Atlantic Salmon Flies - Materials & Tools

The more I pursue Atlantic Salmon Flies, the more I'm drawn to materials themselves, besides finished flies. There are some gaudy and exotic feathers that are more like "collection" rather than for actual tying! They are simply beautiful for our eyes either on the fly or in the cabinet. Some of those exotic feathers can cost a lot for right reasons! I'm not a huge collector or a trader so I only purchase what I really need for patterns I will be working on. But I guess it's free and my level of indulgence to check them over vendors' websites or auction sites!!
There are also lots of gaudy materials that are readily available (such as Golden pheasant). Or some materials we use for trout-flies are dyed in gaudy colors.
Also, dying feathers and substituting/alternating materials are also curious subjects. Our forefathers in 19th and early 20th centuries had done too.

So I decided to build a page dedicated for materials, special tools, and discussion about them.  I will add more pictures as time goes by. There "might" be some super-rare-exotic materials and/or well-crafted imitations..............

Not just knowledge and techniques, but also, with Atlantic salmon flies, I never stop learning about materials............. Over all it's quite fun and indulgence reserved for Salmon Fly Dressers........

Hook & Gut Loop
I had started with eyed-hooks but nowadays I use traditional & antique blind-eye hooks in display quality with twisted silk-gut eyes. I use sizes from 1/0 through 5/0 and several different types/styles. Hooks sizes = length are subjected to type/style/manufacture. Just saying a "3/0" doesn't really tell us the length of finished flies. 


Feathers - 1
Even common & readily available materials (Golden Pheasant crest & tippet, misc. hackles, etc.), I buy from trusted vendors specializing in Salmon flies. Also I pick up stuffs from stores after close examinations. Then I apply special treatments (wash, clean, steam, etc.). This is very important and fundamental for dressing beautiful salmon flies successfully.

Then I have obtained some exotic materials. Some of these are exotic and not always available from shops/vendors but through personal trades and public auctions.
Jungle Cock














Not from fly-shops but HUNTERS!!





Actually very rare 3-inch barb Golden pheasant tail pair!! 


Amherst Pheasant center tails 
Amherst Pheasant Secondary Tails and Swords

Feathers - 2: Misc. Ducks
There are various kinds of duck flank feathers employed in Atlantic Salmon Flies. They are lovely to our eyes and soft to our hands as well as hard to handle oftentimes! I think it's more organized if I show them all at once, as well as making a good comparison.





Pukeko? Have you ever heard of? Click here.
Feathers - 3: Misc. Guineas
Guinea, or oftentimes called Gallina, is also used in many classic patterns. Species we typically use (sorry I don't know the scientific name in Latin) are readily available from fly-shops and used for trout flies too (mostly wet-flies and streamers). However I happen to own feathers from different species, which are very interesting to look and compare.
"Doctor Blue" (the middle one) and Pink (upper right) are
what we call "Spotted". Rest is called "Speckled". 



Closer Look: See each spot has "light blue halo",
which is not blur caused by my photographing.



Substitution & Alternative Materials
Several materials based on Victorian-era recipes are hard-if-not-impossible to get. Even if I find them, those WILL cost!! That's where "substitute/alternative" materials come in. I select and use sub/alt materials in good grades and conditions. I believe these have their own art and beauty and shouldn't be inferior to real ones. Soon I'm learning to dye feathers now and hope to post my own dyeing in a near future. 

for Chatter


Body Materials
I guess when we look at Atlantic Salmon Flies, we are first captured by gaudy wings = hence feathers. But body are equally elaborated and body materials don't come easy & cheap either.





Tools
These are not my inventions but are fairly common among "schools" of Atlantic Salmon Flies enthusiasts. Just like materials, as I pursue the subject more and more, I came to need these tools.

Mentioning "Tools", I'm interested in an antique vise! But just like exotic feathers above, it will be on my "might-&-someday" list........

Just a regular twister but fancier than other types I have........
The Divider:
I had been measuring the hook-shank and dividing by numbers of body-parts. However oftentimes "Butts" are in between with miscellaneous materials, which have to account certain measure. Next comes ribbing, which requires an equal space between each turn. It's commonly 5 turns so I would divide the hook-shank length by 6? Then there are many kinds of hook-styles & -sizes!! Furthermore, the head-space can also vary depending on patterns, hook-styles, and -sizes. Enough calculation!! 
I first saw this device in Mike Radencich's Jock Scott video.  And he offers through his website too. I'm not bad at math, geometry, etc., so I got some idea. I finally figured, with all the accumulations above, I could make one. I originally prepared a piece of card-board. Then I somehow thought of clear plastic, ideally firm enough to hold in the air like card-board but also easy to collapse when tightly set along the fly. I found one in my "pile". With its transparency, this can be used both in front and back of the fly, furthermore, by flipping it, for both right-handed and left-handed tyers!!
Dividing a body into 3 parts........
Then making 5 ribbing in an equal space!!

Indian Crow Crimper:
Here are more details pictures and description of "Crimper" shown above. It's just a slight modification of an ordinary cloth-pin. 
Real Indian Crow feathers have distinctive "crimp" at the top edge and "dish" in the middle. This little device can create a very close silhouette out of a substitution made of Ringneck pheasant neck feather.



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