This is another lovely salmon fly from the Victorian period.
Each of these flies has something special, and with the Gordon
it's a very pretty wing. The blue/green against the orange
under-wing is a great effect. As with all the salmon flies
from this period, different versions abound. The one pictured
is quite close to the original, created by Cosmo Gordon, for
his home waters, the Scottish River Dee. Not the typical Dee
fly with strip wings however, the Gordon quickly became the
most popular fly on the river upon its introduction in 1890.
Gordon was himself a noted angler and fly authority, so his
fly was taken seriously from the outset.
Kelson shows two versions of this fly in The Salmon Fly,
neither of which differs in a dramatic way from Gordon's. One
adds two red sword feathers to the under-wing, and the other
adds some tippet in the tail and changes the under-wing to
claret hackles back to back. You see this second version done
a lot, with horns added as well.
Pryce-Tannatt changes almost everything. His version changes
the blue/green aspect of the wing completely, the body, tail,
under-wing, cheeks, you name it. It just doesn't look much
like a Gordon to me, but these things are in the eye of the
beholder. There is an excellent version of Pryce-Tannatt's
fly that can be found on Hans Weilenmann's web-site
This one is fun to tie. Not a lot of difficulty around
the head, and if you can get a good solid set of wings
married, you're most of the way there. Give this one a try!
Tag: Silver twist and yellow silk.
Tail: A topping.
Butt: Black herl.
Body: One third yellow silk, and claret silk.
Ribs: Silver lace and silver tinsel (flat).
Hackle: Two claret hackles, from yellow silk.
Throat: Blue jay.
Wings: Tippet in strands, peacock herl, bustard,
swan, dyed light blue, light green and red claret, Amhurst
(sic) pheasant tail, and a topping.
Sides: Jungle cock.
Head: Black wool.
Credits: Classic Salmon Flies by
Mikael Frodin; www.danica.com/flytier Flytier's Page
by Hans Weilenmann.
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