The spider, a dubbed wet, and a hackled wet. This is all the direction
we were left with.
And, again, tied as I interperted the pattern descriptions with modern
So, whenever anyone really discusses Stewart, its all about the three spider patterns we were left with (black, red, and dun), but we were left with three additional patterns as well as these words:
The three following are the winged flies to which we are most partial... An immense number of killing flies may be made by varying the wings and body, but nothing is gained by extending he number beyond those just mentioned, and we do not believe six more killing imitations can be manufactured.Now, he's referred to six flies, so its important to note the first three are his spiders. More interestingly, though, is that Stewart clearly believed in the appearance of life over strict imitation, and furthermore (as well documented), was so willing to put preference of technique and design over imitation, one of his famous spider descriptions (the dun) didn't even bother to note the thread colour.
Anyways, the short of it is that the guy was able to reduce his pattern collection to six, which is in stark contrast to guys who carry six different boxes of nymphs, alone. Maybe we can learn something? Let's look at all six patterns in turn...
Let's get the usual bullshit out of the way, and just list the spiders for completeness:
- Brown silk.
- Starling body feather.
- Yellow silk.
- The small feather from the outside wing of a landrail.
- No silk colour listed. Dave Hughes suggested yellow or gray.
- The ash or dun coloured feather from the outside wing of a dotterel.
So, as noted, we've got three more fly patterns to talk about, and these are the three that aren't constantly bandied about by everyone, and are likely every bit as important as his spiders.
|1st form, light silk.|
|1st form, dark silk.|
- A woodcock wing, with a single turn of a red hackle, or landrail feather, dressed with yellow silk, freely exposed on the body. For fishing in dark coloured waters, this fly may be dressed with scarlet thread.
- A hare lug (hare's ear) body, with a corn-bunting or chaffinch wing. A woodcock wing may also be put in the same body, but should be made of the small light coloured feather taken from the inside of the wing.
|3rd form, dark silk as written.|
|3rd form, light silk variation.|
- The same wing as the last fly, with a single turn of a soft black hen hackle, or a small feather taken from the shoulders of a starling dressed with a dark coloured silk.
In addition to hare's ear, he also lists the fur of the "water rat," or more likely what we now call a European water vole. Like so much else, its now protected. Whereas muskrat is grey, water rat was brownish. That said, I'm pretty sure by Stewart's standards it would matter if you fished it right, anyways.
Anyways, its cold and wintery and I'm pretty sure I don't give a fuck so I think the great content blitz of the last few months has drawn to a close. Hope you enjoyed the high point of the year for this blog which happened on the first of the month. Huh.