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By H. Kent Helvie

During the steelheading hey-day of the 1930's, Ward Cummings and Clarence Gordon joined heads to create this fly which soon became synonymous with the North Umpqua. The Cummings gained a loyal following throughout norther California and southern Oregon. I used silver-tipped grizzly bear for the wing on the example shown. This was a popular material at oe time and is somewhat rare today. When I use floss for the rear portion of the body I underwrap it with flat silver tinsel leaving a small amount uncovered for the tag.

The Cummings Special is wet steelhead fly. This is another method of tying in a hairwing.

Materials: Cummings

    Hook:  Any standard salmon or steelhead hook.

    Tag:   Flat or oval silver tinsel (optional).

    Body:   Rear 1/3 yellow floss or wool; front 2/3 claret wool.

    Rib:   Oval silver tinsel.

    Collar:   Claret hen or saddle hackle.

    Wing:   Brown bucktail or other brown hair.

    Cheeks:   Jungle cock (optional, then the fly becomes the Cummings Special).

Tying Steps:

1. Start by choosing a looped eye hook with a smooth eye and a slightly tapered opening towards the eye. Select the brown hair to be used, I chose silver-tipped grizzy for this fly, and cut a small bunch equiivalent to the size of the wing and insert it through the eye with the tips up.

2. Judge the length of the wing by pulling the wing back, it should extend just past the bend. Hold the base of the hair in place and let the wing come back forward then tie in the wing material with the hair pointing forward.

3. Bind the wing material down while bringing the thread back to the rear of the hook. Tie in a piece of fine oval silver for the rib.

4. Come forward about a third of the way and tie in a piece of yellow floss, wrap it towards the rear and bring it back to the tie in point.

5. Tie in a piece of claret yarn and bring the thread forward to about an eightth of an inch from the wing. Wind the yearn frontward tightly and tie off.

6. Bring the rib forward about five or six turns and tie off. Then tie in a claret hen hackle by the tip.

7. Fold the hackle and take about three or four turns and tie off.

8. Pull the hair back to the wing position and begin binding it down and forming the head at the same time.

9. Finish the head and whip finish and cement. The Cummings tied Ed Hass - style is completed.

This style of tying a standard hairwing is preferred by many tiers because of its durability. Learning to get your proportions right on the wing when tying this way takes practice. ~ H. Kent Helvie

Steelhead Fly Tying Guide Credits: From Steelhead Fly Tying Guide by H. Kent Helvie. Published by Published by Frank Amato Publications. We appreciate use permission.

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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