I've tied this fly a lot. It's an excellent fly for
learning how to marry feather slips and create married
wings. It's good because it only has the two materials,
yellow and black swan or goose, and both of those marry
George Kelson gives himself credit for this fly in his
monumental work The Salmon Fly, and gives
his father credit for the wing arrangement. This same
wing is also seen on another fly, "The Bulldog." In
addition, Kelson uses a similar wing design in his version
of the Silver Doctor, but there the stripes are yellow and blue.
You'll note that the recipe calls for horns of blue macaw.
Horns were always considered optional, and I'll use that
as my excuse. As far as the real reason my fly has no horns,
I can only suggest that you ask me after I've calmed down.
Here is the recipe for The Ray Mead:
For a tutorial on how to do married wings, go to:
Married Wings in the Atlantic Tying section.
The Ray Mead
Credits: The Salmon Fly by
George Kelson; Classic Salmon Flies by Mikael Frodin. ~ EA
Tag: Silver twist and light blue silk.
Tail: A topping, Ibis, and summer duck.
Butt: Black ostrich herl.
Body: One-fourth yellow silk, followed by silver tinsel (oval).
Ribs: Gold tinsel (oval).
Hackle: Large Irish grey from oval tinsel.
Throat: Teal, three turns.
Wings: Alternate narrow strips of swan dyed
yellow and black, married; summer duck and topping.
Sides: Jungle cock.
Horns: Blue Macaw.
I started fly fishing as a teen in and around my hometown
of Plattsburgh, New York, primarily on the Saranac River.
I started tying flies almost immediately and spent hours
with library books written by Ray Bergman, Art Lee, and
A. J. McClane. Almost from the beginning I liked tying
just as much as I liked fishing and spent considerable
time at the vise creating hideous monstrosities that
somehow caught fish anyway. Then one day I came upon a
group of flies that had been put out at a local drug store
that had been tied by Francis Betters of Wilmington, N.Y.
My life changed that day and so did my flies, dramatically.
Even though I never met Fran back then, I've always
considered him to be one of my biggest influences.
I had a career in music for twenty years or so and didn't
fish much, though I did fish at times. The band I was with
had its fifteen seconds of fame when we were asked to be in
John Mellencamp's movie "Falling From Grace." I am the
keyboard player on the right in the country club scene in
the middle of the movie. Don't blink. It's on HBO all the
time. We got to meet big Hollywood stars and record in John's
studio. It was a blast.
So how did I wind up contributing to the Just Old Flies
column on FAOL? I'm not sure, it was something that I simply
wanted very badly to do, and they let me. Many of the old flies
take me back to the Adirondacs and my youth, and I guess I get
to relive some of it through the column. I've spent many happy
hours fishing and tying over the years, and tying these flies
brings back memories of great days on the water, and intense
hours spent looking at the flies in the fly plates in the old
books and trying to get my flies to look like them. And now,
here I am, still doing that to this day. ~ EA