Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Rangers Completed

The Other Rangers
The Ranger family of flies is a family of many variations on the original design. 
Besides the Black, Durham and Blue Rangers already discussed, there have been quite a few other Ranger type flies, most short lived, with few or no variations.  There is little or no history written about these flies, and certainly no catch- records for them that I have found either. 
The following patterns, with one exception, are all Rangers, or called Rangers and are here presented in no particular order except to group those with common names together by date as previously done with the Durham, Black and Blue Rangers.
Red Ranger as per William E. Hodgeson,  “Salmon Fishing” 1920
 Tip: silver twist
Tag: yellow floss
Tail: topping plus Indian crow
Butt: black herl
Body: two turns scarlet floss followed by scarlet seal, well picked out
Ribbing: broad flat silver tinsel with medium oval silver tinsel
Hackle: red cock
Throat: light blue cock
Wing: double tippets over 2 long jungle cock, topping over
Cheeks: kingfisher

This lovely Ranger was found amongst a collection of plates in Hodgeson's 1920 edition of "Salmon Fishing."  Originally printed in 1907, it shows 72 flies, popular at the time, but does not list the patterns for them.  Most of the flies illustrated, such as this one, are clear enough to make out the details, and seem to be similar to those found in Kelson, Hardy or Hale.  There are some however, including many mixed wings, where they are not. This makes for a challenge in deciphering them, and a real sense of "to be continued" as I struggle to find the patterns else-where.

The next Ranger, one dressed more like a Dandy or a Stevenson is the Drum Ranger.  The pattern is taken from a collection of flies dating to the 1930's and eventually ended up in a publication called the Salmon Flyer, possibly the first public printing of this collection of very interesting flies.   
Drum Ranger as per Sandy Irvine--Lord Alexander Irvine, Laird of Drum Castle and Drum Estate--about 1930.
Tag: oval gold and crimson floss
Tail: topping, summer duck and blue chatterer
Butt: black ostrich
Body: white floss,
Rib: flat and oval gold
Throat: golden brown
Wings: two projecting jungle cock enveloped by two tippets, summer duck covering lower parts of tippets, topping over all
Cheeks: blue chatterer

 Pulled from the extensive lists of flies found in J. Edson Leonard's book "Flies" this interesting pattern is one of the few patterns I know of using gold embossed tinsel for the entire body. 

Gold Ranger as per J. Edson Leonard, 1950
Tip: silver twist
Tag: yellow floss
Tail: topping plus Indian crow
Butt: black herl
Body: embossed gold
Ribbing: oval gold
Hackle: claret and red palmer together
Wing: double tippets over 2 long jungle cock, topping over
Cheeks: blue

Found while examining  T. E. Pryce-Tannatt's " How to Dress Salmon Flies". A & C Black,  London, England, 1977,  This odd-ball Ranger does not have the typical Ranger wing, and is to my mind rather gaudy, even for a salmon-fly. I have not seen it in other sources and wonder on it's popularity.   

Red Ranger as per Freddie Riley, 1970
Tip: flat silver
Tail: topping plus chatterer
Butt: black herl
Body: red floss
Ribbing: flat gold and silver twist
Hackle: lemon
Throat: magenta
Wing: single pair of tippets, married yellow, red and blue goose, florican
Head: black

Here we have a fine Ranger pattern from a modern master, sadly now deceased.  I would love to know more history on this fly and one of these days will test it.  My only question about it is why Poul did not make the head red as well as the butt?  It would be just that much more balanced.  

Silver Ranger as per Poul Jorgensen 1978
Tip: silver thread
Tag: yellow floss
Tail: topping plus Indian crow
Butt: scarlet wool or sea-ex dubbing
Body: flat silver tinsel
Ribbing: oval silver tinsel
Hackle: scarlet
Throat: scarlet
Wing: double tippets over 2 long jungle cock, topping over
Shoulder: chatterer
Horns: blue and yellow macaw
Head: black

The Erne Ranger, from E. J. Malone's 1998 book Irish Trout and Salmon Flies, is to my mind the least Ranger-like fly of the whole family.  Given the Erne's history of odd looking flies however, this one fits right in.  All one has to do is visit the Parson family of flies and observe the backwards wings and throats on the earliest members and we can see the thread commemorated here perhaps. 

Erne Ranger as per E. J. Malone, 1984
Tip: silver wire
Tail: topping and tippet in strand
Body: scarlet and black silk in equal parts
Ribbing: oval silver
Hackle: scarlet over the black
Throat: orange
Wing: scarlet swan with white tipped turkey over
Cheeks: jungle cock

Here again,  from E. J. Malone's 1998 book Irish Trout and Salmon Flies, we have another fly that is distinctly unRanger-like A rather pretty fly none-the-less

Irish Ranger as per E. J. Malone, 1984
Tip: fine oval silver
Tag: light blue
Tail: topping plus Indian crow
Body: 1/3 reddish-orange silk, 2/3 black seal
Ribbing: oval silver
Hackle: claret over the black seal
Throat: jay
Wing: 1 pair tippets, jungle cock over, wood duck or teal over that, topping over
Horns: blue and yellow
Head: black

I have included the Lady Amherst here, even though it is not called or referred to as a Ranger at all, because even though the wings are not golden pheasant tippets, they follow the Ranger pattern precisely.  This fly might as well be called a White Ranger.  In "Fishing Atlantic Salmon, the Flies and the Patterns." Bates, Joseph D. Jr.and Bates, Pamela Richards. Stackpole Books,  Mechanicsburg PA. 1996, page 322, it is written that the Lady Amherst is of American origins, along with a lovely fly called the Night Hawk, however, on page 348 is stated it's origin: " This famous Canadian pattern is dressed in the classic style,  It was originated abut 1925 by George D. Bonbright, president of the Seaboard Airline Railway, and was extensively used by him on Canadian rivers, especially the Grand Cascapedia."  This pattern was commercialized by Charles Phair, author of Atlantic Salmon Fishing, under the name Bonbright #2 to distinguish it from an earlier pattern named for Bonbright and called Bonbright #1.  Apparantly it was an extremely popular pattern with the guides on the Grand Cascapedia as well, especially in large sizes (up to 5/0).  The pattern Bates lists in the above mentioned book is not the same one as listed in his book from 1970, it is virtually identical to the one found in "Salmon Flies," Jorgensen, Poul,  Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg PA. 1978, and so I will list that pattern first. 

Lady Amherst as per Poul Jorgensen 1978
Tip: silver thread
Tag: golden yellow floss
Tail: topping and strands of teal
Butt: black ostrich
Body: flat silver tinsel
Ribbing: oval silver tinsel
Hackle: badger
Throat: teal flank to the barb
Wing: double Amherst tippets over 2 long jungle cock, topping over
Cheeks: chatterer
Shoulder: jungle cock
Horns: blue and yellow macaw
Head: black

This is the pattern most of us are used to.  It is only slightly different from Bates' later version in the starting place for the hackle, but otherwise is identical.  Bates has another, earlier pattern he claims is the original,  which can be seen in Bates, Joseph D. "Atlantic Salmon Flies and Fishing." Stackpole Books,  Mechanicsburg PA. 1970, page 293.  It is very similar, and goes as follows:

Lady Amherst as per Joseph D.Bates, 1970
Tip: fine oval silver tinsel or silver wire
Tag: golden-yellow silk floss
Tail: a golden pheasant crest feather (over this sometimes a few whisps of teal are added)
Butt: black ostrich herl
Body: flat silver tinsel
Ribbing: oval silver tinsel
Hackle: a badger hackle palmered from the second turn of tinsel
Throat: about two turns of barred black and white teal body feather, tied on as a collar and pulled down, the longest fibers extending to the barb of the hook (the teal fibers sometimes are applied as a beard, but this is less attractive)
Wing: strips of Amherst pheasant center tail (barred black and white neck feathers often are substituted, especially on large flies)
Shoulder: jungle cock
Cheeks: chatterer, smaller and shorter then the jungle cock, but veiling it (blue kingfisher can be substituted)
Topping: a golden pheasant crest feather

A note of history on this pattern, again from Bates, 1970, page 23, "The Canadian Record is a 55-pounder taken on June 27, 1939 on Quebec's Grand Cascapedia River by Esmond B. Martin, who used a Leonard rod, vom Hofe reel and a Lady Amherst fly."

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