting a copy of Steven Zondag's book "Furled Leaders: All of the secrets behind creating fly fishing's best leader". There is lots of info there on different length leaders and different materials:. Shoot me an email if you need more info

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  7. Thank you for your site. My New Years resolution is to fish small streams near my home in MA. I want to switch from UL spinning to fly. What do you recommend for gear to get started? Most of the water I am looking at is fairly small, and I am thinking a short rod like 6' 6" would be best, maybe a 2-3 wt. What about even a Tenkara? I'm going to check them out at the Marlboro show this weekend.

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  8. Anonymous - For fishing small streams I really like my Cabela's custom glass 5'9" 3wt. I like the slow stroke of the fiberglass and you can often get them on sale for $75. They are a light rod so you will need a light reel. I really like by Orvis Battenkill I. If yo like graphite, I think Cabela's offers a tight quarters rod in similar lenghts

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