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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
From McNeese, Johnson and Glasso, clear through to the River Spey:
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Tinsel, silk, seal, goose, hen and pheasant with a touch of Kelson capping it off.

Your thoughts on that please and don't hold back. Ruffle some hackles, :hihi:
 

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Nice looking fly. The only things I noticed was your oval tinsel isn't always tightly against the flat (it should look like it is part of the rear edge of the flat tinsel) all the way around the hook and you spey hackle is not tightly against the oval (it should look like it comes out of the oval tinsel all the way around the hook).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you gets.

Mike - I see you've gotten in there between the high-water events and found a fish or two. No surprise - you alway know where to look. I have two-brace of flies in mind for you and those will be on their way soon. Maybe I'll drop in this summer...

flytyer Sir - what you point-out is an intentional arrangement. Both tinsels have different tie-in points and so the interval is kept going forward. It is just a bit off at the forward-most band though: Good eye!

The hackle is counter-wound to the ribbing so that the oval locks the hackle in place as it follows the direction of the flat. Reason being that the goose marabou is very thin at the stem and I have had them break too often - the fly comes undone and it is to be avoided. Also, it's just my preference: In my eye it gives the spey body a cleaner look compared to crossed ribs.

One thing noticed only in the pictures is that the body is slightly thinner forward of the second band of tinsel. What I should have done is to start the silk some where near the center wrapping forward then back again building up the body and leaving a recess for the tinsels to lay in. That will take care of the tapering effect and minimize build-up near the tag.

Thank you again for the feed-back and your interest.
 

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Good explanation of what you did and why. In my opinion, the fly would look better if the flat and oval tinsels were equal distance apart all the way up the hook. I'd wrap the flat first after the body is done. I'd follow this with the marabou (or whatever other spey hackle you might use) going from tip at the front and wrap back down the body. Lastly, I'd wrap the oval forward over the spey hackle locking it in place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Good explanation of what you did and why. In my opinion, the fly would look better if the flat and oval tinsels were equal distance apart all the way up the hook. I'd wrap the flat first after the body is done. I'd follow this with the marabou (or whatever other spey hackle you might use) going from tip at the front and wrap back down the body. Lastly, I'd wrap the oval forward over the spey hackle locking it in place.
Equidistant-tinsels are very much the standard practice and standard lesson - I "hear'' you there and acknowledge. What I aimed for is an off-set in that distance while maintaining the interval and balance in-between bands. I am especially keen on the "vein" created by closely ribbed tinsels: common but maybe not the usual.

Thanks again guys - but I can't take credit for having created anything. The credit goes to Walt Johnson for his un-named variation of the Red Shrimp Spey. He lived way before my time - but he was heavily influenced by Syd "The Teach" Glasso and what he learned he made his own. Hackle tips extending halfway along the wing as sides and a topping over are his signature.
 

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If I remember correctly Walt died around 1999. I was fortunate to meet him and talk to him a few times compliments of my friend Bob Arnold who had been friends with Walt for decades.

As far as I know, Walt didn't tie spey flies until after he got to know Glasso after Glasso moved to Seattle to be closer to his daughter upon retiring from being a principal in Forks, WA. Bob told me that Glasso taught Walt how to tie them. This would have been in the late 1960's.

And not all of Walt's spey flies used a topping on top of the wing. His DEEP PURPLE SPEY (likely his first) didn't, and his ROYAL SPEY never did either. Originally his RED SHRIMP (actually a red spey fly with brown hackle) didn't have a topping, nor did it originally have a flame floss rear body section. It originally had a single layer flame underbody put over flat silver tinsel (or a painted white hook shank) wrapped front to rear that then used the flame floss as a dubbing thread for the red dubbing which was dubbed from the rear of the fly to the front. A few years later, he made the rear body of just flame floss, but the front body of red dubbing was dubbing onto the flame floss, which he split to use as a dubbing loop in the fashion of Glasso. The topping came a few years after that.

In other words, what some consider his "signature aspects" of a fly, weren't so much something he did all the time, but more something that he added well after he began tying and using a fly.

Walt also didn't use a shorter hackle tip wing over the first pair on all his spey flies. Most of his spey flies had a doubled pair of matched hackle tips just like Glasso. And many of his spey flies, used a single pair of hackle tips that were still tented as Glasso tied his double pair of matched hackle tip wings. He also used dyed goose shoulder for wings at times. He did use Chinese Pheasant Rump in natural brown for spey hackle on some of them. And he often varied his flies, for instance his RED SHRIMP was sometimes tied with a pair of red hackle tips tied over a pair of orange or gold ones. He did this to slightly vary the color to make the fly a little lighter. He would also sometimes use a different color spey hackle to lighten or darken slightly a fly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well - as far as I know he didn't use Grizzley hackles either...

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Did he?
Like I mention: The credit goes to Walt for his variation of the Red Shrimp Spey, key word being variation. The hackle tips as sides, used in the same "manner of using Kingfisher or Indian Crow" as in "classic featherwing Atlantic Salmon flies - " on many of his flies is not so common. I've never seen that on any other spey. That to me stands out as Walt Johnson - his signature. Further, the sides are the tips of the feather as per the published pattern and not just the fibers removed from the hackle.
 

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Yes, Walt used very short hackle tips as cheeks, not sides, on some of his spey flies, not all of them as I previously mentioned. The reason I said cheeks, not sides, is because Walt tied them very short in the manner of Indian Crow or Chatterer feather cheeks that are put on over jungle cock on married wing classics. In fact, he referred to them as cheeks himself.

And he tied them much shorter than you did. His were maybe 1/8th of the wing long. However, others have used very short, dyed hackle tips, not fibers stripped from a hackle, as short cheeks instead of IC or Chatterer for many years before Walt used them on some of his spey flies. In other words, Walt wasn't the first one who used them. Bill Hunter, the fellow responsible for the HMH tying vise, used them and said he learned it from Ira Gruber.

In my opinion, something that is a "signature" of a fly tyer is something he or she does or did on every fly, such as Carrie Stevens and her use of a band of red thread in the head of each of her featherwing streamers. Since Walt did not use these short hackle tip cheeks on each of his spey flies, I don't consider it to be a "signature" or identifying characteristic of his flies of fly tying.

What I'm getting at is that Walt tied many flies, including spey flies, that did not have toppings over the wing or short cheeks of hackle tips. In fact, he also used very small and short dyed Lady Amhearst tippets for short cheeks. For example, his ROYAL SPEY. Does that mean the use of dyed LA tippets tied as short cheeks over the wing sides is also a "signature" of Walts?
 
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