Quill Body Flies by Dana

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Quill Body Flies by Dana

Postby tie2fish » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:03 pm

While we were in Roscoe this past weekend, Dana Reed (theroe) gave me some flies he tied using various components from original Darbee chicken necks. They deserve to be seen, and since he is not yet ready to photograph and post photos to the forum, I have received his permission to do it. Hopefully he will provide some detail about their construction and what they represent.

Image

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Re: Quill Body Flies by Dana

Postby Roadkill » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:29 pm

Beautiful flies, I especially like the second one!!
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Re: Quill Body Flies by Dana

Postby fly_fischa » Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:23 pm

Lovely looking ties, that hackle looks amazing.
What is the biot body? Doesn’t look like goose or turkey? K
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Re: Quill Body Flies by Dana

Postby Theroe » Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:41 pm

fly_fischa wrote:Lovely looking ties, that hackle looks amazing.
What is the biot body? Doesn’t look like goose or turkey? K

The bodies are quills from the hackle stems....this particular pattern is “ Ivan’s Variant”, developed by one Ivan Willard from Pottsville, PA. Correct quill stems are not easy to find - the best ones have three colors on the quill, one being the dark center stripe. Quill is much, much more durable than bigots of any type.
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Re: Quill Body Flies by Dana

Postby letumgo » Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:34 am

Bill - Thank you for posting these photos of Dana's quill body flies. Carl and I had the pleasure of watching Dana tye a quill body fly, while we were in Roscoe. In hindsight, I should have been recording the tying session, for sharing purposes, but I was too engaged in the demonstration to think of it at the time. It is a fascinating process.

Here are a few of the tips that I picked up during the demonstation:
* The process begins by selecting the proper quill, paying special attention to the colors in the hackle stem. It is best to pick a hackle stem with two or three separate colors in the main stem.
* The hackle is then prepared by carefully trimming off the fluffy hackle fibers along the base of the feather. The fibers are cut close along both edges, but you can still see the stubble along the edge it you look carefully at the quill. This seems to add a bit of extra texture which almost suggests fine gills along the ends of the quill body.
* After the hackle stem is trimmed, it is then dropped into a cup of warm water for soaking
* While the quill soaked, Dana began tying the fly. He was very meticulous with the underbody of the fly. The tail fibers were tyed in the full lengtht of the quill body, then a gentle taper was formed with the tying thread. The thread wraps were very close and even, forming a nice foundation for the quill overbody.
* The soaked/softened quill is then flattened with pliers. The jaws of the pliers are smooth and roughly 1/4" wide. The hackle quill is held at a 90 degree angle to the centerline of the jaws of the pliers. Firm pressure is clamped on the hackle stem, to flatten the stem. It is easy to apply too much pressure and over crush the hackle stem. One needs to develop a feel for how much pressure one can apply, without damaging the hackle steam.
* Dana leaves a small step at the back of the thread underbody, near the base of the tail. This helps the first wrap of hackle fiber to sit properly on the back of the fly. A small detail, which comes with experience.
* The hackle stem is tyed in by the tip end (narrow end), along the shank of the hook. I believe that the hackle quill was tyed in along the bottom side of the hook (sorry I can't remember for sure - perhaps Dana will chime in and correct any errors I've made).
* The quill body is surprisingly durable. If one is concerned about durability, one could always brush a thin coat of super glue onto the thread underbody, before wrapping the quill.
* When the fly was finished, Dana then attached each finished fly to a short section of leader (roughly 6"long). The leader is tyed onto the fly with a UNI knot (fly end) and an open loop perfection knot at the other end. The fly is stored this way in his fly box. The fly is ready to quickly attach to the tippet with a loop connection.
* Dana also showed us how to prepare leaders with a "endless loop knot", which allows the flies to hang perpendicular to the fly line (prevents tangles).

Overall, I was very impressed by the demonstration, and plan to try my hand at quill bodies myself in the future. I will also make use of the loop connections more in the future, in my fishing preparation. I can see that Dana has put a great deal of time into preparations at the bench, so the when he is on the stream, he can spend most of his time fishing instead of puttering around with knots. He just slips one fly off his line and attaches another prepared fly on. Zip. Zip. Fishing!

Dana also showed us a very large, two-sided fly box containing flies by Ivan. I wish I had taken close up photos of the fly box, because the flies are amazing!

Anyway, it is nice to see the tricks and tips of a true wet fly fisherman. Bravo Dana. You are a good teacher.
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Re: Quill Body Flies by Dana

Postby tie2fish » Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:32 am

Ray ~Most excellent re-telling of what you were lucky enough to witness in Roscoe. Did Dana put the hackle collar on the one you saw and if so, how was it attached/wrapped?
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Re: Quill Body Flies by Dana

Postby letumgo » Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:00 am

Oh yeah, thanks for the reminder. I forgot to mention the throrax and the hackle techniques.

* The thorax of the fly was formed with ultra fine baby seal dubbing. The tying thread was waxed with Wonder Wax (classic) and lightly dubbed with seal dubbing. The fibers of the hair are a high gloss brown. Gorgeous stuff to play with. The texture is very fine (silky) and as John Shaner described is omni-directional (flexible in all directions).
* The hackle is formed with glossy hackle tip fibers (may have been Coq de Leon fibers). THe hackle fibers are pulled from the feather and laid in over the back of the fly. A gentle wrap of thread held one bundle in place, and then a second thread wrap is used to help distribute the fibers. A gentle press of the thumb nail is used to "convince" fibers to distribute evenly as a hackle collar. Two bundle of hackle fibers are tyed in, forming a full 360 degree (circular collar).
* The hackle fibers are angled back over the body, in a sort of tapered cone with the point at the head of the fly.

NOTE - The construction of the fly I witnessed appears to be somewhat different that the ones shown above.
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Re: Quill Body Flies by Dana

Postby tie2fish » Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:39 am

Thanks, Ray. I'm guessing that the hackle tip was from an original Darbee bird.
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Re: Quill Body Flies by Dana

Postby letumgo » Sun Oct 15, 2017 2:16 pm

I believe you are correct. Darby hackle. ;)
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Re: Quill Body Flies by Dana

Postby hankaye » Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:37 am

Ray, Howdy;

Thanks for the verbal explanation of what it was that you saw. Looking forward to
enjoying a cuppa coffee while viewing the SBS that I know you'll be doing whenever
you can fit it into your already busy schedule. ;) , :D .

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