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Old 11-27-2004, 12:01 PM
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Question Charles Ritz- Prawn Fly

I am in the process of research for Joe Branham's and My Book on Classic Saltwater flies and I am now researching Charles Ritz ( The History of Saltwater flies needs a cross over from salmon flies and other Brackish water flies both British and American). In Ritz's book, A fly Fisher's Life, he refers to the use of a Prawn Fly... on the Alta in Norway... also he refers to it as "General Practitioner". Yet he makes no reference to it's make up. Can anyone point me to a source for the materials and receipe for this fly or is this term "prawn" a term of general catagory....that is,,,is this a description for a group of flies or a few... Thanks for the help..... any help of the fly , a bucktail called "Rusty Rat" also?
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  #2  
Old 11-27-2004, 12:59 PM
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Prawns are a type of salmon fly imitating shrimp. The General Practioner being one of the most famous of this type of fly. The Rusty RAT is not a bucktail, it is one of a class of flies called "hairwing". Also note that most properly the "RAT" is all caps as it is the initials of the man who designed this style of fly of which there are a good number including Poul Jorgensen's Blue RAT. Googling RAT, Hairwing, General Practioner, and prawn with "fly pattern" will give you hundreds of references.

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Old 11-27-2004, 01:21 PM
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Thanks very much... very helpful.
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Old 11-27-2004, 03:49 PM
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General Practitioner

John,
The "GP" is one of my favorite flies for fall Atlantic Salmon in the Maritimes, can be deadly in high cold water. I tie them on single and double hooks from #4 to 1/0, in black, orange or green. This year I built some with rabbit (ala leech flies), and they were attacked!! But I digress,,,,,,,,

Bryant Freeman (a good friend and great New Brunswick tyer) has a good tying sequence for the standard GP on his website.
[www.salmonflies.com/generalpractitioner.htm]

I've often thought of trying one in the salt, but never have....
Cheers,
John
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Old 11-27-2004, 06:39 PM
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Thanks John..I will look that up and may use it in the sequesnce in the book... Thanks again.
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Old 11-27-2004, 06:54 PM
flytyer flytyer is offline
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John,

The Rusty Rat and the General Practitioner tying sequences and pattern can be found in Poul Jorgeson's SALMON FLIES: CHARACTER, STYLE AND DRESSING book.
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Old 11-28-2004, 12:02 AM
Ronn Lucas Ronn Lucas is offline
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Hi striblue,

Here is the Rusty RAT. http://flyanglersonline.com/flytying...wrustyrat.html

Also, here are a couple GP



This is the original dressing (except for the dubbing) and as desssed as in Bates' "Atlantic Salmon Flies & Fishing.



This is my variation to simulate the Sand Shrimp.

If you want more info on these or any other flies, email me at rlucas@cybcon.com

Happy Trails!
Ronn

Last edited by Ronn Lucas; 11-28-2004 at 05:32 PM.
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  #8  
Old 11-28-2004, 07:26 AM
Igor Igor is offline
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halcyon,

The origins of the 'Rat' (sorry, no caps needed), namely the Rusty Rat, are still the subject of often heated and well-documented debate. Granted, Roy Angus Thompson played a significant role in the fly's popularity and history, but I maintain (as do several prominent and published experts) that credit is justly due to J.C. Arsenault for the fly's original design.

ronn,

Maestro, impecable tying...as usual. You should have *your* hands insured! *g*

striblue,

Hey, congrats and best of luck on your up-coming book! I sure hope you'll keep us posted on when it'll be published and earmark a copy for me.

Igor
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Old 11-28-2004, 08:45 AM
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Thanks Guys... I need to start as far back as possibel...Radcliffes, Fishing from early Times, , I need to draw a connection from the early brackish water fishing for salmon and sea trout going back to Walton, Davy, and Grey,,,, then write about the subtle cross over from some of these flies that were used in saltwater...although not necessarily for pure salt water species. from these salmon and in some cases steelhead flies we see , in both the British and American schools... the use of basic and "gaudy" bucktails.... that moved slowly into the saltwater use..... I am researching Sea-Angling right now aroundd the late 1800's... I expect to complete my research by the end of February and start writing ... our deadline in October 1, 2005 for the first draft. In the meantime, we are gathering flys and interviewing the living saltwater pioneers. I will be driving down to the Cape next Saturday to finish interveiwing Al Brewster, Lefty Kreh and Art Buton sent me some incredible stuff, and I have finished my interviewing of Edson Leonard, who is 90+, Bill Catherwood, Cooper Gilkes, I am waiting to hear back from Russ Chatham.... Joe Branham will be speaking with Ken Bay and some other Florida individuals.... for the new classics we have on board and submitting flies, Joe Blados, Steve Able, Dan Blanton, Jack Gartside, Ken Abrames,Dick Brown, Mark Sedotti, Lou Tabory, Don Coleman, Dave Skok, Cris Windram...etc...If you watch e-bay in the Fishing Books section you will probably see my handle, "striblue" bidding on many early books. Win some ,lose some.
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Old 11-28-2004, 12:07 PM
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As an Attorney myself, but not a patent attorney, my work will be a "History" and as such I have already discovered the "subtle prejudices" from my reeading aproximatly 20 books so far... and most in the 1800's and and the purist dry fly types are a staunch group.... even the good Lord Grey found shore fishing messy and cold and too much sea weed... and Davy poopooed the "cockney" shore fishermen... the history of saltwater flyfishing came up a "shadowy road" along side the more pleasant and scenic more travelled road of the trout and salmon fly fisher.... but History is History... and I will be reporting it from the books, interviews, magazines...even the late 1700's and early 1800's "country Life " stories from Britain to paint an evolutionary picture.... whatever comes out I have no doubt the stories will differ and it will be based on mistake from the reporter or some prejudice....Hopefully some will ne truthful reporting... I have all these 1950 books and have Bates 1970 and will report the various issues, but by the time I get to 1950, I suspect I will have left the area of streamers and other wet flies as described in the earlier part of the century. But even with all this and plenty of time...as an attorney you know that two witnesses to the same event usually have a somewhat different view. This I will not be able to overcome. Anyway, I need to copy this thread tomorrow and will absorb what has been said here and figure a way to best describe it. I intend to photo these two flies and have them inserted in the History section of the book....as well as others like the Oasark Weedless Bucktail, the early English sea trout Cuddy Fly, the basic streamer and Bucktail described in Tapply's book on Tying in 1949 as well as Major's simultanious work around 1947 on the Streamer and Bucktail, not to mention Sturges work.. all these to only name a few...all have a common demoniator as I see the movement from fresh water streamer bucktail to the saltwater evolution. It will not be about salmon flies or tout flies.... way beyond my capabilities..and uneccessary... but only to the extent that these can be "somewhat" traced back to the for runner of the saltwater fly we see today.
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Old 11-28-2004, 11:01 PM
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Both Halycon and Igor are correct on some things regarding the Rat series of flies. And both are incorrect on some other things regarding the history of the RUSTY RAT.

Roy Angus Thompson was the originator and first tyer of the GRAY RAT, which is the prototype from which all others in the Rat series of flies came and it was first tied in 1911. Another fly known simply as the RAT was produced shortly after this, although Roy Angus Thompson's GRAY RAT was the first one. The original tyer of the RAT is not known. The difference between the GRAY RAT and the RAT was that the GRAY RAT had a body composed entirely of Grey fox underfur dubbing, while the RAT had a a two-part body: rear was flat silver tinsel and the front was black dubbing. The rest of the two flies was identical.

The BLACK RAT was produced by Roy Angus Thompson as a variation of his original GRAY RAT and it had a body composed entirely of black dubbing, with the same tag, tail, wing, and hackle of the GRAY RAT.

The RUSTY RAT came about when a Mr. Joseph Pulitzer II, a publisher and rather wealthy to boot (yes, he is of the famous Pulitzer family which created the Pulitzer Prize), was fishing a BLACK RAT that was tied by Mr. J.Arseneault started to have the body fall apart and expose the rusty orange thread he tied the fly with. Mr. Pulitzer found the BLACK RAT with the exposed rusty orange tying thread to be highly effective and on which he caught a 41lb salmon. This was in 1949 (Fortune magazine published an account of this in its October 1949 issue).

Since Mr. Pulitzer had the BLACK RAT that fell apart and exposed the rusty orange tying thread on the rear of the body tied by Mr. Arseneault, he went back to Mr. Arseneault and had the fly tied with rusty orange floss rear body and had some tied with black dubbing front body and some tied with peacock herl front body. Mr Pulitzer also named the fly the RUSTY RAT because it had a rusty orange rear body and was tied in the style of the GRAY AND BLACK RATS.

There was also an account of the origins of the RUSTY RAT in the ATLANTIC SALMON JOURNAL, Winter 1965 in an article authored by Mr. J. Arseneault " A Salute to Three Rats".



It was later found in Mr. Pulitzer's diaries after his death that the BLACK RAT with the rusty orange tying thread exposed was used on June 24, 1949 to catch the 41lb salmon. His diary also shows that his wife Liz caught 4 more salmon on July 6, 1949 on the new RUSTY RAT fly he had Mr. Arseneault tie for him. The BLACK RAT that was falling apart with the exposed rusty orange tying thread was tied on a #5/0 double salmon hook.

The three Rats (GRAY, BLACK, RUSTY) were also tied on long streamer hooks for fishing in brackish water at the mouths of rivers and these many times had wings composed of natural brown bucktail mixed with a little bit of white bucktail because bucktail was more readily available than grey fox fur.
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Old 11-28-2004, 11:23 PM
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Interesting... also Ritz refers to Putliter I beleive as a fishing buddy of his... the timing of Pulitzers fishing forays seems to gell with Ritz's post WW2 excusions where the disclosure of the use of that fly is evident.
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  #13  
Old 11-29-2004, 08:49 AM
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Charles Ritz fished the Alta in Norway for some seasons as a guest of Pulitzer who rented the fishing for a period in the 1950s.
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Old 11-30-2004, 04:28 AM
Igor Igor is offline
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FT,

I'm assuming your last post on the origins of the Rat was only your opinion, right?

I feel the difference between 'moderating' and 'pontificating' is qualifying or quantifying one's statements by using phrases like, "I believe..." or "It is my opinion that...", etc.

Wonderful concept, eh? Old, but good IMO. *g*

Iggy
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Old 11-30-2004, 10:09 AM
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halcyon halcyon is offline
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FT,

Thank you for your post. I went back and re-read the Bates' book and found the referenced citations as you mentioned. As usual, my old brain did not remember the exact circumstances exactly I had mixed together the origins of the Rat series created by Roy Angus Thompson (Gray Rat and Black Rat) and the Rusty Rat created 38 years later by Joseph Pulitzer II and a 41 lb. salmon

The origins of the Rat series and the origin of the Rusty Rat are very clearly documented by the actors and their contemporaries that were involved in both events which clearly explain the circumstances and the originators of both the Rat series and the Rusty Rat member of the series.

With the passing of Poul Jorgensen on Sunday to heavenly salmon pools, it should to be mentioned that his Blue Rat created about 1970 is one of the most popular hairwing salmon flies today.

Regards,
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