Today, I learned of the passing of well-known Pennsylvania fly tier Don Bastian, who was known especially for his work to re-popularize wet flies. Anglers outside the Northeast may be familiar with Bastian for his work tying patterns for the book Forgotten Flies by Paul Schmookler and Ingrid V. Sils. He “contributed the opening chapter narrative and more than five hundred impeccably tied flies for high resolution photographs” for the book, which now sells on Amazon for more than $650. Read more about Bastian’s life here.
To honor Bastian, here’s one of his most effective patterns, Bastian’s Floating Caddis Emerger. Here’s what he wrote about it on his website, Don Bastian Wet Flies:
This pattern was created in 2006, a revised fly that began in 1996 with my original Hatching Caddis Adult pattern. It has been field-tested in Pennsylvania; on Penn’s Creek, Big Pine Creek, and Spring Creek. I also used it successfully on the Beaverkill in New York, and Montana’s Madison River, and my brother has used it on Maine’s Penobscot River for land-locked salmon. It has also proven itself as a very effective still-water fly.
Bastian’s Floating Caddis Emerger
Hook: Standard dry-fly hook, size 14.
Thread: Tan, 8/0 or 70-denier.
Trailing shuck: Cream yarn (Antron, Z-Lon, or similar).
Shellback: Black Evazote foam.
Rib: Opalescent tinsel.
Body: Brown snowshoe-rabbit-foot dubbing.
Wings: Cream yarn (Antron, Z-Lon, or similar).
Collar: Black webby hackle.
Weight: Lead-free round wire, .020.
Head: Brown snowshoe-rabbit-foot dubbing.
Tools: Dubbing wax, dubbing brush, whip-finisher.