Sunday, January 5, 2014

Fran Betters "Ausable Caddis"

Just some thoughts and ramblings about a man who I regard as one of the best fly innovators and tyers to have graced us. His fly patterns are some of the most simplistic and effective I've ever tied and fished. He could tie any complicated pattern, from delicate Catskill dry fly patterns to salmon flies to nymphs and classic wet flies, but his calling was to tie flies that catch fish.

Fran Betters was the author of several books, some of which I have. He also was a builder of fly rods, and had his own design fly tying vise. In one of his books he has several of his poems, another quality of the man. Fran had a deep love for the Ausable River and the Adirondack region of New York, and this can be seen in his writings. I know that my small stream angling owes much to this man, for his fly patterns dominate my fly box.



Some of Fran's great patterns can be tied with these few materials. Not a lot of money be spent here, and the tying is not difficult and can be accomplished with a little practice. In one of his books Fran said if I were to pick two materials that were most valuable to the fly tyer they would be the deer and the woodchuck. I would like to add a couple more. That would be opossum and orange thread.


Ausable Caddis
These are two caddis patterns I've tied using the materials above. Hook, opossum dubbing, deer hair, and thread. If you take and vary the color dubbing, and deer hair color the insects you can duplicate are many. These flies also float well, and the body sits low in the water enabling the fish to see a good profile.





18 comments:

  1. It was always an experience to drop into the Betters' fly shop on the West Branch. Thanks, too, for the tip about the use of possum dubbing. By the way, congrats on the fine write-up in Trout magazine! You and the guys deserve the recognition.

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    Replies
    1. rivertoprambles,
      Thanks.
      I was up there twice and managed to talk with him, wish I had more time. The beauty of his flies was the ability to make changes so simply.
      Thanks Walt, it was about time that TU focused on our fishing here in the northeast. Steve Zakur is quite a writer.

      Delete
  2. Nice ties Alan.
    I have a few caddis that Fran tied himself in my wood fly box.

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    Replies
    1. Apache Trout,
      Thanks.
      Use them John, wild trout love them.

      Delete
  3. Alan
    The caddis patterns can produce when all else fails when it comes to sub surface fishing. Floatant will bring out the dry characteristics in this fly, which make it work better than an actual dry at times. I have landed trout on the tailrace with a caddis pattern when they had no interest in the traditional dry. I am a big fan of bright colors added to fly patterns like the one used in your Ausable caddis.
    By the way I would consider the Muddler Minnow a caddis type pattern, with that said I landed one of my best spots last year on Smith Lake fishing the Muddler sub surface. I will have to find more Muddlers all are gone now. Thanks for sharing

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    Replies
    1. Bill Trussell,
      Thanks.
      Bill that's the beauty of this fly. So much versatility and easy to tie.
      Give Mark a shout, he ties some mini muddlers that wild trout love.

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  4. Nice ties! I've always been a fan of Fran's tying. Rather than trying to completely match every detail of a particular insect, Fran seemed to favor a more impressionistic approach. My box would be pretty empty without the comparadun (the Haystack), Ausable Bomber, the Usual, and the mini Muddler.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mark,
      Thanks.
      Very true Mark on Frans style. My box to would be naked without Frans patterns.
      With that combination of patterns you could catch trout anywhere.

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  5. Agree with rivertop! Great article in TROUT.

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    Replies
    1. Michael Curry,
      Thanks.
      They did it right.

      Delete
  6. Grew up in the Dacks and miss that dark water. That book is a real treasure. Thanks for sharing.

    Ben

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    Replies
    1. Arizona Wanderings,
      Thanks.
      That dark tea stained water produces spectacular brook trout.

      Delete
  7. who has a pic of the "USUAL" fly....I don't know it by name...but maybe ive seen it...hmmm?

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    Replies
    1. flyfisher1000,
      Thanks.
      That is the name. I'll post a photo of one soon.

      Delete
  8. penbayman,
    Thanks.
    I appreciate it Mike.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Those Caddis are superbly simple. I like the way they sit in the film, and whether tied with Opposum, or wound CDC, they fit right in with what Bob Wyatt is on about in his books. Funny how , no matter how technical we get, some simple winners just stay the same. Thanks for posting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. trutta99,
      Thanks.
      Very true.
      There are times when we give a bit to much credit to the fish we're seeking. Their objective is to eat, and many of the flies we tie are designed to catch others.

      Delete