Sunday, October 23, 2011

Name Calling

By now you have likely seen the video we made with Tim Flagler on how to tie a bead head Bird's Nest.  It was picked up this week by one of the fly tying magazines and posted on their website.  The video prompted petulant comments from a tyer who made it clear that my version is NOT a Bird's Nest, as he had seen the original tied by the originator, Cal Bird.

The reason?  My version has the hackle tied "beard" style, while Cal tied it with the hackle enveloping the fly 360 degrees.   He went on to say that Cal disdained our way of tying the fly, and concluded via underwater observation, that Cal's way of tying the fly killed compared to "these quarter round patterns."   

Interesting.......my results show that the fly works equally as well tied either way and that the fish don't give a shit.  The fly works, period. 

And that leads us to an important question, which is: If a fly is NOT tied exactly as the originator tied it, can it still be called the same fly?  I sort of feel I'm wasting my time here, as I think most of us feel that it doesn't matter as long as the change is minor and/or does not change the overall appearance of the fly. 

Here are a few examples of other flies that are tied differently than the originals, which coincidentally, I found on the web site of our detractor:

* The original Pheasant Tail nymph as designed by Frank Sawyer, was tied with only pheasant tail and copper wire and had no legs.  Some versions are tied with a peacock herl thorax.  And still others are tied with legs.  All of them are called Pheasant Tail nymphs.
* The original Adams was tied with mixed brown and grizzly hackle golden pheasant tippet for the tail.  Some tie the tail with moose body hair, or dun hackle fibers.  Again, all of these versions are still called an Adams.
..........

Anyway, we got out on one of the local trout streams today and managed to bring a few rainbows to net.  A hot spot caddis larva and LaFontaine sparkle emerger did the trick.  The water was clear and cool, and still a little high.  The air was calm, and cool enough that by dusk you could see your breath.  Little Blue-winged Olives came off sporadically, as did size 16 light caddis, but the trout weren't interested in taking them off the surface.   It was good to be on the water with only the sounds of squirrels foraging in the trees above, and the geese above them, flying over in formation.

Now I wonder if I am sharpening my hooks right.  I guess we'll have to make a video and wait for the comments.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think you would be insulting the flies creator if changed the name. Just one small change does not make an original fly. Do people really think they are that awesome as they came up with something new? Tell Ralph he is silly.....My kid wore a different colored shirt today, but I didn't change his name.

Tightline said...

That's a classic! Well said.

Jay Zimmerman said...

Props to the creator is always proper form...even if it not the original tier, I like to mention those tiers and flies that influenced the pattern I am tying at the time. Once a pattern is "named" or even patented by a wholesaler like Umpqua Feather Merchants I still don't feel that it has to become stagnant. The pattern should continue to evolve, and it is all of our duty as tiers to keep it that way. I greatly enjoy googling my own flies just to see what new and cool things others have done with my idea. Besides, where would we be if the Adams stayed a Michigan caddis pattern? Riddle me that Ralphy...

Hacklebarney Jimmy said...

Could you post a pic of the hot spot caddis larva?
I agree about the changes too. I like to tie my PTs with a hackle neck. Its still a PT.

G Lech said...

It's fun to "tweak" a tried and true pattern. Some people just don't get it.

Jon S. said...

It's not like you did something blasphemous

Jon S. said...

...modifications and variations on patterns make fly tying so great. Purple Adams? How many varieties of the Sparkle Pupa are there? Hey, everyone has a right to opine, but I am left wondering how much testing the aforementioned critic did comparing the amount of hackle and its relation to catch rates. Maybe he is right and trout just like the full bearded type, not Matt's goatee version. :)

Normand Frechette said...

i believe the original adams was tied with pheasant tippets for the tail
http://hatchesmagazine.com/blogs/Hatches/2010/04/19/the-adams-history-revisited-by-tom-deschaine/
and the pheasant tail nymph with legs and peacock herl thorax is the "american pheasant tail nymph" by al troth but is no longer called that.

i did like your video on tying the birds nest. so much easier and if it catches fish, so much the better.

Matt Grobert said...

Some great comments, thanks.

HJ - I'll post photo when I can. It may have another name, that's just what I call it. It's just a bead head nymph with a Fl Orange bead instead of gold or whatever.

NF - Thank you, as soon as I saw your post the light went on. Tx.

Mr. Q said...

I tied a couple of those "bearded" Bird's nests and have caught bunches of trout this week..Thanks for the video Tim and Matt!!!!