Press Enter to Search

Easter Bunny

April 22nd, 2014

There are a lot of great recognized fly patterns out there. Some are classics. Some are new. Some have cultish regional followings. Some have worldwide appeal. Some are simple, while others are ridiculously complex.

EasterBunnyAbstractMy favorite part when I’m not on the water might be the names, especially when you think about the people overhearing fly fishermen without an idea about the context of the conversation. Some names are dirty. Some names are so (even accidentally) dirty they need to be changed. Others just cause unnecessary uproars in letters to the editor in fly fishing magazines.

Now as a brief (ok, not so brief) aside, there is an interesting, and regularly acknowledged, aspect of fly tying. Had Simon Perkins delved into fly tying in his film “A Kinetic Loop”, this aspect would have likely played largely into it. Sometimes this “phenomenon” is accidental. Other times it’s intended. Some would call it imitation. In academia, it would be called plagiarism. Usually an accepted pattern has reasons it has become accepted, and sometimes those reasons even include characteristics that make the fly just plain fishy. Movement, flash, profile, color, sometimes a combination of all of the above, sometimes other factors. The venerable Woolly Bugger flat out fishes. Is it the wiggle of the marabou tail? The “I could be anything” profile? It’s certainly a combination of factors, with the addition of a collective confidence that may be unparalleled in fly fishing, at least with regard to streamers. A LOT of fly patterns look like glorified woolly buggers, and likely work because of it. A bit more flash, a bead or conehead, a body of peacock or a tail of arctic fox. It would behoove the tyer(s) in these cases to at least give some credit to the original, and often they will. The problem arises when someone ties a pattern that already exists and believes it to be their own. Independent innovation surely exists and is understandable; blatantly copying a pattern and parading it around as your own is another story. A good friend and occasional fishing buddy of mine, and a well-known tyer, is often copied, and rarely credited. No consideration is given to the amount of research that goes into his patterns, down to the importance on individual material selection and placement. I have a lot of reasons (both personal experience and otherwise) why one specific pattern that falls out of his vise is my all-time confidence streamer for swinging. While I have a pattern I tie myself vying for that spot, its not there yet and that doesn’t bother me one bit.

Frank Sawyer would likely have no problem picking them out, modified or not.

Personally, I have a hard time sitting down at the vise and following accepted patterns. Often I’ll tie a couple, and by the next few they start changing. Maybe some diamond braid instead of a feather shell-back, maybe the addition of a hot collar. But I won’t forget where they come from: with nymphs, for example, a great many of the patterns I tie and fish are pheasant tail variants. Frank Sawyer would likely have no problem picking them out, modified or not. That doesn’t mean I won’t fish accepted patterns: I will happily support well-known tyers by buying patterns from them that have been tested and proven by anglers far better than myself. Just as discussed before, these patterns have often been tested thoroughly, tweaked, and re-tested. And in the best cases, from the guys that flies SHOULD be bought from, tied by hands that have tied waaaay more flies than your average fly tyer. Hands that have picked up more than a trick or two along the way, tricks I can only hope I will also pick up some day. When I sit down at the bench, I usually have a noticeable absence in one of my boxes, or something I saw on the water that needs to be matched. I then go about lashing whatever I think needs to be lashed to the hook to trick a fish. Recently I’ve noticed an absence of smaller streamers, so I sat down at the vise to have a go at remedying that absence.

DorsalI haven’t paid nearly enough attention to rabbit strips lately, despite how much I like the qualities they bring to a fly. So I started a fly with a small section of barred zonker, tied in at its halfway point at the rear of the hook shank. I then added a few wraps of crosscut rabbit for the body, as well as a few wraps of a pinkish-red EP Anadromous brush for gill accent. Then I drew the other half of the zonker down across the crosscut and brush and bound it down to give the “fish” a back/dorsal. For its pectoral fins (and general movement), I added a few wraps of barred mallard flank. I then formed the head with clumps of ice dub, laser dub, and then a final contrasting layer of ice dub. As with any good baitfish, I finished the fly with some eyes. As I’ve been conspicuously out of baitfish eyes for a bit, I had to borrow some from a FishSkullz kit and tack them down with Clear Cure Goo. I’ll eventually track down some eyes for the other color variations. The end result is another Frankenstein creation that may or may not work, but is definitely due to be tested. Until it gains another, its name will be “The Easter Bunny.” Or at least until I realize it existed before, the product of another tyer, and already has a name of its own.

To eye, or not to eye (or just what happens when you run out.)

To eye, or not to eye (or just what happens when you run out.)

Until it gains another, its name will be “The Easter Bunny.” Or at least until I realize it existed before … and already has a name of its own.

There are no comments yet, add one below.

t Twitter f Facebook g Google+