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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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