For Short

For Short . . .

Theodore Gordon and Deer Hair Cahill Sakasa Kebari (photo taken 03 01 2015)

Theodore Gordon and Deer Hair Cahill Sakasa Kebari
(photo taken 03 01 2015)

“Deer Hair Cahill Sakasa Kebari”

Testaments of all faiths have in their spirit the sense of a letter from one to another. Letters “Of and To” are “For and From” as well. A blog in a sense is such a form. When standards are held up, when the focus is on a subject rather than an “I,” a post can be a literary act of sharing with conviction most commendable.

The level of Art is reached at times in any endeavor. The epistolary word, being of high standard, demands much from an author to become Art. Theodore Gordon’s mayfly patterns are canonical, so is his correspondence with G.E.M. Skues and Frederic W. Halford, written when he was nestled in the ‘kills of New York, read still a century after composition.

Gordon remains a compelling figure for contemplation when engaged in the sport of fly fishing and the craft of fly tying. Readers now are individuals never to be connected to the man in real time or place in the physical sense. We may never fish with him, although tethered we are by Gordon’s active mind talking from the page printed in his own careful words.

Gordon and his thoughts on the artificial fly are well known. Another fly fisher of New York, Daniel Cahill, goes more unsung, perhaps for the simple reason he did not write, although his surname stands attached to another of the canonical Catskill patterns. He was a brakeman for the Erie Lackawanna railroad and a fly tier during the late 19th Century. His Light Cahill and its variants, a staple imitation of the pale Stenecron (Stenonema) mayfly, endure as surely as those of Gordon, although the man’s actual voice, from mouth or page to ear and mind, may be silent.

Gordon and Cahill, mayfly and trout: all four have combined along one tenkara path to form a pattern I find works when trout fishing during the warm months of May through August. Shaded runs, a calm evening, or when the sun lets go of the water during the middle of a morning. A trout rising at such a time on a ‘kill might find such a basic pattern effective fished wet or dry.

I combined the deer hair I have kept close this tying season with 6/0 olive, tan, black, or white thread and bodies of yarn, feather, floss, tinsel necked with a standard peacock herl thorax. One with an angora rabbit fur body resembles a very impressionistic Light Cahill.

Deer hair is employed for the hackle rather than feather. This is a sakasa pattern, one that holds a Japanese traditional tenkara hackle orientation. The trick with deer hair folded forward is to retain a soft and parse head, which I half hitch at the rear base of the hackle. Scissors, bobbin, and thread are all the tools most necessary. Visual aids, if or as needed, of magnification 1.0 to 5.0 times can help on the details when hooks are on the smaller end. My preferred size for this pattern, based on satisfactory catch rates, is a 16.

“Has the pattern a name?” or “What do you call it?” has been asked. I reply in conversation: “(Swegman’s) Deer Hair Cahill Sakasa Kebari or Deer Hair Cahill Sakasa Kebari, for short.”

Size 14 to 18 hook
Angora Rabbit for Body
Peacock herl for thorax
Deer hair for hackle
6/0 thread for wrap

All the Tools Most Necessary: Tenkara Still Life (photo taken 03 02 2015)

All the Tools Most Necessary: Tenkara Still Life
(photo taken 03 02 2015)

Deer Hair Cahill Sakasa Kebari: a mouthful for fish . . .

– rPs 03 02 2015

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