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Green Highlander x 7

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Green Highlander is one of those patterns that I keep tying, it’s the one that caught my attention when I started out, and I have tied it in different versions the last couple of years (mostly hairwings/polarbear). This winter I have a project to tie up a box of classics for fishing and started gathering material this autumn when the season was over. The final piece that landed in my mailbox was florican and swan, so I set out to tie up 10 GH to get a feel for the pattern.

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I tied up 3 first, then sat down to do the 7 other in stages; learning a pattern for me means breaking it down into sections: tail & butt, then body with hackle & throat and finally the wing. This way I can focus on one part at the time and repeat it within short timespan to become familiar with that part of the fly.

Here I have completed the body and started laying out the parts to start marrying the wing.

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Married wing done, then the sides:

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and finally setting the wing, sides, topping and horns:

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With this process I also wanted to try out how different tails made for slightly different expressions (short tail vs. long tail) and how floss body vs. dubbed front-part worked out in the final fly. This is a good exercise if you want to get familiar with a pattern and how it turns out with small differences.

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This set was tied on Mustad 80500 #1/0, so the next part will be to tie up on #2/0 and #1 to vary in size when the season starts up again.

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Durham Ranger – First fly tied in hand

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Last winter I got myself a copy of the “Tied in the Hand” book by Sven-Olov Hård and set myself a goal of tying a classic without a vice before the year was over. I got myself some Pearsall’s gossamer silk, tied up some Durham Rangers and other classics, but never got to actually sit down and do it. Yesterday I had a couple of hours with nothing much to do and decided to (at least) get started.

I have read the book, but didn’t sit down to really study it, but thought that enough of it was still remembered to get started! I got one of my biggest hooks; a #5/0 Mustad, picked out the material needed for a Durham Ranger and sat down in the living room with no vice in front of me, and just a cardboard box to keep the clippings.

Why would I do this? I think exploring new patterns and new material is a great way of exploring flytying, and going back to the original way of tying these patterns is a way of learning about the history and how everything connects. I chose a pattern I have tied a lot of lately to keep the distraction of the pattern itself down to a minimum, the approach after that was more or less: Let’s get at it and see how it turns out!

One thing I learned, that I didn’t expect, was the connection you get with the material when tying in hand: you feel the GP, the dubbing, the JC. I learned a lot about setting the wing that I haven’t discovered when tying with a vice and I learned really well that I need some good wax… You can see the GP&JC doesn’t sit perfectly aligned: without a good wax the stem moved and I ended up with some bad alignments, I also ended up with a really big head, but I’ll attach that next time.

I’ll re-read the book, get some vax and more material and sit down during the winter and tie up some more.

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Durham Ranger Variant

2014.12.20.dryfly.me.durham_rangerI started reading “Tied in the hand” by Sven-Olov Hård yesterday (review and more about that book later) and was inspired when I got up this morning to do a variant of the Durham Ranger (not tied in hand though!). The Ranger pattern is one I will start out with when I start tying in hand: not that complex, doesn’t require that many materials and is general not that hard to tie once you get a couple of flies tied up.

This one is tied for fishing, so I’m not that worried about the rather large head, or the fact that the GP doesn’t sit 100%, but tying these variants up for fishing is a very good exercise for tying up presentation-class flies later on, so I’ll just keep at it until I get it right. I tied this one up with red sealwool and orange tippet in the wing instead of the original pattern, but I think the colors came together well for this fly.

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Durham Ranger

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Hook: TMC7999 #1/0
Thread: Sheer 14/0
Tag: Lagartun Oval X-Strong Fine, Lagartun French Silk Floss
Tail: GP, Veniard Red Crow Substitute
Butt: Black Ostrich
Body: Yellow/Claret/Black Seals Fur
Rib: UNI-Mylar #10, Lagartun Oval X-Strong Large
Hackle: The Fly. Co Rooster Neck
Throat: Veniard Chinese Cock Doctor Blue
Wing:Pair of Jungle Cock, 2 pair of GP tippets, 2 GP toppings
Sides: Jungle Cock
Head: Black Ostrich

Another classic salmon for my fishing box: the Durham Ranger. I have a JC that really isn’t that good for display flies, but for these fishing flies they are great! The durham ranger is one that I haven’t tied before but is in almost every book about the classics, and it shows up on many sites describing this pattern that was made by William Henderson in the 1840’s. I didn’t have all the material to be true to the original pattern, but I made due with what I had.

I always tie up a couple of each when I start a pattern to get a feel on how the pattern is, this time the second time around did come out better:

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The seals fur body in three different colors:

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