Yorkshire Spider (John Shaner's Collection)

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Yorkshire Spider (John Shaner's Collection)

Post by letumgo » Tue Dec 09, 2014 8:38 pm

John Shaner (Greenwell) and I have been exchanging E-mail's recently, discussing historic Yorkshire spiders. During our exchange, John generously offered to send me photos of many authentic Yorkshire spiders which he has in his collection. WHAT A TREAT! John has given me permission to share the photos with the forum. I would like to make this an ongoing series. I plan to post the Yorkshire spider photos, one at time, allowing time for John to contribute historical background information, and for people to ask questions and have open discussion of each pattern. I am hoping these series of posts will be of great interest to the members of the forum.

So, with that introduction, let me share with you the first in a series of true Yorkshire spiders.

Image

PS - John's brother photographed the flies, and has done a wonderful job capturing the colors and details of each on.

John - Can you tell us more about this fly? Is that trimmed hackle I see?
Ray (letumgo)----<°))))))><
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Re: Yorkshire Spider (John Shaner's Collection)

Post by Smuggler » Tue Dec 09, 2014 9:01 pm

Holy crap, this is gonna be great. What a treat.
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Re: Yorkshire Spider (John Shaner's Collection)

Post by Greenwell » Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:15 am

Ray and I thought it would be interesting to post photos of some original Yorkshire Spiders so the Forum members could see what these flies really looked like. The flies you'll be seeing all came from the fly wallet of Henry Walbran Cooper (1843 - 1913). Mr. Cooper, a Yorkshireman and contemporary of T.E. Pritt, was considered to be one of the finest fly dressers of his day. The wallet is dated 1880 so we can assume these flies are from this period. The wallet contains approximately 200 - 300 flies, all appear to have dressed by the same expert hand, and all exhibit rare skill in tying. Adding to their rarity is their high degree of preservation after nearly 140 years, giving us a rare glimpse into fly fishing history.

All of the flies you'll be seeing, and nearly all the flies in the collection, are very tiny, no larger than a modern size 16. It's a mistaken notion that small trout flies are a recent development; anglers have been fishing with minute patterns for a very long time indeed. The size of the flies and quality of their construction is all the more remarkable when you take into account that they were mostly dressed without the aid of a vise.

The first pattern looks to be a Partridge & Orange, but dressed with a dubbed wool body rather than the more common silk thread body and this makes a very attractive fly. Perhaps the most striking aspect of the dressing though is the trimmed hackle, something that looks quite strange to many of us. However, it was a common practice to trim hackles to size. Materials were relatively scarce and nothing went to waste. If one had a nice hackle that was a bit too long it was just trimmed to to a proper size for the hook. Many of the flies in the collection have trimmed hackles (as do many of the flies in contemporary illustrations). I've been experimenting with trimmed hackles lately and I see no difference in their effectiveness when compared to flies dressed with untrimmed hackles.

I hope this pattern, and other flies that Ray will post, will create some interest and discussion. I'll add some commentary on each fly and try to answer any questions. I also hope some of the Forum members will use these as models for their own flies and share photos of the results.
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Re: Yorkshire Spider (John Shaner's Collection)

Post by tie2fish » Wed Dec 10, 2014 7:45 am

This is going to be a thread for the ages, both figuratively and literally. Thanks to John and Ray for collaborating.
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Re: Yorkshire Spider (John Shaner's Collection)

Post by redietz » Wed Dec 10, 2014 8:16 am

I'm really looking forward to this.
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Re: Yorkshire Spider (John Shaner's Collection)

Post by novabass » Wed Dec 10, 2014 8:53 am

I love the information. I'm looking forward to more!
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Re: Yorkshire Spider (John Shaner's Collection)

Post by hankaye » Wed Dec 10, 2014 10:29 am

Ray & John, Howdy;

Thanks for this collaboration, fits extremely, well with my cup of coffee.
This fly with the trimmed hackle is truly nice and easy on the eyes. I do
have a question, what is the length of the hackle? length of gape? Length of
shank? Appears longer, but hard to judge from the angle.
Looking forward to the rest of the cloud of flies.

hank
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Re: Yorkshire Spider (John Shaner's Collection)

Post by redsedge » Wed Dec 10, 2014 1:30 pm

This looks to be very interesting - thank you, John and Ray. I had no idea that hackles were trimmed by our 19th C. forbears. Eagerly looking forward to seeing more.
Cheers, Jim
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Re: Yorkshire Spider (John Shaner's Collection)

Post by raven4ns » Wed Dec 10, 2014 3:11 pm

That is really interesting to know because many times I haven't had hackles small enough to do the job. Now I have a couple of options to use with larger hackle. Thanks for the information about trimmed hackle, John.


[quote="Greenwell"] I've been experimenting with trimmed hackles lately and I see no difference in their effectiveness when compared to flies dressed with untrimmed hackles.
All the best,

Tim
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Re: Yorkshire Spider (John Shaner's Collection)

Post by Smuggler » Wed Dec 10, 2014 4:19 pm

I wonder why the wool and not silk? More durable against trout teeth?
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