The proper way to tie a Catskill-style dry fly has been the subject of many debates and even the cause of a few feuds over the years. You’d be amazed by how passionate a grown man can get when discussing the proper number of fibers for the tail or the correct orientation of the wings. But I can’t imagine that anyone has the cojones to take on Joe Fox, great-grandson of Walt and Winnie Dette and heir to their legendary fly shop in Roscoe, New York.
In this great video from Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions, Joe reveals a few family secrets, as he demonstrates how he ties a Red Quill. From the way he positions the thread to how he attaches the wings to his method for softening the quill, you’re sure to learn a few things that will help you tie many styles of dry flies.
Catskill-style Red Quill
Hook: Standard dry-fly hook (here a Daiichi 1170), sizes 12-16.
Thread: White, 8/0 or 70 denier.
Wing: Two matching wood-duck flank feathers.
Tails: Medium-dun hackle fibers.
Abdomen: Quill from a Rhode Island red hackle feather, soaked.
Hackle: Two medium-dun feathers, slightly different colors.
Coating: Thin coat of varnish or head cement over the abdomen.