Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Iconic New England And The Gray Ghost

Iconic New England, I'm aware that other parts of this great country of ours also hold claim to being iconic areas and I agree, but in this post I'll be highlighting New England. The apples are a big part of the region, and not only are they a big money crop they are also the best fruit for countless recipes that can make one almost give up their first born for a taste. As this is a fly fishing related site I'm going to delve into another of New England's Icons.


A whole bunch of materials, kind of looks like mess. But when certain items are selected and placed on a iron hook they will turn into probably the most recognized fly ever tied.


The "Gray Ghost"...Carrie Stevens Iconic Streamer. She tied this back in 1924, and since then I'll guess more fish have been taken on it than any other pattern. Mrs Stevens tied many patterns over the years but the Gray Ghost is my personal favorite. Mrs. Stevens was from Maine but part of the story behind the Gray Ghost has its roots in Connecticut. A fellow named "Shang" Wheeler played a big part in Gray Ghost history.

Here is my "Gray Ghost"...while not an overly difficult streamer to tie, it does have it's problem areas. One in particular is the tying in of the golden pheasant crests. They can be very brittle and problematic in getting them to set properly in place.

But when it all comes together the streamer is with out question a very beautiful part of New England.










18 comments:

  1. my favorite streamer, just elegant and effective....

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    Replies
    1. Doug Korn, Fly Tyer
      Thanks
      Doug so true. It has proven itself over these many decades.

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  2. Alan
    Beautiful work, wonder if Carrie was imitating a small shad?? Thanks for sharing

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    Replies
    1. Bill Trussell
      Thanks
      Bill the Gray Ghost was tied to represent a smelt. The smelt are a common forage fish in the northern lakes.
      It is a pretty good imitation of most minnows.

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  3. Very nicely done! You'll have to show me how to a Grey Ghost someday. That's one streamer that I've never figured out how to tie nicely.

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    Replies
    1. Mark Wittman
      Thanks
      Mark I would love to show you how to tie one.
      Might be a good fly on the Farmington.

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  4. Alan,
    Wow! Pardon me while I pick up my lower jaw off the floor! The Grey Ghost you have tied is just super! For some reason I have not attempted this beauty at the vice! I have all the materials in my stash of stuff. I now have the incentive after looking at your pattern!
    It is good to catch a glimpse of your tying table! This is where all the good stuff comes from! Our tying areas reveal a lot about us. You claim that yours is "messy" but I think that's only temporary!
    The apples look delicious! Are either you or Jeanette prone to apple pie? It's one of my favorites! New England is a magical place indeed and we are so glad that you two are a part of this landscape! You add a certain richness to which no one else can match! Please keep doing what you are doing! Your blog is great!
    Doug

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    Replies
    1. Dougsden
      Thanks
      Doug like I said there is only one problem for me with tying this streamer, that's the golden pheasant crest. Those stashes, man there are some wonders in them.
      Apple pie is tops, as is turnovers, cobbler and crisp and fritters...an apple a day.

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  5. Alan, you are the streamer king. I can tie small flies, but streamers, I can't get it right. Well done. Regards, Sam

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    Replies
    1. Parachute Adams
      Thanks
      Sam I have my issues with tying streamers, and that's mostly from inferior materials. These flies are well worth the effort. Tie me a Gray Ghost Sam.

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  6. Replies
    1. Mark Kautz
      Thanks
      Mark I appreciate it.

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  7. Beautifully tied Alan. And a very effective pattern to boot.

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    Replies
    1. Ralph Long
      Thanks
      Ralph a favorite of many world wide.

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  8. Alan, "Shang Wheeler" now that's a name I haven't heard in years. My friend Dick, now in his early 90's, grew up in Stratford and knew Shang and has one of his decoys. Shang's decoys are as classic and beautiful as the "grey ghost" you displayed. I cant imagine what they're worth today.

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    Replies
    1. John Dornik
      Thanks
      John Shang was as world champ in decoy carving. I've seen a few of his in books. They say he had a political career as well. He was a close friend of Carrie and her husband Wallace.

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