Saturday, May 19, 2018

The Logie

Remember to click on the photos if you want to see the larger version.

Have you ever become fascinated by a single fly?  Unaccountably, I have.  I first encountered it while reading Jack Russell's Jill and I and the Salmon (Little, Brown and Co., 1950) several years ago.

In the chapter entitled "The Bright Spirits", Russell describes some of the more interesting sports that came to his camp on the Miramichi over the years.  One of those bright spirits was John E. Hutton, and here is the paragraph that started my interest in the Logie:

Illuminating book?  Must have!  Time to hit the used book sellers on the internet, and so we have it...Trout and Salmon Fishing by John E. Hutton (Little, Brown and Co., 1949).

Why, there's even a Logie on the cover!

This photo, on page 191 of the book, kind of sealed the deal between the Logie and I:

Here's Hutton's comment on low-water flies:  "For present-day use I rely on two flies only - the Logie and the Blue Charm.  If the fish will not take these one might as well give it up, although one tries other patterns in desperation."   He followed that comment up with the pattern he used for the Logie:

      Tip - Silver wire
      Tail -  G.P. Crest
      Body - Claret floss silk
      Ribs - Silver
      Hackle - Light Blue
      Wing - Under yellow hen wing, mallard, over
      Cheeks - Jungle Cock

I checked in with my go-to reference for flies, Jos. D. Bates, Jr. and Pamela Bates Richards Fishing Atlantic Salmon; the Flies and the Patterns (Stackpole Books, 1996)They commented that "There are several somewhat similar dressings for this famous pattern.  One of the earliest (1895) is from Kelson. Their pattern for the fly matched, conceptually, with Hutton's, so I tied my first one up:

Checking in my meager library, I found that "Jock Scott", in his Greased Line Fishing for Salmon (Seeley Service and Co., London; I have the fifth edition) agreed with that pattern.

And there's that pesky claret-bodied Logie on the cover of that book, too!

 But I have to hark back to another set of comments the Bates' made about the Logie: "Pryce-Tannatt's dressing is essentially the same (as Kelson's) except for the body.  The first two-fifths of the body is pale primrose (light yellow) floss; the remainder is ruby red floss.  His dressing does not call for jungle cock cheeks."    WAIT!  WHAT??  Pryce-Tannatt completely changed the body on the fly, yet continued to call it the Logie.  I'm trying to imagine how I'd feel if someone changed the body on my Celtic Beauty (bright yellow floss) to a two-color body that didn't even contain the original yellow!

So off we go to Pryce-Tannatt land:

And sure enough, he's gone and changed the body from my favorite color (claret) to the yellow/red combination, which can also be found in these tomes.

Can't fight City Hall, so I tied up a yellow-red Logie:

Fortunately for we that hold the color claret near and dear, Eric Leiser, in his The Book of Fly Patterns (Alfred A. Knopf, 1987) as well as John Buckland and Arthur Oglesby in their A Guide to Salmon Flies (The Crowood Press, 1990), the Logie is listed as having a body of yellow floss to the rear, and CLARET floss to the front.  The two books differ slightly on the proportions of each, but not so much that a person would get upset.  So it was time to tie yet another variation of the Logie:

Interestingly (to me, anyway) in his Trout and Salmon Flies of Scotland, Stan Headley notes that the Logie is "A Dee pattern devised by W. Brown, it is sometimes varied by the use of claret instead of red in the body..."   To my way of thinking, the Logie is sometimes varied by the use of red instead of claret in the body!

Headley goes on to note (as did the Bates' in Fishing Atlantic Salmon) that the Logie is easily adapted to a hairwing fly.  I did this one for Mike Valla's book, Tying and Fishing Bucktails and Other Hairwings; Atlantic Salmon to Steelhead Flies (Stackpole Books, 2016):

I was going to do a step-by-step section on tying the Logie for this post, but then I stumbled upon Michael Radencich's elegant Logie step-by-step in his Twenty Salmon Flies; Tying Techniques for Mastering the Classic Patterns (Stackpole Books, 2009) and decided anyone reading this post would be far better off finding that "how to" than anything I could produce.  He really can tie a fly and his photography is in a class by itself.

My good friend Brian Cuming, up in New Brunswick sent me a couple Logies a year or so ago, one for my little collection, and one to fish.  They are big and beautiful:

Speaking of collections, a fellow name of John Maticko, who I've been getting to know these past few months via email and a forum or two, has a serious classic salmon fly collection, and a great many Logies in all their forms, including a couple I've never seen nor heard of before.  John inherited the collection from his dad, who was an outfitter in Iceland (LOL, why did MY father have to be an accountant?!)  With his kind permission, I will now completely saturate my readers with Logieness.

First, and this style of fly was completely new to me when John sent me the photos of it,  are "monoplane" Logies from Hardy, likely in the '40's and '50's.  When I first saw it, I thought it was just a rather outlandish Dee-style Logie.

And then there's the "Norsk Lure" Logie:

And a sampling of other Logie's in John's collection:

I'm deeply appreciative of John's permission to use his photos.  You can view much more of his collection here:   A sample of what you'll find there:

And yes, I will be fishing the Logie this summer, especially if we get those dreaded low-water conditions!


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Three for the Miramichi

The Miramichi Salmon Association's (U.S.) annual Boston fundraising dinner is Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018.  I like to contribute what I can (which is surely not cash!) to the evening's profits.  In the past, my contributions have mostly been limited edition prints that I've collected over the years. Last year it was the framed flies I did for Mike Valla's latest book.  That project (the framing - not the flies) really got me interested in framing and matting and shadowbox construction.

The genesis for my contributions to the dinner this year starts with my new interest in tying featherwing flies.  Took awhile to get the hang of that, but once I did (well, at least as far as I'm concerned), I really developed an appreciation for their beauty.  So pretty that I decided I'd try my hand again at constructing a shadow box for them (see my blog post here to get an appreciation for the process:

The master of shadowbox art and fly framing was William Cushner. His work is really inspiring; I thought I'd try my hand at combining art with my featherwings.  The only salmon art I had was a piece of clip art that came in a book I bought once upon a time.  The framing, in its first form, came out pretty well...good enough so that I posted a photo of it on one of my favorite forums, Speypages.  In the text I added to the post, I mentioned that I was donating the framing to MSA, but I bemoaned the fact that I had to use clip art.  Later that day, I got a private message on that forum from a fellow Speypager, Nate Carter of Mount Shasta, CA.  He said he liked what I was doing and volunteered to do a watercolor for the framing!  We only had a few days in which to arrange all this, but Nate jumped on it, and within a couple days, the painting was at my door.

This story gets even cooler:  The mats that I had originally used with the clip art looked awful with Nate's watercolor; I had to change them...and time was really getting short.  A few months ago, I visited the only framing shop here in Bennington, VT to see about buying a couple 11X14 inch mat boards.  They wanted 54 bucks for the two pieces!  Not happening.  So I decided to try another frame shop, up in Manchester, VT, Jenner Custom Framing.  I've been getting my hair cut up in Manchester at the same place for 22 years and needed a cut pretty badly (Side note - the World's Most Interesting Man - from the beer commercials - gets his hair cut here, too!)  so I figured I kill two birds with one stone: hair cut and frame shop.  I found the frame shop on a side street in Manchester.  When I walked in the door I was greeted by a friendly little boxer dog...a good sign.  A nice red-headed woman came out from the back of the shop to see what I needed.  After a bit of explaining and a show and tell of Nate's art, she went back into the back of the shop and came out with a sheet of the perfect match for the art.  How much did I need?  Two 11X14 sheets, please.  She tossed the big sheet up into her cutter, did the deed, and handed me the mats.  How much?  No charge, sounds like you're doing a nice thing.  Perfect.  WAY better than 54 dollars.

We chatted a little more.  Since I worked in Manchester for 6 or so years while executive director of the American Museum of Fly Fishing, I knew some people she knew.  I can get kind of excited when I talk about things I'm passionate about, especially Atlantic salmon.  I guess she got kind of caught up in it.  She said she had something that had been kicking around in her shop for years, a Churchill Ettinger  limited edition watercolor litho, and would I like it?  I am familiar with Ettinger's drypoints, but had never seen one of his watercolors.  Turned out to be a nifty fishing seen on the Restigouche, and into my truck it went to be used at an MSA fundraiser one of these days. How cool was that?

Well, that's a lot of words to describe how this shadowbox came about.  I guess it's time to show it (you can click on the pics to see a larger image):

I cannot tell a lie:  I cut down the cherry tree that the frame is made up and ripped a few boards out of it before the rest of it became firewood.  Good thing no one's is tracking the time invested in that frame from felling to milling the actual frame!

But wait! There's more.  Remember, the title of this blog post is Three for the Miramichi.  So far, we've only seen one.

I started tooling around ebay looking for cool salmon art; I wanted to do a couple more framings for the dinner.  Can't really do anything heavy duty for awhile due to a surgery in early January, so this is a good way to wile away the time.

I found a neat reproduction of a William Schaldach drypoint depicting a leaping salmon.  Perfect.  And only $9.99.    I love Hunter Green, had some matboard in that color, and it worked great with the aging reproduction.  I added a set of Rats:

Still cruising ebay, I found another pretty neat salmon.  $14.99 delivered.  Fit my wallet to a T.  And already had mats that complimented the image very nicely.  And back to the cherry frame:

And there you have it: three for the Miramichi.  The framing with Nate's original will be in the live auction, the other two will be in the silent auction.  Hope they raise some good bucks for salmon conservation!

Brodie looked me in the eye when this was all done...

and said he thought that wasn't quite enough...remember, there's a silent auction just of flies.  OK, OK, so one more last little donation to get Brodie off my back:

Now I have to go clean this up:


Friday, January 26, 2018

The latest from Charlie Krom

At the very top of the pile of modern and innovative Atlantic salmon fly tyers reside a very select (and sadly, getting fewer) group of folks.  My old salmon camp-mate, Charlie Krom, certainly is a charter member of that group.  Charlie turned 88 just the other day, and mentioned to me in an email that day that he was sending me some flies to try out this coming year.

To say that I've been eagerly checking our roadside mailbox every day since is an understatement.  Well, today's trip out into the mid-teens temperature was well-rewarded...a letter from Charlie!  And, since pictures are worth a thousand words, I'll let his letter do the talking:

To say that it's going to be next to impossible for me to break open these envelopes and fish these flies is an understatement...but I'm going to do it...and I'm going to dig my boots into the Miramichi's stony bottom and hold on when the salmon strikes start coming!

Charlie, many thanks for these treasures!

P.S.  Some may not have seen an earlier blog post about Charlie, and his colleagues and peers at the vise, the late Keith Fulsher and the late Bob Warren :

Monday, January 1, 2018

Three Great Reasons to be on the Miramichi, late June, 2018

If you've ever thought about making a trip to New Brunswick, Canada...and more specifically, to the Province's Miramichi River, there are several reasons to step up to the plate and make that trek in late June, 2018.  These reasons are especially compelling if you and yours enjoy the art and history of fly tying, as well as swinging said flies for fresh from the sea Atlantic salmon.  The reasons (in no particular order):

1. The Atlantic Salmon Fly International (ASFI) - from the ASFI's website (

In June 2018, Fly fishermen and Atlantic salmon fly tiers from all over the world will experience the third edition of the Atlantic Salmon Fly International (“ASFI”), a gathering that is like no other. The first two ASFI events were held in Seattle, Washington, USA in 2014 and 2016. ASFI 2018 will be held in the beautiful capital of Atlantic salmon country, the City of Miramichi, New Brunswick, Canada. Hosted by the Dieppe Fly Tying Club in partnership with Economic Development & Tourism Miramichi, the 2018 event will continue the celebration of the passion and art of the Atlantic salmon fly. ASFI 2018 will be exciting on multiple levels, not the least of which, given the popularity of ASFI I and II, it will be a three days event, to be held on June 22-24, 2018.

There will be at least 80 of the world's best Atlantic salmon fly tyers participating in the event, which is, of course, open to the public.  The organizers obviously loosened up on that "world's best" qualification, since they invited me to tie a few hairwings at the event.  I'm also pleased to have been asked to be the Master of Ceremony and auctioneer for the Saturday night banquet.  I'm even giving a presentation centered upon my experiences on the river over the last 20 years on Sunday at noon.

It will be a wonderful opportunity to put faces to the many names I've gotten to know via Facebook and a few different forums, for sure!

2.  The Atlantic Salmon Museum, Doaktown, NB ( received an incredible collection of salmon fishing art and artifacts from the estate of a gentleman from British Columbia in 2017.  The collection, which features dozens of William Cushner fly framings, is valued at $500,000.  I took a few photos of some of the Cushner framings during a visit to the Museum (I'm proud to say I've been elected to the Museum's board of directors) last July.  Forgive the glares and reflections in the photos, please. Remember to click on the pics for larger images!

Art Flick and Ogden Pleissner:

Some of Bob Veverka's amazing work:

Simpson, DeFeo, Schwiebert and Fulsher are together in this framing:

Jim Pray's steelhead flies:

Charles DeFeo and Belarmino Martinez together:

DeFeo and Pleissner:

Walt Dette Dry Flies:

A few Lee Wulff flies:

A lot of Polly Rosborough's flies:

DeFeo, Atherton, Jennings and Wulff:

A wall full of my pal, Charlie Krom:

One of the coolest things about the Atlantic Salmon Museum is their Hall of Fame:

I am very proud to count as good friends two of the Hall of Fame inductees!

I've given you just the tip of the Museum's iceberg of goodies.  Serious fly people will want to spend the day!

3. Reason number three?  The opportunity to fish for fresh-from-the-sea Atlantic salmon!  Many experienced salmon anglers say that if they only one time to fish for Atlantics, it would be late June.  Dime bright and full of fight, June fish should be on everyone's bucket list!  The ASFI website (listed above in reason #1) has a list of outfitters that will be happy to help you find your way around the river and the fish.  And it's just a darn beautiful time to be on the river!

Hope to see you there!