Francis M. Walbran North Country Flies

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REE04419
Posts: 65
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:40 am

Re: Francis M. Walbran North Country Flies

Post by REE04419 » Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:52 am

Excellent find, John. Thanks so much for sharing. Info on your materials reference book, if you please.
Greenwell
Posts: 310
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 9:05 pm

Re: Francis M. Walbran North Country Flies

Post by Greenwell » Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:22 am

My Materials Reference Book is something I've been working on for several years now. The idea came about after I had acquired the Walbran Cooper Collection and a couple other collections of 19th Century North Country materials. The concept of Specimen Books to reference fly dressing materials goes back quite a long ways. Many have stated that Aldam was the first, which is true in a sense, but Blacker offered specimen editions of his books decades earlier. Individual fly dressers also included actual materials in their pattern lists, so the idea is far from original to me.
What I wanted was easy access to representative samples of fly dressing materials, especially the rarer and more exotic ones. In the old collections, most of the materials are contained in labeled envelopes and these are often in fly wallets. I further isolate these in air tight plastic boxes so trying to find a sample feather, such as the Bullfinch feather, can be a time consuming task. I also don't want to handle the materials and envelopes any more than is absolutely necessary in order to preserve them.

The idea for the basic layout came from Richard Salmon's book, Trout Flies, a specimen book published in 1975. Originally, my Reference Book only included materials for North Country flies but as it grew I began adding other traditional materials, especially hackles. It is truly a work in progress and I am up to over 30 pages of materials with many more to go. I have only just begun to add furs and hairs which will add at least another four pages of twenty four materials per page.
Scan.jpg
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The scan isn't the best, especially since the page is in a plastic sheet protector, but this should give an idea of what the book looks like. These are all actual sample materials, not photos. I know a number of Forum members have seen my book and I very much enjoy sharing it with others interested in traditional fly dressing materials. And sharing these things is really what the project is all about.
Last edited by Greenwell on Sun Feb 17, 2019 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
Greenwell
Posts: 310
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 9:05 pm

Re: Francis M. Walbran North Country Flies

Post by Greenwell » Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:41 am

Packets.jpg
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Partridge Hackles.jpg
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These are a selection of materials envelopes from the Henry Walbran Cooper Collection. All have materials in them and the materials are in pristine condition with no moth damage. Some of the envelopes are repurposed postal envelopes and can be dated by their stamps. The second picture shows how Cooper bundled many of the materials for ease of access. Interestingly, fly dressers at this time plucked and sorted their materials rather than keep them on the skin or wing. I believe this was for several reasons: Ease of access, less storage space needed, and perhaps most importantly in the days before effective insecticides, isolation from pests. Moths and carpet beetles like nothing better than a nice tasty partridge or pheasant skin!
RobSmith1964
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Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2019 2:04 pm
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Re: Francis M. Walbran North Country Flies

Post by RobSmith1964 » Sun Feb 17, 2019 11:44 am

It seems from the pictures, Walbran or Marston has incorrectly written down several of the dressing attributed to Bradshaw. Luckily for me I have Bradshaw’s original fly list. The Early Brown pattern attributed to Bradshaw is actually called the Early Dark or Winter Brown within Bradshaw’s original list.
Also the Knotted Midge again attributed to Bradshaw, is in fact a different dressing to the one which Bradshaw gives.
Knotted Midge (Bradshaw)
Silk- Lead or Ash
Body- Lead or Ash coloured silk dubbed with fox ear
Legs - Green plover wing
Head - Magpie Herl
The Cinnamon Fly is also in fact the Small Thorn Fly Dun and attributed in Bradshaw’s list to William Robinson of Otley.
RobSmith1964
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Re: Francis M. Walbran North Country Flies

Post by RobSmith1964 » Sun Feb 17, 2019 11:51 am

You have the same hackle twice there John. Blue Hawk and Merlin are the same bird. Yorkshire colloquial speech is sometimes hard to fathom. You need to come back over for a few days fishing!
wsbailey
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Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 6:30 pm
Location: Fort Wayne Indiana

Re: Francis M. Walbran North Country Flies

Post by wsbailey » Sun Feb 17, 2019 12:14 pm

Skues wrote that the gradation from dark to light makes the valuation of the bullfinch feather. He added that the bloa part of the brilliant blue shoulder feather of the jay makes a fairly efficient substitute.
Greenwell
Posts: 310
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 9:05 pm

Re: Francis M. Walbran North Country Flies

Post by Greenwell » Sun Feb 17, 2019 12:25 pm

RobSmith1964 wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 11:51 am
You have the same hackle twice there John. Blue Hawk and Merlin are the same bird. Yorkshire colloquial speech is sometimes hard to fathom. You need to come back over for a few days fishing!
Rob, we'll have to take the Blue Hawk and Merlin issue up with HW Cooper! Did you notice that one of packets has a specific reference to Aldam's Black Gnat or Taily Tail? Certainly, HWC had access to Aldam's book, as one would expect for a collector of that era.

Cookie and I are beginning to plan some travel for later this year and England is again high on the list. Let's discuss.....
bearbutt
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Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2018 8:15 pm

Re: Francis M. Walbran North Country Flies

Post by bearbutt » Thu Nov 21, 2019 11:06 am

Somehow I missed this project, and I love it--as plates of materials for tying have long been an interest of mine.

John, can you tell us more about how you are attaching the materials to the ground paper? How are you keeping feather flat? How are dubbings attached? And what sort of paper are you using for the field?

I'd love to see this project in person--will you be at any shows or fairs with it in the coming months?

Many thanks,
bb
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