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> > Darbee Stonefly Nymph

CatskilljonMarch 7th, 2014, 7:48 pm
Upstate NY

Posts: 160
This is my go-to stonefly nymph when fishing the headwaters in the Catskills. Amber seals fur and JC eyes [use the split ones, how great is it to have a pattern that calls for them!] make it a little ritzy but its got class and a great look in the water.

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Tied on a Mustad 9672 long nymph/streamer hook, I sometimes weight these with 6 or 7 turns of lead sub.

CJ
CatskilljonMarch 7th, 2014, 9:46 pm
Upstate NY

Posts: 160
That baby looks killer. Thank you for the pattern I will tie one or two myself.
What is the hook size and how long is the shank in mm's.

Mack.


Millimeters huh? Wish I had payed attention in high school!

This particular one is on a #10 3X long Mustad 9672, looks like 18mm.

tail, 2 pheasant tail fibers
body, amber seal [you could sub it with rabbit, fox, whatever but the color should be close to amber]
rib, red/ brown stripped hackle stem
wingcases JC eyes, the split ones, one mid body the other over the thorax
dub a small head with the body material and add some partridge hackle for the legs.

Remember the good old days when all materials were natural ones?:)

Thank you, CJ

< />
WiflyfisherMarch 9th, 2014, 12:04 pm
Wisconsin

Posts: 629


Remember the good old days when all materials were natural ones?:)

Thank you, CJ

CJ, you mean the days before we tied nymphs with gold, brass & silver helmets? :-)

Great ties as always, CJ!!
John S.
https://WiFlyFisher.com
CatskilljonMarch 9th, 2014, 12:56 pm
Upstate NY

Posts: 160


Remember the good old days when all materials were natural ones?:)

Thank you, CJ

CJ, you mean the days before we tied nymphs with gold, brass & silver helmets? :-)

Great ties as always, CJ!!


HA! You don't miss a trick do you pal! I got some nice ones you will love that I will post tonight...as soon as the epoxy dries! :) CJ
EntomanMarch 9th, 2014, 1:38 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
You didn't mention it CJ, but the tier really isn't choosing between nymphs or streamer eyes with this precious feather. Splits can be repaired, but the color perfect for these nymphs is undesirable for streamers. Good use for a material I'd otherwise pass on. Amber eyed necks full of splits are normally considered sub-grade and can be purchased at a reasonable price (for jungle cock). Bought one in Canada for 20 bucks some years ago. Couldn't pass on it over price, but never figured out a use. Until now...:). I haven't seen better looking wingcases for some of our heavily mottled amber stone species. They spell "trigger" to me.

Have you experimented with more durable tailing materials?
"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
CatskilljonMarch 9th, 2014, 8:48 pm
Upstate NY

Posts: 160

Have you experimented with more durable tailing materials?


You mean more durable than pheasant center tails? I think every material that's ever been used on a trout fly is probably more durable that pheasant tail! LOL!

These were tied "as per Darbee" and as you implied, the Pt doesn't last at all. You know what a lot of the Catskill guys used was peccary hair, the stuff is like stainless wire.

$20.00 for any JC cape is a steal, good for you! CJ
EntomanMarch 10th, 2014, 12:18 am
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Yeah, bucktail is much better. When PT is a must on larger flies, I leave room at the butt for tying in tails after the fly is finished. Done properly, it's hard to tell and the tails are easily replaced.
"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
WbranchMarch 10th, 2014, 11:24 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2692
John wrote;

"These were tied "as per Darbee"

I don't think you are old enough but back in the mid 1960's I used to hang out at Darbee's home on old Rte 17. He and Elsie used to tie flies in front of two small pigeon hole desks. There was seemingly no order to the desks. There was fly tying material everywhere and it looked like the desks hadn't been cleaned up in decades.

In all the years I visited Harry he never once went fishing. I mean not once and it wasn't like the man was in his 70's. He just did not fish the Willowemoc or Beaverkill. I remember once he and his wife took a trip to the Margaree for Atlantic salmon.

That is where I bought my pre-fire Leonard 38H Baby Catskill. I paid $200 for it brand new with two tips.

He had dozens of cane rods in the corner of the fly tying room. I even put a $50 deposit on a 7' #4 Garrison but after two years and no rod I got my deposit back.

BTW back in the late 1960's and early 1970's I used to tie, and fish, that nymph with the two JC eyes. I might even have a few left in my old nymph box. I still have flies that I tied forty years ago.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
CatskilljonMarch 10th, 2014, 7:02 pm
Upstate NY

Posts: 160

I don't think you are old enough but back in the mid 1960's I used to hang out at Darbee's home on old Rte 17.


Your close, I was about 2 in the mid 60's!

The house is still there, just a family home now though. I wonder if they even know what history that place holds, the people that walked through their front door...

The coops are still out back, where Harry raised his Duns, the best hackle in America at the time. You can barely see them behind all the overgrowth. I was tempted a few times to ring the bell and ask they if they would like them removed.

I don't know how often he fished, and since he was owner/operator I don't imagine he had much free time during the season to be off splashing around when there were mouths to feed. I know he did the Atlantic salmon trip every year, that may be the only real fishing he had time for.

You have been around during all the good stuff Matt, I envy you. CJ
WbranchMarch 10th, 2014, 10:21 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2692
John wrote;

"You have been around during all the good stuff Matt, I envy you. CJ"

Yes, I am fortunate to have been brought to fly fishing before it became so popular in the mid to late 1970's. (not unlike being "brought" to God!) i.e. being saved from any other form of fishing.

I'll never forget meeting a guy in Cairns (on the Beaverkill to those outsiders) back around 1966. Back then it was cane or fiberglass as graphite was at least a decade away. Anyway the guy was some kind of guru as there were always a few guys listening to him with baited breath. What I was in awe of were his fly boxes as they were literally brimming with flies. He had those multi compartment DeWitt style boxes with 12 - 16 compartments. I was so envious as at that time I had one clip Perrine nymph box and one no-name dry fly box.

He kept all those flies a mystery and wouldn't let just anyone look in them. I never became familiar enough with him to even get a close hands-on glimpse. He was a big caddis dry fly guy. Who knows maybe it was Larry Solomon who did go on to write a tome about caddis flies.

Here is my box collection from three years ago (there are many more now)
< />

Some of my C&F boxes;
< />


The box on the far right is a very unusual fly box. It came from England and what you are seeing is only one half of the contents. It is my Clouser box. It has two sets of hinges and if I were to close this side there is another cover and box on the other side with just as many Clousers (over 300 in all)

I first fished the Beaverkill in July of 1965 just one year after the opening of the upper No-Kill section of the river. Back then it was no-kill but there were no restrictions on flies or lures or bait. Yes, back in the beginning you could still use worms, minnows, or eggs as long as you released the trout. Only much later were the regs modified to eliminate bait although I think you can still spin fish.

The Quickway (Rte 17) was unfinished and the four lane ended right across from the Roscoe Diner. It was still being built further down river. For a number of years there was a wooden construction bridge that had been erected right at the head of Cairns Pool so construction vehicles could cross to bring materials and equipment to the stretches of roadway further down river.

I have not really fished the Roscoe area other than a few times, since 1996 when I bought my cabin on the West Branch of the Delaware. I can though truthfully say that the fishing on the Beaverkill back then was not nearly as good as it was when I stopped fishing their in the mid 1990's. You have to remember C&R was really in it's infancy and the BK was, and still is primarily, a stocked river. Yes, there is some wild spawning but I do not believe it is to the degree that would be required to sustain the fishery as it is known on the river in the 21st century.

We used to catch lots of 9" - 14" brown trout and when we caught a 15" it was cause for a mini celebration. It was years before I caught my first 17" brown on the BK and probably ten years before I caught my first 18" brown. I know when I quit fishing there in the mid 1990's 16" - 17" were common and an 18" brown was by no means considered a special fish. My personal best on the BK was a 20" brown that fell to one of my GD duns.

The water from Hendricksons down to the tail of Cairns was so damn good that for the better part of fifteen years I hardly fished anywhere else. You need to remember the river was not very crowded back then and didn't get crowded until I'd say the mid 1980's. I think I've only fished Schoolhouse one time in all the years I fished the BK. I've never fished below Schoolhouse, never fished either upper or Lower Mountain Pool or any of the river down to Cooks Falls. I have fished that water alot because before all the parking spots were posted that stretch had just phenomenal Hendrickson emergences and twenty fish days of 12" - 15" fish were a given.

The only other BK water I have fished often is the lower No-Kill down in the Horton area. I have fished far more of the lower Willowemoc (below Rte 17) all the way down to the Power Line pool along old Rte 17. I've walked most of that length and have had many great 30 fish days back in the mid 1960's to mid 1980's when I was still a nymphing machine!

Maybe when I'm too old to fish, or wade, I'll write my memoirs "Seventy Years a Flyman".



Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
OldredbarnMarch 11th, 2014, 12:52 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Maybe when I'm too old to fish, or wade, I'll write my memoirs "Seventy Years a Flyman".


Matt,

Make us that promise, please. I love it when you write this stuff. Your stories of fishing Armstrong's in the early days and these Catskill memories are priceless. I copy and print them.

Thanks!
"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
WbranchMarch 11th, 2014, 7:15 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2692
Hi Spence,

"I copy and print them."

I'm glad you can enjoy as they bring back very fond memories for me too!
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
OldredbarnMarch 25th, 2014, 2:53 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Matt,

I finally found my way to your photo-bucket...Wow! You have caught some nice fish in your life, and fished in some very famous spots. Nice!

I like the 70's ones with you tying in your tee-shirt. :)

You have had a wonderful angling life.

You kind of had a David Niven thing going on in your younger years. :)

Thanks for sharing those memories of yours...I would of loved to have been with you in Paradise Valley back in the day.

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
WbranchMarch 26th, 2014, 11:04 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2692
Spence,

Yep, I've had an awesome angling life. I've been blessed to have experienced many fly fishing events others can only dream about. Seriously how many guys do you know who spent June, July, and August fly fishing all the dream streams in Montana in the golden years of 1968 - 1972?

Remember I told you Armstrong was free and Nelson's had two sessions per day, dawn to 1:00 and 1:00 to dark for $10.00 per session. The springs over in Belgrade, Benhart's and Thompson's on the Milesnick ranch were also free as were others that are still open that I can not divulge.

I was in my mid 20's and was catching hundreds and hundreds of wild browns, rainbows, and cuts from 15" - 21" during each summer excursion. I never caught any really big fish but that is because I loved the springs and was fine tuning my finesse techniques with small flies, light tippets, and learning how to throw dragless casts.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Kschaefer3March 26th, 2014, 11:12 am
St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
Thanks for sharing those memories of yours...I would of loved to have been with you in Paradise Valley back in the day.

You and me both! Three months of living in a van down by the river sounds about right to me.
WbranchMarch 26th, 2014, 12:46 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2692
Here is a picture of my living quarters for those three months. It was great! I put in a Porta-Potti, it had a two burner propane stove, a sink and a 5 gallon can of potable water, a frig, a cabin heater in case it got cold at night and the pop top to let in fresh air. Yep those are bell bottomed jeans and I've got a Peace medallion around my neck

< />
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
GusMarch 26th, 2014, 1:09 pm
colorado

Posts: 59
Wow that is an impressive flying job!

Also love the van Wbranch!
"How do you help that son of a bitch?"

"By taking him fishing"

-A River Runs Through It

www.jsrods.com
Jmd123March 26th, 2014, 1:45 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2493
"Maybe when I'm too old to fish, or wade, I'll write my memoirs 'Seventy Years a Flyman'."

Matt, given the photo above and all of the other ones you have posted on here, I hope your massive tome is illustrated! And yes, I would like a copy.

Peace dude!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
WbranchMarch 26th, 2014, 2:20 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2692
I better start writing soon!
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
OldredbarnMarch 26th, 2014, 3:56 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
I better start writing soon!


Yes, you had better get a start on it! I know it takes time, but "Word" would allow you to sit down and write short stories, as you remember them, and save them...You could even insert your pics at the appropriate spot in the story.

Unless you are looking to earn some dough from it, we could probably set up a special blog or thread line here where you could print them and folks could respond.

Now fellas!? No one mentioned that hat!? I know I'm forcing the pun, but can anyone say, "Super Fly"?! :)

Spence

'Seventy Years a Flyman'
I like that one, or even your "Catskill Flyfisher for 50 Years"
"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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