Proportions for Traditional North Country Spiders

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ForumGhillie
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Proportions for Traditional North Country Spiders

Post by ForumGhillie » Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:58 am

Since I have two new books coming from the UK for my Winter reading (Robert Smith “The North Country Fly: Yorkshire’s Soft Hackle Tradition” & Roger Fogg “Wet Fly Tying and Fishing) I have been trying to learn to tie traditional spiders.

In John Shaner's reference PDF (see: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=8016) he has included a graphic showing the proper proportions for tying N.C. spiders. I still struggle mentally using hackle as long as shown in the diagram below. I always seem to select shorter hackles in the length. There is no doubt welded in my wee brain is a picture of hackle the length of the hook shank, not longer.

Since getting seriously involved with the Flymph Forum the idea of tying and fishing spiders has captured my attention. I am anxious to try this out next season.

John
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Re: Proportions for Traditional North Country Spiders

Post by tie2fish » Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:10 am

After years of tying dries and nymphs almost exclusively, acclimating to the longer hackle of NC spiders and other soft hackle flies was something I had to deal with as well, John. Now I actually favor longer hackles (and more dense ones as well). A lot of this came to be while I was learning to tie JL/Hidy-style flymphs and it has carried over to the other soft hackle styles.
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Re: Proportions for Traditional North Country Spiders

Post by joaniebo » Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:05 pm

John

There's various opinions as to what the "correct" body length, hackle length / density, etc. should be and if you do some further research, you'll find that there are / were different preferences in the appearance of the soft hackles / spiders fished in the UK. Northern UK, Wales, Scotland, etc. fly tyers had different opinions and dressed their flies as popular in their area.

My advice is not to worry as to what the body / hackle length is on the flies you dress..... do what you feel comfortable with, what your fishing style is and the local waters you fish.

That being said, I tend to make the bodies almost the full length of the hook shank, (sometimes even halfway down the hook bend) and, depending on the hackle being used, 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hackle turns of "longish" hackles.
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Re: Proportions for Traditional North Country Spiders

Post by Trifly » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:31 pm

Right behind the barb is my sweet spot.

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Re: Proportions for Traditional North Country Spiders

Post by Old Hat » Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:01 am

I think it is important to learn the traditions and just as important to not limit ourselves by them.

To be honest. I don't worry too much about hackle length for spiders and soft hackles within a certain range. I haven't noticed any significant difference in fishing or catching with the many traditional spider presentations. That being said, I do purposefully tie longer hackles for Stillwater spider patterns where I take the hackle out up to 2x the length of the hook. That is because I am often short stripping the fly and it gives a bit more swimming action to the pattern which is prevalent in stillwater insects. Also, the opposite is true if I am tying a pattern that is designed to be fished deeper and more nymph-like. In this case I'm not trying to mimic wings, just legs, so I purposefully tie those patterns with noticeably shorter hackle.

This method is personal choice as should all our tying be based on our own experiences in our microcosm of this world. But, it is also important to understand the traditional components of tying and fishing these flies and not forget or throw those traditions out the window because we have found another method that works better for us or because we just don't believe in "rules". Learn and understand the history, foundations and traditions of your chosen slice of this sport then with that knowledge build upon it with your own experiences. This promotes creativity built upon solid, proven foundations and preserves history.
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Re: Proportions for Traditional North Country Spiders

Post by ForumGhillie » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:06 am

So you know, no one will ever accuse me of being a fly tying traditionalist, trust me. (Carl, you will see soon in my package) I never yell "Blasphemy" because some fellow fly fisher prefers to throw a beadhead nymph, etc.

At the same time, I do enjoy reading about the history of fly fishing and preserving the history. I also like to tie and fish the old patterns as well as my new, new concoctions. I am very analytical and I am always exploring different methods of tying flies as well as how to fish them. I will never just fish one way or one certain fly type.

With that said, I do wonder why they chose to make their wings so long. They obviously had enough wing material available to make them shorter if desired, and I am sure they must of known whether they wanted the hackle to represent wings or legs.

So I need to tie some N.C. Spiders and try them out next season. Besides, that will make PhilA happy. :)
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Re: Proportions for Traditional North Country Spiders

Post by upstatetrout » Thu Nov 29, 2018 6:11 pm

John. It will make you happy. You love to tie! Please post.

Tom
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Re: Proportions for Traditional North Country Spiders

Post by ForumGhillie » Thu Nov 29, 2018 6:38 pm

upstatetrout wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 6:11 pm
John. It will make you happy. You love to tie! Please post.

Tom
Tom,

I am sorry I left you out. I hope these will make you happy. :)

John
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Re: Proportions for Traditional North Country Spiders

Post by PhilA » Thu Nov 29, 2018 7:47 pm

WiFlyfisher wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:06 am
Besides, that will make PhilA happy.
John,
I am indeed happy. I was fearing tungsten beads and a right-angled jig hook.
Phil
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Re: Proportions for Traditional North Country Spiders

Post by ForumGhillie » Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:06 pm

PhilA wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 7:47 pm
WiFlyfisher wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:06 am
Besides, that will make PhilA happy.
John,
I am indeed happy. I was fearing tungsten beads and a right-angled jig hook.
Phil
Phil,

Just think, some day your kids' kids will be reading old fly fishing books about beadhead nymphs and jig hooks. :lol: :lol:

John
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