Monday, December 11, 2017

Life After Pearsall's

I must have been the only person in the fly tying community to have missed the announcement that Pearsall's was going to stop making their Gossamer silk. The signs were there and I should have picked up on them. I like most tyers have a few extra spools of Gossamer and I'm not in crisis. Silk is almost an absolute when it comes to tying North Country Flies, those lovely "spiders" just can't be tied with cotton or rayon thread and be the same....Silk is a must.

Well a heads up a week or so ago put me on a path to a new silk tying thread. I looked into it and came up with a good alternative. YLI Corporation markets Japanese silk thread that is remarkably similar to the Pearsall's silk. So I purchased a couple of spools and tied a few flies..here's the comparison.


Here is a side by side. The thread on the left is YLI and the other Pearsall's. One thing quite obvious is the size of the spool. The colors look very close and the texture of the silk similar.


Here is a Partridge and Orange tied with the YLI silk.


This P&O was tied using Pearsall's Gossamer silk.


Here are the two files side by side. YLI on the left. Very close...I think the YLI is a bit brighter. Will the fish pick-up on that remains to be seen. I also like the way the YLI wraps and feels. I will have more on this in later posts.








40 comments:

  1. Alan - You weren't the only one who didn't know about Pearsall no longer selling their silk! I loved that silk especially when it got wet and the bronze of the hook seemed to show through. Have you had a chance to take a look at home the new silk looks when it's wet?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mark Wittman
      Thanks
      Mark from what I understand it's been over a year. All those fly tying sites I visit and never read anything on it. I have not tried wetting the silk.

      Delete
  2. Yikes - I have been out of the loop a lot lately, but this is a bummer to hear. Feeling fortunate to have a little stash left, but glad to see this and hear there is a good alternative... and I love the standard spool size so I can easily use it on my Rite bobbins :)...

    Happy Christmas and New Year Alan!
    Will

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  3. Replies
    1. Mark Kautz
      Thanks
      Mark I agree, time will tell.

      Delete
  4. Alan, is there a book you'd recommend for info on and patterns of North Country flies/spiders?

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    Replies
    1. Mike Comperchio
      Thanks
      Mike Robert Smith's book.."The North Country Fly"

      Delete
  5. I just grabbed 6 spools of Pearsall, but no orange was to be had. Nice find though....thanks for the heads-up Alan. And great post and comparison.

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    Replies
    1. Ralph Long
      Thanks
      Ralph there are a few vendors with very limited colors of Pearsalls out there. This VLI looks good so far.

      Delete
  6. Alan,
    Interesting article - for the non-traditionalist there is 'Langley Mill' superfine silk which has gained a following over here in the UK
    Alistair

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous
      Thanks
      Alistair is Langley Mill close to Pearsalls?
      And have you used it?

      Delete
    2. Alan,
      Langley is supposed to be identical to Pearsall's. I haven't used Langley yet as I still have a supply of Pearsall's from my prolific spider tying days many years ago, but I will be trying it in the not to distant future as I am down to my last couple of meters of hot orange!!!
      Alistair

      Delete
    3. Alistair I'll be waiting for your results.

      Delete
  7. Hi Alan, There's plenty of Pearsall's silk thread around, at the moment except for purple. Fly tier's like myself tend to cling to the past and insist on using "authentic" materials. Some think Parsall's purple will go the same route as Chadwick's 477 yarn. If such is the case hang on to your purple. In a year or so it may be North of $100 per small spool on the big auction site.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. John Dornik
      Thanks
      John good point on the Chadwick's 477 yarn. Why hasn't some other mfg. picked up on this shade of yarn and duplicated it.
      I've got one spool of purple Pearsalls.

      Delete
  8. Alan, can you tell what weight silk you were using?

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    Replies
    1. mike
      Thanks
      Mike no I can't, but it appears to be thinner than the Pearsall's.

      Delete
  9. Alan, a forum put me on this same mission as you over the weekend, and with the same conclusion, the weight and feel of the silk is spot on, the color a bit brighter.

    Darkening the thread with a few swipes of cobblers wax made them indistinguishable from each other.

    I really need to become less photography challenged.
    I hope you don't mind that I provided them with your link. If so, I would be happy to take it down.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. srtillis
      Thanks
      Waxing the thread will darken it no doubt. My thoughts are I don't see the trout finding any difference. Next season will tell the story.
      Using my site on another forum is OK.

      Delete
  10. Alan
    The Partridge and orange is my favorite color when it comes to soft hackle---a great attractor!!! thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bill Trussell
      Thanks
      Bill that old pattern deserves a place in every fly fishers box.

      Delete
  11. Brk Trt, that YLI silk looks like a spot on match. I did a google search and it also looks like its easily available.

    By the way, nice O&P's.......Phil

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    Replies
    1. DRYFLYGUY
      Thanks
      Phil I found VLI easy to access, and the colors were in stock. Lets hope that the price remains stable.

      Delete
  12. Alan, the YLI does look brighter in the photo, but they both look great to me. P & o is a staple in my fly box being they produce so well.

    Sam

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    Replies
    1. Parachute Adams
      Thanks
      Sam VLI is brighter and it is also thinner. Normally I wrap the silk to the back of the hook,and then wrap back to just behind the eye and that's the body, with the VLI I can do this procedure twice.
      The P7O is a great one.

      Delete
  13. Alan, for whatever reason, last spring I decided to stock up on pearsalls silk. I had a little difficulty finding the colors I wanted but was successful. I will be okay for awhile, but will be a little more frugal from now on. I hate when goods things change. Thanks for update.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brad Basehore
      Thanks
      Brad I wish I knew of the decision by Pearsall's...I would have stocked up myself.
      Frugal is good.

      Delete
  14. Alan,
    Thanks for the heads up on what seems to be a really good substitute for Pearsall's! Your comparisons are right on and yes, the only way to truly test the new silks is to have you present them to your favorite fishes for instant results!! Please let us know!
    Doug

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    Replies
    1. Dougsden
      Thanks
      Doug I would suspect the brookies will not have a problem with the new silk, but the browns and bows might be another thing. We'll see.

      Delete
  15. I have one spool of gold Pearsall. I may put it up for auction!

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    Replies
    1. Howard Levett
      Thanks
      Howard as John Dornik mentioned perhaps Pearsall's will sell for a 100.00 a spool, "nice"

      Delete
  16. Those two flies are just beautiful regardless of what silk you used.

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    Replies
    1. TROUT1
      Thanks
      Pete your always so kind.

      Delete
  17. I keep meaning to tie up some of these spiders and use them on the trout out here in the Driftless. I am not familiar with tying with silk, so, I have no experience with it. I'm going to look into adding a few spools to my always growing fly tying materials bins.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Justin Carf
      Thanks
      Justin these little sparse flies can take some big fish. Yes we all seem to buy that one other must need item for our desks.

      Delete
  18. Hi, wonderfull flies. Stumble over your blogg and it is enjoyable reading for a scandinavian, its now on my list of bloggs. Keep writing.

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    Replies
    1. Jossilainen
      Thanks
      I'm glad you found us. We welcome you to comment freely.

      Delete
  19. I stocked up on all my favorite colors as soon as I found out that the Gossamer silk thread was being discontinued. Thanks for the tip on YLI silk thread - if I live longer than expected I just may need it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. NJpatbee
      Thanks
      Thanks for the tip on YLI silk thread - if I live longer than expected I just may need it!

      Very true...this applies to many of us.

      Delete