Partridge & Tups Variations (Tutorial / SBS)

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Stendalen
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Re: Partridge & Tups Variations (Tutorial / SBS)

Post by Stendalen » Sat Nov 19, 2011 9:59 am

Agree WH!

There is just too much inspiration here...

Never tied or fished the Tup, but will. Anyone know if the Tups Indispensable is intended to imitate a specific insect?

Martin
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Mike Connor

Re: Partridge & Tups Variations (Tutorial / SBS)

Post by Mike Connor » Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:10 am

Yes, various red spinners, read about it here;

http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=Skues

http://www.archive.org/stream/minortact ... search/tup

http://www.archive.org/stream/wayoftrou ... search/tup

Image

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Although the plate labels state that some flies are dressed on double hooks, they obviously are not! This is however referred to in the book.

The patterns listed in "Minor Tactics of the Chalk Stream and kindred studies"

Rough Olive
Wings : Darkest starling
Body : Heron herl from wing feather dyed brown olive and ribbed with fine gold wire.
Legs : Dirty brown-olive hen hackle, with dark center and yellowish brown points.
Hook : No.1

Greenwell's Glory
Wings: Hen blackbird, dark starling, medium starling, or light starling. ( Lighter as season advances).
Body : Primrose or yelloe tying silk, more or less (Lighter as season advances), ribbed with fine gold wire.
Legs : Dark furnace hackle : black centre, with cinnamon points, to medium honey dun ( Lighter as season advances).
Hook : Nos. 1. 0 or 00

Blue Dun
Wings : Snipe
Body : Water-rat on primrose or yellow tying silk. Vary body by dressing with undyed heron's herl form the wing, and ribbing with fine gold or silver wire.
Legs : Medium blue hen
Hook : No. 1 or 0

Iron Blue
Wings : Tomtit's tail.
Body : Mole fur on claret tying silk.
Legs : Honey dun with red points
Hook : No. 0 or 00

Watery Dun
Wings : Palest starling.
Body : Hare's poll or buff opossum on primrose tying silk.
Legs : Ginger Hen's hackle
Hook : No. 1 or 0

Hare's Ear
Wings : Dark or medium starling.
Body : Hare's fur form lobe at root of ear ; rib narrowest gold tinsel or fine gold wire.
Legs : A few fibres picked out or placed between the strands of the silk and spun.
Hook : 1 or 0

Black Gnat
Wings : Palest snipe rolled and reversed.
Bodfy : Black tying silk with two turns of black ostrich herl or knob of bolack silk at shoulder.
Legs : Black hen or cock starling's crest, two turns at most.
Hook : no. 00

Skues, Illustrations of various styles;

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Mike Connor

Re: Partridge & Tups Variations (Tutorial / SBS)

Post by Mike Connor » Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:28 am

Image

Hook: 16.
Thread: Yellow.
Tail: Yellow-spangled lightish-blue cock hackle fibers.
Body: Mixed “white” fur from a ram's testicles, this is usually stained with urine, dye, and other things, and is a bright yellow colour when washed, unless it has been tainted with sheep dye! * lemon-colored fur from a spaniel, cream seal's fur and a small amount of yellow mohair. A small tip of yellow tying thread is exposed at the rear of the body.
Hackle: Yellow-spangled lightish-blue cock.

Note: Skues suggested replacing the yellow mohair with crimson seal's fur.

As a substitute, light hare´s mask blended with light yellow and red mohair is OK. The fly in the picture is an “original” dressed by Austin´s daughter, although it does not look much like the recipe described. Many Tup´s Indispensibles are dressed with bright pink single colour dubbing. They are less effective than the original. The ingredients are not so massively important, but the mixed dubbing is.


The fly in the photo has been treated with floatant, is dressed a little chubby, the hackle is not “blue”and the “spangles” on the hackle are not visible. Such spangled blue hackles, referred to as “rusty blue dun” are very rare in any case. I have not seen any for a long time, and it is most unlikely that many are available anywhere. The original material for this fly was urine and dye stained wool taken from a ram's testicles mixed with lemon coloured fur from a spaniel and a little yellow mohair, replaced later with crimson seal's fur.

About Tup's: This unusual dubbing material originated from a dubbing described by Alexander Mackintosh in his book, The Driffield Angler, in 1806. It was used in his Green Drake pattern and described as "a little fine wool from the ram's testicles, which is a beautiful yellow."

http://www.archive.org/search.php?query ... d%20angler

http://www.archive.org/stream/driffield ... rch/+drake

The word "tup" refers to a ram that hasn't been castrated. The material used by Austin was obtained form a local slaughterhouse. He did not chase wild rams around the countryside!

Although G. E. M. Skues put a name to the Tup's Indispensible, the fly was actually created by R.S. Austin in 1900. It represented a female Olive called the Red Spinner.

Austin's dubbing ingredients for the body were kept secret so that he could maintain a monopoly on it. The secret continued for 20 years after his death in 1914, so his daughter could maintain the monopoly. It wasn't until 1934 that the secret was revealed.

*Sheep farmers used a special dye on their rams, so that when a ram “tupped” a ewe, it left evidence in the form of a dye mark on the ewes back. Such ewes could then be separated from the flock. Various dyes were used. So if you obtain ram´s testicles and the hair is bright pink or blue, or green, this is because the farmer used such a dye. Many farmers keep large numbers of free ranging sheep on the North York Moors, and these are also dyed for other purposes, indentification, and after they have been dipped. Sheep are “dipped”, which means sending them through a bath of various chemicals in order to kill various parasites. After dipping they are marked with a dye so the farmer knows they have been dipped. These dyes all wear off more or less quickly. Visitors to the moors are always asking why the sheep and rams are dyed, and some locals take great pleasure in telling them various fairy stories!

TL
MC
Last edited by Mike Connor on Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
Mike Connor

Re: Partridge & Tups Variations (Tutorial / SBS)

Post by Mike Connor » Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:35 am

Just as an aside here: the seal fur used in this and similar patterns is not the same stuff now generally sold as seal fur!

Seal Fur, which for dubbing purposes must be the very soft fur from very young seals, which is shed by them, before they attain their “normal” coats, and used to be collected, has been used for a long time for various flies. Mainly as dubbing. It is now sometimes difficult to obtain. The fur from adult seals is useless for this! The fur dyes very well indeed, giving bright sparkling colours, and retaining the translucency of the natural fur, which is a light cream colour in its natural state. There are various synthetic substitutes available, but the real thing is better! If you can not obtain it, then use Mohair.

This is one of my “blending boxes”. I almost never use single colours, and I often blend this fur with hare and other furs.
Image

Contrary to popular opinion, the fur used for dubbing does not come from "Fur seals"! It comes from Harp seals, and the shed fur is collected, no seals are killed in order to obtain it. Huge amounts can be found blowing around when the seals shed their white coats after ten to twelve days.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harp_Seal

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fur_seal

Fur from old coats and similar, or fur from the wrong seals, which is often offered, is largely useless for fly-dressing purposes. It is often very stiff and wiry and difficult to blend or manipulate. The real thing is very soft and easy to use.

TL
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Stendalen
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Re: Partridge & Tups Variations (Tutorial / SBS)

Post by Stendalen » Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:53 am

Mike, that is a great story!

I cannot though find the dressing Skues proposed in any of these books. Did he write about that elsewhere or am I missing it?

Martin
"...because it enriches my soul..."
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Re: Partridge & Tups Variations (Tutorial / SBS)

Post by Stendalen » Sat Nov 19, 2011 11:29 am

Made some wool dubbing according to Valla's recepie and Ray's wool ;)

Martin
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Mike Connor

Re: Partridge & Tups Variations (Tutorial / SBS)

Post by Mike Connor » Sat Nov 19, 2011 11:52 am

Stendalen wrote:Mike, that is a great story!

I cannot though find the dressing Skues proposed in any of these books. Did he write about that elsewhere or am I missing it?

There are two spellings, "Indispensable" and "Indispensible" Skues used both.

Martin
Austin was a tobacconist and professional fly-dresser in Tiverton, and he kept the pattern secret. His daughter took over the fly dressing side of the business and continued to dress the pattern with minor changes such as replacing the mohair with seal’s fur.

When she retired Miss Austin gave G.E.M. Skues permission to publish the correct dressing in 1934. The secret of the Tup’s Indispensable was published in the Flyfisher’s Club Journal, here is a partial quote;

Here is the true and authentic pattern. It is too much to hope that at last we may now see the true patterns on sale in the tackle shops?

I have always had it in my mind that the prescription was so valuable to anglers at large that it ought not to be lost, and it was my intention, if it were not disclosed in my lifetime, to leave a record of it to be made public when the time for its disclosure came.

That time has now arrived, and I have been generously released from the moral obligation which so long bound me to keep it a secret, while fuming at the many absurd abortions which tackle dealers were selling as the real thing.

I believe I was the first angler to use the magic dubbing. I was, at the time, in constant correspondence with Mr. R. S. Austin. The date I do not exactly recall, but, from a note in Mr. Austin’s handwriting describing its first use, I judge the date to have been June, 1900. He sent me a sample on a broken Limerick eyed hook, telling me that with it (the actual fly) he had killed at the mouth of the Loman, where it debouches into the Exe at Tiverton, in two or three successive evenings a number of big trout which the natives there counted uncatchable, one of them exceeding 5lb. another 3lb. ½ oz. another 2½lb. and another about 2lb. Being naturally very much interested I asked Mr. Austin (in returning him the pattern) what was the nature of the dubbing, and he very generously not only gave me the prescription, but also sent me enough of the made-up material to dress a number of examples of the fly.

I told Mr. Austin that I thought the fly deserved a title, and in his reply he asked what I suggested. I replied that there was “So and So’s Infallible”, So and So’s Irresistible”, and so on – “Why not ‘Tup’s Indispensable’?" He said he did not care to name it and for the moment the matter dropped.

The essential part of this dubbing is the highly translucent wool from the indispensable part of a Tup, thoroughly washed and cleansed of the natural oil of the animal. This wool would by itself be, like seal’s fur, somewhat intractable and difficult to spin on the tying silk, but an admixture of the pale pinkish and very filmy fur from an English hare’s poll had the effect of rendering it easy to work. There was also in the original pattern an admixture of cream coloured seal’s fur and combings from a lemon yellow spaniel, and the desired dominating colour was obtained by working in a small admixture of red mohair. For the mohair I generally substituted seal’s fur, and I believe Mr. Austin did so himself. When wet the Tup’s wool becomes somehow illuminated throughout by the colour of the seal’s fur or mohair, and the entire effect of the body is extraordinarily filmy and insect-like.
UNQUOTE

In an unpublished volume of his favourite dressings Mr. Austin described the pattern in the following terms:

No. 28 - The Red Spinner

This is a hackled fly tied with yellow silk on a N. 00 Sneck bend hook. It is made with a body sparsely dressed, of a mixture of white ram’s wool and lemon coloured Spaniel’s fur in equal parts, and a little fur from a hare’s poll, and sufficient red mohair to give the mixture a pinkish shade. It is hackled with a yellow spangled lightish blue cock’s hackle and has whisks of the same colour.

About 1890 Austin made a manuscript of dry fly fishing on various North Devon streams, but it was never published. However, W.H. Lawrie, in his classic work, “A Reference Book of English Trout Flies”, 1967, gives a list of flies from that manuscript. The Tup's pattern was called the "Red Spinner", it was much later that Skues christened the fly the "Tup's Indispensible"

This is a joke based on the fact that a tup could not possibly lose the source of the wool as it was indispensable! A tup with no testicles is no longer a tup! I have heard loads of explanations for this, they are mostly rubbish.

TL
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Re: Partridge & Tups Variations (Tutorial / SBS)

Post by Stendalen » Sat Nov 19, 2011 12:07 pm

Mike, you are a living encyclopedia!

Mind another, beginners, question: hare’s poll is that just hare´s ear or is that fur from a specific part of the ear (in the Skues days I mean, today it might mean something else)?

Martin
"...because it enriches my soul..."
https://www.facebook.com/stendalenflyfish/
Mike Connor

Re: Partridge & Tups Variations (Tutorial / SBS)

Post by Mike Connor » Sat Nov 19, 2011 12:08 pm

For more information on the journal;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flyfishers%27_Club

TL
MC
Mike Connor

Re: Partridge & Tups Variations (Tutorial / SBS)

Post by Mike Connor » Sat Nov 19, 2011 12:13 pm

Stendalen wrote:Mike, you are a living encyclopedia!

Mind another, beginners, question: hare’s poll is that just hare´s ear or is that fur from a specific part of the ear (in the Skues days I mean, today it might mean something else)?

Martin
Hare's poll is the soft pinkish brown fur from between the ears on the forehead;

Image

Your mask should look something like this;

As you can see there is a large range of colours here. The textures of these hairs also vary depending on where you take them from.
The ears etc are on square graph paper as I am working on a system for describing hair types and locations, but I am not finished yet.


OK. The mask has a number of more or less defined areas with specific types and colours of hair.

On either side of the nose, there are areas of reddish brown hair with very little underfur. Moving up the side of the mask, this changes to a light buff colour. As one moves further up, the hair tips become darker with a well defined dark brown to black band, and blue grey underfur.

Between the eyes and on the forehead is hair with light yellowish tips and a dark base.

At the base and between the ears is the "poll" this is a light reddish brown with pale tips, with underfur of the same colour. This is the same colour and texture as buff opossum fur.

At the base of the ears you have soft fur with light, often almost white fur with a varying length of dark base. Moving up the ear itself you have short dark hair with light tips. This is the hare recommended for the hare´s ear nymph. You can remove this by pinching it off with your thumb and finger nail. The whole side of the ear is covered with this hair.

So, that very roughly covers it. I have been working on an article about this for quite some time, but I don´t know when I will finish it. You can blend any of these furs together in pinches, or you can use each type of hair alone, or you can separate the guard hair and the underfur and use it separately. There are many possible blend combinations. I have covered about twenty of these "standard" blends so far, but of course they are practically infinite.

Many people simply shave the mask and chuck the result in a blender, But this is a terrible waste of possibilities and the resulting blend, though quite excellent for some nymphs and wet flies, contains a very large percentage of underfur, and is thus less suitable for quite a few things, including dry flies. You can dress dozens of completely different flies using a mask and ears. And you can also control the properties of those flies.

For guard hair wings and the like, body fur is better simply because it is a lot longer and easier to handle. even short body guard hair is at least an inch long, which is quite ample for even the largest flies.

The guard hair from various locations also differs in colour according to location, and much of it also differs in colour along its own length. There may be three or more clearly defined colours or shades of colour on a single guard hair, If you want a specific colour, then just cut the colours off that you require, and put the others aside for something else.

TL
MC
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