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flytyer 01-01-2004 06:10 PM

2 For the Critics
1 Attachment(s)
Here are a full-dressed Kelson Kate and a Kelson March Brown low-water that I took out of my fishing stock boxes. Both are excellent steelhead and atlantic salmon flies. I use the Kate (which is tied on an Alec Jackson Spey Hook #1 1/2) in the winter and spring. The March Brown (which is tied on Veverka #6, or the same hook that Alec Jackson calls his Low-water River Dee hook #7) is very effective during summer/fall low water fishing.

Note that each fly is a fishing fly and each one adheres to the tying suggestions I provided to others.

Here is the Kate

flytyer 01-01-2004 06:11 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Here is the March Brown

sinktip 01-02-2004 06:44 PM

Very nice indeed FT.

If anyone is interested in owning some of Flytyer's work, there is a set of eight Glasso patterns that Russ tied that will soon be going up for either auction or raffle with proceeds to benefit the Forum. Look for details coming soon.


Ronn Lucas 01-03-2004 01:06 PM

Hi flytyer,

Pretty good looking flies. I guess I don't get your point though. Are you inviting criticism ("2 For the Critics")?

You say that the Kate adheres to your stated rules in the other post. It does not conform to all of them. Since you indicated that it was tied as a fishing fly, I am not referring to the lack of horns, chenille at the head or the JC cheeks.

If you want more in depth input, I'll be happy to do so off board.

When do we get to see the Glasso patterns?

Happy Trails!

flytyer 01-03-2004 06:25 PM


The Kelson Kate, listed in "The Salmon Fly", does not have a tail veiling, cheeks, horns, or chenile head. Price-Tannant's has tail veiling, cheeks and horns but no chenile head, and Maxwell's has the tail veiling and Jungle Cock but no horns. Since I have found that cheeks, tail veiling, horns, and anything other than a thread head make no difference in the fly's effectiveness, I tie and fish the Kelson version.

Sinktip has the Glasso flies because he was the one who arranged for the framing of the set through a friend of his; therefore, he will have to get the mounted set posted.

Ronn Lucas 01-03-2004 07:48 PM

Hi flytyer,

Ok, I'll give you the chenille head but in "Classic Salmon Flies, History & Patterns" by Mikael Frodin, he states the following re the Kate as by Kelson. "... Kelson writes,..... is constructed as follows. Tag: Silver twist and light yellow silk, and a topping for the tail. The butt is of black Ostrich herl followed by a body comprising two turns of crimson dyed silk and then crimson dyed seal's fur. The body is ribbed with oval silver tinsel from the second turn of tinsel a crimson dyed hackle is wound. The throat is a light yellow cock's hackle. the wing (on Kelson's Kate) is thin and constructed first of fibers from grey Mallard and Golden Pheasant tippet and, then sections of Bustard, Golden Pheasant tail, light yellow, crimson, and light blue dyed Swan, Mallard and a topping. The fly should have cheeks of Jungle Cock feathers and horns of blue Macaw." Now, I am not a historian when it comes to early patterns but your "Kate" is not as specified in this recipe. I see yellow dubbing on the body, flat tinsel, no horns, no cheeks, hackle starting at the third turn of ribbing (as stated in your earlier "rules" but not as per Kelson). Do I see six ribs in it? Maybe one is covered by dubbing?

Your March Brown is also not as the recipe is listed in the same book which is as follows. "...Tag: Gold twist, Tail: A topping, Body: Silver Monkey's fur and a little dirty orange seal's fur, mixed together, Ribs: Gold tinsel (oval), Throat: Partridge hackle, Wings: Sections from a hen Pheasant tail (in large sizes Turkey)." I could be wrong but it looks to me that you have used flat silver tinsel as well as silver oval in the body. It is also doesn't look as if the required dubbing was used. Is there silver Monkey fur in it as well as orange Seal?

These are not the only things I see that are not correct either or may need a bit of improvement. I'd be happy to help off board as my earlier post indicated.

flytyer, my point in this is not to be critical of your flies or anyone else's. You seem to hold yourself up as the resident historian and keeper of truth. I am not, nor do I tie perfect flies. My sole interest is not to mislead Tyers who may be new to the craft and particularly the full dressed flies. When you presented these two flies as "Kelson", that implies that they are dressed as he would. If a new Tyer assumed you were right and wanted to dress a Kate or March Brown given your presentation of it, he/she would have been wrong.

I said it before, there are NO rules that can't be broken. I also said that when tying a classic, it should be tied as close as possible to the original and where substitutions are used, they should be noted. I don't expect you to have Monkey hair in this day and age (although I'd be happy to send you a small snippet of it).

The guys you hold in such high regard (Kelson, Pryce-Tannatt, et all) changed the patterns all the time and they noted it.

Either rules are rules or they aren't.

The goal ought to be to have fun tying flies and particularly the full dressed ones. That's my #1 rule!

Happy Trails!

Igor 01-03-2004 10:13 PM

Well said, Ronn,...well said, indeed!

flytyer - as a side bar...

Your comment of; "Since I have found that cheeks, tail veiling, horns, and anything other than a thread head make no difference in the fly's effectiveness, I tie and fish the Kelson version." was a little perplexing, especially coming from someone with a decidedly 'classical' or purist's philosophy on flytying.

Didn't Pryce-Tannatt write that, "They (horns) constitute an element of mobility in a fly, and mechanically are useful in protecting brittle, delicate feathers, such as Jungle Cock, when these latter are used as cheeks or sides."?

I would think that mobility and protection would be instrumental elements in a fly's effectiveness.

Certainly food for thought, eh?


BTW - Psst! R-o-n-N would be the correct spelling.

fredaevans 01-03-2004 11:45 PM

Why do I think this Auction is going to cost me money??


flytyer 01-04-2004 12:30 AM


My scanner added the yellow to the body dubbing, I suspect because of the yellow hackle. The scanner also makes oval tinsel look like flat tinsel and makes gold tinsel look like it is silver (I suspect because it is "seeing" the reflection of the gold as simply light). The scanner also makes it very hard to see ribbing where the hackle is bushier. There are only 5 turns of tinsel on the Kate.

I looked up Kate in Kelson's book and you are correct, it should have horns and jungle cock. I appologize for misleading anyone on that. However, Kelson wrote that jungle cock should be left off some flies for fishing because jungle cock is such a bright feather that leaving it out sometimes makes for a more effective fly, especially in hard-fished waters.

The hare's ear dubbing instead of silver monkey fur with orange added to it, is a standard substitute for the silver monkey/orange dubbing mix.


Yes, Price-Tannatt did write this; however, I have always been puzzled by it since jungle cock is not a brittle nor a fragile feather, and a single fiber of Macaw tail does not offer much protection to a jungle cock feather. Also, when a fly is fished, the single fiber of Macaw use as a horn, blends in with the wing and adds little if anything to the mobility of a fly, unless you are speaking of flies with topping or G.P. tippet wings.

flytyer 01-04-2004 12:59 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Here is another Kelson Kate with jungle cock cheeks, which is also taken from one of my fly boxes.

Igor 01-04-2004 10:40 AM

even more confused!

Let me get this straight. As I see it, Pryce-Tannatt states decidedly ("...after due consideration of the fly-dresser and angler alike.") that horns are indeed an important anatomical and functional element of a fly - for the reasons I indicated in my last post. Kelson and Sir Herbert Maxwell dressed their Kates with horns as well. Yet, you (a 'purist') consider them to be a non-essential part of the dressing.

Am I to understand that the 'rules' in tying, classical or otherwise, are indeed subject to personal interpretation?

FT, I am by no means the tyer or historian you are, so I hope you'll shed some light on some confusing and contradictory points of view.


BTW - I may have missed something, but what WAS the purpose for posting the additional Kate?

Steelheader69 01-04-2004 01:30 PM

I love to tie flies, and will admit that I've longed to get the hang of full dressed atlantics. I've tried a few times, but none have come out as well as I'd like (I know, practice practice :hehe: ). Myself, I like all of them. I am FAR from a "traditional" or a "by the rules" type fly tyer. I prefer to interpret and tie to my likings, not to standard rules. But I'm not tying to meet the criteria of experts either. Since I don't have those skills, I won't critique.

All I have to say is nice job on all. Will sit down and learn how to tie these one of these days. I do better hands on then reading about them. But, will master them someday. LOL

Ronn Lucas 01-04-2004 02:29 PM

One more try.
flytyer, in my original post, I offered to discuss this off board but you didn't take my offer so we are "airing it out" here.

In your last post you said "My scanner added the yellow to the body dubbing, I suspect because of the yellow hackle. The scanner also makes oval tinsel look like flat tinsel and makes gold tinsel look like it is silver (I suspect because it is "seeing" the reflection of the gold as simply light). The scanner also makes it very hard to see ribbing where the hackle is bushier. There are only 5 turns of tinsel on the Kate." Come on now. I have scanned hundreds of flies with a rainbow of colors and photographed even more and have never had the experience of selective image distortion you describe! There is no gold twist on the March Brown and the rib is silver oval. The rib on the Kate is flat tinsel, the spacing of the ribs particularly on the top one would indicate six ribs but I admit that you could have ended the ribs way behind where they would normally end. There are still no horns on the second one (which is a much better looking fly in my opinion).

You go on to say, "The hare's ear dubbing instead of silver monkey fur with orange added to it, is a standard substitute for the silver monkey/orange dubbing mix." Who's standard? With the wrong tinsel and wrong body, I can't tell if that is the right wing, that is not Kelson's March Brown!

You did not follow your rules or the recipes for these three flies yet you continue to offer them as Kelson's dressings. They aren't! This is what gets to me about you and some other traditionalists/purists. You have "rules" that you impose on others who might not be faithful to flies of past yet you do as you will without regard to the same "rules". Emerson (I think) wrote, "do as I say, not as I do". Whoever said that, it fits here.

Paul Ptalis published a great little book called "Century End, A Fly Tying Journey". In this book, Paul presents an array of classic dressings as well as some of his awesome free style flies. After the shock of the colors and patterns when I opened the book, the thing that really impressed me was that after the name of the classic pattern and the originator, he added, "...interpreted by Paul Ptalis". I would suggest that this might be a good thing to do when accomplished Tyers like yourself present a "classic" pattern that is not faithful to the original dressing. This will give the less knowledgeable among us the "heads up" that there has been a bit of artistic license applied to the fly.

Now, do you get it? My point is not to criticize you or your flies. I am NOT judging either. It is simply to help other, less accomplished Tyers understand what it is that they are viewing from more experienced Tyers such as yourself. You can tie your flies any way you like and I can do the same. Neither is better or more right than the other.

Happy Trails!

Ronn Lucas 01-04-2004 02:34 PM

Hi Steelheader69,

I encourage you to give them a try. They really are not all that difficult to tie believe me. You needn't go out and spend $$ on materials or hooks to get started. I would venture to say that you have all the materials in your tying stash to tie some great looking full dressed flies.

Like the old Nike ad said, "just do it". :)

Happy Trails!

Steelheader69 01-04-2004 02:45 PM

LOL Ronn
Actually, I have tried them and have all the materials/hooks. I can do some simple ones ok. But I long to do the full dressed with multiple wings. Always when I get to a topping or the likes they fall apart. I've seen the tricks of smashing down the feathers so they lay on the hook correctly. I've been trying, trust me. LOL. Spent a couple hours on one fly to have it fall apart at the end. It became a fishing fly at that point. lol. But yes, I keep trying. What I've been planning to do today if I ever get a chance to sit down for a second. LOL. Been going in and out trying to rewire a horse trailer. Get numb, then come back in to warm up. Now, have to run and pick up my kids (went to cousins birthday party yesterday and stayed the night). So putting me further behind. :hehe:

I also have Jorgenson's book on Atlantics. It's been helpful. Gonna sit down and really thoroughly read it. May have missed something. But between a few websites and what I have bookwise, I may get one that meets my standards. LOL

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