Jim Warner was a very creative fly tyer in New Hampshire. All of his patterns are still in use in the New England area. Many of his flies can be used all over the world but they had their roots on Lake Winnipesaukee in NH. Jim had three documented versions of this fly. The other two are a Smelt and a Golden Shiner. In my mind its certainly one of his more innovative flies. The saddles are all tied in as flat wings on top of the hook.
There are some challenges with this pattern. First important step is to make certain you have a smooth foundation for your first set of saddles (3 white). If your transition from the mylar is not level and smooth then you will end up with the saddles not sitting well as you tie them in. Usually you will get the first few sets in fine but the last few will end up not setting correctly. Think of the problem being magnified as your building the fly. It is critical that all of your saddles have the same profile. Focus on narrow when choosing saddles and really take the time to get them all lined up with the same profile. I will line all of my saddles up on top of each other on the table to make certain they have the same profile when I look at them from above. When I tie the saddles in I do them by color and as with many fly patterns each grouping is the foundation for the next set. Having seen Jim Warner tie a fly he often used super glue adhesive on his heads as he built them. I use varnish on mine. As you can imagine, 10 feathers will give you a sizable head which is good because you want a nice painted eye on this fly. I complete my head with UV resin, paint the eyes and then re-coat the head with UV making it very durable.
The flat wing gives this pattern tremendous action in the water. The color combinations are enhanced when the fly is wet. Sadly, these flies take a considerable amount of time to tie and they are tough to store because of their wings. Jim stored these in old cigar tubes in his store. I’ve fished with them and tied them for people who wanted them in a display. They do fish very well.
Every once in a while, I get asked the question about tying these feathers in and using UV Resin in place of the varnish. It’s a good question. My advice is not to and here is why……the resin will build up very fast and result in a head much larger than you want. Also, you really can’t readjust any of this once you cure the resin. With the varnish, you can back off your thread and make an adjustment. Save the resin for the last steps as outlined above. The other common issue I hear is the fly doesn’t ride well in the water. Usually this is because the saddle profiles are not all the same. Cutting corners on this type of pattern is not recommended.
Partridge CS17-9X #2 Heritage Streamer Hook
Silver Mylar double wrapped (I varnish over the body for durability)
- Sparse white bucktail
- 3 white saddles
- 1 dun saddle
- 2 blue dun saddles
- 2 natural grizzly saddles
- 2 olive green saddles
Black with painted white pearlescent eyes with black pupil