Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fly Fishing: Ennis Fly Fishing Festival

I don't usually attend fly fishing events but when Gale told me our friend Tom Harman was going to be there tying George Grant style woven hair flies changed my mind. Tom, by the way, did not learn the art of weaving hair hackle from Grant but rather sat down one day and taught himself...As you will see in the attached photos he done hisself real proud...
Briefly he begins by preparing the body, (some patterns call for a "color back" others are "feather back") then stretches a doubled length of thread taught between two pins to hold the hair, then after selecting the appropriate hair, typically elk mane, badger, etc., which he stacks in a hair stacker he selects 5-7 hairs (depending on type) slips them between the thread strands, knots the hairs in place and repeats the process (some patterns require as many as 40 bunches) until he has sufficient length to wind as a hackle on the previously prepared body.
This is a feather back, sage hen feather in case you are interested, with a badger hair hackle complete except for building the thread head and whip finishing...it takes about an hour on average to complete the task.
The dry flies are even more tedious to tie or as Tom says..."If I charged 50 bucks for a nymph I'd need 100 for the dry." These two nymphs are color backs, the pattern derived from original Grant print outs which I believe Tom said were given to him by one of Grant's daughters after learning he was carrying on her father's traditions.

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