T E Pritt's Grannon or Greentail

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ForumGhillie
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Re: T E Pritt's Grannon or Greentail

Post by ForumGhillie » Wed Nov 21, 2018 8:18 pm

John,

I went out once behind our barn, clip and washed some horse tail with my dear wife’s blessing. I tried to make and use it was a leader. I learned one thing thing... how much I appreciate nylon leaders.

John
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PhilA
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Re: T E Pritt's Grannon or Greentail

Post by PhilA » Thu Nov 22, 2018 1:02 pm

John,
I'm hundreds of miles away from my dependable memory (=fly tying books!), but didn't drawn silkworm gut from Spain overtake the fly fishing world in the late 1700s or early 1800s (not late 1800s)? Wasn't gut the leader / tippet of choice during much of the "golden age" of the 1800s, when eyed hooks were available but only rarely used?

Authors often credit Hall with a key British patent in approximately 1880 that was important for the ascension of the dry fly. Hall's patented process used lighter wire and (I think) produced eyed hooks. What I've never understood, however, is whether the light wire hooks *enabled* dry fly fishing (this is often invoked), or whether increased demand for floating flies in the late 1800s motivated inventors and manufacturers (Hall for example) to change hook manufacturing. Either explanation is consistent with the coincident occurrence of light eyed hooks and dry fly fishing.

I also remember Paul Schullery writing somewhere that the slow adoption of eyed hooks was due, at least in part, to what might be called "social inertia". Basically, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!". Many fly anglers don't like change, and attaching flies (or casts of two or three flies) to fly lines via the loop-to-loop connections of gut-snelled flies was quick and easy. No need for new hooks. Drawn guts were what everybody used. Admittedly, gut tippets could have been tied to eyed flies, but why fuss around with knots onstream when loops are quicker, and all three flies could be changed simultaneously? Increasing interest in dry fly fishing late in the century, when extreme imitation was the order of the day, might have changed the calculus of the best hook.

Your speculations are very cogent and entirely plausible. We may never know for sure why eyed hooks were slow to overtake the world, but that's why discussing the possibilities is fun. It's like debating the merits of tying on a pheasant tail or a hare's ear. A consensus would be impossible! --Phil
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Re: T E Pritt's Grannon or Greentail

Post by Greenwell » Fri Nov 23, 2018 4:00 pm

Phil,

I took a look at my copy of Aldam's "Quaint Treatise" and it is interesting to see that the early Halls eyed hooks that the two Ogdan mayflies are dressed on are slightly heavier in the wire than the sneck bend hooks the other flies in the book are on.
Tony Hayter in his book "Halford and the Dry-Fly Revolution" has a good discussion of the advent of the eyed fly hook and he also references a chapter in A. Courtney Williams' "Angling Diversions." I will try to scan this chapter in the next couple days and make it available.

Interestingly, just yesterday in a Facebook post, Rob Smith stated that horsehair was used in the North Country right into the late 1950's as it was more supple and durable than gut.
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Re: T E Pritt's Grannon or Greentail

Post by PhilA » Sat Nov 24, 2018 12:12 pm

Greenwell wrote:
Fri Nov 23, 2018 4:00 pm
I took a look at my copy of Aldam's "Quaint Treatise" and it is interesting to see that the early Halls eyed hooks that the two Ogdan mayflies are dressed on are slightly heavier in the wire than the sneck bend hooks the other flies in the book are on.
John,
You own a copy of Flees and the Art a Artyfichall Flee Making? Nice! That's about the the rarest of the rare for fly fishing books. That is, unless you also own an original Dame Juliana manuscript! --Phil
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Re: T E Pritt's Grannon or Greentail

Post by Bazzer69 » Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:36 pm

PhilA wrote:
Sat Nov 24, 2018 12:12 pm
Greenwell wrote:
Fri Nov 23, 2018 4:00 pm
I took a look at my copy of Aldam's "Quaint Treatise" and it is interesting to see that the early Halls eyed hooks that the two Ogdan mayflies are dressed on are slightly heavier in the wire than the sneck bend hooks the other flies in the book are on.
John,
You own a copy of Flees and the Art a Artyfichall Flee Making? Nice! That's about the the rarest of the rare for fly fishing books. That is, unless you also own an original Dame Juliana manuscript! --Phil
There’s a copy for sale in the U.K. at $4,200. Does that make my stone copy of the Ten Commandments autographed by someone call Solomon valuable? I got it from a gentleman in Cairo who said he was my affendi and I could have it for twenty quid!
Love both fly fishing and fly tying, been doing it for a while
But not much good at either
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Re: T E Pritt's Grannon or Greentail

Post by Greenwell » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:26 pm

If the chiseling on the Tablets is clear and legible then you did OK! My personal copy is signed "C. Heston." I bet I got it form that same Cairo bookseller...........bit of a problem to lug around though.

Actually, acquiring a copy of Aldam was something I had aspired to for most of my life, ever since I first knew what it was and how important it is in fly fishing/tying history. I had been offered several copies over the years but never had the wherewithal to pick one up. Then two years ago I lucked into a very nice one at a bargain price so couldn't let it get by me. And I've never regretted the purchase.

I would like to discuss fly tying books here on the Forum. I wonder if there would be any interest.
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Re: T E Pritt's Grannon or Greentail

Post by PhilA » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:28 am

Greenwell wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:26 pm
I would like to discuss fly tying books here on the Forum. I wonder if there would be any interest.
John,
I would definitely be interested in discussing fly tying books. Acquiring and reading such books has been a passion -- some might say obsession -- of mine for many years.

By the way, I'm now back home. The reference for Paul Schullery's account of the history of eyed hooks and why they were slow to catch on is chapter six of Fly-Fishing Secrets of the Ancients (2009). ("This Most Salutary Reform; The Slow Rise of the Eyed Hook"). --Phil
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Re: T E Pritt's Grannon or Greentail

Post by PhilA » Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:42 pm

John,
I re-read Schullery's history of the eyed hook last night. Aldam's A Quaint Treatise figures quite prominently! Schullery references Tony Hayter (F.M. Halford and the Dry-Fly Revolution), who wrote that Hall's eyed hooks were inspired by two especially finely made hooks contained in A Quaint Treatise. Here is the relevant paragraph:

Image

Thus, A Quaint Treatise prompted Hall and Bankart to get serious about developing small fine-wire eyed hooks. Hall's oft-quoted patent was in 1879, the same year his hooks (made by Hutchinson of Kendal) were offered for sale. Since A Quaint Treatise was published in 1876, those two eyed hooks in your book are presumably Bartleet hooks.

Chapter 5 of the book recounts the rise and fall of horsehair and silkworm gut as leader material. A theme running through both the leader and hook chapters is that fly anglers are resistant to change, even when in hindsight the change is very beneficial.

Cheers,
Phil
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Re: T E Pritt's Grannon or Greentail

Post by wsbailey » Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:03 pm

Here is a discussion about gut and horse hair lines from 1853.

https://books.google.com/books?id=y90RA ... ut&f=false

The Complete Angler speaks of silk gut and Indian grass lines.
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Re: T E Pritt's Grannon or Greentail

Post by Bazzer69 » Fri Nov 30, 2018 1:08 am

I for one would be delighted for a thread or subforum devoted to books!
Love both fly fishing and fly tying, been doing it for a while
But not much good at either
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