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SofthackleJune 11th, 2011, 11:24 pm
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
With the talk of gathering hair from our pets, it brought to mind the famous, or infamous, Tup's Indispensible. I believe it called for yellowish fur from a spaniel, however, the most secret and difficult to obtain ingredient was the tup's wool which was obtained from the private area of a male sheep. (Try collecting some of that!) The male sheep called a Tup was dyed by the farmer in and about the business area of the sheep, and this way the farmer could tell which female sheep had been serviced by the tup.

The testicle wool was the most desirable wool, and it was the secret ingredient to the original pattern, which was developed by R.S. Austin, with input from G.E.M. Skues. The fly, originally tied as a dry fly, became very popular, and supposedly was very productive. Austin kept the mixture as a secret, and tied and sold only this fly. It was developed into a "nymph" by Skues, which later became a wingless wet fly.

The mix was the Tup's wool, lemon yellow spaniel fur and red mohair-for which Skues substituted red seal fur. It was Skues that also gave the pattern its name. Over the years many speculated as to what the tup's mix was, and there were many variations of the mix.

I tie the fly using a mix of red and yellow seal fur mixed with some pale tan hare's mask fur, guard hair removed. It's a pretty good variation.



Just thought those who collect pet fur might find this an interesting bit of info. Have fun collecting!

Mark
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
CaseyPJune 11th, 2011, 11:32 pm
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
just last night we were looking at the back end of our long-haired grey tabby and remarking that that particular color was really useful...

luckily, he will put up with anything if he thinks he'll get lap time!

stay tuned...:-)
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Jmd123June 11th, 2011, 11:35 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2480
Oh God, what have I started??? Furry friends, beware!!! Not to mention SHEEP...

;oD

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
PaulRobertsJune 12th, 2011, 10:52 am
Colorado

Posts: 1776
Love the history on the Tup's. There is a photo of a dry "Tup's Indispensable" in an early sporting life coffee table book (I think I still have) that captured my romantic inclinations about fly-fishing at the time. I still feel it, (although that distortion of reality has come further into focus since).

The photo shows a very light dry fly with a pinkish dubbed body, like the urine-stained fox belly used for Hendrickson's once upon a time.

Thanks for the neat history, Mark.
OldredbarnJune 12th, 2011, 11:46 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Fella's...Us fly crafter's are a strange, strange lot! Urine stained fox fur, dyed wool from a ram's privates...Preen gland feathers from a duck's rearend...Discussion on whether or not it's ok to stop and "harvest" from road kill...Exploiting our pet's fur...The poor little salmonids don't stand a chance when we throw this sort of high tech craftiness at them...:)

I went to get my hair cut yesterday and one of the hair-dresser's there had saddle hackle hanging in her hair. I explained that these feathers would never have existed in nature and were genetically developed in an attempt to create the "perfect" dry-fly-feather. She told me she was going to order some from an online fly tying catalog, but couldn't get past the idea that the feathers were actually hanging from a patch of dried skin.

My wife said to me that if we guys are going to make a big stink about this fad running up the price of hackle...Then we should no longer be able to shop at JoAnne's Fabric...Mark...This could cause us some angst...And I just got over feeling weird standing in from of the embroidery (sp ?) thread display...In a very low manly voice to the woman standing next to me in the aisle, "Uhhh...I'm a fly tyer...Really...Really."

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
PaulRobertsJune 12th, 2011, 12:58 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1776
Fella's...And I just got over feeling weird standing in from of the embroidery (sp ?) thread display...In a very low manly voice to the woman standing next to me in the aisle, "Uhhh...I'm a fly tyer...Really...Really."

Spence

LOL. I'll go into beauty shops just for the nail polishes -for "baitfishizing" crankbaits. I don't bother explaining. At the Joann's here they just say, "Fly-fisherman huh?" I guess I just exude manliness. In the yarn shops, the women love to see men in the shop and many will give you a shy smile -probably sliding toward fantasies of knitting by a fire and sipping wine in the flickering glow of a good Jane Austen flic. Then they snap to, the eyes narrow, "Probably a fly-fisherman...I know the type...There'd be fur and feathers everywhere, hooks stuck in the rugs, the cat balding ... someone who'll buy you a fly-rod instead of a new couch, and leave you on riverbanks with a book and slapping mosquitoes...". By the time you are ringing out, they are scowling at you.
SofthackleJune 12th, 2011, 1:00 pm
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Spence,
I know what you mean. I go to JoAnne's, myself.

Somewhere, I've got some photos sent to me by my friend Roy Christie of some real tup's wool he collected.(probably at the slaughter house) It has a very strange quality to it in the daylight. After numerous washings (The stuff is very oily and must be washed repeatedly to get it to a usable state) it has a pinkish orange tinge to it and is very translucent.

I've seen quite a few Tup's mixes over the years. Some were wool, some various other furs, but the use of the red seal fur is, in my opinion, important. Of course seal is not as available as it use to be, so other materials can be substituted like Angora Goat. I find, however, the goat does not have that translucent quality of seal.

Mark
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
Jmd123June 12th, 2011, 1:23 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2480
Questioning our manliness and the subjects of yarn-shop women's fantasies...not to mention the nether-regions of livestock...

In the words of the late Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's Restaurants, during a particularily psychedelic commercial promoting his burgers: "Man, is this ever WEIRD!"

;oD

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
SofthackleJune 12th, 2011, 1:31 pm
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Lol
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
PaulRobertsJune 12th, 2011, 2:29 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1776
Yes...we should be fishing. Too much work and too little play doesn't always make a dull boy.
Jmd123June 12th, 2011, 3:08 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2480
"She told me she was going to order some from an online fly tying catalog, but couldn't get past the idea that the feathers were actually hanging from a patch of dried skin."

Heaven forbid those women actually KNOW where those feathers come from!!! Gee, honey, where do you think they get your McNuggetts or Buffalo Wild Wings???

You should have seen some of the responses on MSNBC.com to the story about fly-tying hackle. "You mean they actually KILL these birds for their feathers???" To which a few replied, "Hey, do you eat at KFC? Wear leather? Like bacon??"

Jonathon

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
OldredbarnJune 12th, 2011, 11:00 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Spence,
I know what you mean. I go to JoAnne's, myself.


Mark,

I apologise here for sending this thread off-course. I was really enjoying your post and I took the low road. Sorry!

It seems to have slipped your mind but it was you who sent me in to JoAnne's for the first time sans wife.

A few months back I had a friend from Ohio stay with us here in Detroit. He was in town for a fly tying show. He's a retired biology teacher and I first met him 20+ years back on the Au Sable. I was quitting at midnight and he was just starting...His streamers are incredible and he and I made a run to JoAnne's while he was here. I now own enough weird yarns etc to tie streamers for the rest of my life and I'm a damn dry fly guy...I guess I got caught up in the moment.

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
SofthackleJune 13th, 2011, 6:52 am
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
That happens to ALL of us.

Mark
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
EntomanJune 13th, 2011, 2:29 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Beautifully tied fly, Mark (as usual).

The Tups is a VERY good sulphur imitation out here, fished in the film dead drift or with a controlled swing. Seems to be especially effective on Western spring creeks when imitative dries and emerging nymphs are having a tough time fooling fish. I tie mine from a honey dun hen neck (dun center, light ginger tips) to imitate both wings and legs. Gotta use primrose Pearsalls... Dubbing mix? Yellow Tabby from my neighbor's cat is always the base (dont ask how I get it) and a little yellow, orange and/or pink seal fur. Also add a little olive seal and omit either or both of the previous two depending on the Ephemerillid in question. Red fox belly or peroxide bleached beaver belly are good substitutes for the base.

BTW - As to the origin of the "tup fur". I was led to believe that it came from the post-castration precious parts (or the proximate region) and the color from iodine staining to prevent infection? Can't remember where I heard or read it though I'm thinking an early '70's issue of FFM. Makes sense to me as chasing a ram around with little shears aimed at his privates sounds a little difficult if not outright dangerous! :)

Kurt
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Jmd123June 13th, 2011, 2:39 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2480
AHA, another cat-fur stealer revealed!! Perhaps we should do a poll on here about how many of our flies involve the feline species...

;oD

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
SofthackleJune 13th, 2011, 4:03 pm
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Entoman,
I guess there are a number of different stories regarding the coloration of the tup's wool. One is that this wool coloration was the result of urine stain rather than dye. I am beginning to this this is most likely since we have the same effect with the urine stained fox used for tying the famous Hendrickson pattern developed by the Catskill tiers-must most noted Roy Steenrod.

I've found a few references for the dye, some for the urine staining, however, I've not found anything regarding the use of iodine.

Here are the photos Roy Christie sent. The top two photos are in daylight while the bottom two are indoor lighting.



Looking at these photos, again-I am thinking it's from urine burn.

Mark
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
EntomanJune 13th, 2011, 4:57 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Aren't urine stains, i.e. fox (vixen) fur a female trait due to the differences in anatomy?
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
OldredbarnJune 13th, 2011, 5:59 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Aren't urine stains, i.e. fox (vixen) fur a female trait due to the differences in anatomy?


Ok...Kurt...Where we going with this??? :) I've already admitted we're an odd lot, but it's getting odder by the minute.

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
SofthackleJune 13th, 2011, 9:42 pm
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Don't know! Urine from animals can be pretty strong containing a lot uric acid-which is actually an alkali. I would suspect over a period of time, it could alter the appearance of sheep wool. What ever changes the color, it is altered, for sure. This amazes me because this area is supposedly is highly saturated with lanolin. So much so, in order to be used, it must be washed, repeatedly. Even then, much of the oil remained.

Mark
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
Jmd123June 13th, 2011, 11:06 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2480
Spence, just imagine a "normal" person coming into this thread at this point...or maybe we shouldn't? Yeah, we are weird bunch...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
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