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AltoidmattJanuary 25th, 2010, 6:05 pm
Altoona, PA

Posts: 7
I know very little about comparaduns and I wandered how many other fishermen fish them? How do you fish them? during the hatch? what stage do they immitate? Have I been missing a key ingredient to "matching" the hatch or catching selective trout? I'd appreciate some information before I start tying dozens of them. Thanks
TaxonJanuary 25th, 2010, 6:24 pm
Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1297
Matthew-

I have been tying and using the Comparadun pattern for at least 20 years to imitate Callibaetis mayfly emergers, duns, and spinners. Not only are they extremely effective, and reasonably durable, but they are inexpensive to tie, or at least, were before the price of hooks went through the ceiling.
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com
MartinlfJanuary 25th, 2010, 7:13 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2928
I'll agree with Roger. They can imitate emergers (especially sparkle duns with the antron or zelon shuck), duns, and spinners. Following Gonzo's advice I've started tying some with zelon wings and still also use the old standard deer hair too. It's a very good fly.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
DryflyJanuary 25th, 2010, 7:39 pm
rochester mn

Posts: 133
Comparaduns are great. All you need to do is change up the size and dubbing color and you have covered nearly every mayfly. I tie my wings in differently, with the hair tips going backward toward the bend. Then you take a third of the hair stand it up and take a wrap or two between the separate bunches, take the other third and repeat. I like this method better because the wing will cant backward like a real mayfly wing.
MartinlfJanuary 25th, 2010, 8:34 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2928
The technique of standing up the wing in sections, a third or quarter at a time, with thread wraps splitting a deer hair bunch first in the back of the bunch, then moving forward another section, then another, is a good one if you tie the fly traditionally also, as Al Beatty demonstrates with his "duck butt dun" on one of the LaFontaine Flies tapes. It works much better than just using a thread dam in front of the wing. Al uses CDC as a shuck on this fly.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
GutcutterJanuary 26th, 2010, 6:28 am
Pennsylvania

Posts: 470
i tie standard c.duns but when crafting sparkle duns i use a curved hook tiemco 206BL and tie the shuck down the bend a bit. i also will make the abdomen from a turkey biot counter ribbed with wire. over the past few years i have tied the wing w/ cdc puffs. i think or feel (no data) that they ride a little deeper in the film.
i use this during the hatch but switch to a straight hook (tmc101)with synthetic spent wings for spinners. works for me...
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
OldredbarnJanuary 26th, 2010, 6:48 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
Matt,

Craig Matthews of Blue Ribbon Flies has just released on YouTube a vid of him tying the Sparkle Dun which was his addition to the comparadun...You can just google this and he does a nice job of it...By-the-way, he uses the technique discribed elsewhere in this thread about standing up the wing in thirds...This wasn't the original method discribed by Al Caucci & Bob Nastasi in their book "Hatches", but so what...Maybe it's an improvement.

Hair choice is critical in a nice wing and depending on the texture of the hair it can sometimes be hard to get the wing to not want to straighten itself back out over the hook. Basically turning itself back in to the Haystack they claim to be it's inspiration. Using the original method discribed over the years I have had this happen.

Elsewhere I have seen the comparadun tied where the tie-in is reversed. Instead of measuring and tying it out in front over the eye of the hook, it's tied towards the rear and then stood up...See Benchside Ref book. I prefer,with smaller flies, using wrapped hackle, but that's me.

An aside...On Doug Swisher's web site he has his version of the "History of the No-Hackle" and he claims that they, he and Carl Richards, were tying "Hair-Winged Duns" that look exactly like the comparadun before Bob & Al...Is there nothing new under-the-sun, especially when it comes to men's egos???

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
GutcutterJanuary 26th, 2010, 7:51 am
Pennsylvania

Posts: 470
hair choice is very important. you can get deer hair specifically for comparaduns from chris helm - whitetail flytieing (yes it is spelled that way). he is a master of sorting deer hair and will answer the phone when you call as well as any question. great customer service.
8005795549
not an advertisement for chris. just my opinion
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
WbranchJanuary 26th, 2010, 9:33 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2506
Isn't the basic concept of a compara-dun basically what Fran Betters was doing with his "Haystack" pattern fifty years ago? Long before S&R or C&N.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
WiflyfisherJanuary 26th, 2010, 10:51 am
Wisconsin

Posts: 604
I have been tying and fishing comparaduns for more years than I can remember. :( It is a great fly pattern for many situations, as stated above by others. To tie them correctly you do need the right deerhair. Also, I tie down the front of the deerhair forcing it towards the back, not just build up the front with dubbing.
John S.
https://WiFlyFisher.com
OldredbarnJanuary 26th, 2010, 1:39 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
"Basically turning itself back in to the Haystack they claim to be it's inspiration."

Wbranch,

Sorry! I mentioned the Haystack but left Fran Betters' name out...I guess I assumed everyone knew this. Both Caucci & Nastasi acknowledged their debt to Betters and the Haystack. I was poking a little fun in Swisher's direction due to his claim on his site that he's invented just about everything worth knowing (including the comparadun) in fly fishing since...dare I say it...sliced bread.

As a young man I enjoyed reading T.S.Elliot...I was sitting in a bar one night watching a cutie-pie playing pool in her bare feet and trying to figure out a way to engage her in conversation. Turns out she claimed she was a writer of poetry and asked me my favorite poet. I answered T.S.Elliot and she said she wasn't fond of him because he was so "derivative"...For the life of me I couldn't come up with another poet, let alone one that wasn't derivative...I tried boys...I gave it an honest go...She wasn't impressed so I spanked her at a game of eight-ball.

What I was getting at is that there isn't a damn thing new under the sun...It's all derivative! It has been strange that certain folks have made a living off our sport...Some by "borrowing" from everyone else and beating them to an editor and writing tombs of wisdom...we all read etc...I have seen guys over the years make a minor change to an existing pattern, slap their name on it, and before you know it your secret fly's being sold in the fly shop bin next season under the other guy's name...With a fancy new name...

Spence

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
WbranchJanuary 26th, 2010, 3:57 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2506
I guess then I better not show you the flies I tie with my name attached to them??
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
GutcutterJanuary 26th, 2010, 6:39 pm
Pennsylvania

Posts: 470
to tell you the truth - i invented the comparadun only they already had it
gut
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
OldredbarnJanuary 26th, 2010, 6:48 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
Wbranch,

Your "secret" flies are safe with me...Somewhere, in another thread, I told the story about being sworn to secrecy on a fly tied by a friend for one year. We didn't even mention it by name to each other! It was known as the fly we don't talk about...

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
WbranchJanuary 27th, 2010, 5:13 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2506
It's funny that you mention that as about ten years ago about four of us developed a fly that is so good that it catches trout everywhere and consistently even when other flies are emerging. We don't ever call it by the name we coined for it - when someone says "what did you get it on?" the other guy will just say "the Secret Fly". I guess this is kind of selfish of us but one thing I believe strongly is that when a new fly hits a river it is usually good for about one season. Then every fly shop starts to tie, and sell, them the fly loses it's effectivity. Since only about six of us use this pattern it continues to catch fish, after fish, when others fail. Sometimes we just force ourselves to not fish it so we can use some of the hundreds of other flies we have in our boxes.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
OldredbarnJanuary 27th, 2010, 6:43 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
Wbranch,

We used to use really old, out-of-style flies names when someone asked..."What ya catching them on?" "Oh...Just an old Cornies Quill etc. We have to have something we think is unique I guess. It's getting harder to do with the web etc.

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
MartinlfJanuary 27th, 2010, 1:27 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2928
I'll second Gutcutter's ad for Whitetail Flytying. Chris is a great guy, and if he can, he'll order what you need if he doesn't have it in stock. He has a huge selection of hooks as well as lots of good deer hair, and many other items.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
RleePJanuary 28th, 2010, 8:26 am
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 382
I have an observation/viewpoint on comparaduns that, like much of what I prattle on about, may or may not have any basis in reality...:)

It has to do with the behavior of the natural on the water. My experience with comparaduns has been that the less active the natural is, the better choice the comparadun becomes.

Just to take one bug (or family of bugs) as an example, consider the eastern paraleps or blue quills..

I've done much better on comparaduns when fishing these hatches early (and also late) in the season when conditions were cold and the flies tended to be less active on the water and I've had better success over the summer paraleps, which seem to be more frisky and fidgety in the warmer considtions, when I would switch to a standard, hackled blue quill.

It seems to me to be a discernible, reliable difference that guides me when fishing these hatches.

Then again (as I sort of said above), a lifetime of experience has made me cautious about believing everything I think...:))

But I've also had the same basic experience out here in the midwest with olives. The warmer (or more windy, I should have mentioned that)the conditions and the more frisky the bugs, the less success I have with comparaduns and the more I have with conventional hackled flies.

For what it's worth...

MartinlfJanuary 29th, 2010, 5:04 am
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2928
I think it's worth a lot, Lee. I have few hackled patterns now, and you have induced me to tie up a few. What you say makes very good sense!
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
OldredbarnJanuary 29th, 2010, 9:01 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
This is a strange but true comparadun story.

My wife and I run an insurance agency and we used to be in an old house here in town for years until Walgreen's bought out the property and we moved a bit down the street. In the old office we had cut a window through the wall in to the lobby and folks would walk up to this window to make their premium payments.

My wife and her staff handle the auto & home insurance etc and I'm the financial side...mutual funds, annuities, life ins, etc. I seldom took payments at the window except on days when we were short staffed or everyone else was busy.

A good friend of mine liked to tie his comparaduns with a particular type of hair. Especially his small flies #16 & smaller. He liked the hair that was basically from the cheek of the deer...He would say that the piece of hair was good if there was whiskers in it.

Now we know that this section of hair isn't as hollow as other parts of the deer and really doesn't flair very well. Truth be known, they don't float as well as the hollower hair...Beautiful fly though.

I was writing a life policy on a guy who hunted and in my office there is a print of the Au Sable with a shadow box of 15 flies tied by my friend. After we finished writing up the policy he asked about the flies etc. Well I told him a little about them and the comparadun wing in there etc and mentioned it was tied with deer hair and the story about facial hair being good.

I was working the day after Thanksgiving for half a day alone. This guy's wife came in to the office to make a payment and she was carrying a black garbage bag..."My husband said you wanted this. It's for you." Inside was a deer head from a deer he had taken during the rifle season...I didn't know what to say! I thanked her and away she went.

I have never done any butchering or tanning or any of that sort of thing. I called my friend and he couldn't stop laughing, "Better be careful what you ask for Spence!" etc. He didn't know what to do basically either and I tossed the head out.

An aside of this story. The same woman but before the above took place came in to the office to make a payment at the window and everyone was busy. I took her back to my office and imput her payment in to my computer. She looked at the Au Sable print but said nothing about it.

Later she called me on the phone and as it turned out had told her husband about my print. He used to have a bass boat etc and somehow I guess it came up. Turned out that a friend of his had just purchased a house and was nosing around in the attic and found an old rod in a rod tube that looked really old and they wanted to know if I could help him figure out what it was worth.

I was beside myself...Could it be a Paul Young? I called some guys at the Michigan Fly Fishing Club and they gave me a number to a collector/cane rod builder out in Jackson MI. I described it to him over the phone. The rod was in perfect condition and looked like it had never been used. Maybe a gift hidden in the attic and somehow forgotten?

It turned out to be a Wright McGill and was made out in Colorado and though a nice rod they had made millions of them...He told me it was probably worth, in the shape it was in, $200.00. The guy came back in to pick up his rod and I gave him the news. He looked at me for a few moments and then asked me what I'd give him for it...I said $50.00 and he sold it to me...I still own it.

I have only cast it once in the gym where the Michigan Fly Fishing Club holds it's meetings...A friend of mine there that builds his own cane rods tried to match a fly line to it...

You just never know, eh!?

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
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