Fly tying is nothing new for Eskape Anglers owner Bryant Freeman. He's been making fishing flies since the mid-20th century. Before he sits down to start, he always knows what he'll make from the feathers, thread, and other fly-tying supplies.
For decades, Bryant used feather wing flies for fishing. Salmon flies are some of his favorite to make, especially the feather wing variety called Traditional Feather wings. Their inspiration dates back to the 1800s when hatmakers used the same feathers in their work. Unfortunately, these feathers are found on threatened bird species today. As such, Bryant uses the best feather substitutes he can find for his work and recommends them to others who also enjoy fly tying.
He says substitute flies look as good as ones made from real feathers, and they're available for affordable prices. Bryant also recommends making your fishing flies for those who have the creative ability and time. He will provide you with a comprehensive list of feathers and substitutes you can use to make your flies look authentic.
His father, Lewis Freeman, created a fly-tying pattern called Rags. The larger sizes of this fishing fly effectively attracted fish, including salmon. Parts of a Rags fly include:
- Tail - Wood Duck breast feather in strands
- Body - Peacock Herl
- Body Hackle - Grizzled
- Wing - Red Squirrel Tail
- Collar Hackle - Grizzled
Note: The Brown Rags are so effective on the Miramichi; usually, a size 6 94840 is used. The early version was tied on a number 1 Wilson Hook. (The old fashioned Wilson with the light wire)
See Our Inventory of Substitute Feathers