Availability of Spider Materials Today

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Re: Availability of Spider Materials Today

Post by Mike62 » Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:49 pm

wsbailey wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:17 pm
Gary Borger book "Designing Trout Flies" has a section detailing the colors of feathers on a number different game birds. He has diagrams showing the locations where you can find the various feathers on a bird. One downside is the colors are keyed to the "Borger Color System". Years ago I asked Gary where I could get the book. He gave me a lead to a fly shop and I got their last copy. A dedicated online search might turn up a copy. The color descriptions are usually sufficient though.
Ken Callahan had one in his catalog this month.
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Re: Availability of Spider Materials Today

Post by wsbailey » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:07 pm

I would grab it!
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Re: Availability of Spider Materials Today

Post by upstatetrout » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:14 pm

You can buy designing trout flies on EBay for under 10 bucks,
"We argue to see who is right but we discuss to see what is right"
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Re: Availability of Spider Materials Today

Post by wsbailey » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:24 pm

The last time I saw “Borger Color System” it was $50. You don’t see a copy available very often. That’s the downside.
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Re: Availability of Spider Materials Today

Post by RobSmith1964 » Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:53 pm

Coming to this conversation rather late, I can only put forward an English or more appropriately a Yorkshire point of view, mixed with a touch of personal and historical perspective.
Unlike many of today’s generation of UK fly anglers who started with a coarse fishing background, I grew up in a fly fishing and country sports family. I have been fly-fishing from a young age, about 8 years old according to older family members. My fly-tying is of a similar timescale, though I only really started taking it seriously at about the age of 12 when a Schoolmaster gave me a fly-tying kit.
Growing up in Bradford in the 1970s, there were numerous fishing tackle shops with a ready supply of materials to dress the local spider patterns. So, the idea of there ever being a shortage of supply never occurred. And I must also admit that the reality was there weren’t many fly anglers and fly-tyers around at that time. Like John, I could count the number of fly-tyers using traditional north country materials on less than half the fingers of one hand! My parents loved shooting and fishing, and we had a large reservoir of beck-watchers, game-keepers and shooting friends to keep an inquisitive young fly-tyer well stocked if items weren’t available in the tackle shops.
Around the late 1980s, I started to tie flies professionally and supplied many local estates with the regional fly patterns, north country spiders being a speciality. Bolton Abbey Estate was a regular customer of my local spiders, and I was fortunate enough to get my game birds from them as well as other northern estates.
Looking back, I suppose the real difference in the availability of North Country materials came about in the 1990s when supplies suddenly became very limited. Yes, you could still get the usual Waterhen, Snipe and Partridge wings and skins. But things like Curlew, Golden Plover, Blackbird and Landrail suddenly became almost unobtainable overnight. This coincided with Oliver Edwards and Roger Fogg writing about fishing and dressing spiders. And so, for the first time demand started to outstrip supply. Ellis Slater was still around then, as well as other more northern game material suppliers. So, if you knew where to look, and were prepared to wait for the season. You could still get your required wings and skins, but things were starting to dry up appreciably.
Historically, were these materials more prevalent and easier to obtain? The answer to that must be Yes. Pritt and Skues would have had no trouble walking into any northern fishing tackle shop and buying these items quite easily. The likes of Walbran, Miller and W.J. Cummins were advertising and selling these north country flytying materials as early as the 1880s. There was also the ability to order and pay for your goods via a Telegram. These game bird were also more common on the dining tables of Britain then, so the Victorians and Edwardians were able to take their hackles from the bird along with the preparation for cooking them. Birds such as Merlin, Owl and Kestrel were at one time highly persecuted in the UK until the protection of birds act in 1954. So again, items such as these were readily more accessible to the fly-tyers of yesteryear.
I suppose the wider question is, should we be constrained by the use of the prescribed correct hackle in a traditional fly dressing, or have latitude of substitution. And if we do use a substitute hackle, have we not just created a new pattern?
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Re: Availability of Spider Materials Today

Post by Trevis » Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:22 pm

I always presumed that those feathers were used precisely because they came for free with the dinner, or, were there for free after shooting the "vermin". And from that I assumed that I was free to use feathers from the birds I ate.
>oh I don't believe it's considered a "new pattern" until it's published or sold in quantities. if small variances make "new pattern" each of my flies constitute a new pattern.
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Re: Availability of Spider Materials Today

Post by ronr » Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:43 pm

Mr. Smith. I appreciate the historical perspective and your personal experience shared in this topic. This forum has such a great knowledge base to draw from and am grateful to those like you who share this knowledge. I came to this hobby relatively late in life, and well after the opportunity to obtain many of the original materials. I should add, that I tie flies for my own fishing, and doubt whether the fish I catch give a hoot about the bird whose feather I've used. As long as the fly entices the fish to eat it, I'm satisfied that the fly is a good one.
On the other hand, I do appreciate that many of the tiers on this forum go to some lengths to keep alive the old ways, materials, methods, and presentations of wingless wets, flymphs, and soft-hackled flies.
I know for certain that my attempts to mimic the old ways and utilizing the wet fly methods have improved my fishing and my enjoyment of the sport.
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Re: Availability of Spider Materials Today

Post by swellcat » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:05 am

" . . . the wider question is, should we be constrained by the use of the prescribed correct hackle in a traditional fly dressing or have latitude of substitution?

Member GlassJet answered that well with:

We need to keep a sense of humour and a wry smile regarding our search for fly-dressing "authenticity".
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Re: Availability of Spider Materials Today

Post by gingerdun » Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:00 am

Thanks for starting this very interesting thread, John.

After the Audubon Society successfully lobbied congress to write laws prohibiting the sale of many bird feathers, Leisenring wrote to Pete Hidy (Jan 29, 1942):
Have you noticed in our Book how few Bird feathers are needed? If you have not you had better read it. If it comes down to it I can tye all the flies in the Book without any Bird hackles at all and they will be nearly as effective if not altogether so.
Since we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction, and, within our lifetimes have seen alarming reductions in global wildlife populations, our art has taken on a new significance. We represent a time when wildlife seemed plentiful, and animals were considered to be there for our consumption at will. Furs and feathers were ours for the taking—and fish as well. Those days are gone forever, as John suggests.
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Re: Availability of Spider Materials Today

Post by DOUGSDEN » Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:19 pm

Very interesting thread fellows! It gets me a-wondering about the skins and furs that I have accumulated! I will treat them more gently than before and I will keep in mind their rarity in today's world! Wow! This is really interesting reading and very informative! Thanks guys!
Fish when you can, not when you should! Anything short of this is just a disaster.
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